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BRANDE : blog archives for April 2015

April 27, 2015

Rapid Cycle Talent Branding

Alignment at the Speed of Business

RapidCycleTalentLandingPage3[1]Time is moving quickly and organizations that are fast to change and seize opportunities are realizing greater financial rewards. And yet, the greatest barrier to change is creating understanding and emotional support for the redirection.
How can branding help?

The essence of branding is the successful alignment of the rational and emotive sides of our brains, creating rapid acceptance to new ways of thinking and acting.

Someone once described the optimal state as a CEO, a dog and a Frisbee. Wherever the CEO throws the Frisbee, the dog is there to catch it; running joyously, changing course and returning it with a wagging tail.  But what if instead of one dog there were one thousand. How can we harness the positive energy and create a reflexive, adaptive workforce, ready to change direction and chase down new opportunities?

Some call this change management.
We call it branding.

Brandemix rapid cycle talent branding is an efficient way to understand the business and create awareness, commitment and support for the effort. It’s designed to bring stakeholders together to collaborate, vet ideas and implement meaningful actions to align talent with business strategies.

Rapid-cycle talent branding can help companies create, refresh or reconfirm their employer brand or create awareness and commitment around a new initiative.

This is the ideal solution for companies who want to quickly:

  • • engage internal audiences with opportunities and actions
  • • perform employer brand check-up
  • • highlight expectations, Center of Excellence, change initiatives, or talent segments
  • • get leadership invested in their talent management efforts

Get real outside perspective and guidance, create organizational alignment and deliver quantifiable results in a timely and efficient way.

Consistency between your company’s culture, talent and people practices are imperative to an organization’s success. Rapid cycle talent branding  is an opportunity to learn how you can define the culture, HR and talent management experience you want to portray, and keep employee performance continuously aligned with strategic goals of your company.

April 20, 2015

Employer Branding for Starfleet, SHIELD, and the Musketeers

Brandemix works with a lot of different clients, from local businesses to national non-profits to global corporations. From many of them, I hear, “But your recruiting strategies may not work with us because we’re unique!” Indeed they are, but job-seeker engagement has certain consistent truths that work for every shape and size. Don’t believe me? Let’s recruit for some of the most famous fictional (or fictionalized) organizations.

Starfleet

The military and exploration agency of the Star Trek universe may have the best employer value proposition in the galaxy: Employees get to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no one has gone before. Successful and respected, Starfleet could be the Google of the 24th century, with applications coming from every corner of the Federation. According to the show’s official wiki, candidates must pass rigorous intelligence exams and physical tests, along with a psychological evaluation that forces them to face their greatest fear. Makes Google’s brainteasers seem pretty tame.

Star Trek crew

What Starfleet recruiters should emphasize
If we were in charge of talent acquisition for Starfleet, what benefits would we communicate to job-seekers? Well, employees are exposed to new cultures and new ideas. They work with people and aliens from every corner of the Federation, and get to use the latest technology. During their free time, they can enjoy the holodeck and a shipboard bar with a great view.

What Starfleet recruiters should de-emphasize
Then again, it seems that lots of other companies want to blow up Starfleet’s ships. If not, there’s a plague on board, a traitor among the crew, or a mysterious monster causing havoc. Employees go on long missions and are away from their friends and families for many months. And for every security chief firing a phaser rifle at Borg drones, there’s a third-class waste management specialist cleaning the toilets.

SHIELD

The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, this is the law-enforcement and counter-terrorism agency from the Marvel universe. Many of SHIELD’s agents don’t possess super-powers, but they must search for, battle, and contain some of the craziest, most evil villains in the world — and beyond, such as Thor’s realm of Asgard. The corporate culture is an interesting mix of deadly warriors and brilliant scientists, who must work together under tight deadlines and immense pressure to…well, save the planet.

Marvel SHIELD agents

What SHIELD recruiters should emphasize
Like Starfleet, employees get to play with some pretty fun gadgets, from humane “icer” pistols to mini-drones that can scan items from a distance to a flying 1962 Chevrolet Corvette. Workers in the science division learn things about physics and medicine that are decades ahead of most experts’ understanding. Their office is a giant plane, which has a certain cool factor even if it’s not very practical — no running to the post office during lunch. Perhaps the most inspiration can come from following in the footsteps of Iron Man and Black Widow, making the world a safer place.

What SHIELD recruiters should de-emphasize
SHIELD was recently attacked from within by the evil organization Hydra and left a shell of its former self. The whole agency has been stripped down, so there won’t be many employee events or office birthday celebrations for a while. Several of the best agents were revealed as traitors, which won’t help morale. And, in this secret agency, it seems that everyone has their own dark secrets and their own moral code, which can make collaboration awkward and difficult. But hey — now employees might get to meet Spider-Man!

The Musketeers

As soldiers and household guards of the French royal family, the Musketeers of the Guard enjoyed lives of esteem, status, and adventure. Yet their elite reputation belies an interesting secret — the company’s enlistment standards were actually lower than the other royal guard units, which admitted only the most senior (and most wealthy) French nobles. This resulted not only in a more diverse workforce but also a more productive one, since Musketeers had to work harder than their compatriots to earn the King’s trust and respect. Along with the famous novel, their exploits can now be seen on BBC America.

The Musketeers on BBC America

What Musketeer recruiters should emphasize
Glory, chivalry, wealth, romance — recruitment advertising for the Musketeers wouldn’t be difficult. Guarding the King, going on his personal missions, and fighting for his honor are also definite advantages. In an era before health insurance or vacation pay, Musketeers do get to enjoy good food and fine clothes, including jaunty hats and dashing capes. And, of course, access to the finest swords in Christendom.

What Musketeer recruiters should de-emphasize
Of course, one wound in a sword fight could lead to infection and death. And the court of Louis XIII wasn’t the best in terms of company culture, since it included the power-hungry Cardinal Richelieu, the scheming Milady de Winter, and the vengeful Count de Rochefort. These C-level executives often gave orders that contradicted each other and even put the King directly into danger. This makes for a confusing corporate structure. And there’s the fact that the guard unit will only last until 1776, when the King dissolves it. Perhaps laid-off employees could join a new startup company — the United States!

Your organization may not offer the adventure or danger of these famous ones. Still, you deserve employer branding that’s customized to your unique culture and employer value proposition. Take lessons from the space explorers, secret agents, and swashbucklers by promoting your strengths and downplaying (or improving!) your weaknesses. If you need help, open a channel and send a transmission to Brandemix Command.

Jason Ginsburg is Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix.

April 13, 2015

Employee Engagement 101

A new study from Gallup found that 51% of American workers are “not engaged” in their jobs. 17% were “actively disengaged.” Such employees hurt their company’s morale, productivity, retention, and bottom line. Luckily, there a number of ways to engage employees and turn these negatives into positives. Here’s an overview.

A User-Friendly Intranet

Intranets used to be boring, static platforms where employees would occasionally visit to read about their benefits and find departmental phone numbers. Now, savvy organizations use intranets to connect with employees every day. They also allow workers to talk back to the company, in the form of surveys and polls. And intranets are now much more than text. They can include video of the CEO’s speeches and photos of company events. Some even allow employees to post their own photos and other content. IBM’s robust intranet mimics some of Facebook’s functions, letting employees reward each other and even mentor each other. A social, multimedia intranet helps employees feel more connected to their colleagues, to offices in other cities, and to the larger company mission.

A Rewarding Employee Referral Program

An ERP is a great way to engage employees. Asking them to help find the next generation of workers is very empowering. The materials you provide them with — from calling cards to YouTube links — reinforce the company brand and culture not just with job-seekers but with current employees, too. An employee referral program is easy to gamify (see below), which adds an element of fun while increasing urgency. By offering varied and thoughtful rewards, you can make every employee feel valued and special. Referrals have a higher retention rate than other hires (46% to 33% after one year) and are generally higher-quality hires. Another benefit: If the program goes well, employees end up working alongside their friends, which increases camaraderie and retention.

Making a Game of It

One of the latest tools in employee engagement is gamification, adding game mechanics to a non-game activity, like a sales contest. Savvy organizations are using gamification in numerous HR tasks. For example, Cricket Wireless gamified its training program, giving employees points and virtual badges as they passed training tasks. A leaderboard showed not just individual scores but also store-to-store rankings, giving employees a chance to team up and not just compete against each other. . St. Lawrence College used gamification to improve employee wellness,  awarding points when workers competed in fitness challenges, took health quizzes, or met their goals. The result went far beyond wellness: 88% of SLC workers said the program improved their sense of teamwork and collaboration.

Internal Communications That Really Communicate

Intranets are just one way to engage employees through internal communications. Many companies have found success with full internal social networks like Yammer, Chatter, or MangoApps. They let employees collaborate in a social setting that takes the place of emails and meetings, which often slow productivity. You can also take your internal communications mobile, sending text messages to employees. There’s nothing to design, and open rates are often better than email because the message because comes to employees’ personal device. You can innovate in other ways, too — who says an employee newsletter has to be a piece of paper distributed once a month? What if it was a video? Or a Pinterest board curated by a different employee each week? Any new idea that supports employee endeavors, recognizes their achievements, and increases collaboration will keep workers engaged. They’ll know you value their work and their time.

These four tactics can help your organization reinforce your company culture and employer brand every day. They reach employees in innovative ways and reward them for their efforts. They create a dialogue so that workers feel valued and heard.

Brandemix is an expert at internal communications, employee referral programs, intranets, and gamification. If you’d like to implement any of these into your employee engagement strategy, give us a call.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.

April 10, 2015

Brandemix Presents Two Free April Branding Webinars You Won’t Want to Miss!

Brandemix

 

Learn Agency Secrets on How To Brand Your

Corporate Culture, Career Opportunities, Change Initiatives

or Centers of Excellence

 

April 15th from 2pm – 3pm EDT
Branding Pt. 1:
Power Up Your Employer Brand

Maximizing the power of your organization’s brand must become a critical component of your Talent Management strategy in order for your company to successfully compete in today’s global economy. * Learn step-by-step how to create an employer brand and EVP * Learn agency secrets to leverage it within your organization and on social networks.

Register Today  

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April 29th from 2pm – 3pm EDT 
Branding Pt. 2: 
Connecting the Dots from Culture to Talent Management

Consistency between your company’s culture, talent and people practices are imperative to an organization’s success. This session is an opportunity to learn how you can define the culture, HR and talent management experience you want to portray, and keep employee performance continuously aligned with strategic goals of your company.

Register Today

April 6, 2015

Mastering the Marketing Might of Meerkat

Suddenly everyone is talking about a new video streaming Twitter app called Meerkat — and a similar competitor called Periscope. What makes these apps so different? What makes them attractive to marketers? And how can your organization use them to drive awareness, build engagement, and increase sales?

What is Meerkat?

Meerkat is a mobile app that allows users to stream live video via Twitter. The video is accessible only during the live shoot; there is no archiving for later viewing. When you start streaming, Meerkat tweets an announcement that you’re broadcasting live, with a link people can click to watch. Viewers can comment on what they’re seeing, which appear as tweets, so an entire conversation unfolds on Twitter. While there’s plenty of video on Twitter thanks to YouTube and Instagram, and Twitter’s own Vine app, nothing is quite like Meerkat, which took the South by Southwest Interactive Festival by storm a few weeks ago.

Meerkat live video broadcast

How are big brands using Meerkat?

Some brands took to Meerkat almost immediately. Starbucks broadcast its coffee beans being prepared at its roastery. NASDAQ streamed the ringing of its closing bell. Red Bull “meerkatted” snowboarding events from the Red Bull Double Pipe Finals. During the commercial breaks of CBS This Morning, one of the hosts provided a fascinating glimpse at all the preparations that take place between segments.

How can marketers use Meerkat?

This technology opens the door to a few exciting possibilities for marketers. A few of the events you could live-stream include:

  • Interviews with the CEO, recruiters, or regular employees
  • Behind-the-scenes tours of your office, store, or factory
  • Presentations, talks, panels, conferences, job fairs, seminars, and webinars
  • Product demonstrations
  • Tips on how to use your products or services

People love previews and “sneak peeks,” and Meerkat gives almost any event the immediacy and importance of a live press conference. Live video lets you reach customers and fans in an urgent, honest way that feels very different than YouTube. What do you want to say to your customers? What do you want to show them? How do you want to welcome first-time buyers? Try using Meerkat to convey that message instead of traditional online video — a term we’ll now have to start using to describe Instagram video and Vine.

Oh, and it doesn’t matter how rough the video is, because it’s gone the moment the livestream is over.

What about Periscope?

Just days after Meerkat’s smashing debut at SXSW, Twitter bought Periscope, a very similar app. In fact, Periscope might be even better. It saves videos for 24 hours, so anyone who misses the live stream can still watch it later, which expands your audience dramatically. While Meerkat users can comment on videos, Periscope users can “like,” them, making it like other social media content.  like Instagram. The interface seems a little more polished as well, in my opinion. Both apps are free, and their very existence shows that livestreaming on Twitter is here to stay — and may come to Facebook or Instagram someday.

Periscope app live video broadcast
Why are both these apps so popular? As Bonobos’ David McGillivray told Fast Company“There’s a unique rawness to that you don’t see across other social networks. All our photos on Instagram are staged; we spend time editing and re-editing our tweets for maximum effect. But with live video, you simply don’t have the ability to do that. And there’s something very powerful about that mix of vulnerability and honesty.”

Are you ready to enter the thrilling world of live video? Brandemix can help.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.