BRANDE : blog archives for February 2016

February 24, 2016

Brand Archetypes and the Republican Race


What is a Brand Archetype?

As professionals in this industry, we understand various brands and their specific allure for a consumer. Essentially, there are 20 brand archetypes into which everything can be sorted: from breakfast cereals to talk show hosts. Read my earlier blog post on brand archetypes here.

Politics aside, I thought it would be great fun to look at the recent and current Republicans seeking the presidential nomination through the lens of a brand archetype. Your comments appreciated.

Marco Rubio: The Innocent

Like Mr. Rogers, the innocent is committed to simplicity, and doing the right thing.  Rubio wants to bolster education, secure America’s borders and balance the budget. His naivete can be too much at times, such as when he denies climate change. Lysol and Dove are two examples of consumer brand names that suit the innocent.

Trump: The Entertainer

While some of Trump’s speeches are about the old  simpler America, he is as much the clown as the traditionalist. He makes faces at the camera, baits news commentators, and slams his competition (e.g. Carly Fiorina’s looks.) Lacking a political background, he is best known for his entertainment holdings–beauty pageants, casinos, and iterations of The Apprentice. A celebrity who suits  this category is Jeff Foxworthy and a consumer brand is the Jack in the Box chain.

Ben Carson: The Traditionalist

The traditionalist seeks to restore glory through a return to old fashioned values. Carson, who announced his run at a prayer breakfast full of city pastors, certainly fits in with this archetype. Beyond religion, his conservative views and commitment to family values are as clean and simple as Proctor and Gamble soaps. Other traditionalist brands include Old Spice and Folger’s coffee.

Chris Christie: The Boy Next Door                                                                                               

This brand type is friendly, hardworking, for “regular Joes” — think Walmart or Covergirl cosmetics. Often photographed in khakis and polo shirts, Christie looks like your neighbor out mowing his lawn. And when it comes to issues, he’ll tell you that he wants to lower taxes and take a bite out of crime.

Discover Your Brand Archetype

Brandemix creates brand plans for clients across a wide range of industries. We can analyze your current brand, the archetype it fits into, how to communicate in the write tone of voice and how to leverage that with the right audience.   Find out more. 

February 17, 2016

3 Killer Strategies to Boost your Instagram Marketing

imgresInstagram is kind of taking over the social media world. Different from other social media platforms, Instagram is simple, authentic and visually stunning. It enables companies to communicate with their clients in a more creative way by using visual marketing. According to Forrester research in 2015, Instagram is also the king of social engagement.

For the reasons above, every marketer should consider how they can catch up with this trend to help build more online presence and engagement with clients on Instagram for their business.

Before we introduce 3 killer strategies that have been used by some successful players on this platform, let’s get started by defining your Instagram presence. Important elements to keep in mind:

Brand Identity: You should understand deeply your brand Identity and let everything on your Instagram tell a story of your brand. It’s absolutely critical that your Instagram presence reflect your brand’s signature style in order to make an impact and attract your ideal customer.

Instagram Performance: Set benchmarks when it comes to measure the number of followers, frequency of posting and engagement rate. These are all important indicators to help figure out the ongoing performance of your Instagram. Consistently monitor the changes of these indicators.

Now, let’s go straight to the point!!

1.     Quality but not Quantity

Less is more. When it comes to Instagram, quality of your image should always be your priority. Post only when you have a great, on-brand image to share.  Deliver content that is inspiring and relevant enough with the value that are perceived by your target audience. Check out a fantastic example for this : Red Bull (@redbull). Red Bull has achieved 4.2 m followers on Instagram so far. As a leading brand in energy drink industry, Red Bull has set a clear signature style of its Instagram presence as Energetic, Brave, Outgoing, Collector of interesting experiences. Red bull really catches people’s eyes by consistently posting high-quality images and videos featuring wonderful moments of people doing all kinds of sports. More than that, Red Bull uses image description to give out inspirational quotes. What a smart tactic to boost likes and engagement!

2.   Smart Use of Hashtags

Hashtags are key to reaching prospects and customers on Instagram. With proper hashtags, companies can drive traffic to their Instagram profile, where the profile link can drive traffic further to their official websites or any other ideal websites. While making hashtags that could speak for your images of videos, you might want to use trending ones so as to increase the chances of being seen and reached by more people. The suggestions here are to take a look at the “Trending Tags” and “Explore Posts” using Instagram’s Explorer Feature. Find out the ones of these Trending Tags that are relevant to your brand and include them in your posts. You can also use tools such as “Tagboard” to give yourself some ideas on making relevant hashtags.

3. Leverage Sponsored Ads

As Instagram introduced this new paid feature, consumers can now regularly see sponsored ads in their timelines. An exciting thing is that Instagram even puts a series of call-to-action buttons in the advertisements. With a larger user base, Instagram is able to help businesses to reach out to their ideal targets. So if you have enough budget, it is a good try to promote your products or service using Instagram sponsored ads.

February 10, 2016

Branding Cues We Can Borrow from Bernie Sanders

BrandingPolitics aside, let’s look at the Vermont Senator as a product. In particular a brand that is lesser known and vying for consumer attention. A brand that, lacking the name recognition of a Clinton or a Trump, needed to create an identity. A brand that had to find its niche and voice. The presidential contender has accomplished all of this rather respectably. Like many new and different brands, he has seized the market’s attention, his messages are resonating and his supporter base is growing. Here’s how you can achieve equally impressive results.

Build a Social Name for Yourself

Establishing name recognition is a primary goal of any branding initiative, particularly for a latecomer to the market. Equally important is establishing a social following.  Social media followers embrace brands that they believe are different; particularly different in meaningful ways that resonate with them. Successful brands also must build a loyal following, and according to the February 2016 Iowa caucus results, which CNN (can link to article) cited as “a razor thin victory,” Sanders has done so.

When Change Becomes Trend

Exponential trends occur in the marketing world. and the status quo changes swiftly when the conditions are right. Leading indicators of change are when the brand is seen to be setting the trend for its category and growing in popularity. This was the case with Facebook, which rapidly eclipsed My Space and the like, and according to a November 2015 Atlantic article  is  now happening with Sanders.

These are but a few of the parallels in marketing your corporate or employer brand and Mr. Sanders’. efforts. Consider his ultimate mission:  Mr. Sanders is seeking employment, and has to distinguish himself among all other candidates, for one of the world’s most highly-sought-after positions. That might seem more applicant-centric than employer focused, but the marketing and branding lessons are the same.

The Takeaways: Every organization can leverage marketing tactics like Sanders has. For starters, get your name out there and then build a social media following. Working internally, or with an external partner like Brandemix, you can learn what comprises your unique value proposition and communicate those differences regularly. Use brand statements that are brief and memorable (how much do you love Feel the Bern?) Be sure all your communications are honest yet passionate, and that you incorporate a variety of media in your marketing plan (Sanders is known for social media and e-blasts, while some candidates concentrate more on TV.) And lastly, don’t overlook the value of premiums: the mugs, tees, and buttons that are perennials in politics can also help perpetuate any brand.

February 4, 2016

What Employer Branding Is — And What It Isn’t

I’ve frequently written about the importance of employer branding, especially as the economy improves and top talent has more power in deciding where to work. Employer branding also impacts employee engagement, which drives productivity and profits. But some people still aren’t clear on what exactly employer branding is. Here are the basics to get you started.

Employer Branding Is More Than a Tagline

Employer branding is not just a tagline. It’s not a single sentence, or a series of vague qualities like Success or Innovation. It’s not bullet points. It’s not something as simple as an image or a color palette.

Instead, employer branding is a philosophy. It’s a framework built around the relationship between your organization and its employees. It’s the promise you make to your workers. It speaks to your entire staff, from the CEO to the newest hire, as well as to job-seekers who are approaching your company for the first time.

Much like a consumer brand, that sentiment can often be expressed in one sentence that serves as a point of entry for the larger promise within. At Southwest, it’s “Welcome on board the flight of your life.” At IBM, it’s an enticing question: “What will you make at IBM?” At Pepsi, the employer brand is boiled down to one word: “Possibilities,” which returns throughout the employer value proposition.

Employer Branding Is Specific

Employer branding is not generic. I’ve written about the overused, underwhelming phrase “Our employees are our most important asset.” A sentence like that doesn’t set any organization apart, since it has been used so often and doesn’t really convey anything. Even the term asset likens workers to computers or factories, which don’t have kids or hobbies or career goals. You company can’t just steal a cool employer brand from another company (or worse, a competitor) and apply it to your entire corporate culture. The dissonance will confuse employees and scare candidates away.

Employer branding is unique to your organization. Your employer brand is specific to your company. It can’t be applied anywhere else, since nowhere else has your company’s exact history, direction, values, and goals. It reflects your unique culture and represents all your employees have contributed over the years. It’s also specific to this moment in time. Employer brands can change as the company’s mission or goals change. That’s probably why many firms update their employer brands about once a year.

Employer Branding Is Carefully Considered

Employer branding is not put together in a day. It’s not something the CEO can write, send to recruiters, and put it into effect immediately. It can’t be assumed, or conjectured, or copied from the “About Us” section of an annual report. An employer brand can’t simply be “good enough” or a placeholder, or something that can be put off until the budget allows. That strategy won’t engage employees or attract the right candidates.

Employer branding is created by a proven process. Often, an employer brand isn’t created by the organization itself. A third party with experience in the field, such as Brandemix, comes in with a plan and a process. Brandemix polls a sample from the entire organization, from interns to veterans to the C-suite, to thoughtfully examine the company’s culture, from vision to value proposition. We use surveys, group sessions, and one-on-one interviews to determine why workers came to the company, what they like and dislike about, and why they stay. The result is a brand architecture that emotional connects with employees and tells recruiters what type of candidate to look for. It details the most significant relationships between the corporate brand and its various parts — people, products, and services.

Employer Branding Is Difficult

Employer branding is not just a reinforcement of the status quo. Creating an employer brand isn’t always easy. It usually can’t be done by recruiters or HR staff, who have little experience in constructing employer branding architecture and an employer value proposition. It’s not something that can be handed down from the C-suite as fait accompli, with no input from the staff. It’s not simply art and copy that just “feels right” or seems to match the company’s eventual goals.

Employer branding is honest. Often, the process takes unexpected detours that lead to honest engagement and genuine discoveries. Brand research asks questions about an organization’s culture and the employee experience. Sometimes the responses reveal internal feuds, poor communication, or general discontent. But one of the goals of employer branding is to simply get to the truth: How do people really feel about your brand? The result is honest and accurate, and can help steer the right employees to your organization — and steer the organization in the right direction.

Employer Branding Is Valuable

Employer branding is not extraneous. It’s not a luxury for brands that already enjoy a good reputation with the public. It’s not only for corporate giants or global brands. It’s not an extra feature that can be dismissed as unnecessary by local businesses or non-profits.

Employer branding is crucial to the bottom line. Strong employer attracts the candidates that fit an organization’s culture. This reduces the chance of a hiring mistake, which lowers time to hire. It also focuses the search on a certain type of candidate and increases word of mouth and referrals, which in turn lessens the need for large-scale campaigns and lowers recruitment marketing costs. A recent LinkedIn study found that companies with strong employer brands had half the cost per hire of companies with poor or no employer brands, and one quarter less turnover. An Aon Hewitt study found that companies with engaged employees (buoyed by a good employer brand) outperformed by 22% the stock market in 2010, while companies with low employee engagement performed 28% worse than the annual average.

So we see that employer branding isn’t simple and it isn’t superfluous. It’s necessary, educational, and valuable. If you’re ready to create or refresh an employer brand, my agency offers special Rapid Cycle Talent Branding at a price point within reach of many organizations. Contact us and we’ll find a way to engage your employees, attract the right talent, and improve your bottom line.

You can also download our free Employer Branding Strategy Guide to learn more and get started.

If you’ve recently gone through this exercise, please share your experiences.

February 1, 2016

Brandemix 2016 Employer Branding Survey


Happy February Readers.

This just in:

According to Roy Maurer’s article on 2016 Recruiting Trends, the focus on Employer Branding continues, as companies seek to differentiate themselves in the eyes of potential talent.  But experience has shown that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to how companies embark on an employer branding project. While big companies may have big budgets that allow them to easily devote the dollars to conducting large-scale employer branding projects with the help of outside partners, not everyone has that option.

For many, Brandemix Rapid Cycle Employer Branding may be an ideal solution. For others, with a little information along with internal resources, they’ll get it done just as well.

For the 3d year in a row, Brandemix is launching their Employer Branding survey examining factors from budget and goals to procedures and results. We’ve already seen some fascinating trends and are looking to uncover more.

If you’ve been a stakeholder in such an effort, please add your insights. You may win an iPad Air.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.