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Employment Branding Online

An overview of ways to use the web for brands in the digital age.

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Employment Branding Online

  1. 1. Company Branding: The Reality of the Online Jungle
  2. 2. Confused? Don’t be. <ul><li>We will cover who the audience really is, what they want now, and in the future. </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 – is it really useful? </li></ul><ul><li>Main challenges and opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Some practical advice </li></ul>
  3. 3. User Types <ul><li>Three broad types are: </li></ul><ul><li>Infophrenics </li></ul><ul><li>Sofademics </li></ul><ul><li>Sponges </li></ul>
  4. 4. So who are these people? <ul><li>Infophrenics </li></ul><ul><li>Infophrenics skip from one news source to the other, with little discretion or judgment applied. </li></ul><ul><li>Complete lack of brand loyalty, the only thing of value for them is information, regardless of source </li></ul><ul><li>Will make purchase based on what is a best fit for them, yet actively avoid promotions </li></ul><ul><li>Think of them as “data junkies,” getting their daily fix from their favorite web sites </li></ul>
  5. 5. So who are these people? <ul><li>Sofademics </li></ul><ul><li>Have a very high awareness of and contribution to discussions of popular culture. Think the MTV generation but “grown up.” </li></ul><ul><li>Engage in multiple discourses regarding current affairs, with an avoidance of elitism and general lack of thought. </li></ul><ul><li>Tend to only discuss issues in their own social circle </li></ul>
  6. 6. So who are these people? <ul><li>Sponges </li></ul><ul><li>Readily absorb information, yet do not contribute to discussion (whether User Generated content or otherwise) </li></ul><ul><li>Do not engage in multiple discourses, yet in certain situations where they feel comfortable (outside digital channel) can potentially be brand advocates </li></ul><ul><li>“ The invisible, silent majority” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Key differences <ul><li>Infophrenics – contribute content and discussion anywhere, anytime, often with little depth. Brand agnostic, brand loyalty is rare. Bias towards news sites. Value based decisions. Male skew. </li></ul><ul><li>Sofademics – contribute content and discussion online among their acquaintances, and encourage feedback. Bias towards popular culture sites. Lifestyle based decisions. Female skew. </li></ul><ul><li>Sponges – do not contribute content, but observe and are strong influencers within their circle, but outside the digital channel. High level of brand loyalty. No site bias. Make decisions based on “common sense.” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Time to smell the roses <ul><li>Companies are struggling to extend reach of their employment pool because they do not realize that the majority of potential employees have </li></ul><ul><li>NO INTEREST </li></ul><ul><li>in creating their own blogs, or engaging in blog conversation, or mashing up a video, or uploading a photo of themselves unless it is a very specific interest (which is why communities work) </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Reach problem is obvious <ul><li>Infophrenics and Sofademics are the most vocal so we tend to lump all web “users” as these, instead of trying to talk to the Sponges that make up the largest pool of talent </li></ul><ul><li>This is why most companies find they keep on talking to the same talent pool online. Start using different bait. </li></ul>
  10. 10. But hold on, what about Web 2.0? <ul><li>Social networking is popular, but the engagement level is broad, not deep. </li></ul><ul><li>The fact that people have migrated so easily from MySpace to Facebook is further indication that Infophrenics and Sofademics have an altered perception of brand value, yet again we ignore the potential Sponge advocates! </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising your company on a social network can extend reach, but as soon as you create something of use, like an application, suddenly you are able to interact with the Sponges who would prefer to utilize not hypothesize </li></ul>
  11. 11. Extending the Reach <ul><li>Companies have no choice but to throw away the mass communications models, but at the same time you should not demand the level of online participation that is the current trend (build your own, brand your own, do your own). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Successful companies will encourage not demand engagement. Think of it as being in a de-facto relationship with consumers – they know that they can always move out and keep the TV” </li></ul>
  12. 12. So what are we supposed to do? <ul><li>Encourage invisible information consumption i.e. don’t ask potential employees to always contribute to the dialog, let them interact with your company in invisible ways. There is nothing wrong with just asking people to interact with your website without having to contribute content! </li></ul>
  13. 13. So what are we supposed to do? <ul><li>Push information to potential brand advocates and employees </li></ul><ul><li>Widgets are an effective way to convey your message to potential candidates, clients and suppliers, especially the sponges who tend not to want to have to look for information by going outside their normal social circle. </li></ul>
  14. 14. So what are we supposed to do? <ul><li>Personalize the content, not the platform </li></ul><ul><li>Having a message personalized to your audience is far more effective that massaging your content to fit different platforms like MySpace, mobile etc. </li></ul><ul><li>We are too focused on the medium not the message. </li></ul>
  15. 15. So what are we supposed to do? <ul><li>Silence can be golden </li></ul><ul><li>The silent majority, the sponges, absorb what you have to say but they can only take so much. There is no need for a weekly communication, instead they will value less, more relevant information </li></ul>
  16. 16. So what are we supposed to do? <ul><li>3 rd party endorsement is vital </li></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn works because it utilizes the principle of the circle of trust. If someone else online says positive thinks about your brand, it is far more powerful than self promotion </li></ul>
  17. 17. In 5 years time . . . <ul><li>Infophrenics </li></ul><ul><li>will be even more manic, spending less time on even more sites, contributing more content but of poorer and poorer quality, and the value of your “brand” to them will approach zero. </li></ul>
  18. 18. In 5 years time . . . <ul><li>Sofademics </li></ul><ul><li>will have an even greater popular culture IQ, leading them to be highly regarded influencers but in a declining social circle. </li></ul><ul><li>They will not increase the number of sites they visit, but they will demand more tailored communications. Their numbers will grow. </li></ul>
  19. 19. In 5 years time . . . <ul><li>Sponges </li></ul><ul><li>will very slowly “talk back” more and more online. Their pool of knowledge will become smaller, though the depth of their knowledge will increase. Therefore brands will need to be more authentic in their communications, and be prepared to listen. When a Sponge sends a message, it is of far more significance than an utterance from one of the other online types. Bet your future on Sponges. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Summary of the main challenges we face today <ul><li>We are demanding interaction, not making it a choice, thus alienating the majority and creating a reach problem. </li></ul><ul><li>We are generally using technology because we can, not because the people want it. </li></ul><ul><li>The vocal minority has a disproportionate share of voice online, causing massive strategic skews. </li></ul><ul><li>Even when we have the data about our talent pool, the utilization of this data is often clumsy </li></ul>
  21. 21. Opportunities <ul><li>Most of your potential audience have not been communicated to in an engaging, personal way. If you are among the first brands to talk to them, you will have a unassailable position </li></ul><ul><li>As a brand, there is a massive market that you have never spoken to. Companies worldwide do not need to focus on increasing the size of the addressable market, we need to focus on finding the addressable market. </li></ul><ul><li>Digital is the best channel to engage in personalized communications, yet how many companies actually do this beyond changing the To: name in their email newsletter? Personalize or perish! </li></ul><ul><li>Remember that not all of your audience is alike in their consumption of the digital channel. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Focus on Web 2.0 <ul><li>There is nothing “new” about 2.0 </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 provides new ways to build online communities </li></ul><ul><li>As soon as you “corporatize” these, you lose users </li></ul><ul><li>The basics have to be correct before you go near 2.0 </li></ul>
  23. 23. The Threats <ul><li>Voice of authority can be feigned </li></ul><ul><li>High cost of covering all avenues </li></ul><ul><li>Last mover disadvantage </li></ul><ul><li>Level playing field </li></ul><ul><li>Creative and technical limitations </li></ul>
  24. 24. Main Mistakes <ul><li>Create blogs that are in fact too controlled. </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of strategic planning </li></ul><ul><li>“Opening of an envelope” mentality – feeling you just have to be there, when you don’t </li></ul><ul><li>Not listening, or cutting off avenues for interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Demand complete control </li></ul>
  25. 25. A Successful brand will . . . <ul><li>recognize that the user conversation is not a linear message, but is in fact an ongoing event </li></ul><ul><li>An event is any interaction </li></ul><ul><li>For the first time these events are two way. </li></ul><ul><li>Submit and Encourage </li></ul>
  26. 26. The Opportunities <ul><li>Disproportionate share of voice </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate data </li></ul><ul><li>Real time market research </li></ul><ul><li>Third party endorsement becomes transparent </li></ul>
  27. 27. Transforming to Take Best Advantage <ul><li>Focus on agility. </li></ul><ul><li>Pare down metrics and simplify. </li></ul><ul><li>Step back and breathe. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand that digital isn’t quick, nor is it easy, but the rewards can greatly exceed any other channel. </li></ul>
  28. 28. The Breadth of the Digital Channel <ul><li>Websites and microsites </li></ul><ul><li>SEO and SEM </li></ul><ul><li>Online advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Email marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile </li></ul><ul><li>Affiliate Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>How many of these are you using? </li></ul>
  29. 29. Practical Advice - Websites <ul><li>Work out what your website is for </li></ul><ul><li>Branding, informational and HR CAN coexist, though this is often a source of friction </li></ul><ul><li>Implement tracking! </li></ul><ul><li>Use every opportunity to gain email addresses – people WILL PAY A PRICE </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on positive outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Truth: Your results are matched by your investment (time and dollars) </li></ul>
  30. 30. Practical Advice – SEO and SEM <ul><li>The ideal situation is to rank highly in natural search results, but NO ONE can promise this </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid generic terms line “management jobs” or “sales opportunities” </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on niche markets of interest </li></ul><ul><li>Being highly ranked for a few terms is better than average for many </li></ul><ul><li>Truth: The best ROI is usually SEO, then SEM, the online media buying, then offline DM </li></ul>
  31. 31. Practical Advice – Online Advertising <ul><li>From experience, don’t bother with banners, towers etc unless it is a purely branding exercise If you are committing budget, allocate to the “long tail” sites. </li></ul><ul><li>View online advertising as having the sole aim of increasing your database for future comms to consumers and potential employees rather than short term gains. </li></ul><ul><li>Truth: The online advertising market is overpriced and cluttered at the moment </li></ul>
  32. 32. Practical Advice – Email Marketing <ul><li>Can be extremely positive provided it is strategic rather than reactive </li></ul><ul><li>Use a campaign management system </li></ul><ul><li>Have something to say! </li></ul><ul><li>Truth: Avoid the word “newsletter” in your subject line as your email is more likely to be deleted </li></ul>
  33. 33. Areas for Improvement by Sector <ul><li>Finance – many digital initiatives are still transactional rather than engaging, and do not reflect the brand personality. </li></ul><ul><li>Entertainment – usually anything but, still caught in a linear mindset. </li></ul><ul><li>FMCG – very promotion based, opportunities lost! </li></ul><ul><li>Automotive – most sites have the same tone, very little cut through. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Recap <ul><li>The image of your company on the web cannot be controlled. User mash-up brands for their own use. </li></ul><ul><li>Values can be retained so they are clear for employees, prospects, customers and suppliers. </li></ul><ul><li>Protectionism does not work </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of your target market, the Sponges, won’t contribute contact, but you need to talk to them </li></ul><ul><li>Measure success </li></ul>
  35. 35. Thankyou Peter Bray at Clear Blue Day [email_address] www.clearblueday.com