If you are already aware of the research piece that Barkers & the Guardian have conducted and are publishing then well done you – move along then – nothing new to read here.
But I’m so impressed by the quality of the output that I wanted to blog on it just incase you haven’t come across it as of yet. ACE (Assessing the Candidate Experience) is a piece of research work done last year that is currently being published in digestible chunks, some pieces naturally more fascinating than others, but all very relevant if you operate in any kind of candidate (or indeed customer) engagement capacity. I really take my hat off to those involved for grabbing the opportunity to do something that informs us all whilst at the same time strengthens their brands’. In a previous life I had a very similar discussion with a colleague – trying to push them to seize such a research led opportunity to gain some spotlight time, unfortunately, for what I’m sure are very good reasons, it never happened and now that space (and column inches and radio airtime) belongs to Barkers & the Guardian. Well done them.
Anyway – of the posts so far this one particularly resonated with me, and if you can’t be bothered to read all of the posts to date (there’s only 7 so far though, so not much of an investment in your time) then just follow this link to an article about banner blindness (the capacity we all have to switch off to irrelevant banner ads online – especially when we’re in focused search mode).
It explains very well how challenging advertising in the online world actually is (or at least is if you’re going to get it right) as well as the power of establishing a strong underlying employer brand to back up your activity. But whilst it’s not as easy as many have sold it to be (“bung up a banner ad to increase traffic”), it’s clear (and well explained) that with proper planning & good execution we have the best targeting capability at our disposal ever. Too often people have and still do say that online advertising (banners in particular) hasn’t worked for them – well here’s that broad research those who have worked to try and force through better understanding of the digital medium have grown to know: actually it’s down to how it’s used and executed thank you very much.
A single banner splashed across generic pages stands as much chance of working as placing a recruitment ad for a Bolton located Car Mechanic in the automotive pull out section of the Sunday Times – I mean it might work, but you wouldn’t really waste that money. Would you?Â And that’s the equivalent of what many people/agencies have been guilty of doing for so long: create the campaign, get the studio to knock out a banner that follows clients brand guidelines and copies the headline of the press ad and then when you’re buying the media get the job board to lob in a couple thousand impressions around the site – all hoping/knowing that the actual success of the specific elements don’t matter so much as long as overall the campaign generates roughly the required level of response. Well with this research it hopefully shows that it’s unequivocally time to change that thinking – time to engage team’s that understand these fundamental principles of online advertising – time to work with people that have the capability to deliver and track each element’s success (or failure) so everyone learns for next time. It’s time to stop wasting your money online – it’s time to see the returns of investing in people who can do it properly online.
In the ACE team’s words “Weâ€™re no longer in the age when job hunters will turn a page and be intrigued by an employer and a role theyâ€™d not considered previously. Instead, weâ€™ve the most sophisticated marketing tools any society has ever seen. And – too often â€“ weâ€™re not using them very proficiently.”
A really good job – thanks for sharing Guys n Gals.
I saw something last year from the BBC about the next generation of e-books, or e-paper to be more accurate, that I meant to blog about and never got around to. An article in the Economist last week reminded me of the original story that caught my attention – and so if it’s still current enough for The Economist then I say it’s still current enough for us!
Digging around I found this recent excerpt on You tube from the company itself:
This really excites me on a number of levels – and not least that the originating brains in this product are British (well done the very clever people at Cambridge Uni).
But the main thing catching my eye is the way this development shows how today’s technological leaps will actually start to look more (as opposed to less) like mediums we are used to traditionally using/interacting with. Things these days evolve at a frightening/exciting pace (depends on which side of the fence you sit), that’s a given, but we as humans don’t. Papers are the way they are because of centuries of ‘user acceptance testing’ creating a mass communication platform that enables humans to best ingest a broad range of information – and with ePaper we can see how it’s coming back full circle (from paper -> computers -> hand held devices -> ePaper). It’s clear to see for ourselves from these kinds of exciting developmentsÂ how eCommunication can reach from the desks and mobile devices of the geeks and early adopters, and from the night time “nothing on telly” home based user, into every-one’s every day life.
OK – not everyone’s, I don’t think you’ll ever get my Dad to part with his paper, but I’m thinking that what we’re seeing here is the foundation of the next mass audience multimedia device through which tens ofÂ millions will access the web as their primary route, and it’ll do it far more ubiquitously than internet through mobile phones. I mean, sure, phones are getting better – much better (I’ll probably blog at some point just why I was so blown away by the iPhone I converted to at the start of the year) – but even with the figures about internet access through mobiles increasing year on year, it’s still a very limited experience. An experience that more often or not I’d generally leave to partake in when infront of a proper terminal (unless it’s a simple text or location based engagement I’m requiring). So there you are, I’ve said it: I just don’t think that the mobile phone in the UK (certainly in its current guise) will ever really become the ubiquitous internet access point that many have predicted (year after year after year). But something like ePaper on the other hand – where the experience is more akin to a newpaper and the potential engagement far richer and more user centric – now that I could really see taking off.
And at that point if any news broadcasters & publishers out there are still in business having been bold and smart enough to understand they’re playing the long game, I bet then they’ll be glad that they kept investing in their brand identity, maintaining and building their brand following – because that kind of loyalty is very expensive to buy (in terms of cash and time), and it’s those with that brand loyalty behind them that will have the eye of the reader with targeted adverts and track-able engagement to properly monetise from all their media routes – text based and rich media.
What follows is a response I wrote to a â€œdiscussionâ€ that came from a question raised on a LinkedIn Group on Employer Branding (I scaled down the response on LinkedIn though â€“ I generally see that environment as more about questions & answers than a forum for debate). The question was posted asking (basically) if anyone within the Employer Branding Group had any research on the measurable effects of an employer brand on an organisationâ€™s bottom line. Steve White (from TMP) thought his Head of Planning & Research had some work on it, but as of writing this post other examples werenâ€™t exactly forthcoming, which got me writing about my personal experience, opinion and hopes for the evolution of Brand as a single entity in the emerging hyper-connected world:
Recruitment and employment experiences touch a person more directly and intimately than any other channel of communication â€“ that is surely an incontrovertible fact. It still blows my mind that organisations who pump millions into marketing and branding havenâ€™t cottoned onto this and invested accordingly in their Employer Brand â€“ instead leaving it to generalist HR departments to try their best to understand, establish and promote with their ever shrinking resource and broad remit, viewed (as I generally believe they are) as a business necessity but all the same pretty much just an operating cost (despite the glib â€œpeople are our greatest assetâ€ statements that seem to spew forth with regularity from CEO annual statements).
If TMPâ€™s Head of P&R does indeed have such research then I applaud them for nailing it down and following it through. Iâ€™ve always been amazed that those companies who actually do invest in significant Employer Branding activities seem to stop short of the ongoing investment to comprehensively track the fundamental effect and returns of their efforts. Even long served recruitment industry Employer Branding experts Iâ€™ve listened to and spoken with seem to never have delivered the complete circular service to prove actual ongoing ROI measurement â€“ which I think if you were to start now with current tracking & measurement technologies and a broad enough remit and reach would be quite startling and incredibly compelling.
One of the contributors to the LinkedIn discussion mentioned that some published research done by Tesco discovered the difference in sales volume between stores with high and low levels of engagement (although it wasn’t stated how that was qualified though) was no less than 36%. Whatever the specifics of that research piece a few years back I produced a site for Tesco (HR) and their driving force was pretty much to keep the price as low as possible â€“ so I wonder at what point Marketing departments start to realise how powerful the employment and recruitment experience is as a key brand influencer and appreciate the opportunity that is quite literally right under their noses to manage and leverage accordingly.
Recruitment Advertising has for so long played the role of being the poor relation of â€œproperâ€ Advertising and Marketing Communications and perhaps itâ€™s a form of snobbery that prevents businesses Marketing Departments looking into themselves rather than at â€œsexyâ€ external reach campaigns, but as Social Media continues to bring conversations online (and therefore eminently more broadly influential and at the same time trackable) maybe the day when Marketeers get to understand the influencing power that many brands have available through their own workforce and recruitment activity is finally approaching.
So I too hope that Steve White opens up whatever research TMP may have in a web2.0 collaborative style â€“ maybe itâ€™ll give renewed impetus to unlocking a greater appreciation of what a brand is all about: an enmeshed product and employer entity that is as much individual and peer conveyed experience & perception as it is straplines, PR and marketing cleverness.
Of course with greater attention from Marketing and the budgets they carry then the face of HR would change from being what is effectively IMHO&E a â€˜department of doingâ€™ to being a key group of specialists within a newly created division called Engagement. Engagement would be headed by a C level representative who truly understands (and critically can illustrate) the Â£s & pence effect to the businesses bottom line of really treating â€œpeople as our greatest assetâ€â€“ creating a business that in this highly connected world truly embraces the full power of people engagement right across the communications spectrum.
Hey â€“ why not start the year with some near hallucinatory day dreaming and far reaching predictions. Seems to be the thing that breaks bloggers back into the new year.
Firstly a very happy New Year to you. Hope that you had a good festive period and 2009 proves better for us all than seemingly any media commentator is willing to predict it might be.
Well one of the first tasks of my New Year is to wrap up on the Charity Christmas viral we posted. I’ll admit that we probably had the idea a bit late in the day, but at the same time we’re pretty dissapointed by the uptake as we only had 25 people commenting and 26 charities nominated. I guess the lesson is that despite the slow down people were still busy in the run up to and over Christmas – but it also shows that for things to go really viral you have to tap into a particular type of user and community who are happy to fling such links around. Clearly we’re currently tapping into polite society where many prefer to keep their charity allegiances private (very Smashy & Nicey “we don’t like to talk about it mate!”) or else haven’t quite grasped the potential of the web and the power of using their contacts for good.
All that said I think we’ll probably try it again this year, and give it more time and a greater push – but if you’re reading this and recall ignoring the tweet (Twitter communication) or email I sent you then hang your head in Scrooge like shame.
So – the results. They were as follows:
Woodland Trust – 7 votes
Macmillan – 7
Rainbow trust – 1
Help for Heroes – 1
MSF – 1
Alzhiemers – 1
Help the Aged – 1
Shelter – 1
Amnesty – 1
Age Concern – 1
Leukeamia Research – 1
JDRF – 1
Marie Curie – 1
A tie then. So what we’re going to do is quadruple the overall votes (because we’re nice like that) and split it between the two run away winners. I’ll therefore send a cheque out today to both the Woodland Trust and Macmillan for Â£52 each.
So thanks for those that did vote – sorry if I didn’t push it hard enough for those who missed it – and if you’re reading this and feeling even a little bad about not partaking then maybe drop a chunky golden coloured coin or two of your own in a charity box on the way home to see if that gives a readybrek like glow to start the year (keeping out the chill and all that).