Does your employer brand make people want to work for you?
Your brand isn’t just about your logo, ads, and social media posts. Nor is it just about getting customers and clients. Your brand is also how you’re perceived as a place to work. If you don’t define your employer brand, someone else will do it for you. And whether you like it or not, your employer brand is already out there.
Do people really want to work for a company like yours?
Your employer brand is your big chance to tell people why your company or organization is precisely the place they want to work. Business Insider author Josh Tolan says, “Today’s workplace is like an echo chamber. Both positive and negative impressions of your company will be carried by employees, friends, connections, and complete strangers.”
Your consumer and employer brand is the highly social, totally public version of what people think, feel, and share about your organization.
Your employer brand tells people who you are and what people who work there care about – and what makes your company different. And believe me, it has a huge impact. There are companies who have a reputation for being not that great to work for. Glassdoor reports that 60% of applicants WILL NOT take a job with a company that has a bad reputation – even if they’re currently unemployed. In fact, 56% of job seekers ranked Talent Brand – the company’s reputation as a great place to work – as the deciding factor when choosing an employer.
A whopping 83% of today’s employers agree that employer branding significantly impacts their ability to hire.
Yet, a recent report from Gallup says only 41% of employees felt that they know what their company stands for and what makes its brand different from its competitors’ brands.
So, who should be accountable for your employer brand? That’s the topic of some passionate discussions. Some people say the CEO should take the lead; some think it’s up to HR; still others think that’s the role of marketing. I think the content you share publically to attract workers should be completely in sync with your customer brand, and that means collaboration between all three. Care to argue with me?
If you have questions about employer branding or need help with your employer brand I’d love to help! Give me a call at 888.904.2168 x101, send an email to: email@example.com, or contact us online for a Free Consultation.
Why analytics mean nothing without that thing called an IDEA
I read an article recently about what CEOs want from their marketing teams. To sum up, they want technical people who can show analytical proof that marketing is working.
What happened to ideas?!
Marketing people are now required to be more mathematical than creative, and I find this is all disheartening. Sure, we live in a world where marketing must be accountable for the results we can prove – and data-driven insights help us create work that drives customers. But data can’t nail things like heart or humor. Data can’t express emotion. And data will never communicate imagination or surprise. Still, a lot of marketing is run by highly organized, accountable data analytics – not ideas (insert expletive here)!
Traditional advertising sends messages to the masses; digital marketing sends messages to the swarm and the herd.
I hail from the school of traditional advertising. Our work revolved around finding the Big Idea, which we crafted, honed and baked until it was rolled out. Digital (especially social) marketing lets us get our messages our quickly – and we can fine-tune them again and again in real time – but the ease of digital means people are executing well before they have a concept or idea. We still need ideas. Let me say that again: we still need ideas!
If you don’t think ideas are still important, just look at the body of marketing work from most companies (large and small) and tell me what their brand idea is (a logo isn’t idea, so that doesn’t count). You’ll find a few ideas, but you won’t find many.
“The challenge is, when the glitter of tech, social platforms and data and all the other new toys wears thin, you are faced with the unglamorous truth: it all means nothing without that thing called an idea,” says Tham Khai Meng, Co-Chairman and Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy. (I’m a proud Ogilvy alumni, so I may be biased but this made my creative-yet-now-data-driven heart grow three sizes.)
There’s a big difference between being on the Internet and getting people to flock toward you.
We live in a digital world where each of us is a storyteller, a publisher, and even a personal brand. But there’s a big difference between being on the Internet and getting people to flock toward you. Progress requires change in human behavior and that’s why the best marketing is still being done by people who understand the power of ideas. They organize, excite, and engage. Ideas make customers a user and finally, an owner.
So please, I beg of you, never ever lose sight of communicating ideas – simply, creatively, and emotionally. What’s your idea? If your brand doesn’t convey one, there’s work to be done.
Visuals rule in the digital world, but great brand storytelling can’t be done with graphics alone. We communicate through conversation, and dialogue requires words. Words spark emotion and transport people. Words influence human behavior. In fact, it’s been said that if we can change and improve words, we can change and improve life.
We navigate our whole lives using words.
I’m a marketer who values the power of words, but I’m also a writer who suffers from a severe case of legolepsy (a passion for or an obsession with words). My bookshelves – yes, I still own books; just ask my movers, bless their little hernias – are lined with novelty vocabulary guides like The Disheveled Dictionary: A Curious Caper Through Our Sumptuous Lexicon, by Karen Elizabeth Gordon.
You’ll find a well-worn copy of J.I. Rodale’s The Synonym Finder there, too. I carried this much-loved and indispensable 48-pounder (I’m exaggerating) on the subway every single day to my first copywriting gig. I’ve gone through six copies since then (they finally made a hard back) and yes, it’s simply better than online versions. Here’s a photo of one of my last raggedy, war-torn softback.
We all crave words so much that every year in December various dictionaries select their “Word of the Year” (WOY). For wordsmiths of the world (like me) it’s a time for jubilation and sometime lamentation. The picks for 2016: Post-truth, Xenophobia, and – possibly – Fascism (Merriam-Webster hasn’t finalized its 2016 Word yet because people are campaigning against “fascism” being their selection)! Like most organizations, WOY is based (in part) on the most “looked up” word online. See a pattern this year? We’ve come a long way since words like “science” and “selfie” and even “woot” were given the annual nod.
Post-truth comes from the Oxford Dictionaries, and is an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.
Xenophobia (the fear of strangers, foreigners or the alien) was selected by Dictionary.com, who “aims to pick a word that embodies a major theme resonating deeply in the cultural consciousness over the prior 12 months.”
For the record, Merriam-Webster defines fascism as: A political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
Oddly enough, the folks across the pond at Oxford Dictionaries announced that post-truth is also their 2016 WOY and Cambridge Dictionary has proclaimed that paranoid is their WOY.
Behold, the power of Word Nerd Wednesday.
What a cluster of bleak words we have for 2016, huh? My personal glossary needs a good cleanse, which is why last week Salty Dog and my collaborators at P4 Sales Consultants began a social media campaign we’re calling #WordNerdWednesday. We started with legolepsy, which I referenced above.
We then paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with patriot. Sure, it’s a word you know but have you looked at its meaning lately?
I have more than enough words to fill the next 52 weeks, but I’d love to hear your suggestions! Please, give it some heartfelt contemplation.
Oh, and by the way, how strong is your vocabulary? While I was nosing around I found this Merriam-Webster quiz. Try it, you’ll like it! I got 100%, but then words are my thing.
Authored by: Saralynn White
If you think print marketing is dead, think again. Digital is ubiquitous so print is making a resounding rebound.
There are roughly three zettabytes of digital content out there right now (a zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes of data). Each of us is furiously trying to keep up with the overload of information and marketers are feverishly trying to get the attention of customers amidst all the noise.
Print stands out.
Because it’s used less, print marketing is unique again. Print also engages more of the senses than digital media, so it’s more memorable. When customers touch, feel, and smell paper they gain tactile memories to associate with your brand. Reading printed content is also easier on our eyes than reading digital content because ink and paper offers better contrast. That’s why 81% of people in the U.S. say they prefer to read print versus a digital screen (per a survey from Two Sides). What’s a marketer to do?
The most effective marketing strategy to is one that includes both printed and digital media.
In fact, 76 percent of small businesses say their ideal marketing mix includes both print and digital communications (per Pitney Bowes). Take advantage of every channel to create integrated programs that attract attention, build your brand, and drive demand for your products or services. Direct mail, for example, continues to be used heavily by a broad range of businesses. Most of us get less mail these days, so we pay more attention to the mail we do get.
If you don’t quite believe it, just look at these numbers:
Print can supercharge your social media.
Print and social media can share a symbiotic relationship: an engaging and consistent brand voice leads fans of your print marketing to check you out on social media – and it makes your social media fans pay attention to your print campaigns.
Print is sustainable.
Most people think printing isn’t sustainable, when the truth is the opposite. Paper is a completely renewable resource. Paper often comes from managed forests or farms. Paper is also recycled more than any other commodity, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves landfill space.
Merging print with digital can be more powerful than each medium alone.
Digital marketing is still crucial. If you’re not sharing content online you’ll be left in the dust, but never doubt the power of print marketing. Print makes your brand more personable. Print gives you a tangible way to build credibility. Reading on paper creates stronger memories of the information and affects higher learning. There’s also something about print that gives people a sense of legitimacy and credibility – and merging print with digital can be more powerful than each medium alone. If you’re a marketer who isn’t doing any printing at all, consider this your wake-up call.
Do you know the average U.S. consumer owns 7.2 Internet-connected devices? Whether you’re selling a service or a product, you’re now competing for customers’ time and attention across a vast digital playing field. How do you get your message into the hands of your customers? Content marketing.
Let’s start with a basic definition from the Content Marketing Institute:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
If what you just read is “blah, blah, blah, blah” stay with me.
Content marketing simply means your company or brand is giving valuable information away before you ask people to buy anything. That information (your content) comes in a plethora of forms – video, infographics, white papers – and this is the best part: When potential customers find great content, they’re often convinced they want to work with you before they even contact you. And if you sell a product via great content marketing, your customers will feel more valued and understood. Why? Because your content resonated with them. Because it provided a connection.
Content must be valuable, relevant, and consistent.
If your audience could care less about your content, it’s not valuable. If your content doesn’t speak to your customers, it does you no good. If you’re not providing content regularly, customers will find it somewhere else. Even if your content is top-notch, Grade A, superior stuff, it won’t be seen by the right people, and it will have little impact – if it isn’t part of a solid CM strategy.
A content marketing strategy can level the playing field
Competition is ruthless and the competition will eat into your digital market share. If you have a well-thought-out strategy, a content marketing campaign lets small companies compete with larger ones. And if you’re not reaching your potential customers where they’re browsing, another company will.
A content marketing strategy gives you direction and focus
If you’re trying to build a brand and be found online, you need to convey who you are and what you’re doing. Without a written strategy, everyone is working at cross-purposes without ever realizing it.
A content marketing strategy helps you build a better customer experience
A content marketing strategy defines what your ideal customer experience looks like and provides the roadmap to get there.
Give the people what they want
So how do you come up with a content marketing strategy?Open a fresh document and start writing this down. To see great content marketing results, you need to:
A good content marketing strategy doesn’t pursue anyone and everyone, it pursues a specific target audience. You do this by creating reader personas that identify relevant details about your ideal customer or user. We’re longtime fans and users of HubSpot, so we recommend their template for detailed buyer personas.
When your content is targeted to your audience – not generic – it will take on a different focus because you’ll be creating and sharing content based on location, socioeconomic factors, and more.
A buyer persona starts with three basic questions:
To answer #3, start with some top (niche) sites and blogs and compile a list of 30 places they visit. Look through these sites and note their weaknesses, e.g., not enough visuals, too short (not thorough), too long (too detailed), not enough data support points. While you document these, you’ll start to notice the same things pop up again and again. These are your opportunities! Go back to your strategy document and create a description of how your content will be more valuable to your audience.
When the World Wide Web was launched, Bill Gates had this to say: “Content is where I expect much of the money will be made on the Internet.” That’s precisely why content marketing is an ideal way to let your brand personality shine through and show people what you offer. Creating the right content and promoting it to the right people can also grow your online traffic. But results require a plan – one that guides your style, tone, and overall approach.
Need a great content marketing strategy? We’d love to help. Call me directly at 888.904.2168 x101, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or feel free to request your free consultation online, and let’s get started.
Why the best SEO tactic is to create the best content and user experience you can:
The days of cheap SEO outsourcing consisting of directory and article submissions are O-V-E-R. Yes, your customers need to find your website. But if they find your site and they’re not engaged, it’s all for naught. Effective SEO requires a comprehensive and consistent strategy – one that leaves a mark on your customers.
That’s right... SEO isn’t just about attracting visitors to your site. It’s about converting people who visit into leads, then customers. According to HubSpot, the #1 priority for companies in 2016 is growing SEO with content creation. Not just any content, content that is engaging.
Google’s algorithm updates actually penalize low-quality content!
The three pillars of SEO these days are content, links (particularly inbound links from other sites that point to your content), and social media “likes”, retweets, or other endorsements of your content. You must remember this, though: one single element plays a negligible role in the ranking algorithm. When they’re combined there’s an amplification in the rankings. Great SEO doesn’t “trick” search engines into thinking your site is something it isn’t.
What should you be doing now to ensure your content retains high search engine result rankings?
You could do nothing about SEO – a lot of businesses do. You can do it yourself, but SEO is time consuming, and what is your time worth to you? Your other option is to hire an expert to handle it for you. There are a few compelling reasons to pick #3:
Creating high-quality content, which earns authentic links from trustworthy and/or authoritative sites, is still the best SEO practice.
Google is always busy making algorithm changes. Their goal is to improve the user experience by delivering relevant, fresh, quality content – which should be your goal, too. At the same time, Google is cracking down on businesses that use questionable search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to gain an unjustified ranking position.
If you’re not an SEO expert yourself, you need someone who’s on top of changes – an expert who can adjust tactics as needed. Creating high-quality content, which earns authentic links from trustworthy and/or authoritative sites, is still the best SEO practice.
Not sure where to start?
P4 Sales Consultants offers a free consultation to discuss your business’s needs. Our top priority is building a lasting relationship with you, getting to know your specific goals, and reducing your stress along the way! We also offer low-cost, high-impact content creation and writing to ensure you’re SEO is contributing to your marketing strategy.
Let us generate a customized report with recommendations on specific next steps to improve your SEO.
Way back in 1996, Bill Gates wrote an article, Content is King, all about the many opportunities for companies to provide information or entertainment via the Internet. Twenty years later content is still king, and a business blog is a great and powerful way to distribute content.
For starters, the only real way to get ranked by search engines is to create quality content and publish it. So, blogging, as a concept, is a handy way to add content to your website on a regular basis. Social content consumption is also on the rise, so having blog articles you can share is an important part of your content delivery. Some 329 million people read blogs each month, and 27 million pieces of content are shared each day.
That's why content marketing (how a brand delivers custom content though its website and social channels) is key to building relationships and loyal customers. A great blog also tells search engines you’re worthy of higher rankings. So, content is king, but how you deliver it is queen, and a blog is a great way to deliver content.
It’s important to note that a business blog may get some loyal readers as time passes, but that requires one thing above all – consistency. Once you start a blog, you need to keep writing and posting. You don’t have to do it all yourself. You can hire someone like me. You can invite your team to write, too (HubSpot lets everyone on their staff write blog articles). There’s a whopping amount of content out there, so come up with ideas that will keep people glued to your blog –and keep an eye on how your content spreads across the Web.
Here are a few more reasons to have a business blog:
Why a blog isn’t enough
A business blog is an important tool in your content marketing toolbox, but it’s one of many tools. Our Brand Strategist, Saralynn, writes weekly articles for the Doximity Talent Finder Blog that focus on product tools and other topics pertaining to physician recruitment. Doximity’s content strategy goes well beyond their blog, though. The team also creates and distributes downloadable whitepapers and e-books, hosts regular webinars, and more.
Do you need help setting up a business blog or strategizing your content marketing? We’d love to help! Shoot us an email at email@example.com.
We also invite you to visit the following links to learn more about the services we offer:
Onsite Blog Management
Content Marketing and SEO Solutions
Words are how we think, stories are how we link: 3 BRANDS WITH GREAT STORYTELLING IN THEIR SOUL
You just can’t argue with a memorable or evocative piece of brand storytelling. For starters, our brain processes more information, 60,000 times faster when it is presented in a visual format, so stories that have a narrative structure mean our brains follow them more easily. Storytelling also engages the heart. Storytelling can give a brand soul. Storytelling can supercharge any brand’s marketing effectiveness. Storytelling can turn customers into fans.
Alberto Manguel wrote, “The telling of stories creates the real world.” Get it right and people won’t simply sign up for your story, they sign up for your brand. Here are a few examples of big brands that have hit huge home runs with their tales.
Yeah, yeah, beer ads are everywhere. We all fell in love with Budweiser’s adorable tales of the lost dog during more than one Super Bowl game (because it’s great storytelling), but beer ads are everywhere and that means it’s difficult for a beer brand to sell a point of difference.
Guinness is a more luxurious alternative to the standard pub beer fare, in part because it’s usually more expensive and also because it has a richer, deeper flavor. So the folks at Guinness came up with some ads with big heart, including “Empty Chair”. It’s the story of a bartender who leaves a pint of Guinness at an empty table every night and no one – the birthday-party goers nor the sports fans – ever sits at the table (and anyone who even thinks of sitting at the table gets a dirty look from the bartender). The frosted glass of Guinness that sits there each and every night is a powerful image because we don't know who the beer is for until the end, when the mystery is solved. Spoiler alert: a solider who’s returned home claims his Guinness. Watch the ad and you’re bound to order a Guinness next time.
Does Google still have to market themselves? Maybe not. Yet they continue to make their fans happy by telling stories – via video – that are compelling and moving. In fact, you might start out thinking you’re watching a movie.
The premise: In 1947, the India-Pakistan partition separated many friends. After six decades of separation a granddaughter in India – and with help from Google Search – manages to surprise her grandfather by reuniting him with his childhood friend (who is now in Pakistan). Can search engines change lives? This smart, clever story titled “Reunion” will convince you it can. The video has nearly 14 million views on YouTube.
Have you seen The Lego® Movie? I did. And I didn’t go the theater because I had children begging me to take them; I went because I saw a commercial – the Official (great storytelling) Movie Trailer – and that made me want to see the movie. It’s incredibly well written, it’s entertaining for kids and adults, and the product IS the movie. In my youth, I was a masterful Legos creator, but I’ve got nothing on the moviemakers. There are deep and uplifting messages throughout. They’re selling their Legos product throughout.
Yet this kind of storytelling is about a purpose beyond selling colorful little blocks. Legos are about imagination. They’re about possibilities. If telling people that we’re never too old (or too young) to create magic, that’s a brand story I can get behind. And if you’re wondering if it convinced me go out and buy some Legos, it did. My son will certainly be getting Legos for Christmas this year.
Brand storytelling is about creating captivating content, and it’s a great way to attract the kinds of leads your brand needs. It can also add up to revenue. But it can be daunting. You don’t have to be a big brand with a big marketing budget to be a great storyteller, either. I’ll show you some small brands doing great storytelling in another post. In the meantime, P4 Sales Consultants would love to help your brand tell its story. We invite you to check out our Business Blog or complete this short contact form and we’ll reach out to you.
Close your eyes and imagine you’re back in first grade. The best part (outside of maybe recess) is story time. Milk and cookies at hand, you and the other kids are curled on nap rugs in a semi-circle around your teacher. She (or he) opens a book and starts reading aloud, and you’re transported to a new place that’s simply…magical.
You were mesmerized by stories then and the power of a good story still captivates adults. That’s why great storytelling is a strategic priority for brands today. Storytelling isn’t new –advertisers and marketers have been using it for decades – but social media now offers powerful opportunities to tell stories as part of direct and indirect marketing initiatives.
"Next to hunger and thirst, our most basic
human need is for storytelling." ~Khalil Gibran
Your brand is no longer just competing with other brands, you’re competing with writers, artists, filmmakers, entertainers, and more. People don’t have 30 seconds to be interrupted by an ad, but they always have 30 minutes for a great story. And brand storytelling is the best avenue you can use for building trust and credibility—elements that are critical to a sustainable brand.
"Stop interrupting what people are interested in,
and be what people are interested in." ~Mike Schoultz
The best brand storytellers understand the critical elements of fiction writing. Here are some secrets that brand storytellers understand and use to engage, connect with, and intrigue consumers on an emotional level.
Stay tuned for Part II of this article. We’ll share some specific brand storytelling examples you don't want to miss!
After a 10+ year career in the online advertising industry, I am thrilled to be focused on building my own company. Founded in 2014, P4 Sales Consultants is a full-service marketing and consulting firm based in Denton, Texas (just outside of Dallas).
Most business owners learn quickly that they need a helping hand navigating the "minefield" of branding their company and “standing out” within their industry. Many of the folks I meet have been handling their own marketing efforts, and simply don’t have the time anymore and/or have not seen the results they need. Others are just starting their business, and struggle with knowing exactly what needs to be done.
In every case, the goal remains the same: to positively impact the number of potential customers who can easily find their company/service when searching online. Most experts agree that the place to start is with a great look and targeted marketing. That’s where P4 can help!
There are 4 key areas that we want to focus on that will build your brand personality, separate you from your competitors, and give you the edge you need.
We provide online marketing/advertising management, design & development services, and copywriting/content management for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) whose goal is to improve their overall digital presence and brand awareness. We specialize in SEO & PPC management, local search, content management, graphic design, web design & development, and lead tracking. We offer additional branding solutions as well.
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My top priority is building a lasting relationship with clients and getting to know your specific goals and the roadblocks you face to reach them. The more I know about your needs, the more we can work together, and the easier it is to achieve the increased market presence, brand visibility, and revenue you need to grow.
I look forward to visiting with you soon.
Owner, P4 Sales Consultants
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