Tag Archives: Brand

Some people have a beef with this branding experiment

 Blogging and Branding

I have a guest post up over on HR Observations.  My pal Mike Haberman had to have knee surgery, and some of us are helping him out while he is convalescing.  It’s a hot mess of flash mob videos. Go take a look!

Speaking of videos, here’s something kind of quirky and interesting.  The restaurant chain Chipotle has spent $1 million dollars developing a 4 episode original series called “Farmed and Dangerous”, which premiered on Hulu yesterday.

It’s a quirky show that takes aim at big agriculture and factory farming. It’s a comedy with a unique branding strategy behind it, but not everyone is in love with it, according to this article in the Denver Post:

In the boardrooms of Madison Avenue, they call it ‘values branding:’ a marketing strategy in which a company tries to instill a feeling of righteousness in the customers who buy its products,” wrote Ted Sheely on the Truth About Trade & Technology site. “But what kind of values would inspire a corporation to wage a smear campaign against America’s farmers?”

Sheely, a farmer and board member on various California farming organizations, disagrees with Chipotle’s stance that genetically-modified crops are dangerous. He compares Chipotle’s latest “ploy” to a Super Bowl commercial that makes consumers feel morally superior while tearing down the competition.

It’s an interesting branding experiment, and one we will likely see more of in the future.


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4 pillars of a sustainable employment brand

Make sure your employment brand is sustainable

Recruitment (Photo credits: www.mydoorsign.com)

Since I started blogging in a regular basis again< I’m also doing guest posting elsewhere from time to time. I’m also returning to the blogger lineup over on Blogging4Jobs.  In fact, my first post for them in 2014 went up yesterday as part of their Recruiting Trends theme week.

My post is 2014 Recruiting Trends: Employment Brands Under Fire #recruittrends Go check it out.

Four ways to build your employment brand

Here are four solid things you can do to make sure your organization maintains a sustainable employment brand.

1.  Foster a positive employee relations environment.  I firmly believe that strong, capable, integrity based leadership  is a key element for success in any organization.  Practicing clear consistent organizational behavior with a clear mission, strong values, and fair treatment of your employees are the foundation elements for a healthy, high performing organization.

2. Put some skin in the game.  I have worked for two employee owned companies, and all the following statements about those companies are still true.  More Profitable. Better performance. More engaged employees.  We need more employee owned companies.

3.  Ensure your business is involved in the community.  If the company contributes to the community, so will the employees.  It becomes a virtuous circle, and builds a better performing organization because people will know you care.  ContributeBuildCreate.

These strategies all build the positive side of your employment brand, and boost your ability to recruit.  They are important all the time, every day.  Make sure your organization is focusing on them.

4. Focus on monitoring  your brand via social media for positive and negative messaging.  In 2014, I believe it will become critical that corporations have a strategy in place to find and respond to such issues as they develop.  While it is inevitable that your response strategy will need coordination across a variety of business units, this is something strategic that HR can take the lead on.

This isn’t stuff you do for damage control or in response to a crisis.  This is stuff you plan and execute as part of every day HR plan.  You can  make your company better and make sure that your employment brand investment continues to pay off every day.


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Naming a business: pitfalls and tips

A rose by any other name

Naming a business that is much more difficult than one might expect. Here are some resources to assist with that challenging task.

I was talking to my friend Chrissanne Long who owns and operates a great local business networking group called Lakeland Business Leaders and I mentioned missing a recent meeting that got lost in the holiday shuffle.  She responded that we all lose stuff in the “holiday shiffle.”  We both laughed and she joked that she going to register the domain for shiffle bcause she swears, half the time that seems to be the way people come up with names for their products and businesses.

That conversation got me thinking about this post idea. Ok, I’ve been thinking about business names too, but how to go about it was a good idea for that research and a blog post.  During the research, I googled “”Shiffle”. It turns out that Chrissanne wouldn’t have been able to get it anyway. It was already taken, by an HR related tech product of all things.

Shiffle (http://www.shiffle.com/) is really simple shift scheduling software.

Shiffle is also a slang term in the Urban Dictionary:

Drizzle and Shake Combined!
Yo let shiffle that thousand island on your salad homie.
by aubreony September 18, 2011
Bottom line point  here is two fold. You never know where you might get your inspiration for a business name from, and you also never know who might have been inspired by something else first.  That’s why it’s important to do some research first.
Here are some tips to help with that.
Let me know how it goes.
Business (Photo credits: www.roadtrafficsigns.com)

Choose Your Business Name

8 Mistakes To Avoid When Naming Your Business

Ten tips for naming your company

Tips for Naming Your Business

12 Tips for Naming a Business, Brand or Product

Great tips! Really helpful advise for naming a #startup –> “How to Name Your Company

How to pick the perfect name for your startup or business

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New on Blogging4Jobs: Better Brand Management

Brand Touchpoints 

Fortune (magazine)
Fortune (magazine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a really good article in Fortune reminding executives they should be doing a much better job of communicating with employees who don’t work at a desk.

My latest post on Blogging4Jobs is up.  Check it out here.  It’s about how to better protect your brand by emphasizing customer service touchpoints.

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Millennials and Brands according to Edelman

 A great infographic on Millennials and Brands from Edelman

Edelman 8095®, named for the years in which the generation was born, 1980 to 1995, is an insights group studying the Millennial generation and their relationship with brands. Following a benchmark study in 2010, Edelman now unveils 8095® 2.0, an updated look at Millennials, their new aspirations and the role that brands play in their lives.


Seven things I have learned about social media since leaving HR

How social media keeps me out of trouble at HREvolution

I am now batting .500 on HREvolution events.  So far, I have missed all the events held in cities that start with L. That simply sucks, but it’s life.  Since assuming my glamorous new duties as a social media community manager, I simply can’t travel like I used to.  I have to pick the timing of attending events since I am working on the schedule of a seven person team.  I also have to track a lot more data, document more processes, do more research, and generally act a lot more like a manager than I did in my previous labor relations role.  The good and bad news of all this is I missed all the partying with HR rock stars that is going on in Vegas and I have all my money in my pocket, not in storage at a casino.

Now that I have the whining out-of-the-way, let’s get on to the real post topic and talk about some things that I have learned in my first three months as an HR practitioner turned social media professional.  I hope that this article will form the basis of what I want to talk about at the NEXT HREvolution.

The job is still all about communication.  It is just a different audience that is more external to the organization than your typical employee audience.    You are talking to everyone now in this role:  competitors, customers, raving fans, disgruntled employees, your workforce, and anyone else who may have a specific ax to grind with you.

The conversation is always on, including those times when your team is not covering your dedicated platforms, and especially in places where you may not have a footprint now.  Brand conversation is extensive and raw sometimes.

The time commitment for a large brand to do social media right is greater than you have ever imagined.  Make your best estimate and add at least 30% to that.  You will probably still be low.

You need a listening strategy.    The graph below will give you some idea why.  This random 30 day snapshot of brand voice shows how the conversation breaks down into buckets.  Micromedia includes stuff like Twitter and Foursquare.  The rest is self-explanatory.   Assuming that you have a multi-platform social media presence of your own, you are still only catching a small part of your complete conversation.

This means you need tools to help you with your listening strategy.  Something like Radian6, Looxi, Trackur, SproutSocial or StepRep.

You need to understand what you are listening for, and how you actively you plan to engage with the conversation that is taking place around your brand before you engage.  Take advantage of the free trials that each of these vendors offers.  Make them explain the metrics to you and discuss different strategy approaches before you buy.  It doesn’t make any sense to spend a ton of money with a monitoring service if you are just going to listen and not engage in some way.  You can listen for free to most of the conversation for free with Twitter, Facebook, and Google alerts.  By doing this however, you will be giving up a lot of analysis and reporting capabilities.   If you don’t need to know what people are saying about your brands on blogs, and wouldn’t respond there anyway, you may not want to pay for that functionality.  You should understand what that means though.

On Friday, a customer sent me an email after I contacted her on our Facebook wall and shared this with rather shocking comment with me:

“I can’t believe that Publix actually reads their Facebook wall.  Another reason why I love you guys.”

In reviewing the pages of many other brands, it is very  clear that the young woman quoted above has good cause for her surprise that there are live people behind a corporate Facebook wall or other social media platforms.   Don’t make this mistake!   Remember that social media is about communication, you have to listen and talk back.  (duh, right?)

See all you people living the HR Rock Star life at the next HREvolution or somewhere down the road!


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Beyond Google alerts: social media brand management tools

Social network
Image via Wikipedia

Monitoring your social media brand is crucial

I talk a lot about why it is important for companies to manage their on-line brand.    I challenge companies and their managers to think about social media from two perspectives:

  • How social media can be used to enhance your company brand
  • How social media could be used to damage your company brand

On-line brand monitoring tools reviewed

I talk to companies about how they can get started for next to nothing in listening to the conversation about their brand, and how they can use this information to protect themselves.   
Now I want to take that conevrsation up a few decibels.    I want to to start showing companies the next steps in do it yourself brand monitoring.    Each month, I am going to test out one of the many brand management tools that are available for purchase on-line, and share my thoughts on the merits of the tool.   I am not talking Radian6 here.    I am talking about the tier in between the uber programs and Google alerts.

Featured tool for April is BuzzDing

The first monitoring tool I will be using is called BuzzDing.  I just finished registering for a month of service on their Basic Plan.    Full disclosure:  I paid $24 for the month, and no one from BuzzDing has talked to me or asked me to do this.  I chose them myself. 

Here is how BuzzDing describes themselves on their website:

Listen to your customers

BuzzDing! makes it easy to find and participate in conversations wherever they happen on the web. Just enter a few keywords and BuzzDing! will show you news, blogs, images, video, and social network activity about you, your brand, your competition, or your product. And BuzzDing! can alert you when new buzz pops up so that you can keep current with your community, hear your customers, find new ones, and manage your online reputation.

Don’t just monitor, manage.

There are lots of ways to monitor your brand online, but BuzzDing! gives you the tools to manage your online reputation. Filter mentions, organize into projects, flag items, and add notes to keep track of what’s been said, who responded, and what is next.

Build Buzz. Get Notified. Become Involved.

What can you do with BuzzDing?

    • Monitor Reputation
    • Manage Responses
    • Screen future employees
    • Research competitors
    • Hear your customers
    • Find new customers
    • Track popular topics by keywords and phrases
    • Find buzz on blogs, news, & social networks
    • Receive alerts via email, SMS, and RSS
    • Filter, flag, notate, and organize
    • Give your clients access to view progress and reports
    • View reports showing activity and trends
    • Give your coworkers access and let them work with you
    • Monitor people, companies, brands, products, competitors
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Protect your brand by staking your claim

A question mark with the copyright symbol.
Image via Wikipedia

Staking your claim

Do you ever worry that the brand of your company could be hacked or misappropriated by parties who may not have your best interest in mind?  You should be.

Most companies worry about protecting their trademark, patenting technology and copyrighting their publications.  All this is very important, but all too often they overlook another important asset that they should be protecting, your company domain name and all the related URL variants.

Protect your brand

Here is an example of why this is important.    Take a look at the web site of California based grocer Henry’s Markets, and then take a look at this other Henry’s website with a very similar URL set up by a group that apparently has some issues with Henry’s.

The only difference between the two URLs is the extension.   The authentic page ends in .com, the alternate site which was set up by a union group ends in .net.   I seriously doubt anyone at Henry’s thought this would happen.  I also doubt that they enjoy the idea of customers landing on this type of lemon site so closely linked to their brand name when this could have been avoided for what was probably a small price.

This could have easily been avoided by Henry’s if that purchased all the domain name URLs directly related to their brand, instead of just the one.  It is difficult, if not impossible to own every variant of your name that might be used against your brand, but you should own all the possible URL names that are tied directly to your brand name.

That is one way you can protect your brand by staking your claim to your brand name URLs.

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A Social media primer for SHRM Chapter Leaders

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...
Image via Wikipedia

Using social media to push your brand

I recently spoke at the HR Florida State Leadership Conference.   My presentation topic was Using social media to push your brand.

People who came to the session may have hoped to hear me offer a blueprint for chapters to set up a social media program, but that was not what I covered.  I have never put together a social media program for a local chapter, although I have done a lot of social media work in the HR space.   So what did I cover?   A bunch of stuff –  brand in general, social media in general, how it can help or hurt your brand.

I also gave some advice for chapter leaders to consider if they really wanted to get their chapter started in social media, including a condensed version of my slide deck which I have uploaded to SlideShare.

High Level Social Media Observation

Social media is not rocket science.

It is really just the same type of thing we do in HR every day – communication, but with a more pointed 2-way messaging.    ž

Policy is important, but it is not the priority.   It is not even the starting point.   Developing an understanding of the platforms, and the way the medium works is the highest priority. Policy and strategy flow from there.

As you consider the adoption of social media for yourself, or for your organization, you need to consider two concepts:

  1. how social media might be used to benefit your brand
  2. how social media might be used to harm your brand.
ž You need to develop plans for each, because  if you are in business, and especially if you are a major brand, you are already involved in the dialogue whether you are using social media or not.
Here are some thoughts on what to consider in developing your plan:

These steps can get you started in protecting your brand with social media:

  • žMonitor your brand
  • Stake your claim
  • Adopt preemption strategies
  • žEngage proactively in social media
  • žHave a rapid response strategy

Getting your chapter started

  • žHR Florida may be the leader in the USA.  Consider looking at what they do as a case study.
  • Consider getting started by adopting with at least one platform if you are not ready to go full tilt.
    • Blogs are great for sharing information
    • Facebook is great for conversation / events
    • LinkedIn groups offers a semi-private platform
  • Develop policy and guidelines

Philosophical advice for leaders

  • žSocial media is not just about marketing.  Social media MUST be about engagement.
  • You must believe, and lead by example.
  • Let your “chapter”  hair down a little, and have some fun!
  • You must view your audience as a community.
  • Don’t treat your social media platforms like a bulletin board for publishing announcements.  If you do, it will fail.
  • Social media requires commitment and resources.
  • Help is available!
  • All SHRM chapters should have a social media person on their leadership team.
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How to not get a job

An HRHistory video episode

What is HRHistory?

HRHistory is a random series of vlogs featuring me riffing on pretty much anything that come to mind on the topics of HR, labor relations and social media.   Some of the stuff will be some of the crazy stories about things I have experienced working in HR for way too freaking long.    This first one is a little long at just over three minutes.  Call it a rookie mistake and cut me some slack. 

The video is called “How to not get a job”.  It is not completely safe for work due to some language which some may find offensive, but it is how the thing went down, so be forewarned!  Now go check out my little tale of bad judgement, crude language, ethical dilemmas, unemployment and HR.

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