Monthly Archives: March 2012

How Your Brand Can Make the Most of the New Facebook Timeline

Facebook is switching all personal profiles and brand Pages to its Timeline format this week, changing a template that many of us grown accustomed to. This exciting new format offers opportunities for brands smart enough to take advantage of them.

How can your brand make the most of the new Facebook Timeline? Read on.

Take Off From Landing
How many hours did your designer spend creating your Facebook landing page? Well, it was nice while it lasted; landing pages are gone. Facebook is trying to eliminate “like-gating” – forcing users to like a page to view any content – as well as deceptive Pages that trick you into liking or sharing them. The new format comes with only one landing page, which includes the big cover photo, tabs (now at the top), and the timeline itself. All these features are customizable.

Pin to Win
You may be tempted to post content in the large cover photo, but Facebook doesn’t allow you to post prices, contact information, or a call to action in that space. Don’t worry — you can now keep important content at the top of your Page by “pinning” any post. The “pin” lasts seven days and ensures that it’s the first thing visitors see. If you’re running a contest or a sale, pin it!

Tell Stories
Storytelling was the most popular topic at South by Southwest this year. Brands are starting to realize that they can’t just post press releases or tweet “Thanks for following.” They must tell stories. Facebook’s timeline feature is the perfect way to share your brand’s story and make an emotional connection with your fans. Talk about odds you overcame, innovations you pioneered, or awards you earned. Add images to the timeline to make it even more compelling – people will be charmed by a picture of your first office, especially if it includes your 90s haircut!

Talk to Your Fans
Fans of a Page can now contact the brand by Facebook message, so you can make some interactions private. A complaint-and-recovery process no longer has to take up valuable Wall space, and smaller matters, like a contest winner’s home address, can now be shared privately. As Twitter direct messages have shown, people are thrilled to have personal contact with the brands they love, so find a reason to drop them a line, whether it’s “How did you enjoy your stay at our hotel?” or “Did your refund arrive on time?”

Bonus Info
A few more tips on how your brand can make the most of Facebook Timeline:

What size is the Facebook cover photo? 315 pixels high by 851 wide. The image should definitely not be smaller than 400 pixels wide.

Use the expanded Insights feature to view analytics on your Page, including the age of your Fans, which can be useful when buying Facebook Ads.

Tabs are now at the top. You can have a lot of them – Coke has 12 – but only four are visible when users first come to your site. So make sure those four have great images that make fans want to see more!

There’s no minimum fan number for a “vanity URL.” The moment you create your Page, you can make the address “facebook.com/yourbrandname.” And you can change the URL until you reach 100 fans.

Want a killer design and copywriting team to help create your new Facebook Page? Brandemix can help.

Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch, Part 3

2007: A year most notably known for the introduction of the iPhone, Jack Kevorkian’s release from prison, the Congressional Medal of Honor presented to the Dalai Lama and 2 Brandeblog entries entitled Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch, Part 1 and Part 2.

Edgar Schein, the MIT management professor who actually coined the phrase “culture eats strategy for lunch,” wrote that the the success of a company is determined not by its business plan but by its people.

Welcome to Part 3, as we watch with interest Goldman Sachs’ loss of more than $2 billion in market value after a searing indictment of their culture in the New York Times by one of their own people, Greg Smith in his very public letter of resignation. 

While we may think that Goldman Sachs became one of the world’s most successful investment banks because of aggressive business practices, Smith reveals that it was actually because of its employees.  “[C]ulture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’ success,” Smith writes. Culture “was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years.”

Smith reflects on his former “pride” and “belief in the organization.” This is the real-deal—the emotional connection Brandemix strives to embody in each of our branding assignments.

It’s the living illustration of the service-profit chain, a philosophy that proves engaged, empowered employees may increase company profits by as much as 22%. For an investment bank, that could mean billions of dollars.

Today, Smith rues the lack of “humility” and “integrity,” two of Goldman’s core values which also include placing clients’ interests first, commitment to excellence and innovation, and teamwork. Smith calls out Goldman’s two leaders, President Gary Cohn and CEO Lloyd Blankfein, for “the decline in the firm’s moral fiber.”

No surprise. Culture starts from the top down and, as I tell clients, senior leaders must buy in, live the values, and set an example for everyone else.

I’m not alone; Frederick E. Allen, the Leadership Editor at Forbes, responded to Smith’s letter with an article titled To Save Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein Must Go. 

If you’re ever attended a Brandemix presentation on Employer Branding, you know how important I think an organization’s values are to employee acquisition and retention. Well, here’s that idea in reverse: a lack of values is actually causing an employee of 12 years to leave a lucrative position with bonus money on the table.

Smith isn’t just saying that the new culture isn’t for him. He’s not saying that it isn’t right. He’s saying that the culture threatens the firm’s very existence. Because the culture puts profits ahead of clients, Smith makes the equation clear: “Without clients you will no longer make money. In fact, you will not exist.” 

Today’s disgruntled employees are sharing their stories to more than their friends and colleagues. It’s a world of One Brand, and they are speaking to your clients, your vendors, and your applicant pool.

Is your organization’s culture is the best it can be?  Let’s find out.

The Hidden Information Inside Fortune’s 2012 Best Companies To Work For

Fortune magazine just released its list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. But while many news outlets and job boards are covering the main list, the magazine’s researchers compiled some very detailed and segmented data. And I found some patterns emerging on why certain companies have created authentic employer brands as great places to work.

Keeping Employees Healthy Keeps Them Happy
Fourteen companies on the Fortune list pay 100% of their employees’ health care costs. Sure, that’s easy for giants like Microsoft, but a number of small firms do it, too, including Boston Consulting Group, NuStar Energy, the Everett Clinic, and Perkins Cole, which all have around 2,000 workers. As health insurance costs climb and the Affordable Care Act’s future becomes cloudy, health care should be part of every organization’s employer value proposition. How do you handle your employees’ health benefits?

Diversity Counts
Forty-four of the 100 companies have a workforce of at least 50% women. Twenty-three of the companies have a workforce of at least 40% minorities. Eighty-nine of the companies offer domestic partner benefits. We’ve long known that diversity brings fresh, new perspectives to an organization. Now we have the hard numbers to back it up. And don’t forget that “diversity” includes people with disabilities and older workers.

It’s Not Just About Money
Amazingly, 27 of the companies give hourly workers an average annual pay of under $40,000. That includes Men’s Wearhouse, CarMax, Aflac, and Starbucks. Five of the companies, including Nordstrom and General Mills, pay annual salaries of less than $50,000. And yet they beat out hundreds of other, better-paying firms to make Fortune’s list. Obviously these companies have great employer branding and are attracting and engaging employees in other ways. Which brings us to…

Uniting Employees in Unique Ways
One of the lists on the Fortune site is called Unusual Perks, naming some clever benefits that improve employee satisfaction. Among them is NetApp, which offers a basketball court, volleyball court, and massage rooms. Alston & Bird provides free Spanish classes. The Southern Ohio Medical Center features an employee-run vegetable garden. FactSet Research brings local food trucks to its offices, along with free lunches and weekly summer barbecues. And Pricewaterhouse Coopers offers a Mentor Moms program, pairing up expectant mothers with other moms at the company.

What do these top-10 perks have in common? For one, they all bring employees together. Whether they’re eating, learning, planting, or playing, all these perks have a communal aspect that helps build teamwork and camaraderie. Compare that to #4 Wegmans’ free holiday coupon books, which employees use to buy products on their own. Nice, but how does that improve the workplace?

More Perks That Employees Love
Not every company can put a basketball court in their office. Some of the more conventional benefits that the top companies offer include: an on-site child care center (31 companies), an on-site gym (69 companies) or off-site gym discounts (61 companies), telecommuting (85 companies), and the option for a year-round compressed workweek (80 companies).

The Secrets of the Top 100
My takeaway? These successful companies have brought in a broad array of workers with different backgrounds. They pay their employees well or offer substantial benefits, or both. They offer unique perks that allow workers to interact across departmental lines and to socialize before and after business hours. They also provide options for the busy 21st-century employees, such as telecommuting, child care, and a compressed workweek.

It doesn’t matter how large these companies are, how old they are, or what field they’re in. All these elements add to their employer brand as a destination of choice, building success at attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent.

But what if your organization has already received honors as a great workplace or offers unique benefits, but your employees don’t know about them? Our corporate communications experts can help.