Author Archives: Jason Ginsburg

Social Recruiting Is Still The Next Big Thing

Jobvite recently released its 2014 Job-Seeker Survey, speaking to 2,135 adults both in and out of the labor force. I’ve read the report and discovered that social and mobile recruiting are still trending upwards, just as they were in 2012.

So who is looking for work? Everyone. 35% of respondents said they change jobs at least every five years. Only 47% have stayed at a job more than 10 years. In addition, 51% of employed workers are actively seeking or are open to a new job. That includes 26% of workers making $100,000 or more, proving that no one is safe! All together, Jobvite considers 71% of the entire American workforce to be “on the job market.”

College grads go to the following places to vet a prospective employer’s company culture: 23% LinkedIn; 19% Facebook; 19% Google Plus; 16% Instagram; 13% Twitter. It’s hard to believe, but this is one of the few categories LinkedIn actually wins.

Image courtesy of Jobvite

Image courtesy of Jobvite

For example, 40% of those surveyed found their “favorite or best” job through a personal connection. The next biggest category was social media but Facebook comes in first at 10%, followed by LinkedIn at 6% and Twitter at 5%.

Facebook virtually ties LinkedIn in the social network used by job-seekers to look up contacts that are employees of a prospective employer.

76% of “social job seekers” (those dependent on social media for job searches) found their current job on Facebook. Almost the same percentage shared an opportunity with a contact, or had a contact share one with them, on Facebook as on LinkedIn. This has to make LinkedIn executives scratch their heads.

It gets worse for LinkedIn. While 94% of recruiters are active on the network, only 36% of job-seekers are. In fact, the social site specifically designed for professional networking comes in last of the four major social channels: 83% of job-seekers are active on Facebook, 40% on Twitter, and 37% on Google Plus. 

Not to pick on LinkedIn, but it loses in the mobile category as well. 12% of job-seekers said they’ve search for a job on Facebook using their mobile device. Only 7% have done a mobile search with LinkedIn.

Image courtesy of Jobvite

Image courtesy of Jobvite

Let’s talk about mobile for a moment. 43% of job-seekers have used their mobile device to engage in some type of job-search activity. (Perhaps the biggest indication that times are changing is that 17% of full-time workers have searched for job on their phone at their current workplace.)

This carries over into the application process as well. 27% of job-seekers say it’s “important” to be able to apply for a job directly from their mobile device. 55% say it’s “important” that they’re able to view job listings without having to register first.

It seems that job-seekers are wising up, as well. 93% of recruiters say they’re “likely” to look at a candidate’s social profile (whichever one they can find). In response, some job-seekers have untagged themselves from photos, deleted specific content — and 17% have actually deleted a social media account.

Image courtesy of Jobvite

Image courtesy of Jobvite

You can see that social and mobile recruiting aren’t fads, and they’re moving from ancillary tactics to being full partners in an integrated online strategy.

But even with all this data showing how much job-seekers use Facebook, only 65% of recruiters are active there. Are you ready to create a careers portal on Facebook? Want to improve your LinkedIn presence? Do you see the lower numbers for Twitter and Google Plus as an opportunity to stake a claim? 

Brandemix has a long history of social media recruiting success, and we’d love to help with your social and mobile campaigns. Contact us for more information.

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How to Avoid a Social Media PR Disaster

Since 2011, I’ve covered social media PR disasters. It’s surprising how many big brands, with decades of competent public relations, have stumbled in the new world of two-way online communications — whether it’s allowing customers to make their own satirical commercials or driving a musician to write three songs of revenge.

In each case, I’ve shared the lessons of the disaster so that your brand can avoid similar crises. But many incidents have the same takeaways, so I thought I’d offer some general social media best practices here. 

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Apologize First
It’s an adage in customer service that many wronged customers simply want to hear an apology and have their concerns acknowledged. Before any spin or damage control, say you’re sorry to the wronged party. 

When Jessica Bennett, Lean In’s Editor-at-Large, posted an ad for an intern on her Facebook page — in seeming contradiction to Lean In’s message of equal pay and female empowerment — the negative comments piled up. But Bennett’s response to, as she put it, “what appears to be my entire Facebook feed” said, confusingly, that the post was for a personal intern, not a Lean In intern, and “Let’s all take a deep breath.” Backpedaling? Yes. Apologizing? No. The result was 200 more angry comments.

Keep Your Cool
Some social media PR disasters spring from good intentions and simple misunderstandings. But when brands fight back, they lose a lot of sympathy from the public. Just because many people use social media to post cat videos doesn’t mean your social communications shouldn’t be restrained, mature, and professional.

After a Kansas City Chiefs fan tweeted a criticism of the team’s ownership, the Chiefs sent a direct message to him that included “Your choice to be a fan. Get a clue.” Maybe they thought that was the end of the matter — without even sending a link to where a “clue” might be found. The fan took a screenshot and tweeted the image to his 125,000 followers and posted it on Reddit, where it made the front page of “The Front Page of the Internet.” The next day, the Chiefs issued an apology, which they botched by tweeting in the first person (see Applebee’s below).

Kansas City Chiefs' direct message to Travis Wright
Present a Unified Front
As the Chiefs found, it’s possible to get even the apology wrong. If your organization tweets in the plural, as many do, then it’s jarring and puzzling to suddenly start using the singular. Your audience has to wonder: Who is talking? 

When Applebee’s fired a waitress for violating a seldom-enforced policy, her defenders took to the restaurant’s Facebook page to complain. Applebee’s refused to respond…until 2 a.m. Someone from the company started posting replies to individual comments. This person went crazy, tagging some commenters and deleting others, in the early hours of a Saturday morning. The meltdown was complete when the unknown rep finally posted “No one’s asking me to comment at 5 a.m. I am because I care.” But who is “I”? A social media intern? A franchise owner? The VP of Communications? The CEO? By using the first person, it appeared that Applebee’s had lost control of its communications channels. 

Communicate Internally
Before responding to a social media issue, it’s best to check in with all relevant departments. Sometimes the biggest headache is coming not from outraged Facebook followers but your own colleagues down the hall.
 
Since 2006, blogger Sara Rosso had hosted an unofficial World Nutella Day to celebrate her love for the hazelnut spread. But in 2013, Nutella’s parent company, Ferrero, sent Ross a cease-and-desist letter demanding she stop using the brand’s name — thus shutting down her website and ending the “holiday.” Rosso’s supporters blast the company on its Facebook page for five days. Finally, Ferrero released a statement expressing its “sincere gratitude for her passion for Nutella” and allowing World Nutella Day to continue. Why the about-face? Probably because the legal team was behind the first response and the marketing team was behind the second. Legal saw a violation of trademark, while Marketing saw a grassroots celebration of its brand. Had the two departments spoken before taking any action, they could have almost certainly avoided a week of vitriol and bad press.

Keep these four lessons in mind before doing anything on social media that may spiral out of control — and that includes responding to what you perceive as an unreasonable complaint. 
 
Branding, marketing, and recruiting on social media can be tricky, but Brandemix is here to help. If you’d like more of our assistance, we’d love to hear from you.

The Most Popular Blog Posts of 2013

As 2012 comes to a close, let’s take a look back at the year’s most popular blog posts. The topics range from telling your brand story to embracing new technologies to engaging your employees. I hope these articles will help you become an employer of choice and attract top talent — and avoid some of the biggest social media mistakes. 

Here are the BrandeBlog’s six most-read posts of 2013.

Employer Branding: Recruiters Help You Tell the Right Story\
One of the biggest recruiting trends of 2014 is employer branding: the promise your company makes to its employees. And one of the biggest trends in marketing is brand storytelling: the use of content and experiences to bring your brand to life. Combining these trends can bring a powerful presence to your talent acquisition. Here’s how to do it.

How to Become an Employer of Choice
A recent Gallup study found that only 47% of American workers are completely satisfied with their jobs. A MarketTools study found that 21% of employees had applied to another job in the past six months. Clearly, many employees are ready to look elsewhere for the next step in their careers. To attract the best of these workers — and make your current employees stay with you, follow these steps to become an employer of choice. 

Create Goodwill for Your Small Business with Community Involvement
For any small business to succeed, it must build goodwill with the surrounding community. You can have Facebook fans or catalogue customers all over the world, placing orders by phone and email, but if locals aren’t walking in the door, you’re doomed. Branding your business as a “hometown hero” can make a huge impression on your customer base and serve as an important differentiator in the marketplace.

One question that gets asked in every employer branding workshop we hold is, “Where does our employer brand fit with our corporate brand?” Some companies create an employer brand slogan that lives only within recruiting or HR. That’s often against best practice, as it has no bearing on a true employer value proposition. A strong EVP is based on the unique elements of your culture and workplace, resonates with the people you would like more of, and integrates with the same value proposition to your consumer base. Integrating the two brands isn’t always easy, but it’s crucial to success.


Social Media PR Disasters: Applebee’s Wild Night

If it’s true that you can learn more from failure than from success, then there’s a lot to learn from Applebee’s mysterious midnight meltdown. After the restaurant chain’s controversial firing of a waitress, critics took to Applebee’s Facebook page to complain. In the early hours of Saturday, February 2, someone from Applebee’s tried to fight back. What happened next is a perfect example of what not to do in a PR crisis.

Recruiting with Google Glass
Google’s new wearable technology may change recruiting forever. Why? Because, as the economy improves and the competition for talent increases, Google Glass will allow organizations to show a job listing and a corporate culture instead of telling. From talent acquisition to employer branding, here’s how this amazing visual device can be used to engage job-seekers in several new and exciting ways.

What do these posts’ popularity tell us? That there a lot of people with an interest in  and a need for  social media trends, marketing, and branding. As it so happens, they are also specialties of ours! 

Want to be more popular to job-seekers, employees, and customer? Put Brandemix on your to-do list for 2014.


Thanks for reading and happy holidays.

Behind the Scenes of Designing an Annual Report

‘Tis the season for…annual reports! Brandemix’s resident expert on the subject is Creative Director Clarissa Zorr, an award-winning designer with more than 10 years of experience. She’s also a member of AIGA, the professional association for design. Today, we turn the blog over to her to get her thoughts on how to create a compelling and honest annual report.

The Crazy Season
Every year, publicly traded companies are required by law to present their shareholders with a report on corporate performance. The exact date varies from state to state, but it’s always around tax time. Companies often start creating the report during the fourth quarter. The final financial statistics don’t come until close to the end, and you can’t really design the charts or graphs until they do, making November through April the “crazy season” for people like me. 

Starting Off Right
Like any project, I start by listening to the client so I can develop the message they want to convey to investors. Sometimes I read transcripts from the annual shareholders meeting, where I look for emerging themes in the company president’s address.

The format of an annual report can go in any direction. Some companies talk about their pipeline and look to the future after a bad year. Some brag about their recent accomplishments. The interior of the “book” will vary depending on the story the company wants to tell. 

What Makes a Great Annual Report
What makes an annual report successful is transparency. All companies have bad years. How do you keep your investors during the tough times? People often want to get rid of bad stock. But a financially sound company will have a plan for a bad year if, say, a drug didn’t get approved or a merger didn’t work out. The shareholders deserve honesty and it’s the agency’s job to convey that. Of course, there are ways of being transparent while still giving the story a theme or framing information in a certain way. The company wants investors to know that though it was a tough year, but the company still has a long-term plan for success. 

How Annual Report Design Affects Storytelling
Whatever the report’s concept is, we’re going to tell it with design. That includes photography, illustration, typography, and charts. These all must come together to tell that story clearly. It used to be that all annual reports were physical books, but within the last 10 years, some states have allowed online versions. Interacting with screens instead of paper certainly affects the design and the reader experience as well as the cost. For companies that preach sustainability, not printing hundreds of thousands of books is essential. 

An annual report chart created by Brandemix


New Trends in Annual Report Design
As long as the investors have access to mandatory 10-K tax documents, the report can take any form. I’ve had clients whose annual report was little more than a video; they told their whole story on a website with almost no text.

An even more intriguing idea is the use of social media as a way to communicate with investors and share financial information. That concept is a little too advanced for some investors (and even some companies), but it’s definitely a trend. And I understand why: it’s transparent. It’s the same sort of open dialogue that companies use when talking to consumers or job-seekers on social media. The message to investors may be different than the one given to customers, but it’s still truthful.

How Brandemix Can Help
We partner with top international firms that specialize in investor relations. They handle all the regulations, which lets us focus on strategy, design, and execution. 

And there can be a lot of execution. Taking the video route, for example, requires shooting, editing, graphics, and music. Often the board members must sit for an annual photograph, which can be logistically challenging for such busy individuals. The sheer amount of writing that must be done can also be daunting. This is why some companies turn to agencies like Brandemix.

The Best Annual Reports
There are actually awards for the best annual reports! IR Global Rankings determines the best reports based on “extensive technical proprietary research of publicly traded companies through a clear and transparent methodology.” IRGR looks at annual reports from a technical perspective. They ask, Are you being transparent? Are you being forthcoming? Are you giving investors the information they really need? It’s all about the quality of communications.

I was on the team that IRGR honored as one of the top global annual reports in 2010.

If you’d like to learn more about annual reports, write to me. Or view some of Brandemix’s design work on our website.

Why Ann Loft Careers is a Social Media Superstar

The latest Jobvite survey shows how important social media has become for talent acquisition: 78% of recruiters have made a hire through social, 33% say it decreases time to hire, and 49% say it increases the quality of candidates. Most impressive is that 20% of recruiters believe social media’s value is at least $90,000 a year.

Who is leading the trend in social recruiting? I’m always searching for brands that are use social channels to engage job-seekers in clever ways. Joining recent honorees Amtrak and Taco Bell is the latest Social Media Superstar: Ann Loft Careers.

This iconic fashion line is active on seven social platforms, reaching out to job-seekers with compelling and unique content. Here are some highlights.

A Facebook Page With More Content Than Some Websites
Ann Loft Careers has a very robust Facebook page. Recruiting channels for Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube each get a tab, and there are custom tabs for internships and for the company’s charitable giving. On average, Ann Inc. posts twice a day, and responses to timeline questions are prompt and sincere — one query was answered in just 12 minutes and another was answered after 9:30 at night. Best of all, there’s a custom tab just for the employer brand, “Fit Is Everything,” that includes the company’s mission, vision, and values.

Ann Loft Careers’ custom Facebook tabs

Reaching Out Through YouTube
There are 29 videos on Ann Loft Careers’ YouTube channel. These brief, well-short videos show what it’s like to work in a store or at corporate. Several showcase the internship program, while others explore the company’s green initiatives. Ann Inc. even charges headlong into what can be a touchy topic — the condition of the foreign workers making their clothes. But it’s communicated as ResponsiblyANN: Supporting Women and shows all the company is doing to improve women’s lives around the world. My favorite videos are instructive, such as The Perfect Interview Outfit and How to Apply at AnnCareers.com

Showing Off On Pinterest
Fashion is visual, which may may explain why Ann Loft Careers has a jaw-dropping 9,000 pins collected into 56 boards. And yet a number of boards have nothing to do with clothing. Along with boards offering great job-search advice (“Fall Interview Outfits,” “Attention-Grabbing Resumes”) there are some galleries that are just plain fun, such as a board devoted to breast cancer awareness month, one for Halloween treats, and one for “must-read” novels. Taken together, these boards add up to more than a look at Ann Loft Careers; they convey the Ann Inc. lifestyle. It’s a brilliant way to communicate the company’s culture and to help job-seekers self-select.

One of Ann Loft Careers’ 56 Pinterest boards

Putting It All Together
But what if a job-seeker wants to follow all of Ann Inc.’s recruiting channels? The company’s recruiting team has put together a web page like I’ve never seen — a three-column live-stream of all their posts, from Instagram photos to tweets. It allows job-seekers to get a snapshot of what Ann Inc. is posting without having to follow all seven platforms. But even with all that information, the page is as clean and eye-pleasing as one of their fashion ensembles. It’s like a Tumblr or Storify just for Ann Inc. talent acquisition, but it lives within anncareers.com. 
Ann Loft Careers combines authenticity with whimsy, and education with fun. It’s reaching job-seekers in lots of visual ways and giving away important information on the job search and the interview process. And it aggregates all its social content into one convenient stream. It looks like Ann Inc. is in an enviable position as it prepares for its 50th anniversary in August 2014.

For all these reasons, I declare Ann Loft Careers a Social Media Superstar!

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Internal Communications Best Practices from Thomas Cook

Jason Ginsburg, Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix, show how organizations can use Thomas Cook’s philosophy in engaging employees during a re-branding.

To learn how Brandemix can help you with employee engagement and internal communications, visit our website.

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Sneak Peek of Employer Branding Boot Camp

Jason Ginsburg, Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix, offers a sneak preview of Employer Branding Boot Camp, a webinar presented on September 25.

Register for this free webinar here.