Category Archives: mobile

What Do The Biggest Recruiting Breakthroughs of 2013 Mean for 2014?

It has been a big year for recruiting and employer branding. Employer
are now reaching job-seekers through “SoMoClo” — social media, mobile
device, and the cloud. New technology, new services, and new
philosophies are re-shaping the recruiting world.

So how will the breakthroughs of 2013 shape recruiting in 2014? Here’s a rundown of some trends you should be watching. 

Gamification
Another evolving technology is gamification, adding game mechanics to a non-game activity, like recruiting. Marriott got the ball rolling with an awareness campaign, and a few other companies have used aspects of gaming in their recruiting. The trend took another step when the French postal service created a game for orientation and onboarding: it simulated getting up in the morning, eating breakfast, and dressing for work, along with mail sorting and delivery. It’s only a matter of time before a bold employer fuses all these concepts together and turns the entire hiring process into a game. Who will it be?

Mobile
A recent LinkedIn survey shows that job-seekers have moved their searches to mobile devices: 72% of active job-seekers and 62% of passive candidates say they’ve visited a company’s mobile site to learn about careers. But the survey also found that only 13% of companies have “invested adequately in making
their recruiting process mobile-friendly.” If you’re using social media in your recruiting campaign, keep in mind that many social sites are visited from a mobile device: a
ccording to Microsoft, 50% of Twitter users access that network through a phone or tablet. I expect all these numbers to increase in 2014. Is your company ready for mobile recruiting?

Google Glass
As I recently pointed out,
Google’s new wearable technology, launched this year, has the potential
to revolutionize recruitment videos. There’s nothing more powerful to a
candidate than showing them what a day working for a company is really
like; Google Glass lets them virtually experience it. But that’s not
all. Google Glass can show candidates the recruiter’s point of view
— literally! This can greatly help them prepare for the application
and interview process. CEO’s can also wear the device and shoot videos
of their working days, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the corner
office that employees and job-seekers now only dream of.

Vine/Instagram video
Speaking of video, two new short-form services launched in 2013. Twitter
introduced Vine in January; Instagram added a video component six months
later. For any recruiters using social media (which is most of them), these simple formats have opened up a whole world of video possibilities. With only a few seconds, very limited editing, and no graphics or effects, even a recruiter who has never made a movie in her life can now create tiny works of art and share them with job-seekers on numerous social channels. So far, I’ve been inspired by Manifest Digital and Aviary on Vine, and VMware on Instagram.

These trends shaped 2013 and will certainly influence 2014. At Brandemix, we’re keeping close tabs on these emerging concepts and are adding them to our campaigns. If you’d like to know more about gamification, mobile recruiting, Google Glass, or short-form videos, drop me a line.

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Ready For a Mobile Site? Rethink Everything!

Based on a recent study by Mongoose Metrics, only 9% of all the websites in the world are optimized for mobile devices. And yet more and more people are viewing sites on smartphones and tablets. That means your site is probably failing a large part of your audience.
So you need to make your site mobile-ready. Think it’s easy? Nope. You have to
rethink everything.
Rethink Design
A lot of clients I speak to think that “mobile optimization” means just shrinking
their site to fit on a smaller screen. There’s much more to it. Because of the
different needs of a mobile user and the different experience of a phone, the
entire design has to change. This means bringing in your creative director (or
using
our fantastic one) to craft a new look and feel for the site, while keeping your branding. Seem like a big step? It’s only the beginning…
Rethink Navigation
Everything must be scaled down for a mobile site. Only the most important sections should remain, and they should all be prominently on the homepage. Compare the Famers Insurance website to its mobile site. The many options and documents have been reduced to just four items: reporting a claim, paying their bill, finding an
agent, and browsing products. If you want to ensure users have access to more
information, you can always include a link to your full site.

Farmers Insurance: From this…
 
…to this.
Rethink Text
There’s only so much room on a mobile screen, so try to keep text to a minimum. Most of the navigation should be done through buttons, large words, and clear icons. Look at AT&T’s mobile careers site. Notice how they divide their departments by icons, with very small text below. On a “normal” website, these options could
be simple text links. But for a mobile site, you should never make your
visitors squint.
 
AT&T Careers emphasizes icons over text
Rethink Experience
See? The mobile experience is very different from a desktop one. Big graphic
files or videos, which usually aren’t an issue, must now be weighed against
the time it takes for them to load. Avoid Flash animation, since most mobile
devices don’t currently support Flash. And different mobile operating systems
are like different web browsers; what looks great on an iPhone may not
look good on a Samsung Galaxy.
A great example of a totally “rethought” mobile site is Loews Hotels. The
site uses the phone’s GPS to find the nearest hotel and offers four
simple choices: Visit, call, map, or book now. Navigation on the homepage is a
simple scrolling menu with photos, short descriptions, and buttons large enough
for a thumb. Choosing “Contact Us” at the top offers the option to “Click here
to book through a mobile device,” in case users missed it. It’s a clean,
simple, informative mobile experience. No wonder it won the Web Marketing
Association’s award for
Outstanding Achievement in Mobile.
Loews Hotels’ award-winning mobile site
Want to learn more about creating a great mobile site? Use your smartphone as a phone (gasp!) and call us at 212-947-1001.

LinkedIn Lovin’ – Here Are Five Reasons Why

It’s true that I’ve publicly predicted their demise, yet, like the grade-school girl who hits the boy she loves, deep down I really have a crush on LinkedIn. Obviously, I’m not alone. This professional network is signing on new users at the rate of two per second and has a lot of advantages that make it useful to anyone in business or looking to bust in.

Here are my five reasons for loving LinkedIn:

1. Picture perfect
Admit it. Before you meet with someone, or even before you call them, you look at their photo on LinkedIn. It’s just human nature to want to see the person you’re about to contact; LinkedIn provides that vital connection. It’s no longer necessary to think of the audience in their underwear to eliminate the fear before a meeting. Now I can get a sneak peek, and know before I go.

2. Group Therapy
Speaking of presentations, following Brandemix workshops on popular topics like DIY employer branding or social media marketing, I receive dozens of business cards and LinkedIn requests. But how do I remember that I met Jim from Dallas in Orlando and Jane from Orlando in Dallas? LinkedIn lets me organize my contacts with tags: keywords that I create myself. I can group by speaking engagement, event, date, location, or up to 200 differentiators. It’s a simple online solution to a real-world problem that LinkedIn recognized and addressed.

3. A happenin’ app
Hardly anyone talks about it, but I think LinkedIn’s mobile version is more versatile and beautiful than the site itself. Its intuitive images of file folders, envelopes, and ID tags are a welcome change from the web version’s stark blue and white. The big, bold icons make it easy to read content, comment on posts, and search the directory. The interface gives LinkedIn a more friendly, social feel, like Facebook or Twitter. And speaking of which…

4. Wonderful for wordsmiths
I can’t always express myself in the 140 characters of a tweet. LinkedIn gives me 700 characters or a post, four times as many as Twitter. I also get 1,000 characters under Interests and 2,000 for my Summary. Great for, shall we say, enthusiastic writers like me!

5. There is such a thing as a free lunch.
While LinkedIn offers excellent premium accounts and comprehensive recruiter packages, I have almost 800 connections and still use the free version. Even without InMail or the advanced search options, I’m able to form groups (and you’re welcome to join mine), join groups (I hit my limit at 50), and still get access to all kinds of useful content for free.

Miscellaneous: I always get enlightening feedback to my questions on LinkedIn Answers. I use my allotment of free introductions to expand my network. And I follow my competitors and my “wannabes” to stay up to date in the fields of marketing, branding, and interactive technology.


LinkedIn is my one-stop shop. And with its two new features – targeted updates and follower statistics – I’m finally able to segment my messaging and see exactly who I’m reaching. Last year, I worried that LinkedIn wasn’t innovating, but features like these (and don’t forget that great app) show me that LinkedIn is committed to being the most useful network for business professionals.

I’ll be moderating an NYC panel with a LinkedIn representative on June 27. Anything you’d like me to ask? Drop me a line or find Brandemix on Facebook or TwitterAnd do Link In.

Insights from the BDI Social Consumer Conference

I recently attended the Social Consumer 2012 conference, presented by the Business Development Institute. Representatives from major brands discussed how they used social media to connect with customers. There were five fascinating presentations (and one entertaining interview, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal’s Simon Constable) followed by roundtable discussions hosted by experts in numerous fields. A very educational experience.

If you couldn’t attend, here are some highlights.

JetBlue on Twitter Drinking From the Fire Hose
Jenny Dervin, VP of Corporate Communications, called customer service on Twitter drinking from the fire hose.She gave a recent example of how JetBlue uses Twitter to handle complaints. A passenger had a carry-on bag that held a folding bicycle. The ticket agent ignored the fact that the bag was the proper size and weight for carry-on, and charged the passenger JetBlue’s standard bike fee — meant for bikes that take up valuable space in the cargo hold. Unsurprisingly, the passenger complained about the fee on social media and got his Oregon-based bike club to join in. Dervin’s team saw the problem on Twitter and issued a refund within 24 hours. Now the entire bike club are JetBlue fans.

The Lesson: Dervin put it best: A service failure is an opportunity to build loyalty — if it’s done well.When a customer has a problem, “you get credit for publicly saying We agree with you and we will look into this.’”

Fun fact: JetBlue has 15-20 people monitoring Twitter and other social media channels using CoTweet; six are on duty at any given time.

MultiVu Brands As Storytellers
Tom Miale, Director of Multimedia Engagement at MultiVu, said that the #1 issue at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive was that brands must become storytellers to be compelling to customers. As an example, Miale presented the Facebook Page for Captain Morgan. The company uses the Timeline feature to post events all the way back to 1635, the real Morgan’s birthdate. In the 1800s section of the Timeline, you’ll find photos of Morgan’s crew, accompanied by jokes and stories in the captain’s sly tone. This is a fun and innovative way to take full advantage of the Timeline feature by creating stories that involve customers and keep them on your Facebook Page.

The Lesson: Not every brand has the adventurous history of a pirate. But you can still say a lot about your company and your product, from your humble beginnings to the challenges you’ve overcome. Your employees undoubtedly have interesting stories; ask to share them to help create a personal, emotional connection to customers. 

Fun Fact: Miale told us that, in 1965, three 60-second commercial spots could reach 80% of American adults. Today, youd need 117 commercials to accomplish that feat.

Tasti D-Lite Swirls Around Foursqaure
BJ Emerson, Vice President of Technology for Tasti D-Lite, may have been the hit of the conference — and not just because he was giving out coupons. He showed how the frozen-treat company allows customers to connect their store TreatCards to Fourquare. When the clerk swipes the card, the customer is automatically checked in on Foursquare (which gets posted on Twitter and Facebook if the customer chooses). Emerson cautioned brands to “go beyond the mechanics and look at the dynamics. He cited an example of a Tasti cashier who knew to push the “Foursquare discount” button on the register, but didn’t know what the customer meant when she said “I’m actually the Mayor.” Our social media tools seem straightforward, but you have to make sure you train your staff how to use them in face-to-face situations with customers.

The Lesson: Emerson had the most retweeted line of the conference: Referring to the fact that brands now know where their customers are in real time, thanks to Foursquare and Twitter: “We used to call it stalking; now we call it location-based marketing.” Luckily, most brands are using that knowledge for good, by giving instant discounts and prizes.

Fun Fact: Emerson recommended creating a Google Alert for online mentions of your brand. Make that alert an RSS feed and send the feed to Outlook. That way, you have an offline archive of all your mentions and can search back through years. It’s more efficient than combing through the archives on Twitter or its various applications.

This was only a small part of the great information given by knowledgeable speakers. Thanks to BDI’s Sponsorship Event Coordinator Jennifer Brous, Director of Events Maria Feola-Magro, and CEO Steve Etzler for another informative conference.

What’s Foursquare Really For?

The best social sites have clearly stated goals. Facebook is for connecting with friends. Twitter is for live updates. LinkedIn is for business networking.

So what is Foursquare? The smartphone app allows you to “check in” to a location, with the option of adding a comment and/or sharing the update on Facebook and Twitter. You can leave a “tip” at your location, so other users will see “Be sure to try the nachos!” when they check in at the same restaurant. 

You get points and badges for various “achievements,” whether it’s visiting five different Italian restaurants or traveling to different states. You can compete with your friends for the most achievements. Whoever checks in the most at a location, whether it’s a park or a store or the Rose Bowl, becomes the “Mayor,” with their photo on the location’s main page.

But what’s it all for? The points have no value. You don’t need a third party to announce your location on Facebook and Twitter. The tips aren’t moderated, leading to weird or unhelpful comments, and old tips can become outdated. When you check in at a museum or gallery, for example, you’ll see many posts about exhibits that are long gone. 

One of the best uses for the service was for businesses to offer discounts to anyone who checked, or to the Mayor. Dozens of Houlihan’s franchises give a free order of fries for every check-in, while the current Mayor receives 10% off all food items. This strategy could lead to consumers actually competing over who visits an establishment the most — a dream of any store owner. But few companies have followed Houlihan’s lead.

Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley recently spoke to VentureBeat about the service’s “identity crisis.” He said Foursquare is “most interested in taking the data from check-ins to model what’s happening in the real world, and help people find new things.” He pointed to Radar, an app now available on phones running iOS5, which alerts you when your friends are nearby or when you’re near a venue you’ve told Foursquare you want to visit.

I’ll be the first to say that Facebook and Twitter can’t match that. But just a few weeks later, Foursquare also announced that it was adding menus to 250,000 restaurant listings. Even Yelp and Urbanspoon don’t offer that feature. But how is it social? How do recommendations and menus align with points, badges, and tips? How will any of these lead to more businesses offering discounts to attract new customers?

It seems that Foursquare has a lot of good ideas but isn’t sure which direction take. If Zagat, now owned by Google, adds menus to its app, it could quickly overtake Foursquare’s new feature. Facebook’s “Add a location to this post” option now threatens Foursquare on another flank. And I travel all over New York City and hardly ever see a Foursquare sticker on a store window or the logo on the menu.

I hope Crowley can find a clear path for Foursquare. After all, it’s a great concept. But its time is running out.

Five Reasons Why Starbucks’ Cup Magic Is Truly Magical

You may have read about “Cup Magic,” Starbucks’ augmented reality holiday promotion, but if not, here’s the scoop.

Caffeine lovers are encouraged to download a free app, buy a cup of coffee, and point their smartphone at the character on the cup. Through the magic of augmented reality, the characters come to life, acting out holiday scenes such as sledding and ice skating.


Here’s why BRANDEMiX believes augmented reality will be a major advertising trend for 2012:

  • •It’s social. The Starbucks app easily allows you to share the animations through either Facebook or email. So even people who don’t know about the promotion, or even consciously ignore Starbucks advertising, may find a fun little holiday video in their Facebook feed. Starbucks is letting customers do its marketing.
  • It’s great for business. Since each Starbucks cup features only one character, customers must buy at least five cups of coffee to see them all. Then again, even non-drinkers can get into the fun, as 47 Starbucks products are involved in the promotion.
  • •It’s great for everyone. Let’s face it, Starbucks doesn’t offer many items for little ones; many locations sell biscottis instead of cookies. With this new promotion, anyone of any age can enjoy the experience. In fact, since the videos have no dialogue, you don’t even have to speak English.
  • •It creates urgency. Assuming the promotion runs through New Year’s Day, that means customers have 47 days to experience it. A short timeline encourages consumers to visit their Starbucks as soon as possible (though some of us wouldn’t last 47 hours without our Frappucino). Compare this to summer promotions, where consumers sometimes have more than 125 days to participate. More time means less urgency.
  • •It’s fun. There are no coupons, discounts, or special offers associated with the campaign. It doesn’t even cost anything to participate, since the app is free and you can activate videos on products that are just sitting on the shelves. Keeping money out of the equation reinforces the idea that the promotion is for fun and for sharing with friends, a perfect theme for the holidays.

Photo by Liam Gladdy

Starbucks is proving to be a leader in the mobile space. The company’s payment app, which launched in January, has already been used in more than 20 million transactions.  Its QR codes give customers an “evolved shopping experience,” letting them hear music from the region where Starbucks coffee is grown or read reviews from coffee experts.  Cup Magic looks like it will continue Starbucks’ exploration of mobile technology. What’s next?

For the latest on social media, online recruiting, mobile marketing, and other branding trends, please like BRANDEMiX on Facebookfollow us on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn group, Your Digital Brand.

Google+ or Minus?

Do you have a Google+ account? 40 million people do, according to Google CEO Larry Page. But are you using it? That’s a very different question. Metrics, trends, and public opinion are all showing that Google’s new social network simply hasn’t caught on.

Let’s look at the numbers. Data analytics company Chitika has shown that, after a huge increase in traffic when Google+ went public on September 20, traffic has since dropped back down to the same level as when the service was available only by invitation. This means that a lot of people activated their account, which was particularly easy for Gmail users, but haven’t gone back to the site since.


Perhaps most telling is that Google’s own management team barely uses the service. Mashable’s Ben Parr wrote a brilliant piece breaking down the involvement of Google’s senior leadership. In the first three months of Google+’s existence, CEO Page had only posted seven times; co-founder Sergey Brin had posted 12. Eleven executives, including executive chairman Eric Schmidt, hadn’t posted anything at all. By contrast, Mark Zuckerberg is very active on Facebook and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has tweeted thousand of times. Schmidt finally broke his Google+ silence with a post about Steve Jobs’ death, 107 days after the service launched.

An informal Twitter poll from ReadWriteWeb asked followers why they weren’t using Google+. Some people responded that their friends weren’t on it, which seems to be a cyclical argument. Others echoed Romit Mehta, who responded, “Twitter is good for ‘fast, real time’ and Facebook is where my friends and family are. G+ solves no problem.”

Image courtesy of Kenny Strawn

A Google search of “I love Google Plus” returns 207,000 results. “I like Google Plus” gets 1.18 million results. “I don’t like Google Plus” returns 300,000 results, while “I hate Google Plus” returns 20,700 results. My conclusion? While more than a million people like the service, more people don’t like it than love it. And 10,000 people hate it. (These ratios were about the same when I searched for “Google+” instead of “Google Plus.”)

How about one of my favorite topics – mobile? Google+ does indeed come as an iPhone app. The latest version, released October 4, has only 39 votes (not much interest) and a rating of three stars out of five (not much love). One reviewer wrote, “Is it really THAT hard for a HUGE company like Google to make an iPad native version?” Google seems to be missing opportunities at every turn.

Here’s my personal experience with Google+. I have ten “friends” in different circles. Since I joined on July 9 (three weeks after launch, thank you), my stream has a total of six posts by four people. One of those posts is a notification that a friend changed her profile photo. These are people who regularly update their Facebook, Twitter, or both. They’re just not using Google+.

At BRANDEMiX, we recommend that our clients spend an hour a day on social media, which includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Is Google+ currently worth that commitment? I have to say no. Will it ever be? That’s the 64-billion-dollar question.