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    Entries in marketing (10)

    Wednesday
    Sep242014

    OFF TOPIC: Color of the Year 2015

    I am completely, and probably irrationally fascinated with Pantone's 'Color of the Year' designation and process.

    In case you are unfamiliar (shock!), with Pantone and the Color of the Year designation here is all you need to know. Pantone is the world's leading authority on color, color systems, and publishes the industry standard definitions of colors. In other words that nice new green shirt you just bought is not just 'green' it is 'Pantone Antique Green 18-5418 TCX'. Pantone provides guidelines and definitions for thousands of variations of colors, and it is the standard by which colors are classified.

    Each year the color experts at Pantone declare one specific shade the 'Color of the Year'. This specific color (in 2014 it is 'Radiant Orchid' in case you did not know), is meant to be a kind of reflection of trends in art, design, fashion, popular events, and branding and often will subsequently become more common in actual products like clothing and jewelry as a result of the Color of the Year designation. So perhaps if you think back on 2014 and think you have seen a lot of Radiant Orchid - an 'expressive, creative, and embracing purple', you have Pantone to thank or blame.

    But since 2014 is winding down, and 2015 fast approaching I think it is time to start to consider what 2015's Color of the Year might or should be.

    The short list of contenders, or at least what appears to be the group from which 2015's Color of the Year will emerge can be found here, and I will list a few of them below along with my personal comments and odds:

    Wood Violet - probably too close to the 2014's Radiant Orchid to rate much of a shot - 20/1

    Champagne Beige - kind of a cool name that does not mask the fact that the color is well, beige - 15/1

    Steel Grey - I like this one. Probably because I am prepping myself for the upcoming cold, grey winter - 8/1

    Red Dahlia - reminds me of South Carolina Gamecocks' Garnet. Which means it is awesome. This is your winner for 2015 - 3/1 odds.

    What do you think, what color should be the one to set the tone, (bad pun) for 2015?

    Wednesday
    Jul232014

    WEBINAR: How Smart HR Pros are Becoming Better Marketers

    The next Fistful of Talent (where I am a contributor in case you did not know that), FREE webinar is set and it is a good one - details are below faithful reader.

    Kris Dunn and Tim Sackett will present "How Smart HR Pros are Becoming Better Marketers – By Using Company Reputation Sites Like Glassdoor.” on Wednesday, July 30th at 2pm ET, and they plan to hit you with the following topics:

     - How the the yelp-ification of America—the trend towards consumer-based reviews in almost every area of our economy—is changing the way employees and candidates think about job search and employer brands. It’s second nature for your employees to rate a restaurant, a book or a movie online. That means that employees of all types (not just the ones who want to complain) are more willing than ever to participate in your brand through user review.

    Why the explosion of social media and deep coverage of every aspect of our lives through video and photos is changing the willingness of smart companies to increase their transparency.  Every employee and candidate who interacts with your company is a potential reporter, and they expect you to share the good, bad and ugly about working with your firm openly and honestly. Old versions of employment brands won’t cut it—you”re going to have to give up some control to maximize your brand.

    - They will cover the 5 Biggest Myths about company reputation sites like Glassdoor and tell you which ones are completely BS and which ones you actually perpetrate by not fully engaging on sites like Glassdoor.  They will hit the usual suspects here: “The only comments are from the bad employees”  and “The salary data out there isn’t factual,” and tell you why things have changed. More importantly, they will hit how you actually may make the myths a reality by not fully engaging on reputation sites.  Think about that last sentence: You’ve got to be in the game to influence the game.

    Last but not least, they will give you a 4-step playbook on how to engage on reputation sites and become more of a Marketer as an HR/Recruiting Pro.  It’s true—you wouldn’t have read this far if you didn’t want to learn more about how to use reputation sites like Glassdoor to maximize your company and your career. We’ll help you get started.

    The outside world now has a huge say in how your company/employment brand is perceived, whether you engage or not. We think you should engage.  Join us for How Smart HR Pros are Becoming Better Marketers – By Using Company Reputation Sites Like Glassdoor” at 2pm ET on Wednesday July 30th and we’ll show you how.

    REGISTER BY CLICKING THIS LINK OR FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW!

     

    Wednesday
    Jul172013

    Vacation Week - Read this instead #3

    Note: The blog is on vacation this week, so you should read this instead...

    Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky': How To Build the Song of the Summer

    From the piece:

    “The song’s success was really about the audience’s response to our marketing, more than the marketing itself,” Hahn says. If there’s one vital lesson he’s learned from the campaign, it’s the importance of leaving empty spaces. “The mystery lets the audience’s imagination fill in the gaps,” he says. “What it tells us is, there’s a great unexpressed desire in audiences worldwide to be active and to participate and not be spoken to as just a passive entity. You have to engage an audience in a way that inspires their imaginations. You have to invite them to participate.” We don’t want to be treated like consumers, he says. We want to be treated like dance partners.

    Read the rest here...

    Tuesday
    Feb052013

    Your customers as characters

    Most organizations exist to sell something - a physical product, or some type of service, or a combination of the two. They spend tremendous amounts of time, energy, and resources creating these product/service offerings, perfecting them as far as it is possible, offering them for sale, identifying the target consumers for these offerings, and finally investing varying amounts of additional time, energy, and resources attempting to convince these consumers to make a purchase.

    Sometimes it goes really easily for the provider - the product is new, even revolutionary, or it solves a problem in such a new, elegant, and powerful way that the product seems to sell itself. Think the original iPod, or later, the iPad. Or the product has an embedded, loyal, and rabid fan base just waiting to get the latest or newest version of the product. Think a new installment in a successful movie or video game franchise like Star Wars or even Angry Birds.

    But for most products or services on offer, the customer needs some convincing - they have time, flexibility, other competitors' options to consider - the 'sale' is certainly not assured, and the difference between winning and losing often comes down to which not (only) has the better product, but which one actually understands the customer's problem more deeply, and can speak more precisely and convincingly about how their solution can solve that specific problem.

    I know that sounds really, really obvious and basic, but I think that all too often providers can lost sight of that simple truism - focused too much, and sometimes single-mindedly on the product or service itself, and not how that product or service would actually exist in the customer's environment. Adding one more feature to the product, tweaking some minor element of the service package, or poring endlessly on ad copy, website design, or the 'tone' of the company Twitter account. When the customer has lots of options and choices, these incremental additions or improvements probably do less to sway decision makers than the providers like to think. Once the 'essential' or expected capabilities or services are present, and in a mature market they usually are, the provider that can connect, almost on an emotional level with the customer has the best chance of winning.

    How can providers get better at making that kind of connection, and focus more on solving a problem rather than delivering a product?

    This piece, about home furnishing provider IKEA's strategic approach offers at least one suggestion:

    Göran Carstedt, president of IKEA North America, summoned his top executives to a large meeting room to share his strategic plan. They arrived prepared for a flashy PowerPoint presentation complete with charts and graphs. Instead, Carstedt told them a story about a mother. He depicted a detailed scene of her and her husband getting two kids off to school in the morning. She gets up, makes coffee, wakes up the children, makes breakfast, and so on. Then he paused and moved to the heart of the matter: “Our strategic plan is to make that family’s life easier by providing them with convenient and affordable household items in an accessible location. Period.

     

    Carstedt, in short, wanted IKEA to enter the scene, to populate it with IKEA-supplied usefulness that customers would appreciate having in their homes as they conducted their daily lives. He wanted his executives, in effect, to write IKEA into their customers’ story in a way that improved the story for the characters that populated it. Brilliant! As Carmen Nobel, senior editor at Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, notes, “IKEA has made very clear choices about who they will be and to whom they will matter, and why."
    That, in a nutshell, sums up why people might be inclined to go with an IKEA table or dresser or bed, from among the literally hundreds of available options. Thinking more deeply about how their products interact and exist in the flow of their customer's lives allows IKEA to rise above a simple provider of easily substitutable products. Somehow, just by thinking of themselves as a fundamental an important element in a customer's home, they are freed to think more fully, and holistically about the products and how they will play a role in the customer's story.

     

    A good lesson to take to heart I think, for providers of all kinds of products and services.

     

    Happy Tuesday!
    Monday
    Oct152012

    Software is Eating Human Resources

    It is pretty apt timing that this piece, 'Software Is Eating Marketing', was posted on the Inc. blog just one day after the conclusion of the HR Technology Conference, the three-day annual gathering of HR Technology solution providers, HR leaders and practitioners, and the collection of press, analysts, investors interested in the space. You'll like it

    As myself and others have more frequently posited, (here on this blog most recently just about a week ago), the function, practice, and skills needed in Human Resources in the future will look, feel, and act more like traditional marketing ones, and less like traditional HR.

    And, as the recently concluded HR Technology Conference continues to reinforce, the future of HR will be powerfully influenced and in some ways driven by technology - not just the traditional kinds of HR Technology that are necessary and routine, but by a continually evolving and advancing set of new technological innovations that promise to ensure that the most savvy HR professionals of tomorrow will have as a key competency a familiarity, comfort, and deep understanding of technology.

    The Inc. piece, about the influence of technology and software on marketing, could have just as easily be written about technology and Human Resources. Take a look at a few paragraphs from the 'Software is Eating Marketing' piece, with 'Human Resources' substituted for 'Marketing' as in the original piece, and tell me it doesn't read just as tellingly:

    Within the $1 trillion Human Resources industry, the impact of software eating Human Resources has now reached the board room.  With the explosion of digital Human Resources, it is clear that technology is radically transforming the Human Resources function and the role of the Human Resources professional. 

    The repercussions of social, mobile, video, Big Data, CRM, cloud and other disruptive forces are impacting all aspects of business, but particularly Human Resources. As a result, Human Resources leaders and agencies now carry the burden of understanding technology’s impact on their business, the entire customer experience, and leading innovation within their enterprises, not simply following a course set by their IT department. 

    In much the way Apple disrupted the music and phone industries with smart industrial design and clever software that shielded users from complexity, technologists are building sophisticated systems with interfaces that are as simple for Human Resources and designers to manipulate as their iPhones. 

    If you think the last few years were disruptive, imagine how much the Human Resources industry will be transformed in the next three years!

    Even with the sort of excessive repetition, those sentiments from the original piece about the growing role and increasing importance of technology on marketing make just as much sense and reflect one of the most significant industry trends for Human Resources as well.

    It's a simple logical progression really. If HR = The New Marketing, and Marketing is being consumed by technology, then one could plausibly argue technology is eating Human Resources.

    And just as the smart marketing professional knows that he or she needs to embrace these changes, so to does the smart HR and Talent pro.

    But you already know that right, I mean you're reading this, which I'd gather indicates you are one of the small, (but growing), ranks of HR pros that get the fundamental changes and incredible opportunities that a real understanding and appreciation of technology and software present to both your organization, and to your professional development.

    It is a great time to be in the HR Tech space, I think.