This past week we hosted a Great Starts Breakfast, SBCo's learning forum in LA on the topic of "Why Brand Matters." Our guests were heads of HR, Talent Management leaders and those managing the Talent Acquisition function. It was a lively discussion about branding, which is one of the most misunderstood concepts in business. What does it mean to create a compelling brand message that lines up with your culture? Our experience is that messages and experiences on the inside don't always connect to those on the outside for your customers. We are far better at capturing the hearts and minds of our customers and still struggle with that experience for candidates.
What we are seeing now is the intersection of HR and Marketing. Here are some definitions from our guest speaker, Krysta Masciale (owner and founder of Big Deal Branding in Los Angeles):
- Marketing is anyone in the organization who is responsible for creating, maintaining and communicating the brand's message internally and externally.
- HR is anyone in the organization responsible for attracting, selecting and retaining top talent to carry out the brand promise.
We have not seen enough collaboration in these two domains. That is changing. There is a need to holistically look at strategy for finding those scarce high performing talents. Many companies have resorted to hiring a search firm to tackle this work (something that SBCo enjoys doing and has excelled in) AND there must be an expanded focus in this work that ensures greater probability of long term success and candidate fit.
In our session, we explored the realities and misconceptions of “Brand”. Krysta Masciale reminds us that brand isn’t solely a fancy logo or high tech website. Brand is the “Why” of your business. Why do you exist? Why should customers choose you over a competitor? Why should talent come work for you?
To get to the “Why” piece, you must first define these five things:
1. Values- Identify 4-5. Define meaning for your organization. Claim these values in your daily work.
2. Strengths- Find the sweet spot of what you are good at and acknowledge what your organization is not good at.
3. Goals- Establish a yearly theme. Set quarterly goals. Assess goals and theme regularly.
4. Messages- Clarity and commitment is key here - take the step to clarify two words that describe your organization and commit to those words/message.
5. Ideal Clients- Identify this group so that you can speak to the wants and needs of this group.
When these five steps are done right, profits rise and employees see the "why" to stay, production increases and candidates learn more about new opportunities. These steps can easily be utilized by a Marketer creating the company story or the Recruiter and his or her Marketing/Communications partner to develop the talent story.
In 2016 our firm is committed to expanding this work with our clients in order to create a talent brand and message that ensures ideal candidates see "their wants" in the hiring company. If they don't see themselves in this picture, then it is probably not for them. Candidates also want to experience interviews and realistic job previews that reflect the organization and leader values. Here at SBCo we already focus on that when crafting a "marketing specification" that is entirely beyond the traditional job description. Clients value the time and effort we place on getting the story right and asking questions that uncover the "DNA" and culture of a firm as well as the opportunity to contribute in cool ways. (p.s. we love using micro sites, podcasts and other non-traditional ways to relay the story).
Get started on the "why." It will make a big difference. If you need help along the way and are committed to raising the stakes in competing for talent; call us here at S. Benjamins & Company and we will bring our brand strategist and amazing search team into a new conversation. Let me know your thoughts at Sherry@sbcompany.net and Krysta Masciale at www.bigdealbranding.com