So what’s wrong with this blog?

EB37.jpg IF! : What's Wrong With Ad Blogs Piers Fawkes talks about the problem with most ad blogs these days and that you have two types of issues: • Individuals with forward thinking ideas - educational but not informative • Industry blogs that look at their specialty (advertising, PR, etc) - informative but of little educational value. I agree with Piers however I also feel that...well, sometimes people are after that big unique inspirational idea and like some of these real bad reality tv shows, they're still going to watch em for the entertainment. But he makes it clear that we cannot validate these tactics as what makes the best advertising is shock tactics and urban spam. The subject matter of what I blog on is meant to be inspirational, informative and educational and if anyone gets at least one of these from some of the content, that's great. What I try to do is bring some relevance to the ideas and insights that are featured so that it may spawn off some more ideas for the professionals in the talent acquisition industry. Speaking of viral tactics, what are some of your favorites? Why do you feel it is great?

Step inside these shoes

converse.jpg The Converse Gallery The YouTube phenomena has marketers all scrambling around with some great ideas. The concept of involving your audience into your message is becoming common place these days. The more you involve your audience as active participants into your message, the more memorable, engaging and viral it becomes. The act of self expression has caught fire with community sites such as YouTube where people get to display their talents, ideas, and expression about...welll...whatever it is on their mind. In the case for Converse, Butler, Shine, Stern + Partners created a gem of a promo where as customers who bought Converse get to upload movies about what they think about their shoes. If their 25 sec. spot get selected to appear on MTV, they can get 10k. Meanwhile, brand awareness and loyalty is through the roof as Converse gets their own consumers to do their own commercials. Imagine viewing a company's employee base expressing ideas about their accomplishments, talents, day to day work bloopers, etc. for all to watch. Yes I know...I hear all those corporate attorneys gasping. What the heck. If you're going to post employee videos on your site, put something on there that people will actually want to watch.

The viral code

davinci.jpg Sony has done an extremely good job in their interactive promotional work for The Da Vinci Code. Here they have demonstrated what power there is in viral integration into the context of the story by involving the audience as participants in the movie before it has even launched. With polished production and sweet use of interactivity, the audience is hooked not only into the movie's trailor, but part of it's contextual concept; solving puzzles. Better yet, they partnered with Google Mail to embed a puzzle or code that the audience needs to solve each day. The answers lie in the trailor which you need to review periodically.

Better than tofu

Ads, commercials, billboards, radio spots, events, direct mail, web sites, banners, transit posters, and even bumper stickers all have two things in common. One, they are various forms of media. Two, they have to be deliberately created, and therefore lack spontaneity and the believability that accompanies that trait. In effect, these media and their corresponding content represent manufactured messaging. Person to person communication can certainly be as planned and contrived as any of the outlets listed above, but has the potential to be natural, and therefore in some respects, more insightful. At its best, this form of communication is organic, occurring out of compelling need (either need to tell or need to hear). So, who cares? Anyone trying to convey an employer brand should. Why? Because the majority of active and latent candidates in the employment market form their opinions about an employer based on personal interaction with brand representatives and the brand experience. Again, so? It means that your manufactured messaging (for those with short memories, see paragraph one) is going to have limited impact. Can anyone stop me from this assault of serial questioning? Probably not. The following diagram shows how organic messaging reaches candidates. Sometimes the content and/or experience will be direct, but often it is filtered through social and professional networks. In all cases, however, it offers a higher degree of perceived transparency than manufactured messaging, and therefore, a higher potential to be trusted. 13-graph.gif Embracing organic messaging as a fundamental part of your employer brand building strategy will enable you to achieve your goals in a more effective manner. It also puts the concept of re-recruiting at the forefront, which in turn, gives me yet another mildly intriguing topic to write about in the future. r

A call for a new kind of information age

We like to draw lots of parallels between consumer advertising and employment advertising. Mostly, because we have broader awareness of product messages than we do of recruitment messages, but also, I suspect, because it somehow creates an equivalence in our minds regarding how important employment advertising is, or should be. This is all very comforting, but lately I’ve been thinking it’s actually quite counterproductive. The decision to join a particular company can be driven by many reasons, but the changes that take place are significant. We leave one set of relationships for another, we move from a level of comfort to an entirely new frontier, and we alter our lives outside of work, sometimes to the point of relocation. All of this has to make you wonder if persuasion through advertising is sufficient to influence career decisions. Actually, we already know the answer to that – it’s not. So what is? Information. We know that more than anything, candidates are looking for transparency into an organization – transparency that leads to the attainment of a level of trust. And trust is best attained through an abundance of information. That doesn’t mean you can’t advertise your information in traditional media venues, it just means that your message needs to be less about persuasion and more about education. In an age when news is entertainment and entertainment is news, this may seem like a difficult thing to achieve. But it’s the only approach that will cut through an abundance of undifferentiated, me-too, positioning to reach an understandably cynical audience.

Blogging can cure rhetoric

Hill | Holliday hill.jpg Hill Holiday demonstrates their intellect by allowing the audience to dive directly into their brain trust right from the home page. Instead of the typical marketing buzzwords and slick flash intros, they place their blogging forum right up front. I think this is fresh and appealing to be able to get right into their heads and past the rhetoric. And especially the ability to contribute dialog with their subject matter, and link to their employees who are behind the thoughts. A great way to communicate who they are in conversation mode instead of the company marketing line. Not to forget mentioning that Hill Holiday is a great shop too. Well done.

Click through the roids

BILLY HARVEY MUSIC billy.jpg One of the brilliant works of Jordan Stone, here he has developed a wonderful site for a singer songwriter from Austin Texas, Billy Harvey. What is so unique about this website is not only the navigation through polaroid pictures,, but the techniques used to create spatial dimensions. As an example, when you click on a radio in one polaroid, and you navigate to another polaroid to the left, the sound stays to your left. I'm not sure what I like best, the navigation, the video treatment or the dead pan delivery of his narration. Imagine designing a section on the career site where people could click through employee cubicles, and desktops revealing the unique cultures of companies. Or....maybe not. Some of our employees especially me would probably get arrested. :^0