One of the consistent themes that we often find ourselves discussing with our clients is the way in which consumer expectation has changed and the impact that this has had on the expectations of the people we need to hire or retain. In short we all expect more. More information, more detail and more personal service – and that’s true whether we’re buying a car, a hotel room, a book or even a job. So, if we know that the people we need to make our businesses work harder want us to treat them in the same way that we would if they were buying something from us, we need to look to the way that we talk to them too. And perhaps take some guidance from the trends and developments in the broader marketing environment.
The team at Tonic – as you might expect – is excited by the change in candidate expectations and the opportunities this brings in terms of building deeper and longer lasting relationships with them, as well as with existing employees. We each read, listen to and watch as many sources of new intelligence as we can, looking for competitive advantage for our clients. That’s what helped us to come up with the award winning #MarsTweetShop and it inspires the innovations we’re building right now for a wide range of employers.
One of the podcasts that I find most insightful is Michael Stelzner’s ‘Social Media Marketing’. It gives great insight into the way marketeers the world over are building communities with their customers. And of course, for every weird and wonderful concept I hear, the question I ask myself is ‘how could employers use this idea to build better talent communities around their business?’
Listening to SMM a few weeks ago, the discussion turned to the idea of marketing by providing help. This concept (and I’m paraphrasing here), relates to building engagement and awareness with customers by simply aiming to help. Sounds counter-intuitive right? No message about product and service (or job vacancies). Just help.
The case study they gave focused on @HiltonSuggests. This Twitter account set up by Hilton Hotels in the US simply aims to suggest things that might help the people in their cities, customers or not. It doesn’t sell hotel rooms, doesn’t talk about their business. Just helps. A bit like a virtual concierge for everyone. Hilton recently helped a new resident in Chicago: the newbie had moved to the city, didn’t know his way around and had a sick pet dog. He tweeted – not asking for help, just stating a fact. @HiltonSuggests noticed and recommended a vet nearby, the guy took his dog to the vet, the dog got better and the guy tweeted his thanks for the recommendation. Which hotel chain do you think he’ll choose the next time he needs a room? And more importantly, how do you think his Twitter followers now feel about Hilton? Social proof – and if you need to know what that is take a look at our earlier blog – derived from (what I’m going to call), HelpMarketing. Total genius.
So what could that mean for employers and what can we take out of it? I think quite a lot. But who are the people that HR could look to help?
- Chief Execs focused on building business reputation
- Undergraduates that need advice on the right courses to choose
- Engineers that need guidance on the project they’re working on
- Sales Assistants wanting to be more productive
- Other HR people needing to find a way to change company culture
And the list could go on, and on, and on.
If you think about it, we all have the opportunity to build a community around our businesses. That’s true whether we’re big or small, public or privately owned. These are the people who could be our next best employee, but to begin with they’re just human beings in need of a bit of support from time to time. How we offer that support might mean helping them out to start with but could easily turn into a conversation about helping them to grow their career. And after all, you get what you give.
Tom Chesterton [Aug 2013]
PS. If we can help you – and we haven’t already offered – let us know. Email us at email@example.com