Written by Tony Fitzpatrick, Brand Consultant at Tonic.
This year saw the 25th anniversary of the RADs and against my better judgement I decided to go along. Well, when I say ‘I decided’ a more accurate description of what happened would be to say that I was the victim of a pseudo-Shanghaiing by my colleague Tam – one moment I was happily sat at my desk soaking up the sunshine of a glorious EB project, the next I was waking up to the fact I would be spending the evening in the belly of the good ship Grosvenor House.
Still, it was the 25th anniversary, after all, and we had been promised a retrospective of past endeavours. Personally, I was looking forward to seeing such greats as ‘Leaving? Do.’ And ‘Bigger vision’ (guilty as charged on that one, sorry). Thankfully, and for reasons unknown, we were spared this gallery of rogues.
So, on to the awards; and it’s at this point that I would like to say thank you to Sir Tim Berners Lee, founding father of the Internet. You see, IMHO, the Internet shook our industry back into life and we woke up kicking and screaming like Mia in Pulp Fiction after Vincent had slammed a shot of adrenaline into her heart. We were given a big dose of reality and our eyes opened to the fact that we had, for years, been media-led, when all along we should actually have been product-led. It was the signal for a paradigm shift in creative, a seed that sprouted slowly at first, as a channel, but heralded growth into such new areas as employer branding, content marketing, human-to-human and social conversations.
And this year, it was a pleasure to see the fine results of clients and agencies coming together to show just what can be achieved with this new-found freedom of expression. The breadth and quality of product was apparent in all categories and was virtually oozing out of the Work of the Year.
It was a special feeling for us all – and a fantastic way to round off our first year in business.
One year on and we’ve doubled in size. We’ve moved offices twice. And we’ve begun working with a whole host of new and exciting clients.
You can imagine, then, that we were thrilled to find out we’d been shortlisted for three awards this year. Two for our work with Tesco: Best Graduate Recruitment Campaign; and Best use of Mobile for our first-of-a-kind Snap It! on-campus innovation. And finally, Best Recruitment Literature for a new client of ours, Berwin Leighton Paisner.
Being the 25th anniversary for the RADs guaranteed it would be a special night anyway. And we were hoping to make it extra special by picking up another award.
Well, we’re pleased to say we weren’t disappointed. And nor was our client.
Our work with Berwin Leighton Paisner to turn their graduate recruitment brochure into more of a story with a really human and conversational feel impressed the judges.
It really was a great end to an even greater year.
Well done to all the shortlists and winners from the evening, and of course to our clients who’ve trusted us and provided us with the opportunity to deliver some exciting and creative work.
See you there next year.
Tonic’s Executive Creative Director, Mark Horley, proudly receiving the Best Recruitment Literature award, along with Alan Demirkaya, the Graduate Recruitment and Trainee Manager at Berwin Leighton Paisner. The award was presented by our good friend Nick Francis, Creative Director of Casual Films
Here it is, the award in all its glory!
Thanks to the RAD Awards for making it a memorable achievement with this sticker placed outside our offices. Nice touch!
This week it’s all about the laws of attraction and how you can supplement your marketing efforts by aggregating, authoring and helping in a bid to manage reputation and build a talent community around your brand by pulling people to you.
Content marketing is nothing new. However, its meteoric rise to become an essential part of any self-respecting employer’s talent acquisition strategy is down to a number of very valid reasons.
Why, you ask? Here are 10 reasons:
Audiences are increasingly wary of ‘sales pitches’
But! Content marketing has become a problem for content marketers.
If you’re already creating or perhaps thinking about creating content, then it’s highly likely that your close competition is too. In fact, most businesses are creating content and this in turn creates a problem because, guess what? There’s too much content; we’re being flooded.
You could argue that content marketers have ruined content marketing.
So what does this mean for students?
Negativity and cynicism. Because they’re being bombarded with messages to buy this and that, join so and so or work with X and Y, they’ll once again begin to raise their barriers.
Shame really because the whole point of creating and curating content is to get people to lower their marketing defence shield and allow you to get and hold their attention to deliver a message. If they’re bombarded with sub-standard content all the time, or content that’s “Me-me-me!” what will they think when they come across your content?
Enter Context Marketing!
So what is it? Simply put, it’s delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time.
Context enables your message to be unique, personalised, efficient, and ultimately more successful. If you’re going to take the time to create good content (which you most definitely should), then you may as well make that content work as hard for you as possible.
Think about your own behaviour for a moment. When you log into Facebook are you in the same state of mind as you are when logging into LinkedIn? Would the same identical content just shared on all the same channels be as effective as something that’s been created to communicate with someone on a 1:1 basis based on where they are, who they are, what they’re doing and how they prefer to consume information?
Of course, the answer should be obvious. However it does mean a little more work as you’ll need to consider that you’ll have to create various versions of content on the same topic. But the results will be worth it.
Here’s 6 tips to remember when it comes to creating content that works:
Be strategic – one-off content doesn’t make a strategy
Be passionate – if you don’t care about it, who will?
Be helpful – create content that will make others lives easier
Put yourself in the graduates shoes – everything starts with their needs, challenges and behaviour
Be authoritative – you understand your industry better than anyone, so make sure that knowledge aligns with those looking to forge a career path in it
Be tough on yourself – you’ll know if your content is lazy
To create content in context you’ll need to be a dab-hand at audience segmentation. And that’s something that we’ll be sharing advice on next week, so follow our blog using the follow button (top right) to receive an email when our content lands.
See you then!
In the meantime, if you want to get in touch to discuss how you can manage reputation and bring the right talent to you, drop us a line on 020 7183 2556 or email email@example.com to set up a coffee.
Last week we told you about the story of Jon and Charlie, two regular guys with different approaches to making conversation. Jon got all the friends because he knew that everyone has a different point of view, a different set of preferences, motivators and behaviours and rather than talking about himself in the same way to everyone at the party (we’ve all met people who do that, right?), he listened to the conversation first and adapted what he wanted to say to match the people he was talking to at that particular moment.
The ability to do this is one of the characteristics that sets humans apart from other species. Empathy and understanding are basic principles of psychology. Jon knows that everyone is different and uses that to his advantage.
So why as employment marketers do so many organisations ignore this? Grouping people together into neat little boxes? Assuming that we all consume information in the same manner, hanging out in the same places, doing the same things – the things that marketers manipulate us to want to do.
Like sheep acting and thinking in the same way. It’s actually quite insulting when you stop and think about it.
Create a message. Identify an audience. Build a media plan. Penetrate that audience. Hope your message sticks. That just doesn’t work as a model any longer because in a world where we are bombarded with information all the time, content that’s not directly relevant becomes background noise.
Back to Jon’s point of view. We’re all motivated differently. We have unique interests and ambitions. As a result we hang out in different communities and consume information in different ways, having different conversations in different ways with different people.
And therein is the future of marketing (and especially employment marketing). People building real relationships with other people as a means of selling a product, service or career. Having conversations (dialogue rather than monologue), about mutually interesting topics, helping each other where possible, adding value all the time.
Where do those conversations happen? Wherever the people you need to speak with are hanging out. That could be at events, across the meeting room, on social media platforms – it’s a fragmented environment.
Where do you start? Well, there are two options here.
The first is to go to where they are. The second is to pull them to you and build your own community.
So where are they?
Here are four easy tips you can use right now to find where the right people for you are hanging out so you can start talking with them:
Twitter chats, Linkedin and Facebook groups and Google+ communities
These might seem obvious, but it’s quite rare to see employers make best use of these simple and effective options. Whatever your interest is – no matter how specific or oddball, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be an existing community that you can join, add value to and build your reputation. Google+ Communities are particularly useful for this, and we’ve talked about these before.
Facebook Graph Search
Graph search really allows you to effectively wade through the exabytes of data that Facebook has collected on people since launch. So for example, you can search for ‘Groups of people who like TOPIC and like PAGE NAME’ or ‘Favourite interests of people who like PAGE NAME’ to get a great understanding of where they spend their time online.
This can be particularly handy when researching the hobbies and interests of those who like your competitor’s pages, for example.
Forums are an incredibly useful place when it comes to listening and contributing. Job boards like Indeed already post jobs on specialist forums – but why pay when you can do this for free? Taking the time to respond to questions and just generally being helpful will have a far greater impact on your reputation than just posting ads.
This is more of a manual technique than a tool, and won’t work for everyone…but chances are you’ll find be able to find positive or negative conversations about you, and join in right away.
Try Google searching the below:
“like” + [your brand name]
“love” + [your brand name]
“I wish” + [your brand name]
“sucks” + [you or a competitors brand name]
“hate” + [you or a competitors brand name]
Some of the results might surprise you…
We hope these little tips help you find out where you should be spending your time online.
Next week we’ll be talking about the laws of attraction and how you can bring the party to you, so don’t forget to follow our blog using the follow button at the top right and you’ll get notified when we publish new content.
In the meantime, if you want to talk to us about how we can help you find and talk with the right talent, then give us a call on 020 7183 2556 or drop an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a coffee.
On a certain level, law firms are pretty much indistinguishable from one another. Work a 100-hour week at one firm or a 96-hour week at another and the bags under your eyes are just as big. Magic Circle firms, in particular, are as hard to tell apart as chunks of gravel.
The problem is that every firm is trying to differentiate itself in the same way: the work; the values; the social life; the prospect of working abroad in a ‘truly global’ firm; the comps and bens; the accumulation of past experiences rather than the potential of future ones. All of these are useful, and vital considerations for candidates, but they’re not the magic formula.
People today are looking for more emotional connections. They’re not simply looking for a job or a programme, a type of client or a list of benefits. They’re looking for somewhere they will love working at.
That’s why when Berwin Leighton Paisner asked us to help them Be Less Predictable, we knew it was exactly the sort of project we love to get involved with.
We redesigned the trainee brochure to make it less of a predictable list of ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’ and more into a classic story of the hero’s journey – the graduate, stepping out into the world and, after successfully taking on challenge after challenge emerging triumphant.
To accompany this, we also created the BLP Sound shower experience on campus – something that really stood out at law fairs and engaged students in a totally unique and innovative way.
If you’d like to stand out from the crowd and build those all important natural conversations with the right talent, why not drop us a line and we’ll explain more about how we can help.
A couple of weeks back, there was a party that Charlie and Jon decided to head to. Neither of them knew anyone that was going, except for the host of course.
As they arrived they got into the swing of things. Charlie, who was loud and gregarious, jumped right in – he started doing the rounds, interrupting people’s conversations to introduce himself, talking about his job, his girlfriend, where he lives and so on.
Jon however was a little less sure of himself. Being the shy type he was not so keen on interrupting people mid-party to talk about himself. He wanted to make a good impression, but he decided that maybe listening and understanding these people – background, personalities, preferences – was perhaps the more intelligent approach.
The night was going great, the two friends were enjoying themselves, the music was good and the drink was flowing. Jon had lots of people around him, engaging in good conversation, laughing at his jokes and buying him drinks. They wanted to spend the evening with him because they felt he understood them. He was connecting so well with other guests.
Charlie however was not having such a great time. He was speaking to lots of people, sure. But nobody was really listening. He found that after 5 minutes people would wander off and he’d be left looking for the next group of guests he could start talking to.
Jon left with a whole load of new friends and even a girl’s number…the lucky rascal.
Charlie on the other hand didn’t – and he couldn’t figure out why.
We see a lot of approaches to social from a broad range of employers who ask us to plan their strategy and begin conversations. The key trend we always seem to spot is that they all want to jump right into the party, much like Charlie. They want to use social media as a megaphone to shout about their message. When what they should be doing is taking a leaf out of Jon’s book and using it instead as a set of speakers to listen to what people are saying.
Social listening is quite literally that. Listening to what’s being said about your brand online within social communities – blogs, forums, corporate pages and social channels. It can help you understand where you’ve been mentioned, and in what context. You can then begin to compare that to those you compete for talent with which is incredibly useful for benchmarking your strengths and weaknesses.
Knowledge is power as they say and understanding the good, the bad and the ugly will put you in a great position to build out a plan of action – whether that plan focuses on being disruptive, challenging misconceptions or outright education – you need to truly listen before you speak.
Here are a few free tools to help ensure you don’t make a proper Charlie out of yourself.
Hootsuite & Tweetdeck – widely used to plan outbound messages, but have some functionality to monitor and allow you to gather data and respond in real-time.
Twazzup – great for beginners looking for a Twitter monitoring tool
Social Mention – allows you to monitor and collect data across multiple platforms with basic analytics to help you measure positive and negative sentiment
Icerocket – specialises in blog searches but has the functionality to watch Facebook and Twitter too
Google alerts – a very basic way to discover when a websites is posting about you. Doesn’t cover social and is probably the least useful in a recruitment sense
We hope you’ve found this little introduction to buzz monitoring useful. If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help you really listen, then pop over to http://www.tonic-agency.com and get in touch.
Reputation is a funny old thing. By definition it’s a widespread belief that someone or something has a particular characteristic – something that makes it unique.
In today’s employer marketing arena, being unique is a commodity that many simply don’t have. When it comes to standing out from the crowd, being heard and generating real space between you and the competition, many employers think they’re #winning, but in reality they’re out there sounding and acting just like everyone else.
There’s a Dutch photographer called Hans Eijkelboom. He’s created a collection of ‘anti-sartorial’ photographs entitled, ‘People of the 21st Century.’ He walked round town with a camera round his neck and the trigger in his pocket, snapping people while they were unaware. Sounds a little stalkerish but the way he arranged these photo’s is what we’re focusing on here.
In a world where we all think we’re individuals choosing to look, dress and act in a way that reflects our personality and celebrates our individuality, it’s remarkable just how identical we all actually look.
How can you grab someone’s attention, and keep it, when you’re only as appealing as the next employer down the road? How do you really take that step from aspiring to be different, to truly leading the pack and setting a great example? How do you become the envy of the competition?
In the coming weeks we’ll be sharing 10 pieces of content with you, the graduate recruiter, as you begin to assess your recent performance, define goals and objectives and plan for the year ahead.
Our aim is to make your life easier, so we’ll be sharing success stories, examples of client work and the results achieved, as well as some of the latest thinking that will help you to effectively manage your reputation, persuade and influence your audience and build those all important conversations on and offline.
Follow us on Twitter, Linked In or Google + to stay up to date, or follow our blog using the follow button to the top right of this post to receive an email each week when new content drops.
Of course, if there’s any topics you’re particularly interested in then be sure let us know, and we’ll even create your own personal bit of content around that topic and share it with our wider community to fire up a discussion and get our readers input.
Last Christmas I was sat at home watching TV, my mulled wine in one hand and the television remote in the other doing the usual evening channel surf.
I love Christmas time. It’s one of the best things about what I find to be an otherwise very dull and depressing time of year. And even if you’re not quite feeling festive enough in the run up, you can pretty much guarantee that there’s something on TV that will get you in the mood – whether your preference is Elf, or The Muppets Christmas Carol.
As I was flicking through, I came across something that caught my attention and I paused to watch for a moment. It was a very well made cartoon about a bear and a hare who were preparing to celebrate Christmas together.
But from what I could gather, the bear had to leave early – he never got to see Christmas as he had to go and hibernate. The hare looked rather devastated as he watched his friend wonder off to his cave to sleep and miss out on the Christmas fun with all the other animals, yet again.
I felt genuinely upset for the little mite, and being an animal lover it moved me a little. I carried on watching.
The hare managed to find the bear’s cave, saw him snoozing, and left him a little present. A small red box at the entrance of the cave. He then left to go and re-join the other animals and the advert cut to a scene where all the animals, hare included, were enjoying themselves around this big Christmas tree covered in lights and decorations.
Then, from over the horizon the hare spots his friend the grizzly bear walking towards them.
The bear sees the tree and all the other animals having fun. The look of awe and happiness in the bears eyes reminded me of that feeling I would get as a kid when I came down the stairs on Christmas morning to see the tree bursting with presents, decorations and the sledge tracks leading back all the way to the fireplace that my dad had drawn into the carpet with his fingers. I felt excited for him!
It turns out the hare had bought the bear an alarm clock, so he could wake up and enjoy Christmas with all the other animals.
I have to say it genuinely moved me, and at 29 years old, made a connection to my past that was so personal and so specific to my life that there was no escaping the emotions it evoked. Lily Allen finished the job off.
Of course, if you haven’t guessed already, I’m referring to the John Lewis Christmas ad from 2013, aptly titled, The Bear & The Hare.
So why am I telling you this story?
Storytelling comes naturally to us – it’s been used to pass information between generations since we existed. Tests have shown that when you hear a story, the same parts of the brain light up that would if you were experiencing the event first hand.
This allows that person to frame the content within their own personal context, thus evoking memories and emotion that are specific to that individual. Everyone who listens to a story will hear the same content, but generate their own personal response. This is incredibly important because we live in a world where we’re subjected to as many as 5,000 ads per day. The key to standing out today is to leave a personalised, emotional impression.
Working in recruitment marketing I’ve seen the industry change quite drastically in a very short space of time. I understand the factors that have influenced this change – but I still see many employers reluctant to embrace it. I’m puzzled as to why there’s a fear of that change and why employers continue to do things in a certain way, simply because ‘that’s how we’ve always done it.’
HR and Recruitment should actively encourage employees to get out there and tell their story. But first, they need to tell that story internally, and it needs to land because your employees will be the vehicles for your messages. If a brand and EVP is built in the right way, is founded on honesty and truth and it’s an accurate reflection of internal culture and values, then employees are more likely to tell that story on behalf of the employer. And in today’s world, that’s incredibly powerful.
There’s a multitude of tools employers can use to share their stories with people – blogs, videos, pictures and social being great examples. But employers need to trust their own people to be their advocates and start telling their own stories about how they’ve made an impact in the business. And that’s something that you don’t see often enough.
In a few months, I’ll be eagerly waiting to see how John Lewis follows up their huge success, and equally vigilant for how the competition keeps up. Because when you mention Christmas TV to me now, The Bear and Hear is one of the first things I think of…. along of course with the Coca-Cola ad that has burrowed its way into my brain more from repetition than anything else.
So, for any employers reading this, ask yourself, “What story are we telling?”
For other great examples of storytelling have a look at the links below.
If you’d like to talk to us about how to start telling your own story more effectively, then head over to http://www.tonic-agency.com, get in touch, and pop over for a coffee so we can share a few of our own success stories with you.
KPMG were keen to promote inclusiveness on campus, and our crowd game helped them to do just that. We invited students who didn’t know each other to step up and take part in a fun and engaging game. The goal was to control a virtual hot air balloon on screen by using your body. Waving your arms left and right would move the balloon in the respective direction on screen. The idea was to get from start to finish as quickly as possible and clinch 1st spot on the leader board.
However, there’s a couple of twists. Firstly, you’d need to avoid the flocks of geese, lightning bolts, UFO’s and oncoming airplanes that try to pop, zap and shred you on your way to the finish line.
Secondly, students would need to work together to ensure that teams of up to 15 players were all moving together as one. Find out more by watching the video here.
It’s the SoMe graduate conference & awards do tomorrow (23rd Jan 2014). The conference agenda looks great; lots of case studies, market data and a bit of looking forward to what’s next for us all too. There’s also the awards event later on in the evening – we’re short listed in several categories for a range of our work. We have our fingers crossed.
With the emphasis of the conference being on whether social is right (we hope that there are very few people that actually need convincing that they need to be active), the channels that can be used to serve content and their various merits, we’re going to take a slightly different perspective.
In the afternoon Tom is sharing the stage with Andrew from Mars and they’ll be looking at the HOWof content provision. How can we use the content generated to build conversation? How can we use those conversations to build community? How can we use social to convey our personality, our human brand, rather than simply pushing content? How does this change the dynamic of employer marketing altogether? How have Mars used this thinking to bring the people they need into the business?
We’ll share the slides we use later in the week but be warned that we’re not going to give away the magic ingredients, the secret sauce. You’ll have to talk to us to get that thinking…