Archive for 2022

Should Your Organization Advertise on TikTok?

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Some of our clients have been asking, “Should we consider advertising on TikTok?”

Short Answer: 
If your target audience is Gen Z, then yes. If they are older, then you should consider other platforms for advertising to start.

Long Answer:
Our partner Sprout Social, Inc. investigated this recently. They found, according to Statista, that the largest age group of TikTok users in the U.S. in 2021 was 10-19. Millennials and Gen Xers weren’t terribly far behind. However, Global Web Index (GWI) reports that 30% of Gen Zers use TikTok for product research; compared to 16% of Millennials, 9% of Gen Xers and 2% of Baby Boomers.

Since a majority of users seek entertainment from TikTok content (GWI reports), companies could benefit from social listening on this platform to keep abreast of trends or to create a content strategy to start reaching younger audiences. However, unless targeting young Gen Zers, your ad dollars would be better spent elsewhere for now.

Have any other questions about your Social Media advertising strategy? Contact us for a consultation.

Do You Have a Brand or Just a Logo?

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by Andrew Watson, Director of Branding

Often, I hear people refer to their logo, colors, fonts and images as their “brand.” These are all components of a brand, but there is much more to it than just the visuals.

What is a Brand?

Branding has evolved over the years, and you will find several different definitions of the word. What began as simply a name or symbol to identify a product or service has expanded to the more current definition that most modern strategists, marketers and brand builders use. In current terms, a brand revolves around the more broad idea of “perception.”

Brand: The perception one has about a company, product or service.

This simple definition encompasses everything a company does and all of the touchpoints the company has with its audience. From internal values and culture, to how you communicate in your advertising and to your in-person experience, this includes all of your marketing materials and everything in-between. It’s the complete experience created by your company as it engages with your audience. These elements influence how people think about your company and affect the perception they develop. This is your brand.

How does the logo fit into the brand?

Your logo is often the first impression of your brand, and it’s what most people will immediately associate with your company. With that lofty status, the logo is an important part of the larger brand picture, but it’s not the sole representation of your brand. Your logo, color palette, fonts, images and graphic assets all fall under the visual identity system of your brand.

Visual Identity: The visual components of a brand.

A great way to understand the difference between visual identity and brand is to think of a company as a person. The way that person dresses would be the visual identity system. A person’s personality, choice of words and tone of voice, combined with how they carry themself and interact, is the perception (or brand). The clothes someone wears may influence the overall perception you might have of that person, but it’s only one small part of the bigger picture.

If I have a logo and colors, do I have a brand?

The reality is, that every company has a brand. Whether you have hired someone to develop a brand for you, you have developed it in-house, or it’s just something that has evolved organically over the years – you have a brand. It might not be very intentional, but it exists.

In today’s competitive landscape, brands have become much more sophisticated and strategic in the development of their brand experience. A pretty logo and some colors are probably not enough to get you where you want to go anymore. Those core elements alone don’t paint enough of a picture to help your target audience decide whether they will go with you or a competitor.

Crafting a Better Brand

When developing a new brand or refreshing an existing brand, it helps to start with a brand strategy, which is a plan that clearly defines the brand and how to communicate it effectively. Using this more strategic approach, you can go beyond the visuals and create a brand that influences the perceptions of the intended audience to make your company more appealing to that audience.

Once a strategy, or direction, has been determined, branding choices can become focused and intentional. Here is a list of the most common brand assets:

Name, Logo, Tagline/Positioning Line
These combine to form the face of your brand and serve as the first impression for most people. The combination of a unique name, logo mark and sometimes tagline can set the tone for everything else that follows. It’s not possible to tell your entire story in a logo, but if done well, the rest of the brand will complement, it and all of the parts will work together to deliver a more comprehensive brand experience.

Visual Identity
This encompasses all of the graphic assets, color palettes, fonts and imagery used within your branding. This portion of your brand has the power to quickly communicate a world of intangible information. Color plays a significant emotional role in how your brand is perceived. Fonts may be more modern or more traditional to convey your style. Your imagery selection might complement or contrast these other assets. A shift in any of these can change the perception slightly or dramatically. All of the parts of the visual identity work together as a whole.

Voice and Tone
An important, and often overlooked brand element, is your brand voice or how you deliver your message. The brand voice can have a powerful impact on how memorable your brand is. The voice is the consistent personality that you apply to all your messaging – regardless if it is written or spoken. Does your brand have a casual and witty voice, or is it more informative and buttoned-up? Choosing a voice that works for your brand and resonates with your audience can create a solid connection. To add more complexity into the mix – while the voice of your brand should always be the same – the tone can vary to accommodate different types of messaging. For example, how would your brand voice communicate excitement vs. condolences? Whatever the tone of the message, it should still sound like it’s coming from the same brand voice.

A Brand Encompasses All

The complete experience a person has with your company or organization is what creates brand perception. It’s not just how your logo looks or the colors you use on your website. When all your brand components align and work together, they can communicate your story memorably and authentically, making all your marketing decisions focused and future projects more straightforward. You will want to be intentional with your brand choices to achieve the best results.

Do you have a brand or just a logo?
If you need help evolving or developing your brand, we can help. Learn about our branding process here.

How Your Online Presence Affects Your Hiring

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In this highly competitive hiring market, your first impression means everything. Job seekers are getting that first impression from your online presence. Your website, social profiles and online reviews aren’t just marketing and branding vehicles to attract prospective customers. They are also critical to attracting potential employees. We have put together a list of ways to improve your digital presence to help with your employer branding and recruitment marketing.

Your Website and Social Media – The First Stop in a Job-Seeker’s Research

The way you present your brand in the digital world can make a huge impact on whether a job seeker chooses to apply or accept an offer from you. If you were to look at your website and social media platforms from a potential employee’s point of view, would you find the company culture and values appealing? Is what you see a positive and accurate reflection of your internal company culture and work-life?

Take a walk in a job seeker’s shoes for a minute, and look at your company from the outside in…

Start With Your Careers Page

Do you have anything more on this page than a list of available openings and benefits? A competitive Careers page should go beyond the basics.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This is an opportunity to share photography of actual employees, your workspace, company events and community engagement. When you review this page, look at it from the perspective of a job seeker: Will they identify themselves in those photos? Do you have uniforms that are modern or fun? Does the company engage with the community? Do people look like they enjoy working for you? You should paint a clear picture about what it’s like working at your company and provide an opportunity for them to picture themselves in the mix.

Interior branding wall mural in restaurant  Uniforms for a seafood restaurant designed by Robot Creative(photo caption: examples of interior branding in stores and fun uniforms at Sea Island Shrimp House.)

(photo caption: examples of branded wall decor including core values at Computer Solutions.)

Boring Descriptions = Boring Jobs

Your job descriptions might also need a refresh. Consider writing them with a voice and tone that reflects your brand and appeals to the audience you’re trying to attract (for example, should the positions sound fun and energetic, ambitious and intellectual, quirky and unique?). The Job descriptions can provide a branding opportunity and a chance to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Add a Feature to Your Home Page

If you have immediate hiring needs, consider adding a call-out at the top of your Home page near the navigation or even a pop-up alerting web visitors of those immediate openings. Link directly to the Careers page instead of making them search for it. Adding a content section on the Home page with compelling imagery, a headline and a call to action can be a great way to entice web visitors to learn more about employment opportunities as well.

Pull in Dynamic Social Media

If you have someone updating your company social profiles with internal culture, community and events, you can pull that content into your Careers page or Home page so it is always dynamic and current. If you aren’t currently posting content that relates to your work environment and internal culture on your social media channels, now is the time to consider adding it to your editorial calendar. Also, don’t forget to post about your job openings as they become available, and encourage your team to share the posts.

Pick the Right Social Platforms for Job Seekers

We recommend you pick the social platform(s) where your potential future employees are active. This may vary for different types of positions within one organization. Your social media manager should know which platforms cater best to specific age groups and audience types. Make sure to highlight the content which accurately reflects your company culture and brand, but adjust it to speak specifically to each unique audience.

Example of hiring post on social media for tech company.  
(photo caption: example of social posts promoting hiring on LinkedIn.)

Don’t Skip Past the About Us Page

If you have an About Us page that already features current leadership and facts about the company, understand that not just customers are visiting that page to learn about you, but also job seekers! Make sure your leadership team photos and bios are up to date and appealing to prospective team members. Consider the company story from the job seeker’s point of view. What additional information would you include to win them over? Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to recruit on this page. You can add a “Join our team” teaser or section that links to your Careers page to draw job seekers in.

Optimize Your SEO to Get Job Seekers to Your Site

Once you make your website improvements, it’s time to make sure your intended audience sees them. Optimizing your Careers and About Us pages for the types of jobs you are trying to fill will increase your chances of being found by the people who are actively looking. If you don’t have someone on staff with SEO background, consider outsourcing the project to someone with specialized skills in this area.

It Pays to Advertise for Job Seekers

Social and digital ads can help you accurately target very specific audiences. Ads can be easily turned on and off and budgets can be tightly controlled when you have shifting needs for specific positions. Digital advertising is also a great form of brand awareness. If you keep a regular stream of company advertisements and/or social posts and culture in front of your audience, they will be more likely to respond favorably when they are presented with an opportunity.

Example of hiring post on social media for local restaurant chain. Example of hiring post on social media for IT company.
(photo caption: examples of social ads promoting hiring.)

Opportunity to Improve – Not to Falsely Advertise

If you find it’s difficult to find content to update your website because you don’t host regular company events or maybe you don’t have the most competitive benefits, you might want to consider surveying your team to gain a better understanding of the culture and team motivations. Advertising a false or idealized reality will hurt your recruiting efforts more than it helps. It can damage your reputation as an employer if prospects or former employees decide to call out these inconsistencies in online reviews. Speaking of reviews…

Review Management Matters

Reviews of your company can be found on your social platforms, search engines and even job search and review sites like Indeed or Glassdoor. Having your profiles on these sites maintained with the most up-to-date information and photos can help you make a better impression on prospects researching your brand. With online reviews, job seekers also have a front-row seat to past employees’ opinions – for better or for worse.

While you can’t control what others say about your company or brand, you can recover from a negative employee review if you make the effort to respond publicly. Acknowledging negative reviews will sometimes convince employees to edit or remove them. Even in times when it doesn’t, other users see that you made an effort to respond appropriately, which demonstrates professionalism. Disgruntled employees are often more likely to leave reviews than happy ones, so it can help to have a strategy to encourage or even incentivize current employees to post reviews. Increasing the number of high ratings can help drown out the occasional grumpy review, and show a more accurate reflection of your overall employee sentiment.

Go Get Them – Your To-Do List:

If you’re actively trying to find employees, we hope this list of ideas will help you improve your online presence and have a positive influence on future recruits. Take time to improve your recruiting strategy by:

  1. Identifying (and profiling) who you’re trying to recruit
  2. Reviewing your website from the job seeker’s perspective
  3. Adding relevant content to your website and social channels that shows the benefits of working with your company
  4. Advertising on digital platforms to quickly increase visibility
  5. Actively managing your online listings and reviews

Taking these steps will greatly improve your hiring competitive edge. Happy recruiting!

If you need help making sure your branding attracts the right crowd, or need support with advertising or web design, contact us for a free consultation.

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