Why are We Here?

The context for this post is long, but worth the effort – I promise!

Companies – and marketers – exist to profitably meet the needs of their customers.
This implies that they a) recognize the communities (customers) that they serve and b) relate to them (the customers) and can identify their needs. Simple huh?

I’ve been redoing my web site recently and feedback to one of my standard lines ‘Marketing is isn’t rocket science, but it is very hard work’ from clients caused me to add a lot of explanation to the definitions for brand and for marketing in the hope that the subtleties behind the simple definitions would be clearer.

One of my skills, my clients tell me, is seeing the simple things, the fundamentals, with clarity (my friends explain that is because I’m simple), but it seems to me that the more we remember the basics the easier it is to decide what to do and how. Let’s try a thought experiment:

Golden Rule 1: ‘Treat others as you would like to be treated’ (more background on this here)

Golden Rule 2: ”Every interaction with your Brand influences my perception of it’ (and here)

There is a small cadre of friends, all of whom are English born (in the North!), married to Americans, became Americans and who live and work in various US states as marketing and / or business development professionals. We have a remarkable similarity of view and have often debated why this is. One of them, let’s call him Chris, and I have been playing the role of ‘support and sounding board’ for each other over the last 12 months or so in a weekly call. Chris has been trying to make the consultant to corporate transition whilst I have been doing the reverse.

This week our call got to on to a topic that we have touched on before – the way an organization’s brand and persona come through when they recruit. We have been known to commiserate about the lack of civility towards, care for and interest in, the individuals being recruited.

We compared notes and agreed that a smart organization’s REAL persona would shine through and make an individual WANT to work there. For example – compare and contrast:

One of the aforementioned wives volunteers with an organization – let’s call it Habitat for Humanity – who are looking for a marketing person. Said wife brings home job description and says ‘this looks like you!’. Along with the resume a carefully crafted cover letter is sent, to a named individual, mentioning the wife’s involvement with the organization as well as a brief bio on not for profit experience.

A well organized not for profit will recognize that it has three key constituencies: it’s clients (or members), it’s staff & volunteers, and it’s funders. So the couple in the example above are in two of the categories – volunteer (the wife, to the tune of about 25-30 hours per month) and funders (the husband / family to the tune of, well let’s say that they are sought out as donors with organizations that they support).

I feel a decisive moment coming on!

Here is a delicate situation, two individuals whose perceptions of a brand will shift – perhaps significantly – depending on how the organization reacts. So far all I know is that 14 days after submission, no response, acknowledgment of any form has landed with the family.

Read the Golden Rules (above) again.

Habitat are not unusual, the conversation on recruitment that started this train of thought was discussing how it has become acceptable to not respond, not acknowledge receipt and not to advise candidates if they are successful or not. Nada. No wonder that most organizations recruiting online remain anonymous!

Contrast with a company called Working Assets who say this “Once you have completed the [online] interview, your information will be sent directly to the hiring manager for decisions on the next steps. Regardless of the outcome, Working Assets [or Accolo] will keep you updated as to your status by e-mail or phone.” And they did!

Read the Golden Rules (above) again.

Which organization is better serving it’s brand persona better? Which one would you want to work for?

Read the Golden Rules (above) again.

I know my answer.

{WOM, Brand, Marketing, Product}

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