the grass is greener on the internet


powerbrands?
July 21, 2010, 9:48 pm
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It’s the quiet ones you want to watch.

There’s been commentary on the recent social media development spend by Unilever, the trials by P&G and the move to umbrella brands by both. But what about other FMCG companies?

Reckitt Benckiser has actually been doing much more on the social media front. I previously reported on their Clearasil site, which aimed to be a forum for young people to discuss issues relevant to them.  Almost more importantly, within a week I had a response to my post (even though I wasn’t particularly nice).

But I’m loving their new recruitment Facebook app – poweRBrand.

It’s a virtual office game billed to help players improve their sales and marketing skills.

Players are sent tasks through an ‘inbox’ then must decide how much time to spend on specified activities using sliding bars. Some of these pop up through ‘phone calls’ where you have to make a decision under pressure. More pop up each day, like the real world.

uh oh. Tick tock tick tock...

Phew. After wasting 10s on a screenshot...success! Now hire me please.

After completing tasks players get money to deck out their office (including alll RB products), promotions or even relocations.

It’s a really interesting concept which I think will be great for recruitment (although maybe it tries a little too hard to persuade that there’s good life/balance –  I wasn’t sure about one ‘ideal’ answer which says that to raise funds for a cause the effort spent on cleaning your office and waxing your body with VEET (I wonder who owns that brand) (what if you’re a guy??) combined should be more than running a marathon (I assume this is a fund-raising marathon) and asking agencies for help combined).

You can of course invite ‘colleagues’ who become your team members. I think that more team members increases the number of experience points you get per task.

Check it out, it’s actually kinda fun…best interactive facebook app I’ve seen so far!

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Search engine response 3#
April 2, 2010, 10:55 am
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Someone either has a really easy course, or their heart’s really not into their job applications, because one of my latest keywords was “why i want to work for louis vuitton essay”.

Seriously, who needs to Google to write an essay like that? (Unless you’re a recruiter trawling for young hopefuls, in which case pardonnez-moi.)

Okay, apart from the fact that LVMH is one of the biggest luxury conglomerates attracting hundreds of fashion-obsessed applicants a year, how about this, marketing grads:

  • opportunities for internal transfer to get experience in dealing with the unique challenges of high end liquor, fashion and accessories;
  • for the brand Louis Vuitton, getting an internal perspective of mass premium strategies – it seems like everybody has Louis (or fake Louis) but they’re still grabbing for more;
  • real responsibility and challenges – LVMH centralises its marketing function, so you’re not going to be submitting things for head office’s approval, you ARE in head office;
  • centralisation also means good training and getting to deal with a variety of markets;
  • once you’ve worked with LVMH you have a much better chance of a career in luxury;
  • did I mention the internal sales where 10% is the price tag, not the discount?

I mean, that’s just off the top of my head. (No, I am not and have never been paid by LVMH, for anything. Mostly the other way around. But if they want to recompense/hire me they are welcome.)

For anyone who wants a career in the mysterious luxury category, I hear LVMH is a very good starting point (if you can get in). But if you don’t really know why you want to work for them it’s a bit of a pointless exercise, no?



Employer branding: does Gen Y want CSR?
July 15, 2009, 3:36 pm
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PR is lovely. It allows companies to make newsflashes of ‘insight’ into topics ‘we have little to no understanding of’ (ie. Gen Y**) and promote themselves in the process.

Recent example: Morgan Stanley’s report by a 15 year old intern on why teenagers don’t use Twitter.

Let’s just ignore the fact that I’ve seen umpteen posts saying exactly the same thing from ‘Gen Y’ blogs. I think a more sensational headline might have been ’15 year old interns handling affairs of global financial management company’.

Like I said, PR is lovely.

This brings me to my original question: does Gen Y really look for CSR when choosing an employer?

…because according to headlines from several large companies, this is a key requirement tabled by ‘Gen Y’ in interviews.

Is this really true or just a marketing stunt?

  1. It allows the company to grab a headline
  2. It makes students think that if everyone else is aware of it maybe they should be too
  3. A further 250 words can be devoted to the company’s CSR efforts

[Let us note at this point that just because a story has been used for marketing purposes, it is not necessarily made up – the Morgan Stanley case demonstrates this.]

However, as a blanket statement, I don’t think you can say that ‘Gen Y’ feels CSR is important in an employer.

Rants on the general nature of the term ‘Gen Y’ aside, at the moment those just graduating or in junior roles are mostly just glad to GET a job. Many will not have the option to ‘choose’ their employer, and they will rank pay and job description higher than CSR in importance. It only comes into play where all else is equal. (Not that it’s so black and white – it’s usually that we like the brand more from the impression we get.)

This is something we’ve seen from before the GFC, though. Unethical corporate behaviour can be a disincentive, but proactive CSR strategies mostly only aid HR in forming company culture.

Not to say that CSR is not important – as a generation we are more aware of environmental issues hearing about a brand doing ‘good things’ can leave us with a better feeling.

But from talking to a variety of people, there is only a select group to whom CSR is very important. They’re generally highly educated, grew up with volunteer work or come from a religious educational background. Caring about issues like sustainability or human rights often coincides with a dedication to studies and long-term results. If they form part of your target market for candidates then your employer brand will benefit from an extensive CSR program.

Me personally? I wouldn’t feel comfortable working for an unethical employer and would much prefer to go for a job where I have the opportunity to continue making an impact on causes I believe in. Quite a few friends are the same. But I know we’re definitely not the majority.

**Irony fully intended.



Recruitment is branding too
March 18, 2009, 9:24 pm
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Here’s a few thoughts on careers fairs straight from Gen Y:

  • If you’re advertising an aspect of your business as an area of interest for your recruits – let’s say, CSR and volunteering opportunities – all of your reps should know about it. Not just HR. (If HR knows.) If your 6 month recruit has no clue, what does that say about induction processes and the integration of CSR into company culture??
  • We don’t have business cards, but if YOU don’t that’s just poor form. If we’ve been talking to you about your company, it’s nice to know that we can contact the same friendly person later.
  • Most students are just cruising for free things. Popcorn is a winner. And a good demonstration that buzz does not equal results.
  • We can smell desperation.

Generally, the people I talked to were great – and I was pushing the limits of ‘it’s as much about students testing companies as it is about companies testing students’.

A little disappointed about the lack of knowledge at times though. Evidently some ‘core values’ weren’t core values at all.

GFC was definitely hitting – a lot less free food than usual.
Best freebie: USB radio (thanks DSD! even relates to your core business).
Worst: fluoro erasers (you expect us to, like, write?), closely followed by the usual array of unidentifiable confectionery.

Government departments also appear to have multiplied. Either that or they are the only people not solely looking for accountants.



Professional failure
August 26, 2008, 11:31 pm
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Start with an obscure thought…

[INSERT DRAMATIC PAUSE HERE]

Ah, yes, Phil Morton knows how to make a speech. His talk at the AMI Marketing Week Awards Lunch not only had what was potentially the best powerpoint I’ve seen all year, but was also a thinking kickstarter on how to go about applying for jobs in the marketing industry. (It basically comes down to doing your research and having the networks; preparation meeting opportunity.)

He made a huge point about how you sell yourself as a brand (something I’d been thinking a lot about lately, but I’ll post on that soon) and of course, your value proposition.

But I started wondering, what if you realise you’re actually not good at something you love doing?

I suppose your options are 1) try something else, 2) sink into despair and take up a Coke/coke habit or 3) suck it up, try harder, get better.

[I guess… I’m a left a little dispirited by yet another Terrible Tuesday, this one involving general cluelessness, conversation death, and stand-up comedy death. A lot of things just went wrong – which usually isn’t in itself bad, but a lot of things went wrong because I messed them up. But, you know…suck it up, try harder, get better.]

Time for a Coupland quote… ‘Even seasoned recruiters base their first impressions on the basis of fuckability. The second thing they look at is whether you’re competent, and the third thing they see is whether you’re creative in disguising your lack of competence and/or fuckability.’

More on Marketing Week after tomorrow’s seminar, and when I’ve gotten a good night’s sleep.