Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Making Great Employer Videos

Job-seekers don't want to see another "Harlem Shake" video; they want to learn about your workplace, your culture, and your employees. Here are some tips for creating a compelling employer video.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Harlem Shake Does Not A Culture Make

It’s almost impossible to believe that an internet sensation combining some of my favorite topics -- workplace culture, internet trends, viral videos -- could manage to turn me off but yes, it’s happened.

The explosion of Harlem Shake memes has put me on a rant as I wonder: Is it really good for your company’s brand? 

You say it makes your employee culture seem fun? I’m sure it was fun for the people in it and the hours it took to prep and shoot, but next week will it look as stale as your holiday party pictures from 2011?

You say the video differentiates you in the marketplace? Considering you’re doing almost exactly the same thing as Dr. Pepper, Puma, Intel, Rackspace and dozens of other companies, probably not. At this point, there are probably more companies that haven’t made these videos than those that have. In my mind, your brand may be a follower instead of a leader.

Yes, your employees seem to be having fun, but if I’m an applicant, I just want a job. I have a degree, valuable skills, and a creative mind. I care about pay, flexibility, benefits, and work-life balance. I care about integrity and ethics and social responsibility. I care about travel and conferences and taking my dog to work.

I want to see videos that speak to the things I think are important from the people you think are important. 


If you think like me, I have great news.

Today marks the start of
TED2013 conference. More than 70 speakers from 14 cities and six continents will be delving into world issues, personal identity, spirituality, and music. It’s virtually guaranteed that these activists (like Bono), thought leaders, economists, and politicians will not be dancing. I encourage you to watch riveting talks by remarkable people and hear ideas worth spreading. 

If you don’t think like me, here’s a site dedicated to the more than 60 advertising agencies agencies doing the Harlem Shake. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Hack Me If You Can

Director of Interactive Branding Jason Ginsburg explains what Jeep and Burger King did right -- and wrong -- during and after their Twitter hacks.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Boasting from Brandeland!

What a week for Brandemix! Our Director of Interactive Branding and I have shared our thoughts on employer branding, social media, and recruiting in four fantastic publications. On top of that, we presented our popular webinar, Socialize Your Talent Strategy, to more than 70 participants around the country and across the Atlantic. We were even asked to moderate an HR panel at Pace University.

Want to see what we’ve been up to? Check out these sites.

I was interviewed about employer branding for The Human Factor, the website of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management. I gave shared my stories, gave advice, and outlined the three characteristics of a successful employer brand: Alignment, Authenticity, and Differentiation.

I was also quoted an article for Rescue a CEO, part of CEO BlogNation, offering entrepreneurs tips on how to rebrand a small business. I broke down every rebranding initiative into four simple steps.

Always a big fan of social media, I was featured in a piece for Managing Your HR called Social Media Can Help Companies Better Compete for Qualified Candidates. I quoted some important statistics for recruiters, like how 73% of employers claimed they had made a successful hire through social media, and that 43% of employers said social media increased their quality of hire.

Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding, wrote Meet the Rock-Star Brands of Social Recruiting for the SmartBlog on Social Media. He showed how Taco Bell, Sodexo, and UPS are cleverly using social channels to engage job-seekers and make hires.

Jason was also at Pace University, moderating the panel “Careers in Focus: Human Resources,” which featured representatives from NBC Universal, Penguin Publishing, Ipreo, and Harlequin speaking to students from Pace’s Lubin School of Business about the evolving field of HR.

Finally, I also had the honor of moderating a panel, “Selecting and Optimizing Your Applicant Tracking System,” hosted by HR/NY. I spoke with professionals from TechnoMedia, S&P, and Oracle Taleo about matching an ATS to the needs of a company, its recruiting partners, and its ideal candidates. We all shared best-practice tips for maximizing your system’s potential.

Would you like us to write for your site or speak at your event? Jason and I would be happy to hear from you.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bonus Reel: Applebee's Biggest PR Mistake

Brandemix Director of Interactive Branding reveals Applebee's biggest mistake of its fateful night.

Read the original post here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Social Media PR Disasters: Applebee's Wild Night

You probably know about the Applebee’s waitress who was fired for posting a customer’s receipt that had a derogatory statement on it. You may not be aware of the aftermath, which took place in the wee hours of Saturday, February 2. It’s virtually a textbook example of what not to do in a PR crisis.

The Brand
·      3.8 million Facebook likes
·      85,700 Twitter followers
·      279,000 YouTube views

The Incident
Around noon on Friday, Applebee’s issued an official statement about the firing on its Facebook page, explaining that posting a customer’s name was a violation of its policies. Defenders of the waitress rushed to Facebook to complain, noting that Applebee’s itself had posted a photo of a customer’s name on Facebook – though that customer’s note was positive. Rather than address the issue, Applebee’s deleted the photo. And the company remained silent as the negative comments mounted, surpassing 17,000 after midnight.

The Problem
At 2:53 a.m., whoever runs Applebee’s Facebook page suddenly began replying to the comments. Worse, instead of making a big, clear announcement with a new post, Applebee’s replied in the comments of its original post, where it was quickly buried under hundreds of new complaints. Even worse, Applebee’s committed a cardinal sin of social media by deleting some negative comments and blocking select people from commenting. This, of course, led to a new round of criticism and mockery.

Screen shot courtesy of R.L. Stollar

The Response
It was now after 3 a.m. Did Applebee’s issue an apology and call it a night? No, the restaurant began posting the same boilerplate reply over and over, tagging negative commenters’ names to make sure they would see it. The commenters then decried the repetitive posts. Applebee’s continued with the cut-and-paste replies, sometimes tagging individual commenters and pleading for understanding. One critic responded: “Stop insulting us by claiming we got our facts wrong…if there is some specific information we do not have that will correct the record, then either share it or continue to hide behind your lawyers.”

The Result
At almost 4:30 a.m., Applebee’s stopped making comments and finally posted an official status update – a bland non-apology for the “unfortunate situation.” 2,000 negative comments to that update followed. Applebee’s then hid its original post, taking the 20,000 comments with it. People then accused the restaurant of deleting criticism. The saga didn’t end until the following evening; one blogger estimated that Applebee’s three status updates had garnered more than 40,000 comments – almost all of them negative.
Screen shot courtesy of R.L. Stollar

The Takeaway
How can you avoid a similar PR disaster? Let me count the ways…

- Reply During Daylight Hours
There is no reason to post a major update at 3 o’clock in the morning. At best, you’re unlikely to reach your intended audience. At worst, you may find the late-night crowd a little more ornery then others.  

- Make Statements Clear
Facebook doesn’t make every comment visible, so Applebee’s replies were quickly bumped off the page. Instead, the company should have posted new status updates, which stand out and look official.

- Don’t Lose Your Cool
Another mistake was switching from “we” to “I”: “No one’s asking me to comment at 5 am. I am because I care, we care.” Was that Applebee’s speaking or just one of its employees? Or its PR firm? Statements like that only confuse the situation.

- Don’t Put Your Social Media in the Hands of an Intern
I doubt that Applebee’s official PR firm or marketing department was posting at 3 a.m. It’s tempting to let the summer intern handle your social channels, but disasters like this should make you reconsider who’s in charge of these very important public communications outlets.

At the same time, a similar debacle took place on Twitter, showing that Applebee’s truly needs to re-evaluate its social media strategy – and its personnel.

Is your social media in the best hands? Brandemix specializes in social media for customer service, branding, and recruiting. If you’d like to reduce your risk of a PR disaster, we’d love to hear from you.

For the latest on social media, online recruiting, mobile marketing, and other branding trends, please like Brandemix on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn group, Your Digital Brand