Personal Branding As an Effective Tool for a Job Search

Are you presently at loss as to how to use personal branding as an effective tool for your job search? Are you as a business owner presently agonizing on what personal branding will do to your business? Or you are looking for ways of shortening the period of your search for work and do not know how? Those with the knowledge about branding having observed the agonies of most job seekers have come to realize the benefits personal branding plays in effectively positioning job seekers and in particular executives in their quest to land their dream jobs or for winning jobs for their business. For a start, it helps optimize your strengths thereby enhancing your self-awareness. Secondly, it helps in clarifying what you want and how to set your goals and reach it. Thirdly, once you have identified your strengths, you can use it to create visibility to those who will assist you in reaching your goals. Finally, it helps you in differentiating yourself from the crowd. This article is therefore basically about why branding is a tool to effectively position you in making a success of your job hunting.

The world thinks of Christopher Colombus as a discoverer. One who started the voyage of discovery through his transatlantic voyage. What people did not know however is that he was a salesman and leader too. He had to sell his dream of transatlantic voyage in order to execute it. Let us consider the odds against his vision:

i. There was no market for transatlantic voyage.
ii. Although he had made voyages as a passenger but not as a captain.
iii. He was a foreigner (Italian) living in a foreign land, Portugal and then Spain.
iv. He did not have enough money to fund the expedition.
v. His price for the expedition was not cheap (a) He wanted 10% commission on all the trades between the discovered territories and the mother country.(b) He wanted the title of Admiral of the Fleet. (c) He wanted a permanent position of Governor of all the territories discovered. (d) He wanted all the honors and rights passed on to his heirs.

Despite the odds stacked against him, Colombus was able to sell the expedition at his own price. How did he achieve this? He did this through personal branding and marketing of course. He got the wealthy and influential citizens in both Spain and Portugal to invest in his dream and vision. He had to market his vision before he could sail. People had to buy into him (his brand) before they bought into his vision. Was he convincing? Could he pull what he was marketing off? He branded himself as a voyager and a voyager before he actually became one. This was salesmanship at its finest. It was personal branding at its best.

What is Personal Branding?

Megguiseppi defined personal branding as “Defining, differentiating and communicating ROI (return on investment) value you offer your target employers over others competing for the same job.” From this definition, one should note that personal branding indicates the chance to “stand out” among the crowd of job seekers. In this world of increased competition and globalization regardless of age, position or business, it is necessary to understand the importance of branding. Successful organizations like Nike, Microsoft, Apple, Dell Computers etc are known for their branding. Like these successful organizations, to continue to be relevant in business today, job hunters and business owners need to make personal branding their most important job. To these successful organizations, their brand is their Unique Selling Points (USP). To the job seeker, personal branding is his Unique Selling Attributes, that is those attributes he could use to market himself to prospective employers.

Tom Peters in his own contribution on the importance of personal branding said “Regardless of age, regardless of the position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of personal branding. We are the CEO’s of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be the head marketer for the brand called You”. Branding is all about identifying what makes you unique and relevant and communicating it to targeted audience or potential employers so that you could reach your career/business goals faster. Once you identify your strengths, passions, skills, interests and values, you can therefore use the same information to separate yourself from your competitors. Branding therefore sends a clear message about you and what you have to offer. Consequently, it makes you more unique and more successful in your job hunting.

From the foregoing, the importance of personal branding to job search could therefore not be over emphasized. Branding creates wealth. This is because strong brands charge a premium for their services since people know their value. Further, strong brands are usually successful despite challenges and downturn in the economy because of their uniqueness. Consequently branding makes job hunting more successful in whatever capacity but most especially as an executive or business owner. To learn more about ways of using personal branding as a tool to further enhance your job search,

5 Questions to Ask Before You Try To Build Your Healthcare Brand

Building a health care brand in today’s market relies on starting with a clear foundation based on simple questions that will help define and narrow down who are and who your audience is. Before getting started, putting together a strong foundation, or a brand platform, that can answer these fundamental questions about your brand is critical.

How does your company produce stellar relationships between patients and your team? Experts believe patients don’t see much that distinguishes one health care provider from another, making it that much more essential to get crystal clear about what makes your company stand out. Start with the essentials to direct a rock-solid marketing plan. Here are 5 questions to ask before you try to build your healthcare brand.

1. Who is our target audience?

Before you try to build your health care brand, you must be clear about your customers, who they are, and what they need. Do your homework by investing in market research and create a customer profile to make sure you are sending your marketing and advertising efforts in the right direction, and to the right people.

2. What is the personality of our brand?

A brand personality is key to leaving an impression on your market and consumers. Experts say to build a thriving health care brand, it’s essential to create a personality that can relay messages people understand and resonate with.

Some components involve creating a brand voice, tagline and strategy with messaging that will capture what your brand is about and what you value. Start first with identifying who you are as a brand, then work with how you’d like to represent who you are through your message and voice.

3. Where are our competitors?

It’s a good idea to do some competitive analysis to find out who’s in the game with you, and what distinguishes you from them. Who are they targeting and what do they have to offer? Ask these fundamental questions about direct and indirect competitors to see where you stand and what distinguishes you from key players in the health care market.

4. What are our strengths and weaknesses?

Though this one may seem obvious, building a strong health care brand may come down to the simple question of where your company’s strengths and weaknesses lie. Do an inventory of the current company status on opportunities, threats, strengths, and weaknesses. Identifying your assets will help set a sharp image for your marketing and advertising efforts.

5. What’s our vision and mission?

The bigger picture will help create a strong and concise statement that will help guide your company’s brand image and definition. Take a look at other health care mission statements to get a feel for what you’d like to compile as your vision.

Once you’ve done your analysis on your brand and market, you’re ready to form a unique value proposal that sends a message about what you can deliver patients. Effective branding in the health care market is about forming the relationship between you, your patients and your team. Communicating your brand value will distinguish that unique patient experience your team can provide.

The Evolution of Branding and Its Future As a Driver of Change Towards Sustainability

This article examines the way that brands have evolved from well constructed and manicured facades to fluid and independent values spaces, what I call ambient brands, where consumers gather to transact. It addresses the demise of traditional branding and the opportunity that new branding represents in driving transformational change towards sustainability and socially responsible business practices.

Branding has been in rapidly evolving state for the last few years. For a long time, since the emergence of consumerism in the 1950’s, branding was an exercise in fantasy and fiction for the purpose of creating the greatest possible product appeal. Several iterations of change have occurred since the advent of the Internet and the emergence of a savvy, super informed and newly conscientious consumer.

The fantasy factor was first to fall prey to technology in the mid 90’s. Google came along in September of 1998 and search engines and the persistent enquiries of the newly tooled consumer forced corporations to be, at least, wary of making untrue claims. To be fair, it wasn’t so much that marketers were innately dishonest but more a case of consumers not asking a lot of questions. That changed as technology fed growing consumer awareness and then this awareness pushed the use of technology in checking up on corporate behavior. This interdependent cycle of information and awareness caused the huge explosion in the debate about corporate responsibility and drove a rapid innovation in technologies that map and measure impact and create transparency and accountability around consumption. Consumers quickly got accustomed to asking questions and getting answers and their interest in and response to brands went beyond product and into process. The brand narrative changed to incorporate powerful new themes including sustainability, environmentalism, free trade and so on but corporations were still able to manage, to a large extent, the way in which they represented themselves relative to these themes.

What happened next happened incredibly quickly and put a decisive end to traditional corporate brand management and the very notion of the brand itself. Social networking and viral media eclipsed the corporation’s ability to fully own and represent their identities and brands moved out of the corporate and into the consumer realm. Tools like Wikipedia skipped nimbly past ads and PR and modified the search return definitions of companies and products to what customers, and not corporations, were saying about them. People used peer reviews, blogs and amalgamated shopping sites like Amazon to get around even the most honest brand promises. Quality, design and emerging consumer values rose to replace traditional name-brand equity and status symbolism (flash) as evidenced nationwide by trendy hipsters lining up to trade in BMW’s for a Prius. An “economy” car and a famously ugly one at that.

Viral social media marketing was like “word of mouth” on steroids and opened up opportunities for gutsy start-ups like Tom’s Shoes and Ethos Water, allowing them to succeed with big ideas, a social conscience and virtually no paid advertizing whatsoever. People purchasing those products were not just picking up another pair of shoes, as it were. They were buying into an idea and a set of values. The idea was social responsibility and conscientious consumption and that ultimately became a brand in itself. This was pretty revolutionary. A fluid and contextual brand not associated with any one company and with a huge community of loyal consumers and a strict code of entry. Now, instead of companies creating brands and hanging them up like so much window dressing, they had to apply for membership of newly independent, consumer defined brands with names like Green, Fair Trade and Organic. They did this by aligning themselves, or pretending to, with the values that those brands represent.

So, to bring us present, brands started as highly stylized representations of things but have ultimately floated away from things all together to become shifting collections of values and expectation. Sort of virtual spaces where consumers gather to discuss, compare and transact based on their own personal values rather than loyalty to any particular company. Of course brands still represent the offerings of independent companies but they are judged in the context of larger, social and values brands. A new generation of businesses exists to gather together goods and services in the same “values family” and make it easy for consumers to find them. Concierge sites like Greenhome.com and informational tools like The Good Guide help consumers navigate the maze of green goods. Cooperatives like CSA; Community Supported Agriculture, thrive by gathering the values based offerings of multiple different small businesses and representing them as a single product that operates much like a traditional brand with a simple interface for consumers.

It’s easy to see why the brand and marketing community has spent the last couple of years collectively flapping its hands and trying to get its head around these changes. Posting discussions with titles like “Is branding dead?” and “The end of the brand as we know it.” The drama kicked off around the central question; “How do we say nice things about nasty business practices when consumers keep asking pesky questions and finding better ways to get answers?” Well the answer is “You can’t but Hyper growth in awareness and technology changed that question to “What is a brand these days and who owns it?” How could companies protect their identities, influence consumers and engender loyalty in the era of user generated content and social networking.

Actually the consumer products industry has been relatively quick to adapt in terms of cleaning up their act and dealing with the most immediate horrors of things like child labor and unfettered pollution. Scandals like Nike’s 2001 child labor debacle and the Exxon Valdez oil spill got everybody’s attention. Business as a whole however remains much better at cleaning brands than it is at cleaning business practices and green washing abounds. In a way though, this negative is part of the much larger positive of ever rising consumer expectations and the growing recognition that corporations and not governments are probably going to carry through the most meaningful changes in the way we consume. Frogs like Walmart and HP are turning into modern day princes of sustainability by using their incredible buying power to push change down through their supply chains to the source. Companies like BBMG and Green Order have emerged to evolve and articulate the new language that these companies need to communicate and actually commune with consumers in the shared values space I define as brand. Technology and independent monitoring continue to enhance transparency while transformation has made the leap from being defined as an expense to being framed as opportunity and even survivability for many companies.

This is a complex evolution with a multitude of faces and many moving parts but I see within it, an opportunity for the marketing and branding industry to play a huge role in driving change towards sustainability. By consistently and rigorously reinforcing higher consumer expectations of reform through clear and effective messaging, the powerful, early adopters will make change an imperative for all other businesses wishing to remain competitive. The skilled wordsmiths who have excelled at making bad choices seem like good ones should be more than adept at making good choices seem like… good choices. Also, speaking from my own perspective, there is something much more exciting and rewarding about creating strategies for values based change rather than profit motive alone even if they end up being the same thing. If it sounds like I am getting carried away, and it feels a little like I am, we can go to emerging data that demonstrates that workers are more productive and less likely to leave jobs in which they experience a sense of personal satisfaction. Through a larger lens this means our economy will function better if we do a better job of communicating value through values where it exists. Communications are a key part of that equation.

There is an important “get real” factor here with a clear need to shift the narrative around sustainability to make it accessible and appealing to the mainstream business community. This is another place where branding and marketing can drive change. Effective messaging can combat the perception that sustainability is expensive, impractical or political. A great deal of work is being done to prove out the business case for many types of reform. The benefits of energy savings, reduced legal liability, higher worker productivity and reduced attrition are real motivations for adoption in small and medium sized businesses that still think this is somebody else’s revolution.

Reality has a way of following in the pathway of possibility. Scientific and technological development pushes towards what we believe we are capable of. The challenge for new branding is to define and articulate those possibilities and broadcast them to society as a whole. Changing expectations will change behavior and economics, it is often forgotten, is behavioral science. If branding does its work well in support of sustainability and social responsibility, some part of the rest will surely follow. In practical terms this means that every project is an opportunity for branders to communicate the benefits of membership to broader social brand to their clients. They can then demonstrate why those clients should and must authentically meet the criteria for that membership by making real, incremental yet meaningful change. Sustainability as a clearly defined part of branding methodology could do a huge amount to effect the mission and subsequent development of all companies. It’s an exciting time to be in brands.

Corporate Branding and Professional Logo Design

Any business with the minimum interest to be successful should concentrate on developing their corporate image and when I say “any business”, I mean it, absolutely any business–even if it’s a mom-n-pop shop. “Corporate image” might be a big word for such small ventures, however, what I meant by that is how the business wants themselves to be perceived by their customers. Irrespective of the size of the business it is very important to determine how do you come across to your potential customers? How do you compare to your competitors? These factors are largely determined by your branding and marketing strategies. Branding tools like logo designs, business cards etc goes a long way in creating your corporate image. Any marketing communication material should ideally have your corporate logo on it, which would give more credibility for your business as well as help your client to perceive your business as a professional enterprise.

Logo design is an absolutely indispensable part of corporate branding strategy and should always be assigned to professional logo designers. A professional logo designer is not just a graphic designer but he should also have ideas about branding and positioning of business. Depending on your requirements he will create a logo that would successfully exude the nature and attitude of your business. He also needs to understand the media in which you are going to use your logo; it can be web, print, electronic media (TV commercial etc) or a mixture of all of these. The logo should be compatible and equally attractive wherever you might choose to use them. While working on any of our logo design orders we ( Custom Logo Design )always try to capture as much as information possible, from the client.

Basically there are 4 types of logos, glyph, alpha-glyph, alphanumeric or a combination of any of these. There are a number of factors that should be looked into to determine what would be the ideal solution for you. A professional logo designer or a specialist logo design firm can definitely help you with decision making in this aspect.

Types of Logos

Glyph: This includes symbols, icons, pictures etc that represents your company. These are most widely used for secondary communication rather than business logos, except for few like, Apple. Glyphs though used rarely as logos, if created properly by talented logo designers can be extremely sophisticated and create a deep impact as a corporate identity. However, we need to be careful that glyphs need to be done by well experienced professionals, an amateur attempt can simply male your logo unattractive and useless and might even cause loss of credibility to your business.

Alpha-Glyph: An alpha-glyph logo uses a letter from the name of the company to graphically convey the nature of the business. At times picking the first letter of the company name and designing it in a particular way also do this. Ideal examples of this type of logos can be seen with Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), IBM, Honda, Motorola, and Oklahoma State University. This type of logo is also not used very commonly and shares the same advantages and disadvantages as the glyphs.

Alphanumeric: This is a very common type of logos and is also used by some of the most reputed and well-known companies in the world. To name a few, Microsoft, Sony, Fed Ex etc. These logos are nothing but the name of your company written in a unique way with typographical effects. The typographic treatment gives a unique look to the logo and there is generally no issue with getting a Trademark. These logos are comparatively easier for amateurs to create however to get the best effect from an alphanumeric logo it’s always better to work with a professional logo designer. Choice of font, color, letter spacing etc can make big difference in creating an impressive corporate logo.

Combination Logos: This is the most common type of logos and is found everywhere. Most of these are actually glyph or alpha-glyph with an alphanumeric company name. It is the arrangement of the company name and the image and their color combination that plays the most instrumental role in the effectiveness of the logo. Some good examples of combination logos are UPS, Red Hat Linux and Intel.

Placing your corporate logo on all marketing collaterals including business cards, brochures, flyers etc helps you to mark those collaterals as your company property and establish your corporate identity.

Logos and marketing materials are integral part of a company’s brand establishment strategy. A logo done by an amateur can ruin the credibility of your business in no time but when done by a professional logo designer can definitely add value to your business. A professional logo designer can help you to decide which type of logo is best suited for your business and can make people perceive your company as a huge corporate house with much credibility even when it might be just an one man shop.

It’s the image of the company that matters, if you intend to portray a positive and impressive image of your company go for a professional logo design today.

Brand Identity – Building Your Brand With Integrity

Building a brand is not a gimmick or fluke, marketing for deep positive branding is a necessary part of business. If marketing with integrity is at the core of your business, you can develop branding strategies that are customer focused built on your values.

Branding Strategy #1 – Branding through top notch customer service

A major aspect of branding for any business is the customer’s experience from first learning about the company to actually using the product. Competitive pricing, quality return policy and programs to generate customer loyalty all add up to effective customer service. Running a business with integrity includes asking for customer feedback, efficiently handing customer complaints and truth in advertising, your brand’s essence is based on the promises made with the initial branding. From the onset, give your potential customers your brand’s promise in the simplest terms possible THEN live up that promise – that IS customer service!

Branding Strategy #2 – Consistent visual branding

Visual branding is very powerful. Both online and offline branding is built on your use of logos, banners, tag lines, packaging, business cards, advertising and direct marketing tools. Even if funds are limited, you can strive to be consistent AND creative with your visual branding efforts. As your business grows, invest in creating a visual logo that can be built into all aspects of your business. Remember that your brand’s promise and personality is most effective if your customers can mentally CONNECT your logo with your business.

The use of a trademark is an integral part long term visual branding. A trademark also protects your business in the long run. Building your brand with a trademark occurs when you convey you are a serious contender for their business. When your potential customer is on the fence between two companies seemingly equal companies, a trademark can influence their choice. Your customer service from sale to repeat sale will help keep them loyal customers but getting that initial foothold will either make or break your business.

Branding Strategy #3 – Branding through relationships with your customers.

Through building relationships with your visitors and customers, you will create deep connections that compel them to return to you for future business. Granted many customers buy based on price or brand names regardless of the environment or customer relations BUT if your business is built on customers rather than sales ~ you will learn the power of branding through relationships. Essentially, it comes down to what your business offers. A service business can only thrive when you are able to develop strong professional relationships with your customers. If you run a website that offers digital products with little human interaction then you may discount the relationship aspect. Smart business? I don’t think so. Customer loyalty and word of mouth recommendations come from customers impressed with your product, service and the way they were treated by you and your team. That’s the bottom line. The long term benefit of connecting with your customers definitely outweighs any short team business success.

Branding Strategy #4 – Choose your branding and marketing strategies based on your potential customers.

Personality branding lifts a business apart from the competition and above similar business with the human element of the business. Your brand’s “personality” is made up of the human aspect of your brand. What human attributes do you WANT you’re branding to project? Think of the customers you seek. Consider the human traits that will draw them toward your brand. Does your brand project warmth, fun, wit, efficiency, imagination, maturity or thriftiness? The human elements you convey in your marketing and branding will be key to reaching your target market. Investment bankers often use branding strategies that convey steady, mature, serious and bottom line thinking because those are what their potential customers seek.

On the other hand, viral branding works best with businesses that tote themselves as cutting edge, trendy, hip and fresh like Apple computers, cell phone companies and even credit cards.

While sensory branding is built on the full experience of the customer, you may make the sale but the customer’s TOTAL experience is what provides the branding you seek. Although sensory branding occurs after you make the sale, sharing customer testimonials that relate their own total experience with your product or services will help get the first sale. When their own experience closely matches the testimonials, the branding will be further deepened for them. Because branding helps customers make a choice, deep positive branding is your goal.

Remember…

Branding and marketing your business is a big venture. Spend time each week on building your brand. Your brand consists of the qualities others assign to your business. Your business offers something – but starting a business alone does not mean success. Success comes when others look at your business in its entirety as VALUABLE and DELIVERS.

How will you know when your branding efforts have succeeded? When the experience of doing business with you fulfills the Brand Identity you set out to develop. Essentially, it comes down to the customer’s experience. When your business is living up to your brand’s essence, consistently and with honest business practices…you will know you have succeeded in building your brand! Profit margins aside, you will know you ARE a successful business owner.

Importance of Employee Branding in the Modern Corporate World and Its Implementation in UAE

In the competitive world of today, every company seeks to have the best talent around. This is the reason that it has become extremely difficult for the employees to get into any company. But as far as the best talents from the high-profile universities are concerned, companies have to come up with exciting packages so as to ensure that the highly-talented lot can become a part of their functioning. So, as far as the current research is concerned, an employee brand is what attracts the employees towards a company. It is actually an image that the company makes of itself in the minds of many that it is the best place to get employed at. An employee brands ensures a sense of belongingness in the people and this makes the employees play an integral role in the achievement of success. Hence, one can say that an employee brand is the value of a company that exists in the corporate. Hence, one can say that in the present scenario, one of the goals of a company is related to employee branding. This goal is to achieve customer satisfaction where the customers are nobody but the employees themselves. One can also introduce employee branding as one of the core values of an organization. Those companies that this research has seen to have a good image in the market place are the ones which also have a good extent of employee brand attached to its name. The most important question that needs to be answered with respect to brand employer building is that the company has to know as to what they are and what their vision is. Along with this, they also have to meet the expectations of the stakeholders in the meanwhile. (Mangold, 2004)
Internal View of Employee branding

One must be able to define the meaning of employee branding to the company. It must be remembered that employee branding is actually the image of an organization for the people working in the organization. It is this reputation that the companies make of themselves inside their premises that are also carried outside to the passive candidates, the customers, the clients and also the others who are affected by the proceedings of the company. Hence, one can say that within the company, employee branding is done to attract the employees, and also for their subsequent retention in times to come so as to improve the company’s image of employee branding. The management of every country has to understand a very simple fact that it can’t lay a narrow focus on the employee branding. If this is done, it would only be a departmental project and would not have been entitled to be a part of the overall business strategy of the company. One must keep another fact clear that if employee branding is only considered to be a part of the recruitment process and then given the back seat, there will be too many cases of absenteeism resulting in subsequent resignations at frequent intervals. (Turning staff into brand ambassadors, 2009)
Importance of defining Employee Brand Objectives

Every activity that is regular in a company requires a definition for its subsequent planning. The reason for the same is that once the objectives are defined, the company would certainly save a lot of money and time in the process that are carried in the latter stages. We are all aware of the fact that every company has a different lifecycle stages and objectives at different times. So, defining the employee brand objectives would be of help at all these life stages that the company has For example, one of them can be to establish an employee referral program. These objectives with respect to employee branding can be to integrate the culture of two companies in process of doing a merger, or to decrease the turnover rates of the employees, to increase the hire volume for a particular period of time, training to improve the quality of the employees, and also to update the career section in the websites to ensure that the company can convey the idea of employee branding and the importance that it holds in the organization. These are all the cases that need to be defined with respect to employee branding for better implementation and subsequent success of the company. (Pickard, 2009)

Relationship between Employee branding and Marketing and Communications

A company must define the ownership of a brand strategy so as to make a reach to the consensus and also so that the employees of the country remain united in their ways. The management of a company must always take the forefront in driving employee branding with the help of education in the organizational premises and also by awareness building. There are certain employees who stand as unconditional and do not require a general need for motivation. But for most of the organizations it is a long-term and also strategic attempt of talent management. These strategies are designed in order to attract, keep busy, prevent absenteeism etc and these strategies can only be fulfilled by a collaboration of the employee branding department with the marketing and communications department. As for example, the marketing and communications department s can be of extreme help in the case of analysis through websites, or also in the segmentation of the target market. Research says that wherever this collaboration stays weak, there is certainly a large struggle, or delay in the projects or even the creativity can be minimized to a large extent.

Modes of Discovering Employee brand

One can develop an employee branding strategy by making a comprehension of the culture followed in the organization, the work experiences of candidates, the drivers of talent, external perspectives of the organization, vision of the organization, the leadership issues and also the management practices. If a company focuses on these areas for discovering its employee branding, it would be able to make a construction of its message platform which would have the characteristics of being the most authenticated, of a compelling nature and also distinguished. This systematic procedure would also be embraced perfectly in the internal organization. Other than this, the external reach of the organization would also better as a result.

There are also various ways of carrying the development program of employee branding. These are both quantitative and qualitative research. This can be in the form of focussing on groups, conducting interviews of leaders and also meetings and seminars. One can also gather competitive intelligence in the process. If the company wants to develop itself externally as well, it can check the online reputation of the firm so as to find out the views of the organization about what is said about them on the web through the blogs, or some social networking sites like Facebook and Orkut.

Role of the CEO and the Higher Authorities in Employee branding

It is extremely important for a company to have its top management converse about the employee brands in the earlier stages of the development of the same. There is an institute called the Employee brand Institute which suggests that it is highly positive for a company’s future prospects to get involved with the key stakeholders on this issue. These issues can include the following:

* The support of employee branding in development of the business strategy
* The culture of the organization and its consistency across the globe
* The perception of the organization both internally and externally
* The channels of communication for bottom-up and vice versa
* The most critical positions of success and the extent to which the company has gone in achieving the same
* All the above defined can be with respect to the attraction of the employees towards the organization, the engagement in achieving the organization’s goals and finally the removal of policies of absenteeism from the organization and achieve maximum retention of employees (HR faces the challenges of 2002, 2002)

Significance of Employee brand

Many researchers have argued that in spite of following all the characteristics of employee branding, companies have generally considered it as a shortcut for getting the best talent available in the surroundings. Many companies also tie up with ad agencies so as to market their employee branding even if they do not practice them in reality. These are some of the activities which fall totally against the much valued significance that employee branding has. It is often said that if one takes good care of his guests, there is all the probability that the guest will become your own and will continue to be loyal with you. This is followed by organizations like Google and Marriott. Every organization must understand this fact very clearly that the organization’s core values are defined by the extent of being productive and responsive towards the customers. In others words it is a common belief that if a company takes care of the people it affects, these people would certainly take care of the company. The competitive world of today teaches a very simple concept which is that every gain is mutual. Along with the services, it is the employee brand of a company that it would have to deliver to make the best possible returns.

Implementation in UAE

Employee branding has seen its heights touched in UAE. One can see that every now and then there are some new entrants into every big organization. For example, if one has a look at the statistics of the country, more than 80% of the population is that of the expatriates. The level is even increasing every now and then. For a person to make a living in country, the work atmosphere has to be very good and along with that it is also required that the companies offer many opportunities for the candidates. Both these characteristics on which the employee brand depends are highly followed in UAE.

Employee branding and Tourism in UAE

The incessant development of tourism in the country is based on a number of reasons. There is an entire integrated system that is responsible for the same. The country would never have had the same number of tourists just with the advancement in the infrastructure itself. There are also many other reasons for the same. These reasons include the application of employee branding in some of the famous companies in UAE. Alshamel Holidays is a very well-known name when it comes to tourism planning in the country. The company has reached its success because of the fact that the employees are highly satisfied with the processes that are followed by the company. The company has attracted the employees not just by giving exciting packages in terms of money and the other extra incentives along with it, but also with the level of motivation that is practiced in Alshameel Holidays. The organization connects more than 45,000 hotels all over and most importantly; this strong network is maintained by individuals employed all over.

The difference that the company has with respect to other holiday designing organizations like Al-Futtaim is that, the company has made an image of itself that can’t be imitated in the market. The company has used its employee brand strategy as a part of the organizational goals that have been discussed in the first section. There are many companies that are looking forward to hire the type of employee collection that Alshamel Holidays can offer but the only difference is that they have used the false significance of employee branding as mentioned above. Many tourism companies only guarantee a democratic mode of leadership with a flat organizational structure where the employees would also have their say in making strategies. This is actually followed in Alshamel Holidays organization. Every seminar which is held so as to make the strategies to attract new tourists is also attended by the other employees as well whom the company feels to make a suitable contribution in the making. This also develops a healthy competition amongst the employees and the employee branding is advanced further. Once again, we see that a mutual benefit has a major role to play. The company’s prospects increase this way as well as the employees’ morale.

Employee branding and Real Estate in UAE

Not many of us are eluded from the fact that the real-estate business in UAE is amongst the best in the world. Once again, there are many reasons for the same. The country has seen some of the nest structures that it would not have even dreamt about in the past. Where did all the skill come from? Every real-estate company in the country follows the principle of Employee branding. They know exactly where they are and what they want to become. Not only this, they are also particular about giving the employees all the benefits that they deserve and even more on the company’s success. Whichever company does so, has an image for employee branding and wherever this is not possible, the case is different. A UAE citizen must have heard the names of Emaar Properties and also Emirates Property Investment. The two companies are the representatives of real estate business in the country. They are responsible for making the tallest structure on earth, the largest mall in the earth and also have the reputation of accommodating the highest number of people in the world. It is not just a matter of chance that has made this a reality. The companies have the best employees that a real estate company can ever have. First of all, their recruitment policies implement the employee branding to the fullest.

The employees are attracted by the already created image of excellent work conditions within the company. Also, they are given the best packages and incentive in course of their working in the country. But, for most other real estate companies this is the end of employee branding that they do. On most occasions, the companies do not even follow the incentive policy that they promise. This is the reason that in spite of the exceptional success of the real estate business in the country, there are very few actually known. Here again, we can see the mutual advantage of the employers and the employees. Once the old employees resign old companies, they move on to companies like Emaar and Emirates Properties. This way, the latter companies also have an idea of the competent strategy that is made. One of the best ideas of employee branding that are followed by the top management in Emaar and Emirates Properties, is that they always hold meeting in personal with the employees so as to follow the purpose of attracting and retaining. This way, even the level of absenteeism and initial resignations are prevented. The best part is that the top management also follows the ides of employee branding with respect to the work experience of the employees and also the talent that they are capable of. They do not leave a stone unturned in motivating the employees as and when required. The two companies are also highly bothered about the fact that they have an excellent external image. This is because; the entrance of employees is highly based on the same. (Warren, 2009)

Employee branding and Hotel Industry in UAE

We have all heard about the Hilton Hotel in UAE and the Le Meridian hotel in Jumeirah Beach. These are amongst the best hotels that even middle class tourists can hope to accommodate themselves in. Not everybody in the country has the privilege to afford Burj Dubai. But when it comes to making profits, the two hotels are not far behind Burj Dubai! A very important reason behind the same is the applicability of Employee branding in the two hotels. Even during seasons when the rates are slashed, the guests are treated in the best possible manner. The two hotels believe in the principle that if a hotel takes care of the guests, the guests will take care of the hotel and also be an integral part of the same by being loyal in the future. This can certainly not happen without the significant contribution of the hotel staff. The staffs of Le Meridian and Hilton Hotels in UAE are recruited from amongst some of the best hotel management institutes in the world. The credibility of the staff is so much that they can also be recruited in hotels like Burj Dubai and that too with higher salaries in the beginning. But what keeps them to the mentioned hotels is the amount of care that the top management has for them.

Not many employees are given the option to choose amongst their own suitability of duty timings. These hotels are amongst the only exceptions that allow this to happen. There are many occasions that even the higher officials are ready to assist the staff during extra critical situations. This not only gives a sense of confidence amongst the employees but also makes them loyal to the respective hotel in the future. The two hotels are so bothered about their staff that they keep taking their interviews and also be a part of observations so as to see if the leaders behave ethically or not. Much to the surprise of many leaders, the hotels also take action against the leaders who do not turn favourites amongst the staff. Even though it does decrease the power to control, the company sees to it that the results are very close to what actually takes place in the practical sense. Another principle of employee branding that the two hotels follow is to check the distribution channels. A guest is served only after a systematic set of processes followed by the hotels. For example, the receptionist, the escorts, the serving staff, the cleanliness staff and all other departmental staff that the customers encounter. The two hotels ensure that all these staffs are happy with the proceedings of the hotels. The reason for the same is that, if this is not followed and even if one distribution channel fails, the hotels’ reputations would be at stake. So, one can see that the employee branding ideology of frequent conversation with the staff for the betterment of the organization is highly followed in Le Meridian Hotel and Hilton Hotel for their best prospects.

I am a pre final year student at the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Gwalior, India pursuing a five year integrated course (dual degree) leading to the award of B.Tech (Information Technology) and MBA. I am currently in the 9th Semester. ABV-IIITM Gwalior, a Deemed University, is an apex Institute, established by the ministry of HRD (Human Resource Development), Government of India. The competitive environment at my Institute coupled with my inherent trait of trying to learn something new from each experience has made me come a long way in these four years. I have not only learnt to work under pressure and intense competition with some of the brightest students in the country but have also worked with an esteemed KPO called CBI Solutions in the meanwhile. This has given me the experience to get exposed to some of the most challenging marketing traits in the business. Moreover, I have been awarded first rank for IT and Entrepreneurship at the end of my 7th Semester. I have been privileged to work at Polaris Retail Infotech Limited, Gurgaon from May to July’08. This taught me the practical application of relationship marketing as I saw the preparation of customer interfaces through their software Smart Store. This is visible at billing counters at retail stores of the fame of Shopper’s Stop. Also, I’ve been in the editorial board of my college magazine, La Vista for the past 3 years and eventually I hold the responsibility of the Chief Editor.

10 Sure-Fire Strategies to Branding Your Business Successfully

When you are starting a business, Corporate Branding is by far the most important piece of the puzzle. In fact, your branding strategy is critical to your business long-term success. A corporate brand is so much more than just a logo, it establishes your business relevance and credibility and determines how prospective customers perceive your business. A brand is also the uniform of your emblematic agent who represents the desired attributes of your company’s products, services, and initiatives that visually communicates to your market who you are, what you do, and how you do it.

These 10 strategies will help you lay the right foundation to turn your corporate branding into a powerhouse.

1- Choose a company name that is relevant to your business. Your business name should define the nature of your business and should be self-explanatory. Choose wisely as it will stick around forever.

2- Understand your target market and your customers. If you want to build a brand that effectively targets the right market, you must know whom you are targeting, as well as who your customers are. This step is crucial and must be well-defined otherwise the market you wish to target with your brand, might not be the one you attract.

3- Set yourself apart from your competitors. Competition is fierce. Knowing your business offerings and understanding your competitions will help you to differentiate yourself and to position your business on the market.

4- Write a powerful mission statement. A mission statement reinforces and defines a company’s core values and commitments. Keep it clear, simple and short. Focus on “What you can be” rather than “what you want to be.” Your brand should reflect your mission statement.

5- Create a professional logo that represents your business. A well-designed logo not only gives recognition but, also, provides a powerful and instant image of whom you are to the outside world. It’s truly the emblematic agent that represents your business attributes. Having a remarkable logo that reflects the professionalism and trustworthiness of your business will definitely give you a solid foundation for your branding with a clear advantage over your competition.

6- Integrate a catchy tagline with your logo. Using a catchy tagline or slogan with your logo adds extra information that define who you are. It also helps your company stand out among your competitor. Although a tagline evolves with time, it should reveal your companies best attributes.

7- Choose a colour scheme that suits your industry. Choosing the right colours for your identity is an important part of the brand process. Don’t underestimate the power of colours, your colour selection can totally “make” or “break” your overall branding strategy.

8- Be consistent with the usage of your corporate brand identity. To build strong brand recognition, you must remain consistent with the usage of your logo, colours, and tagline by standardizing all marketing materials, signage, website, and other projects. Even your phone mannerisms and your customer service must reflect your brand so that customers can have a consistent experience and build trust in you. Too many companies neglect to put this point into practice showing clients a lack of quality, consistency, and professionalism.

9- Never compromise your branding to save money. The most common mistake new entrepreneurs make is to believe they can save money by creating their own branding or having a friend of a friend create it for them. Of course, you can save money by doing it yourself, but if don’t have the skills required to create an effective brand this will translate into a loss of sales. Corporate branding should be the core of your initial investment because laying the right foundation to build you brand the first time can mean the difference between “failure” or “success.”

10- Monitor, refine, and maintain your Corporate ID. Branding is not a one time deal, it’s an ongoing process to keep up with your market’s expectations. After being launched, your branding and marketing communications must be continually monitored and refined to ensure that your message resonates with your market at all times. Entrepreneurs that understand this concept and whom evolve with their market’s demands will be the ones that survive and prosper.

As you can see corporate branding is more than just a logo and when you’ve successfully built an effective corporate brand, it can only translate to more business for you.

Karen Couillard, is an accomplished Art Director at Vercomedia – Creative Design Studio.

With over 20 years in the design industry, she is committed to helping small business owners and individuals make the right decisions by sharing her expertise with tips, tricks and strategies about website design, corporate branding, package design and product development. She also supports entrepreneurialism through the “Access To Professionals Program – Expert on Demand” by mentoring new entrepreneurs who need business start up advice on Web Design, Branding and Marketing.

Mind The Gap: Aligning Strategic and Tactical Marketing

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.
Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat….
–Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”

We marketers are an ambitious lot. We often aspire to corporate leadership, so we spend a great deal of time and energy establishing and developing a reputation for strategic marketing competence. This may often happen to the detriment of tactical skill development. However, marketers who master strategic marketing, tactical marketing and the critical integration of the two are more likely to build successful brands in the long run, and they are more likely to be prepared for senior leadership.

What do we mean by strategy and tactics?

The word “strategy” conjures up visions of masterminds creating new and amazing directions for businesses to pursue. Contrast this with “tactics,” which conjures up visions of managing day-to-day tasks.

These terms have their roots in military history, dating from the time of the ancient Greeks. Indeed, the definition of strategy from the Oxford English Dictionary shows the traditional demarcation: Strategy is “the art of a commander-in-chief; the art of projecting and directing the larger military movements and operations of a campaign. Usually distinguished from tactics, which is the art of handling forces in battle or in the immediate presence of the enemy.”

Broadly speaking, then, strategy is typically about answering “what,” and tactics about answering “how.”

Organizations often view strategy as the more appealing area, given its cross-functional scope and impact, whereas “merely” tactical roles can seem mundane and limited in scope and impact.

For many in marketing, especially those with aspirations to senior leadership, there is a natural attraction to being the commander-in-chief, directing the larger movements. But there are two key organizational risks to this: a marketer’s perceived or actual skill set may not fit this precise role, and staff see strategy and tactics as mutually exclusive, whereas an integrated approach is how brands succeed.

BREAKING DOWN ORGANIZATIONAL BARRIERS

Specialization runs the risk of creating silos, where strategy no longer takes into account how something is executed, or tactics are used in pursuit of short-term goals that are unrelated to, and possibly contrary to, an organization’s strategic marketing objectives.

For example, brands often seek to expand from one market to the rest of the globe, attempting to develop a global brand positioning and to leverage scale. However, they often fail to account for key differences between their homeland and the markets they seek to grow in. Competitive sets and positioning maps may differ. There may be different buying influences or regulatory requirements. Customers may play much larger roles. Perhaps most importantly, consumer segmentation and buying behaviors may be very, very different. As a result, it can be very challenging for a brand to build and implement global strategy when a brand fails to account for different tactics required in different markets in order to achieve the global strategy.

Similarly, tactical decisions in pursuit of short-term goals can work against strategic objectives. A clear example of this is when a brand seeks to develop equity as a premium brand. Often brands will take a strategic decision on price and promotion strategies with a view toward long-term equity building, such as setting MSRP at a premium to the category and limiting frequency and depth of promotions. However, if volumes fall short of sales targets, one of the first tactics used to drive momentum is deeper, more frequent price promotion. While this moves the needle in the short-run, it impedes the ability of the brand to establish itself as a premium player in its category.

An interesting contrast to these examples is where a brand strikes a good balance between strategic planning and tactical execution. For example, strong global brands leverage a global insight with near universal relevance. They develop a globally consistent look and feel with clearly defined mandatory elements. They allow for relevant locally developed touchpoints that reinforce the core brand message without it becoming the “lowest common denominator.” In short, they account up-front for not only a truly global strategy but also important differences in tactical approaches to achieve it.

THE HUMAN FACTOR

In addition to creating that strong strategic and tactical coordination and integration on individual campaigns, it’s critical to have the right staff doing the right things on a day-in, day out basis.

Here are some concrete ways to bring such integration to life in your marketing organization:

• Manage the Organization: Hiring and cultivating staff who have mastered both the tactical and strategic arts, and can apply them appropriately, should be a key objective for marketing staff development.

Additionally, recognize the value of having roles whose main responsibility is “integration marketing”: bridging potential organizational gaps, for example those between global and local marketing, design and delivery, brand and customer marketing, etc.

For example, in some effective global marketing organizations, there are global brand/product marketing managers who develop the global strategies, local marketing implementers responsible for bringing to life the strategies at market and customer level, and a team of regional sector/channel marketing managers whose responsibility it is to ensure that each informs the other appropriately in planning and execution.

• Plan Your Marketing Work: Modify marketing planning processes to force integrated discussion of strategy and implementation. Ensure that strategic and tactical marketing staffs, as well as other implementers such as sales and product supply, inform each other to ensure harmony up-front. Acknowledge and leverage the different points of view, enabling each to serve as a check-and-balance on the other in a way that creates constructive tension, open communication, and clear accountabilities.

• Work Your Marketing Plan: Do not let the “plan” be the end of the integration of strategic and tactical marketing. Rather, it must be the starting point. Throughout the year, hold regular, robust engagement sessions between those with strategic, integration and tactical marketing roles to evaluate work to date, realign on objectives and activities, and plan out appropriate next steps.

• Seek Lessons Learned : It is absolutely essential to spend the time needed to conduct post-mortems on key projects and identify where the linkages were strong, and perhaps more importantly where they fell short of what the business needed. Take the time to determine what you will DO differently next time.

By doing these things, marketers do not fall into the trap of creating, in Sun Tzu’s words, “the slowest route to victory.” Instead, we do many vital, beneficial things: We keep in mind the critical question of whether the organization we are supporting can execute with excellence the strategic vision, architecture, segmentation, positioning, etc., that we develop. We ensure that those who will ultimately execute the strategy buy into it, feel a sense of ownership of it, and commit to doing their part to fulfill it. We ensure that the tactical activities are aligned with the strategy, so as to avoid the “noise before defeat.” And we align organizational goals, right down to KPIs and individual performance reviews, with the broader strategy to ensure that we execute with excellence and ensure that the strategy takes into proper account the “lay of the land.”

In the end, whether on a battlefield or in a boardroom, strategy, tactics and the integration of them are means to an end: victory. Marketers must ensure all three are present, mutually supporting and well designed. If we do this, we win.