Make It Happen
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How much does your organization spend on your brand? Usually, this question yields answers in the following categories: logo design, collateral production messaging, and ads. And for more sophisticated organizations, it also includes elements of Social Media.

While all of these items are important, this list is missing the two fundamental delivery mechanisms of the brand itself: people, and the online user experience.

People: Over the last several decades, the HR function within many organizations has been reduced to the transactional: payroll, posting job ads, and processing staff changes. Yet the HR function is critically important to ensuring that the brand is firmly embedded into the culture:

  • Hiring the right people
  • Orientation and onboarding
  • Performance appraisal process
  • Training
  • Career planning and succession
  • Alumni programs

Each of these areas (and more) directly impact the brand: If the brand “spend” excludes people, then a huge opportunity has been missed. Without brand strength on the inside, there can’t be brand strength on the outside.

In other words, the brand spend must also be made with the HR department.

Online User Experience: The number and frequency of online touchpoints (web/social media/automated email) has increased dramatically over the last number of years for two main reasons: internal pressure to reduce costs, and external pressure for always-available self-service.  At the same time, users’ expectations of a simple, hassle-free online experience have also increased dramatically.  If your users become frustrated interacting with you online, they will “abandon” you. Or worse, share their poor experience with the world via Social Media.

Improving the online user experience means several things:

  • Using the most up-to-date thinking for design, information architecture, and site logic.
  • Ensuring that a community management strategy is in place and that the function is staffed and trained.
  • Ensuring that any existing call center (or front-line service staff) are empowered – and technically able to respond to chat/SMS/Twitter, and any other online outreach.

In other words, the brand spend must also be made with the IT department.

This week’s action plan: Brand actually needs to infuse every group within your organization, not just marketing, HR, and IT. This week, make sure that it is, starting first with HR then with IT.

Not sure where to start? Happy to spend 30 minutes over the phone doing a short diagnostic on your digital user experience and how to improve engagement and drive conversion. Reach out at 416-256-7773 x101, or via request@108ideaspace.com

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

 

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It’s always easy to look at other organizations – or other people – and marvel at their incredible foresight, acumen, and investment.  To look at some of the most successful companies and their products – Apple and Google come to mind – and say “They were just lucky” is too easy, and unlikely.

Few people think of the many failures of these successful organizations, and the sometimes-connection between the failures and later success.  Remember the Apple III?  Or the Apple Newton? Or Google Wave?  Or Google Buzz?  These have been easily eclipsed by the iPhone, iPad, Google+, and Android.

What are the drivers of their success?  Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Hire smart people, then invest in them so that they grow.
  • Network and develop relationships with complementary organizations and people.
  • Allow some free time for innovation, beyond the present corporate goals.
  • Take risks, accept failure, but learn from it.
  • Focus on the market and adding value to it; it’s too easy to be transfixed by what you see in the rear-view mirror.

There are a number of other factors (capitalization, IP ownership, etc), but these five success factors have one thing in common: people.  In fact, most recruiters in the tech world lament about the war for talent.  And some tech companies are being valued not on sales or profitability, but on the number of engineers.

This week’s action plan: While it may be tempting to look elsewhere when things are not going particularly well, don’t: these five factors apply equally at the individual level.  This week, choose one activity: invest in yourself, network, innovate, take risks, and focus on the market instead of yourself.  When you do, you will be taking one step in making your organization more successful… and also yourself.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders