Your Brand= Your People

I’ve been at the Bersin Impact 2018 conference this week. In fact, I’m typing this from my hotel room in Hollywood, FL. I’ve been surrounded by amazing business leaders and HR professionals from around the globe talking about human capital trends. This isn’t the kind of stuff you might remember from your mother’s glory days in “personnel”. The lines of where HR starts and the business starts are continually blurred (as they should be). HR is not external to the business; people ARE business.

Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2018

Deloitte has identified the overarching human capital trend for 2018 as “the rise of the social enterprise”. Gone are the days where CEOs of your favorite brands can remain silent on social issues that affect both their customers and employees. A major player and role model in this trend is Unilever. You may or may not recognize the company name, but you will certainly recognize their brands like: Magnum, Helmans, Dove, Lipton, Ben&Jerry’s, Nexxus, Ponds, and V05 just to name a few.

Leena Nair

This morning’s key note speaker and Unilever’s CHRO extraordinaire was Leena Nair. Her message was very clear about a company’s responsibility to be a change agent for good in both the lives of their employees and their consumers. Here are some of the key take-away points from her presentation that relate to both people and brand:

  • Create a culture where your employees feel like they can be their authentic selves at work and they will be your best brand ambassadors. You can see examples of this in Unilever’s sponsorship of Pride, diversity/inclusion in Dove commercial, etc.
  • One of Leena’s first slides articulated: “Brands with purpose grow faster, companies with purpose last, and people with purpose thrive”.
  • Leaders have responsibilities to further brand and purpose internally and externally.

Unilever leadership

  • Millions of people apply to Unilever and even if they aren’t hired, the company has a duty to respect each as a human and consumer by giving them feedback/response to their application. Maintaining a positive experience with Unilever.

I immediately started following Leena and other Unilever leaders on social media. I can’t wait to learn more about what Unilever does next as a socially responsible enterprise. And because I love supporting good companies, I’ll keep buying my Nexxus shampoo and eating plenty of Ben&Jerry’s. Marketing at its finest!

*All photos were taken by me and are either from Leena Nair’s presentation at the conference or the Deloitte/Bersin sessions.

 

 

5 Award Winning TV Ad Campaigns

This post is the second installment of our greatest marketing campaigns assignment. This week the media type is television and I’ve curated some of the most sappy, touching, and impactful recent ads that I could find. I’ve had an emotional week, for many reasons, and couldn’t help but be drawn to this gut-wrenching genre. I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed analyzing them. Word of caution: grab a box of tissues.

 

“How else could I bring you all together?”

how else could I bring you together

Objective: EDEKA is one of the larger super market corporations in Germany. When people come together during the holidays, they need to cook meals and shop in the grocery store. This ad reminds people of the relationships that really matter and a lovely side effect of having family parties is the need to go food shopping.

Target Market: Anyone who feels guilty for not visiting their family enough. And anyone who might be feeling lonely around the holidays.

Action: Don’t wait for a funeral announcement to bring your family together. Celebrate and love one another, now.

Value Proposition: Come together as a family over the holidays and you will share much more than a meal.

 

“It can wait”

it can wait

Objective: This ad shows the complex yet mundane worlds of the many characters within a neighborhood. The uneventfulness of the majority of the film builds suspense for “something” to happen. That something is a crash when a mom glances at her phone and enters the oncoming lane, smashing into a truck.

Target Market: This ad speaks to everyone. It shows how a simple action can cause tremendous trauma to the entire neighborhood.

Action: AT&T wants to remind customers to not post, glance, email, search, or text while driving.

Value Proposition: If you refrain from using your phone for complex tasks in the car you can keep your eyes and your full attention on actually driving. You will prevent accidents, injury, and maybe even death.

 

“Astronauts Welcome”

astronauts welcome

Objective: This beautiful ad humanizes the refugee crisis. While many countries won’t allow for refugees, this ad shows the imaginative young mind of a girl journeying to a new life, with a father who indulges her imagination to make the journey less scary.

Target Market: This ad aims to win the hearts and minds of people who may not see refugees as “worthy” or as people (the same as they are).

Action: This story told by a little refugee girl persuades the audience to look at her as any other child in their own lives.

Value Proposition: If you open your heart to the journey, the story, and the humanity of refugees, you might find yourself making different decisions about welcoming them to your country, town, or community.

 

“Hello Beautiful”

hello beautiful

Objective: We watch as two women go through their daily lives while learning sign language. By the end of the commercial, we learn that the two women are married and are adopting a child who is deaf. Wells Fargo has helped them prepare their finances for the day that “two becomes three”.

Target Market: Anyone who has attempted to get their finances in order as their family grew and changed.

Action: It’s not just about preparing mentally, learning a new language, or prepping your home. Consult with Wells Fargo on the big changes in your life.

Value Proposition: Wells Fargo will help you plan your financial future. They can help you through the big changes in life, like adopting a child.

 

“Roles Change. Without us noticing.”

roles change

Objective: Inform the viewer that there are resources for those who find themselves in a role reversal with taking care of their aging parents. The ad uses a sense of nostalgia to compel us to look into how AARP can help.

Target Market: This ad targets the sandwich generation. Anyone who may be caring for an aging parent and still be raising a young family of their own would be interested by this tactic.

Action: Let AARP help you find the resources you need to care for those that you love, in your new-found role as caregiver.

Value Proposition: There is help and support for those who may not have ever seen themselves as a caregiver or for someone struggling with their new “role”.

 

*All photos are still shots of the television ads referenced in this post.

 

5 Award Winning Radio Ad Campaigns

This week our Strategic Marketing class is evaluating award-winning radio ads. When I started my research, I didn’t have a theme in mind for the ads I would choose to evaluate. I simply picked out the ads that resonated with me as a consumer. From the five I chose, you’ll find the common thread is that this consumer prefers: funny, absurd, shocking, and/or slightly off-color advertising tactics. Here are my top 5 picks and a brief evaluation of each:

“Are you in good hands?”

Objective: Show the absurdity of the incidents, accidents, and delinquency of others to persuade you to buy a better insurance product when the inevitable “Mayhem” strikes.

Target Market: Anyone who has ever been driving along and been distracted by something while driving (great house, an elk). Or anyone who has been affected by a distracted driver (someone using their dating ap while driving).

Action: Accidents happen; distracted drivers happen. You need Allstate insurance to make sure you are not left with a huge bill if something happens to you.

Value Proposition: Allstate has your back when mayhem strikes on the road. You can rest easy knowing you have Allstate rather than some “cut-rate” other insurance.

 

“Why Tecate beats other brewers.”

Objective: Use humor and the tease of almost hearing a dozen curse words on the radio to sell their beer. They claim brewmasters all over the world are angry that Tecate is already brewing bold flavor that can’t be outdone. 2014 was a big year for micro-brewery growth and the larger beer producers like Tecate had to stay relevant.

Target Market: Beer lovers who may have been considering buying other brands.

Action: Let us shock you with our “almost crude” language. Don’t spend your money on craft beer. Tecate has had great flavor for many years and brewers all over the world know it!

Value Proposition: Go ahead and buy the inexpensive beer with the “dangerously” bold flavor. No other brewery can match the flavor, and the brewmasters are threatened by the perfection that is Tecate.

 

“Reasons why you need a dumpster.”

  • Link to radio ad: https://aef.com/ad-campaigns/estate/
  • Firm: Creative Services Group/iHeartMedia
    Company: Cooper Disposal
  • Title: Estate
    Air Date: 2016
  • Awards: Radio Mercury Award 2016

Objective: Inform potential customers that Cooper has a solution to your garbage problem. Cooper will come to you!

Target Market: Anyone who has inherited a mess. Particularly targeting the sandwich generation who has little time for an involved clean-up.

Action: Rent the dumpster. Cooper will drop it off and pick it up from your site. All you have to do is fill it up and reap the rewards of your inheritance.

Value Proposition: The ad uses humor and a song that gives a sense of urgency to shed light on a real problem that many families face each year. The issue of simplifying the process of sorting the good stuff from the “broken treadmill and shamrock sofa” can be a major headache when inheriting an estate.

 

“So anyway….”

Objective: Translate the idea that Quickrete dries really fast into a metaphor where the narrator tells a very abbreviated story with only two to four plot points for a topic that should be vastly more complex.

Target Market: Consumers with a use for Quickrete in their home or business projects.

Action: Buy this brand because it is really easy and fast.

Value Proposition: This brand is the fastest setting concrete. It will save you time.

 

“Here Kitty, Kitty”

Objective: Demonstrate the absurd things and services you might be able to afford should you become rich. Illustrate that you would be a much better steward of your money, should you win the lottery.

Target Market: Anyone in the listening audiences who has ever said, “if I won the lottery, I would….”.

Action: Play the New York lottery because you would obviously make better decisions with your winnings. Buy a ticket.

Value Proposition: What do you have to lose by buying a lotto ticket? If you win, you can’t be any more eccentric than the guy who pays a grown man to impersonate his dead cat.

 

Blog feature image: Box-Sisters-Radio-Teddy-Bear, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

When the CEO Gives You a Life Size Santa, You Say, Thank You

ENT 630 Wk 8-Reactions to It’s a Jungle in There

This week as I close the final chapter of Steven Schussler’s It’s a Jungle in There, I am reminded of the daily work of my teams. In my health system, I have the privilege of leading three great teams. Two of whom are directly related to this week’s reading: Volunteer Engagement Team and our Rathbun Hospitality House. In Schussler’s final two chapters he speaks about social responsibility and philanthropy, a primary part of my weekly work life.

This week the HR team that I lead hosted about 90 team members from across our health system for a “great place to work and practice” retreat. The retreat was amazing, but that’s not the story I’m telling today. About thirty minutes before the retreat I received a text from the Senior Vice President to whom I report (my boss’s boss) saying that our CEO, who happened to be our first guest speaker of the day, was bringing a “Giant Santa” to give to my team at the Rathbun House. After the CEO spoke and interacted with team members at the retreat, one of my team members walked with him to his car and transferred the nearly 5-foot elvish beast into my VW wagon. Our CEO, sent this lovely creature to our Rathbun House because he knew it would bring great joy to those who enter Rathbun during the holiday season.

You see, Rathbun is a refuge in the woods, just a little over a mile from the hospital where families in medical crisis, who travel from outside our home county, can stay up to 21 days free of charge (with the proper care management referral). Our Hospitality house is funded through philanthropic dollars and primarily staffed with volunteers.

The Santa was sent to bring a smile to the faces of those who come through the doors. To our guests who are often fatigued, fragile, or frightened. A volunteer who had been decorating the window boxes and hanging wreathes walked in and said, “wow, we are big-time now, that looks like something that would be in a resort.” By the time I left for the day, volunteers, staff, and guests were having their pictures made with the happy new Santa. And the most impressive thing to everyone was that the CEO of our 12,000-employee company had remembered our department when acquiring such a cheerful gift.

I am privileged that my daily work can very quickly be linked to a more significant purpose: The health, healing, and care of those that we serve. For companies or individuals who can’t make such an immediate connection, volunteerism and philanthropy are fantastic ways to stay connected to a larger purpose and to develop corporate communities (see #14 of the linked article). Additionally, Coppy Holzman, a writer for Forbes and Entrepreneur says there are four big ways your company can benefit from giving back:

  1. Builds respect & reputation in the community
  2. Makes the community a better place
  3. Employees respect leaders who give-back
  4. Make connections; build network

And when you, your team, or your company decide to give-back through your time or dollars, look no further than your own community.

 

 “No one is useless in the world who lightens the burden of another.”

-Charles Dickens (p.197)

Helping Others Succeed Through Their Strengths

ENT 630 Wk 7-Reactions to It’s a Jungle in There

The self-examination question for chapter 22 of It’s a Jungle in There, asks, “Are you willing to help other people succeed even when it’s not a requirement of your job to be of assistance?” (p.165)

For many years and multiple organizations, I’ve been known as the “Interview Prepper.” Whenever someone I know is interviewing for a promotion, they schedule time with me for mock interviews and prep. I help people talk about themselves, their skills, their talents, and their drive for success. I offer constructive criticism and remind my colleagues of good examples to use from their professional projects. I delight in the success of my friends and colleagues. I also help them to pick up the pieces and try again if at first, they don’t succeed. Everything is a learning opportunity.

I can say, without a doubt, chapter 12 resonates most with the way I choose to operate as a leader. Developing and coaching others is a passion for me. I also found out a few years ago that these behaviors are classic signs of one of my top two strength roles. By using the StandOut strengths assessment I discovered, I am a pioneer/teacher. The going rate is about 15 dollars for the assessment alone, or there are companion books like StandOut 2.0 that you can buy on Amazon in e-book format for less than $15 (then, just use the code that comes with the book). This assessment is a situation judgment assessment, which means it helps define through behavioral questions how you show up to others, not necessarily how you perceive yourself. I have a 12-page report ranking my strengths, telling me about my most powerful attributes, what to watch out for, how to hone my strengths, etc.

The combined role summary for a pioneer//teacher describes me perfectly: “You take risks. With people. Not in a reckless, thoughtless way, but rather from a profound belief in their potential. And, in your view, that potential can be best realized through experiment and risk. You say “experience is the best teacher” and so you expose and encourage people to embrace stretch assignments. You put your own skin in the game too, recognizing that your own abilities are amplified when you seek opportunities to reach beyond your current comfort zone. Your world is a generous place in which people will be provided for. You, therefore, come from a place of faith, not fear. If there’s anything to fear, it’s missing opportunity’s knock.” (StandOut 2015)

The combination of my top two strengths roles is my competitive advantage. Strengths are also the completive advantage of those around us. As the owner of the company or the leader of the team, it’s our responsibility to give people the opportunity to live in those strengths.

I felt pretty powerful and validated to read that strengths summary. I do have a profound belief in the potential of others. To Schussler’s point in chapter 22, it’s important to find out about people, figure out what makes them tick, what makes them feel energized or drained and then match them with opportunities to help them be their best selves.

When you help others succeed, the whole team is better for it. The Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC) has some compelling evidence to back-up the claim that teams who concentrate on strengths outperform non-strengths-based peers. And as for me, I’ll keep helping those around me work from their strengths, because I’ve seen how much happier and more productive we all can be when a leader cares enough about you to know what makes you tick.

You Can be Pokey or You Can be Gumby Riding Pokey* Into the Sunset; Your Choice

ENT 630 Wk 6-Reactions to It’s a Jungle in There

A colleague of mine teaches a class on resiliency, and I’ve been a participant in both his full-length session and several mini sessions for work groups or leadership teams from across our organization.

He starts the class with a tale of two leaders: Don and Donna. He tells the group about the differing mornings that Don and Donna have had before arriving at work. Don, woke up 15 minutes late, he had a fight with his teenage daughter and spilled coffee on both his pants and his handouts for his first presentation of the day. Donna wakes up 30 minutes early, she exercises and meets a friend for lattes before carpooling with her friend to the office.  My colleague then asks the class, “Which leader will feel better and have a more productive day?”. The class usually responds with varying answers, ultimately agreeing that Donna will obviously have the better day. It’s at this point that my colleague drops a truth bomb.

The truth is, it depends. The major concept that catches participants by surprise each time he delivers his content is CHOICE. Most of us would rather have a magic wand or someone else to blame than to be told that our own happiness and success depends on our personal choice. How dare you put this back on me, teacher guy!

And yet, that’s the truth. None of us choose what happens to us in our lives, in our businesses, or in our entrepreneurial pursuits. What we do choose is how we react. We can choose accountability over a victim mentality. We can choose to not let spilled coffee define our day. We can even be like Steven Schussler in chapter 19 of “It’s a Jungle in There.” He tells a reporter (and means it) that he has never had a bad day in his whole life, while a utility crew dug a 25-foot hole in the street to cut off the gas line to his home, once and for all.

Resiliency isn’t about putting on rose-colored glasses, sugar coating the situation, or any other overly positive analogy that you can think of. Resilience is the capacity to be resourceful and creative, to make choices, and to take effective action no matter what is going on– Definition provided by the Mission Health Center for Leadership & Professional Development.

As individuals, when we are resilient, we are making a conscious choice instead of letting the world and all its forces just happen to us. And while this may seem like a “fluffy” concept, one that might be told to you by a woman smelling of patchouli at the Asheville drum circle, the concept of resilience has been extended to and accepted by the business community.

PWC, one of the world’s leading business consultants, defines resilience (in the business context) as “the ability of an organization to recognize, rapidly respond to and recover from changes in the environment and their resulting risks. Resilience allows businesses to seize the opportunities hidden within those risk events.”

Even if you feel like Schussler was a little out of touch by saying he’s never had a bad day, recognize and appreciate the sentiment behind his statement. Developing our own individual resiliency and resiliency within our businesses might be the most effective and accountable thing we do all week.

*That is a picture of my Gumby and Pokey figurines that can be found in the window of my office. My boss gave them to me. Most days I choose to be helpful and flexible like Gumby (shown holding a “sandwich sword”).

Just What the Shark Tank Ordered: Market Yourself

ENT 630: Wk 5-Reactions to It’s a Jungle in There

Every time I’ve ever watched the show, Shark Tank, I’ve actually watched no less than four episodes in a row. Curse you CNBC Prime! Stop luring me in with your savvy investors, entrepreneurial sob stories, and brilliant business ideas. In spite of the manufactured drama, I have learned a lot of helpful tips for entrepreneurs and investors by watching this campy show.

One of the questions the “Sharks” ask entrepreneurs quite frequently is, “are you doing THIS (insert business venture) full time?”. Typically, they ask this question to measure the entrepreneur’s commitment to the company, level of comfort with risk, and generally to see if the person is “all in.” I’ve even seen Kevin O’Leary turn down adorable kids with thriving businesses because school takes up too much of their time and he would rather invest in an entrepreneur, founder, or CEO who can devote all of their waking hours to the business.

This concept of investors only investing in the company if they believe in the entrepreneur behind the company is not unique. We all might roll our eyes at Kevin O’Leary, but Schussler in his book, It’s a Jungle in There, echoes this same exact sentiment in chapter 15: Marketing Yourself to Market Your Product. He says, investors often ask him, “How invested are you in your idea?” (p. 110) Schussler says it’s easy to say “I’m invested 100%”, but when you show them, you are invested by your actions they can’t help but be convinced. Not everyone has to turn their home into a rainforest café prototype or spend millions of dollars mocking up restaurant concepts in a Minneapolis warehouse. There are easy, no-brainer things you can do to show how serious and dedicated you are to your ideas when meeting with investors. Schussler has strong ideas about sending the right message to investors through:

  1. Physical appearance- wear a suit
  2. Hand Shakes– know the right balance
  3. Body Language- act interested; nod your head up and down, etc.
  4. & Business Cards- convey your concept through the item you leave behind

Don’t forget, not all meetings are scheduled. You might meet an investor at a party, on an airplane, or in the elevator. Always be ready to impress. Make an impression by making the person laugh or tell a story. Stories stick with people and leave an impression. And finally, if you are at a point in your entrepreneurial journey that you can quit your day job, you are approximately 50%* more likely to make a deal on Shark Tank if you are “all-in.”

*success odds calculated purely from my “expertise” in binge-watching Shark Tank. Not statistically valid.