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Make Your Mark And Build Your Brand

The need for marketing when it comes to building the image of your brand amongst your customers and clients is taken as a given in today’s marketplace. You would find very few people who would argue that there’s no benefit to investing in developing your brand image and increasing brand recognition amongst the people who make up your market for the products and services you offer. However, many companies overlook the importance of brand image when building a reputation as an employer.

In the contemporary jobs market, brand recognition is as important for companies looking for new members of staff as it is for attracting new customers or building consumer brand loyalty. When you have a recognisable image, when it comes to recruiting the right people to build your business you will much more easily attract people whose values chime with those of your company if your brand is something to which they can relate.

Branding – not just for customers

When the concept of employer branding first emerged in the late 1990s, the academic paper that coined the phrase defined the concept as covering the benefits of working for a particular employer. This included not just how much an employee was paid but also the psychological benefits and reputation that was associated with an organisation and how that would impact on an individual that worked for them.

Your brand makes you instantly recognisable to future employees as well as future customers

While the branding of an organisation for its customers may have an overlap with the way it is perceived as an employer, increasing numbers of organisations are recognising the need to build a brand image that allows potential future employees to connect with the company and identify positive attributes to working for them.

What do you stand for?

In order to give potential future employees a clear idea of your company’s employer brand, it’s important to have clarity on what you stand for as an organisation. In marketing speak; this would be called your proposition and sets out what you want people to associate with your company as an employer and what sets your company apart from the rest.

Stand for something and see the image it creates

Working with a marketing strategist, you can find a clear set of principles and statements that speak to potential future employees about your organisation and make them want to join your company above your competitors.

How to market your organisational brand

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to communicate about your company and your ethos, there are many ways in which you can go about communicating this with the world in general and the people you wish to recruit in particular. Depending on the size of your organisation, you may choose to go big and market your organisation widely to the general population, building a recognition amongst the public at large and helping to influence opinion before someone even considers wanting to work for you. Some of the big oil companies have done this, blending their customer marketing strategy with their employer brand and setting out their vision and values in large-scale public information campaigns that detail the organisation’s commitment to, for example, environmental causes and public responsibility.

Whatever you decide to make part of your employer brand and however widely you choose to communicate it, a carefully designed strategy can help you make the most of your marketing budget to get the right message to the right people.

Conclusion

Employer branding is becoming a more important part of attracting the right people to the right jobs. Making people aware of what you stand for will stand you in good stead when it comes to targeting your ideal future employees.

Featured images:

Written by Nathan Griffiths who has done research on how branding works.

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Why Social Media and the Music Business Still Fit Together

richard-branson-thumbs-upWhen one considers that the first major social network was the music website MySpace, one can appreciate how music and social networking have always been intrinsically linked. From YouTube to SoundCloud, social networking has not only allowed artists to build their overall brand and interact with fans, but also simply put their music out there in a new format. Some industry analysts have been disdainful of the effects of social media on the music industry, but in reality social networking has been a profit builder for music at a time when sales forecasts were anything but cheery. Social networking and the digital era of music were born together, and hopefully will grow together at the same pace in years to come.

The day the MySpace music died: the new era of musical social networking

MySpace was revolutionary in its time for bringing musicians and their fans closer together, and allowing artists of any size or stature to post their music, videos and tour dates online. The silent decline of MySpace was not a warning shot for the music industry; rather it signalled a new internet era with specialised websites for each of a musicians’ needs. They could post their tour dates as Facebook events while uploading new music to Youtube while also chatting with fans on Twitter. The diversification of the tools available to musicians is important, because it has allowed musicians at different stages of their career to place their efforts in different places. For a young band starting out, being able to post videos to YouTube and enable people to hear their music is the most important thing. For an established star like Taylor Swift, being able to tweet personal messages to fans or make them aware of tour dates, TV appearances and fan-voted awards is much more useful. 

YouTube and the Justin Bieber effect

Many people forget that not too long ago, global superstar Justin Bieber was one of thousands of musical hopefuls posting videos of himself on YouTube to build a fan-base and hopefully get spotted. Nowadays it is a different kind of social media that he rules: on Twitter, his ‘belibers’ are so powerful and numerous that they make Justin a trending topic every other day. Justin Bieber’s transition from one type of social networking to another demonstrates well why social networking has adapted (especially in the past two years) to fit whatever mould is needed for an artist. Moving away from established stars, this multi-platform ability of social media is particularly notable in the independent music scene, as it allows independent musicians either trying to sell their music themselves or find a label to develop a multi-pronged strategy. By using different social media and networking sites, they can build momentum and achieve their goals in a way that just was not possible before social networking.

Why social media helps, not hinders, sales

Why, many ask, would a person buy a single or an album when they can listen to it on social media sites like YouTube or SoundCloud for free? The answer is practicality: YouTube works best as a gateway and not as a permanent music player. Best of all social networking is actually helping to cut down on one of the most serious problems for the music industry in the past decade: music piracy. By providing a simple link to iTunes within a video or in a tweet, musicians can direct fans to legal downloading platforms which drive up digital sales. It is no coincidence that the rise of social media and the rise in legal downloading have ran parallel to each other: they each create a positive feedback loop which enables to other to grow—benefiting artists and their labels alike.

This is a post by Jefferson Vergo. Jefferson is a freelance writer and an occasional guest-blogger and a huge tech enthusiast. He is currently working for CLEAR wireless provider company. When he is has free time he likes to travel and read.

 

 

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Learn Spanish Everywhere You Go

pic_1322432694_6Learning is a constant process and to achieve mastery over any subject, including a new language, you should be able to learn wherever you may be. There are a few easy ways in which you can make learning a continuous process.

Some ideas and thoughts that will go a long way in making learning a language a hugely interesting and sustained operation are;

  • Keep reading wherever you may be. For instance, if you are waiting at the traffic lights, then try and read the billboards around you.
  • At the breakfast table, you may like to check up what the labels of various food products are saying.
  • At home, try and play audio tapes of the language that you trying to learn.

All these ideas will work really well if you are trying to learn Spanish. By paying attention to a few things around you, you can ensure that you can learn Spanish everywhere you go. You need not be stuck to a physical classroom or be sitting in front of your laptop in order to learn Spanish.

Using mobile applications

There are plenty of mobile applications for Android, Blackberry, iPhone and almost every other smartphone on the market today. Some of these mobile applications make learning Spanish an extremely easy affair. There are some free and paid versions as well and you can choose one depending on the kind of features you want from the mobile application.

Do remember that in most cases, the paid versions are the ones that have all the features loaded within. So if you are trying to learn Spanish at a really intensive level, you may be better served by opting for a full featured mobile application.

Carrying your study material

If you are the “old-fashioned” type of person who loves to read from a book, then you can carry your lessons for the day along with you. Most Spanish-language books come in a pocket friendly size so you can easily carry them around.

While you are commuting, all you need to do is pull out your book and go through it and even do your exercises for the day by the time you reach your destination. It may also be useful to find somebody who is fluent in Spanish and who is commuting with you! You could check your newfound skills in conversation with him or her!

Taking newspapers and books along with you

Another thing that you can do when you are trying to learn Spanish, is to pick up a Spanish newspaper or even a small Spanish book. If you are a beginner, even a children’s story book will do nicely.

But, the one thing that you should do is to go through these newspapers and books whenever you get the time. So, if you are on a coffee break at office, it makes sense to skim through the paper and figure out whether you are able to make sense of the language.

Keeping all these aspects in mind, you are sure to make Spanish learning a continuous process which is actually one of the most effective ways in which you can master this language with ease.

James is a writer and blogger with 5 years experience.

 

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Why Big Leaders need to have Small Egos

christLeaders are very important to the success of a business, as they are the ones who inspire others, drive movement forward and provide the company with a goal. However, a leader with a larger than life ego can actually be a detriment to a company, holding it back and causing problems rather than encouraging success.

There is a huge difference between ego and confidence. Self-confidence is an essential trait in a strong leader as they need to be able to believe in themselves and confidently stride towards their dreams. Rather than the calm self-assuredness that confidence brings, a big ego manifests itself in pride, boastfulness, self-centeredness and an inability to admit when one is wrong.

Here are a few reasons why having a big ego is not a very good trait in a successful leader.

Leaders Need to Be Able to Admit When they are Wrong

Even though they might be put in charge because they have the most education or experience, leaders are not always right. In fact, sometimes they can make big mistakes, totally misjudge situations or get things completely wrong. This is nothing to be ashamed about, after all everyone is human and will make a mistake once in a while.

However, sometimes big leaders are afraid to admit that they have got it wrong. They are so unwilling to show any weaknesses that they will follow through with things even though all signs are indicating that they have got it wrong. They will lead their company towards disaster while pretending that they are doing the right thing, rather than admitting their blunder and asking for help.

A good leader should never let their own ego get in the way of realising when they are making a mistake. A confident leader is never afraid of confessing to a mistake and taking a new approach and if this is done with grace it will make your employees respect you even more.

Leaders Need to Be Able To Let the Achievements of Others Shine

Another trait of someone with a big ego is that they are quick to snap up all the credit when it comes to the group’s accomplishments. You’ve probably seen it before, the team leader whose team puts in plenty of effort to achieve something and then when it comes time to receive accolades, he speaks like he did all of the work himself. These are also the types of people who are likely to choose team members who are less competent than themselves because their primary motivation is making themselves look good. In the thinking of an egotistical person, another person’s success means that they have failed so they will feel better about themselves when others achieve and earn less.

A great leader needs to be able to step out of the spotlight and be gratified by the achievements of others. They must realise that they cannot accomplish or control everything, so they need to invest in fantastic team members and value their contribution to the organisation. Good leaders will know how to let another employee shine.

Leaders Need to Be Able to Unite Rather Than Divide

One of the most important roles of a leader is to be able to make each and every person working with them feel like they are valued and appreciated. They need to create a positive and optimistic working environment which makes employees feel engaged and motivated.

Unfortunately, a leader with a big ego will be too focused on themselves to make this happen. The people working with them will become increasingly fed up with their egotistical behaviour and will not be inspired to do their best. They might even cause conflict in the workplace, which further distracts people from doing a good job at work.

Instead of a big leader with an even bigger ego, it is better to have someone who does not deny reality even when it is negative and is able to admit their own mistakes. They will be able to help people get through difficult times, let the achievements of others shine and encourage everyone that they work with to put their best performance in.  You will be amazed at the different that a calm and confident leader without a big ego can make on your organisation.

Having a big ego can really get in the way of providing excellent leadership and here are some of the reasons why. To find out more about our leadership programs, visit Cirrus today.

 

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Building Strong Teams in the Workplace

49ersIn a team-oriented environment, workers contribute to the overall success of the organization. They work with fellow members of the organization to produce these results. Even though they have a specific job function and belong to a specific department, people on a team are unified with other organization members to accomplish big picture objectives.

There are a lot of people in business who want their employees to work wholeheartedly together as a team, but struggle with team building execution. Trying to have people come together as a group with a common goal and strive to achieve it can be very challenging. Team building is not as easy as you think, and the workers we manage are sometime not as apt to join and collaborate with a team as we would hope.

Benefits of Teamwork

We all inherently understand the benefits of teamwork. A group of skilled individuals putting all their brainpower together to work for an innovative and quick solution to a problem is excellent. The sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts.

When the workload is shared throughout the group, dealing with pressure and stress is much easier for everyone, usually making the final product much better than if if was done individually. I’ve learned in business that if you want to get something done on time put together a crack team of motivated people to take it down.

Teamwork is not always easy

Teamwork is not always easy to implement. Sure the benefits of teamwork can easily be explained, but actually making it work within a group is much different. From an early age we were set on the path of individualism. Think about going to school, you did not go through school as a group. You participated in school with peers, however you worked individually to achieve your test scores.

Of course many of us participated in team sports or group projects in classes, but the majority of our social experience through our childhood and young adulthood was all centered around being an individual. When we shift from school into the workplace, and employers want to implement a strong culture of teamwork and collaboration in the workplace, it’s hard for people to adjust to the new collaborative style.

Japan‘s Stark Teamwork Contrast

Japan is an example of a culture which socializes it’s individuals to be more of a cohesive team rather than a lone individual. There are many metaphors which explain the Japanese mindset of community and teamwork but one that sticks out is the weak link in the chain metaphor. I had a Japanese Businessmen explain this to me some time ago.

He told me that his company, and more specifically the group within his company that he was a part of, was like a chain. Together they were strong and could weather any storm, but if there was a defect in the chain then the whole apparatus became worthless. Everyone worked hard to not be that weak link.

Upon completion of college, when the Japanese worker is introduced to a company, they are completely indoctrinated as a member of the company. They actually go to an extended boot camp to learn everything about the company and officially become a member. This process further builds on the teamwork mindset that is so special in Japan.

The only western groups that I can associate the same mentality with is the military. The military goes to boot camp together and is completely engrossed and indoctrinated as a member of a larger whole. Japanese workers also go to a quasi Boot Camp to endure the same type of mental and physical indoctrination for the sake of their prospective company.

In the west, we don’t do anything of the sort. When is the last time you sent your new hires to a four-week intensive boot camp to learn the ins and outs of your company? Sure we may send our employees to a weekend team building seminar, but that’s nothing like the team building training courses for joining a Japanese corporation.

I’m trying to illustrate, with this example, that teamwork is not an inherently God given trade. It’s a learned behavior that we can teach employees of the company to exemplify. We may not go to the extent of military or Japanese-style boot camp, but we can take away some strategies to make our teams better.

Teamwork Success

Regardless of how individualistic and nonconformist our mentality is we can still build great teams in our companies. Every team needs a leader. The duties and expectations of the team also need to be clearly defined. Everyone’s going to have different and unique talents, and they should be utilized to the fullest extent for the betterment of the team. Communication must be open and honest.

The most important aspect of achieving great teamwork success in my humble opinion, is withholding judgment of the teams performance until after the project is completed. If a team wins the NBA championships with a buzzer beater shot they still win right? It’s not right to write them off as losers 10 seconds before the game is over just because they are a few points down. On the same token, don’t write your team off before the buzzer ends just because everything isn’t going perfectly.

Team members deserve regular and honest positive reinforcement. When they achieve success they deserve rewards. Rewarding team members for effectively managing their tasks and going above and beyond what’s expected is a good habit to practice. It also cultivates a culture of teamwork within the organization.

About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finances. He has received many accolades for his work in teaching methods of reducing employee turnover.

 

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Welcome To Narnia? Easier Ways to Create Space for Your Business

empty-business-spaceWith overheads high and businesses seeking to save money on any and all fronts, the idea of installing a complete additional country in the Facilities Management cupboard may seem like an attractive concept. However the options for businesses needing to expand are somewhat limited. Moving premises is all very well, but the cost, inconvenience and disruption to the actual day to day running of the firm make it impractical in many cases. However, installing a mezzanine floor can offer considerable advantages without the inconvenience of removal expenses – or goblins, witches and great big annoying lions messing around with the photocopier. A mezzanine floor is normally a semi-permanent additional floor, which in a commercial or retail setting can be used for extending the floor space of a building for a number of purposes.

Double Capacity, Half the Hassle

Retail businesses have faced some challenging times recently with a number of famous High Street names going online or, failing that, into administration. For those that have bravely remained on the High Street itself, the likelihood of upgrading to newer bigger premises is pretty remote. A mezzanine floor can offer additional retail space, without the costs associated with a move or the danger of losing customers during a change of address. Existing space can be freed up, or new areas for retail developed, allowing you to expand or add to your range of goods.

In industrial premises, or warehousing premises, a mezzanine floor is one of the most commonly used tricks to keep rental low and maximise the use of space. At a tiny percentage of the cost of moving, a mezzanine can be installed quickly. Most mezzanine floor suppliers and installers offer systems that can be installed at high speed, minimising the disruption to your business activities. By their nature a mezzanine is normally self-supporting and does not require large, disruptive and inconvenient levels of structural alteration.

For mixed use premises where an office space needs to be extended (or even created) a mezzanine offers the perfect solution. For a rapidly growing firm, which does not want to risk the additional outlay on new premises, a mezzanine can again offer a quick turn around on a doubling of space. This can make your existing office space far more flexible, allowing for expansion in staff numbers during seasonal peaks in business.

Low Cost Conversions

In most cases a mezzanine floor will be designed for your building – making it a highly tailored solution. Mezzanine floor suppliers can create a range of standard sized sections which can be used to create a bespoke solution for your specific building and to suit the use of the new floor. In terms of planning regulations there are no requirements when it comes to fitting a new mezzanine structure, but compliance with Building Regulations (and in some cases fire regulations) will be necessary. Again, these factors can normally be dealt with by mezzanine floor suppliers and where building and fire regulations need to be met suppliers will normally have an off-the-shelf solution to hand. In terms of costs most suppliers will offer a range of options, but the price is rarely above £120 per square meter. In general, industry experts suggest that the cost of a mezzanine is around 80 per cent cheaper than moving premises and this doesn’t take into consideration the associated disruption and potential loss of business on the way.

You can’t take it with you

Fair point, if we’re talking about your worldly wealth on that last great journey. However, when it comes to moving business premises it’s possible that you could take your mezzanine with you. The mostly likely bar to this easy option is simply that your mezzanine is likely to be designed with your existing premises in mind. A bespoke design for your mezzanine will mean that it may not fit easily into the new premises, but if you’ve planned carefully then there’s no reason why you couldn’t take your additional space with you. The cost of moving the structure may seem expensive, but as with the original installation, it could well be cheaper than buying or renting the extra space.

For expanding businesses the inconvenience of moving premises can often be removed by installing a mezzanine floor.  Mezzanine floor suppliers offer a range of tailored solutions to suit most businesses and can help create the additional space for your business to grow.

 

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How You Can Use Kindle to Generate Free Business Leads

working hardImagine Amazon sending you business leads regularly and even paying you to do so. Why would they do it?
“Amazon is desperate for reading material and you can publish your content for free as Kindle books,” says V. Michael Santoro, a managing partner with John S. Rizzo of Globe On-Demand, an internet technology company. The two are also the co-authors of, “Niche Dominance: Creating Order out of your Digital Marketing Chaos,” (www.NicheDominance.com).
“The twist is to use them as a generation system for sales leads.”
The audience is huge – Kindle is no longer just for people who purchase Kindle tablets. Amazon has also written Kindle Reader applications for every major smartphone, tablet, and computer including the Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7, Santoro says.
“Most businesses hesitate to use Kindle to generate sales leads because they think they need to write an actual book,” says Rizzo, “But that’s not true. You can write and publish short reports — as long as the content is original, of high quality and does not violate its Terms of Service (TOS), Amazon will publish your material.”
The key is to include a compelling free offer with a strong call to action and a link to a lead capture page – the page on your website where people can sign up for more information, special offers, your newsletter, etc.
And Amazon will even help market your book – for free!
When a new Kindle book is approved and published, Amazon will:
• Feature it in their new releases section.
• Email their customer base announcing it to those who have previously purchased a Kindle book in that genre.
• Offer the Kindle KDP Select Program for ongoing free promotion.
• Allow customers to highlight, make notes, and share your book’s content via Twitter and other social networks.
“By enrolling in the free Kindle KDP Select Program, you give Amazon exclusivity on a renewable 90-day basis,” Santoro says. “This program allows their readers to borrow your book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and when they do, Amazon pays you a royalty, as well as for book sales. However, the real benefit is that Amazon provides five days per quarter to give your book away for free.”
Why give your Kindle book away for free?
“Because, as a lead generation system, you want as many individuals as possible to download your Kindle book and visit your lead capture page, Santoro explains. Additionally, Amazon views each book download as a vote and rewards your book with higher page ranking. The more downloads, the better the chance of an Amazon Page 1 placement.
To create your Kindle report:
• Use Amazon to determine what current Kindle books or paperbacks are published about your topic.
• Decide what information will be helpful to your potential customers. Make sure it is original and offers value. Avoid information that is easily found on the Internet.
• Create your report in Microsoft Word and include images if appropriate.
• Include your call to action – a message that prompts readers to visit your website — and link to your website’s lead capture page.
• Create a cover graphic.
Publishing on Kindle is fairly simple:
• Go to http://kdp.amazon.com and sign up for a free Kindle account.
• Watch the “How To” Kindle publishing video.
• Fill out the Amazon Author Page to track your statistics.
• Reference the book on your website and link to your Amazon book page.
• Announce it on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter accounts.
“The goal is not to sell books, but rather to generate leads from Amazon’s huge customer base,” Rizzo says. An additional benefit is that you will differentiate yourself from the competition by being a published author. If your content is excellent and helpful, you will also build trust which will help to increase sales from these new leads.
About John S. Rizzo & V. Michael Santoro
John S. Rizzo obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration and spent three years as a consultant for Amazon’s publishing group. He has assisted several businesses with digital marketing strategy and has served in leadership positions for multiple initiatives for the Charleston, S.C., Chamber of Commerce.
V. Michael Santoro has more than 10 years in the digital marketing field. His prior experience includes international senior marketing positions in technology fields. He has a master’s degree and was an adjunct professor with the computer science department of Western Connecticut State University.

 

 

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