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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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What Type Of Furniture A Company Should Buy For Its Employees

Office furnitureEmployees, equipment and even clients rely on the furniture that is in an office or other work setting every day. Chairs, desks, tables and filing cabinets contribute to productivity and comfort during working hours. It is not always easy to choose the furniture for an office. Many companies must decide between different features in order to find the right balance of size, comfort and functionality. Every business should look a few key features when choosing furniture for employees.

Adjustable

The furniture that employees use in an office or other setting should be adjustable. This means that tables or workstations can be raised or lowered as needed. Chairs should be adjustable as well. Chairs that have adjustable armrests and the ability to tilt in different directions will fit the shape and size of any body. Additionally, adjustable furniture is important in order to prevent workplace injuries that result from poor ergonomic positioning. Employees who are forced to operate in an awkward or uncomfortable position will be less productive and might even require regular medical attention for aches, pains and conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Comfortable

Comfort is very important. This is especially true for employees who will be using a few pieces of furniture for an entire day. Uncomfortable furniture will create problems that lower morale and that could affect performance. An uncomfortable metal chair will force employees to stop working and stand up or walk around frequently. An uncomfortable desk with hard edges and an overly high surface will make it difficult to stay organized. Some poorly designed furniture might even contribute to injuries because of hard edges and surfaces. Comfortable furniture will allow employees to focus exclusively on work.

Environmentally Friendly

Many offices are looking for ways to become greener. Part of this is done to lower the environmental impact of the business. It is also done to help the surrounding community and to address the environmental concerns of customers. Businesses should purchase green office furniture whenever possible. These are pieces made from sustainable materials like bamboo or recycled materials like steel or plastic. This reduces the footprint of the business. It will also encourage employees to follow good recycling and energy conservation practices while working.

Mobile Or Modular

The furniture that employees use needs to be functional and flexible. Modular office furniture is becoming increasingly popular for this reason. Modular furniture allows employees to assemble several small components into a single desk, workstation or cubicle. Employees can change the design of an area to meet personal needs and preferences. Mobile or lightweight furniture is also useful. This makes it possible to rearrange an office quickly or to move items to a new area in order to accommodate seasonal workers or construction.

 

Easily Repaired And Cleaned

Businesses will benefit from furniture that is easy to maintain and clean. Employees will be using the furniture constantly every day. This can wear down even the most durable chairs and cabinets. Furniture that has simple connections and solid construction will last for a long time and can be repaired in a few minutes when necessary. Pieces of furniture that are easy to clean because of the materials or the design are very convenient. This prevents spilled coffee or other accidents from ruining the appearance of the piece.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: depositphoto.com

Eleanor Parson is a blogger and suggests Coopers Office Furniture for employers looking to build or improve their office space.

 

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Mixing Business With Pleasure: The World’s Top 5 TED Events

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Beginning in 1984 as an invite-only event in California’s Silicon Valley, the TEDx phenomenon has grown to become a worldwide movement of public discussion and presentation. TED events the place to be seen if you want to be perceived as knowledgeable and interested, and will provide you with enough engaging small talk to last until next year’s conference. But, with TEDx conferences popping up everywhere, it can be hard to know which ones to attend and which ones to skip.

If you’re after a unique and insightful experience, here are the top five TED events that every TED devotee should make the pilgrimage to.

TED Long Beach

The original and, arguably, the best. The original TED event moved from Silicon Valley to Long Beach in order to accommodate increased audience interest, but will be moving to Vancouver, Canada in 2013. This is a series of talks for people who are interested in TED’s core vision: Technology, Education, Design. However, at $US7500 a ticket, the original TED talk is a major investment, even for its greatest devotees.

TEDx Broadway

The TEDx Broadway event discusses the future of New York’s premiere theatre district. The event aims to bring together the best of the best in theatre to consider the implications of falling ticket sales on the Great White Way, as well as the proliferation of musical theatre into other media. Performance is a topic close to the hearts of many A-list celebs, so if you’re in the mood to starspot, TEDx Broadway will not disappoint. Last year, star of the stage and screen, Neil Patrick Harris was one of the presenters.

TEDMED

TED’s medicine forum has a reputation for bringing the best minds in medicine together for three days in Washington D.C. The most interesting aspect of the conference, however, is the application process to attend. Every member of the audience has been deemed to be an important person in the field of medical research, so the people sitting in the stalls are often just as important as the people on stage. But, if you’re not an up-and-coming medical researcher: don’t worry. TEDMED is one of the few TED events that is wholly simulcast to institutions across the world free of charge.

TEDx Sydney

The interesting thing about TEDx Sydney is that it is one of the few TED events around the world that reflect a national opinion. While there are other TED events in Australia, none come close to the size of TEDx Sydney. Set on Sydney’s beautiful harbour inside the iconic Opera House, a trip to TEDx Sydney is a great idea for tourists and locals alike.

TEDx Boston

Boston is the central city to many of the US’s most prestigious universities. Harvard, Cambridge, MIT: they are all surrounding this otherwise rather dull city. But, what does that mean? It means that when an ideas juggernaut comes to town, the academic folk of Boston get pretty excited. If you are at TEDx to be intellectually challenged by some higher-level ideas, Boston is the event for you.

Frances Ward is a TEDx devotee from Sydney who loves watching TED to fill her mind with information on topics as diverse as business finance and neuroscience.

 

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How Businesses Can Take Advantages Of QR Codes

QR codes (aka Quick Response Codes) can help you provide customers and potential customers with instant access to your services online. QR codes are often displayed in magazines, newspapers, mail, and even some retail establishments. The idea of a QR code is to complement your ad and allow your customer to learn more or to complete a speficic action (e.g. redeem a coupon, join a mailing list, place a purchase, etc…).

Benefits of QR Codes

These computer-generated images are basically direct links to particular mobile websites that you set up to coincide with the message of your QR code. Using QR codes minimises the time spent on typing in web addresses or URL’s. Potential customers are able to scan QR codes with their smartphones, and are directed to the intended online destination. When scanning the QR code the customer is presented more information about upcoming events sponsored by your campaign, provided more information about your services or offered more information about your product.

How it works

By placing QR codes in the right locations, your proposal, service, or offering will attract more leads or customers. Using their smartphone’s QR code scanner application, they simply scan the image, and the desired information is displayed almost instantly on their smartphone. One thing that you should not do, while using QR codes as your way of advertising, is to cluster the images any and everywhere without purpose or cause. Use QR codes to allow your audience to take a specific action.

Placement is one of the most important aspects of QR codes. You should make sure that people that will be most interested in your products, services or offers are viewing your content. Your marketing campaign is used to persuade your audience, as well as to inform them of any upcoming promotions or events.

Actions

As we said before, putting a QR Code randomly in your ad with no purpose will likely result in very few amount of people actually scanning it. If you want to maximize your returns, ask people to scan the QR code for a specific reason (aka incentive). Example: let them know that the only way they can redeem a coupon or take advantage of a special offer is by scanning the code.

QR codes on Pinterest

While many teachers have already learned the value of QR codes on Pinterest for their classrooms, the business community is quickly catching up. Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media forums. On Pinterest you are allowed you to deliver significant images and videos to your supporters, and increases your ability to set up or grow a social network. QR codes give your customers a direct link to whatever messages you are trying to give. While you are extremely limited in the amount of words you can use on Pinterest, you should try to explain to your audience exactly what the QR code will link them to and the benefits of scanning it.

Growing a Mailing List

If you are trying to grow an email list, a QR code may be the perfect answer for you. This feature is ideal for your marketing campaign. These QR codes allow supporters and customers to join mailing lists by using their mobile devices decoder application. More people than ever before are using their mobile phones to surf the web so do not overlook the potential of marketing in this way. Once the customer scans the QR code they can become members of your email list and receive newsletters and other valuable information.

Increase your Fanbase with QR Codes

Directing supporters and potential supporters to your website using QR codes saves you time and is a quick way to obtain likes and followers, on popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter. A QR code can be used as a direct link to your Facebook and Twitter page and This is a direct link to your campaign and gives supporters and inquirers a chance to view any posts, images, or uploaded videos on your Facebook or Twitter page.

When using QR Codes as part of your marketing, it is important to use your imagination to come up with a way to seamlessly integrate the code within your ad. Check out some great examples of QR Code usage here.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

Marie Maslow is a tech enthusiast that enjoys writing about technology and marketing.

 

 

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7 Excel Tips For Making Spreadsheets Beautiful

excel_imageEveryone looks to spreadsheets to provide easy to read data, but can they also be beautiful? With a few tips and tricks they can be! Try a few of these tips in your next sheet to make it stand out from the crowd.

 

1. Use Color… But Not Too Much

Excel gives you access to thousands of colors you can use to jazz up your cells. Take advantage of the colors available, but be sure to exercise some restraint. You do not want to overwhelm your reader with bright, contrasting colors. Instead, use a background color on title cells and switch the font to a contrasting, easily readable shade. This will make your title cells pop without unintentionally blinding your reader.

2. Add a Background

Adding a background image will give your spreadsheet depth and interest. Just like with coloring, though, it’s easy to go too far. Use a simple background behind your data. A slight tint or a gradation is sufficient. Make sure it complements the colors used in your title cells and charts. Always check for readability when using a background image – avoid using anything that will make it difficult for your readers to see the data.

3. Align Your Data on the Left

Many spreadsheets use a center alignment for data. Avoid doing this. Despite popular opinion, center aligned data is not easier to read. The eye has to work harder to follow the line of text, slowing down comprehension. It also gives the data an unsightly, ragged silhouette. Align your data with the left side of the cell to create a smooth edge. This makes the spreadsheet look better and makes it easier to take the data in.

4. Use a Graph

Graphs add interest to your sheet and give your reader a different way to think about the data you are providing. You can use the graph making tool integrated into Excel to quickly and easy turn your data into a graph. When creating this visual representation of data, keep in mind the color scheme you are using in the rest of the spreadsheet. Choose colors that allow your graph to pop without clashing with the rest of the design scheme.

5. Zebra Striping

Line after line of data can make your readers go cross-eyed. Make it easy to read each line of text by adding zebra striping. Zebra striping refers to adding a background color to every other row. As with most other aspects of designing spreadsheets, it is easy to go overboard with this tool. Use a very slightly tinted shade to add contrast without overwhelming the eye.

6. Using Headers

Headers can help break up your data, making it easier for your readers to find the information they need. They can also add visual appeal. Do something different with your headers that you use nowhere else in the spreadsheet. This could mean making them bold, in all caps, italicized, or anything else that you prefer. They will be effective as long as they look different from the rest of the sheet.

7. Embrace the White Space

While you’re demonstrating your Excel skills, make sure you don’t go a little too far the eye candy. You may have formatted your cells so they are just big enough to fit the information that is in them. This helps include more information into one space, but it also makes the spreadsheet look cramped. Unless you are trying to save on printing costs, there is no reason not to give your sheet a little room to breathe. Add just enough height and width to the cells so the data stands out clearly.

There is no reason that spreadsheets can’t be functional and attractive. Even a little bit of time spent beautifying your next sheet will create a great impression on whoever looks at it.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

Sarah Jackson is a business writer and Associate Editor at Proformative.

 

 

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