Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Notes from 7/30/2010 - Applying Brand Techniques to the Job Search

The words "Brand" and "Branding" are tossed around quite a bit in the advertising and marketing arenas. But how many people truly understand their essence, and more importantly, how many know how to help their clients create strategies for managing them? And how can we apply what we do know to the job search?

At our 7/30 OCA meeting, our guest speaker,
Jessie Lernmark - Sr Strategist with MODO Group, does know 'brand' - and gave a fantastic presentation on the topic. Jessie, whose background includes sales, marketing, advertising and an MBA, has been working within the branding realm for over 4 years, the last two of which have been with MODO. Her group, which is small but has folks working in Asia and Europe, consults such companies as Grupo Modelo (Corona, Pacifico), Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, and Starbucks - helping them with a wide variety of brand services.

MODO's client services include everything from researching Insights and Trends, creating Brand and Marketing strategies, to developing Tools (such as brand books and guidelines) and analyzing Metrics. They are brought in to help a company wade through the complexities of managing product brands, and in many cases, to help the company figure out their own brand.

"Fundamental to any business is understanding the customer and their evolving needs." Starting with qualitative and quantitative research, MODO looks to uncover the needs and motivations of its clients' customers - both the emotional (heart-based) side and the rational (head-based) side. They look to understand the motivation that a consumer has that leads them from awareness and trial through purchase to advocacy of a particular product or company.

"Brand Strategy is more than a logo."
Brand = our identity (how we view ourselves) + our reputation (how others view us).
Brand Strategy = managing any variance between the two, looking to match our reputation in the eyes of the consumer with our own view of ourselves.

To position a brand then, you need to understand your target, your category, your consumers' needs, and most importantly, your point of difference. What is it that makes your product or service different in the marketplace that will satisfy your consumer's need.

It's no different when searching for a job. Jessie suggested that anyone looking for work needs to do the same thing. We all know that if you are pursuing a position with a particular company, you need to understand as much about that company as you possibly can. Use informational interviews and resources, such as LinkedIn, to research 'the target.' Secondly, study the category. If it's a marketing position you're going after, know about the latest trends and happenings. What brands are making an impact?

Third, understand what a company needs. Here, again, utilize research to see what issues a company may be looking to solve, what their competitors are doing, and any pain points the hiring manager may be experiencing. Develop a point of view with regard to how you'd tackle those needs.

Lastly, what is your point of difference? What are your key strengths and benefits that you can provide a hiring company? What makes you distinct and unique? As fellow OCA member, Duane Hobbs, has stated: "Each of us is the unique answer to one exacting question. What's your question?"

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