Friday, September 24, 2010

Are you a Split Personality Online? Branding Consistency

I just finished reading a fantastic article about personal branding on Social Media Today. It, along with Mashable, are such great avenues for quick 5 minute read articles to get you thinking and seeing the trends out there in the social media space. It got me thinking, what's important in using multiple mediums for branding?

As I work on expressing my personal brand, I sat down to figure out what is my purpose and what success looks like (sometimes I am so hardwired 'marketing' it is scary!). Is it professional speaking engagements? Followers on twitter? Blog followers? Networking opportunities & reach outs? LinkedIn connections?

YES to all of the above BUT I challenged myself to also have some qualitative measurements – the “feel goods” that are such a part of working on yourself as a professional. For me this means being consistent in building my name as an expert in my chosen fields by being transparent, relevant and timely.

Sounds like a bit of a vision statement doesn’t it? I actually sat down a few months ago, as geeky as this is, and wrote out my personal social media strategy. I preach at conferences that if companies don't have a go-to-market strategy with social media they aren't using the most of the medium and have no control over a very important space. I thought I better walk my talk; so, I created my policy. This policy needs to be a living breathing document so it evolves as I evolve. This policy can't just be a piece of paper, filed away on my computer, but should actually be top of mind when I use these spaces so I am being true to the voice I seek to have.

Great quote today from SocialMediaToday in, "In a marketing sense, your personality is your brand and the different social media you employ, regardless of the combination you use them in, should always reflect your brand." - Tia Peterson

Thus, be it a personal brand, an employment brand, or a marketing social media strategy, take the time to sit down & develop a vision listing each of the mediums out there & how you choose to use them. Remember that the biggest connection between all of them is being authentic, transparent & relevant to your audience. Don’t be a split personality online! Are you?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Am I a Blogger?

I know it's ironic I am asking “Am I a Blogger?” through a blog. Here's my rationale - I am "test driving" this medium as a way to find the voice of "Chelsea Newton." I feel I have a lot to share about spaces I am interested in - be it Employment Branding, Social Media, Marketing, or HR. Currently, I use LinkedIn & Twitter as great forums to engage with other professionals but want something I can really shape to express myself. A blog is a way for me to create my personal brand. Creating a personal brand is an interesting tight rope. I want to share information and my opinion but don't want to be overly confident or cocky. To me, sharing information is about creating a 2 way conversation - a dialogue. It is my hope that this is the beginning of the adventure of defining my own voice in my professional space. It was while writing my notes for speaking on the Social Media panel at the 2010 Recruiting Innovation Summit (Toronto) that I realized so much of what I love is public speaking, networking and sharing ideas. I love preparing for conferences and then feel a high when I am up there speaking. I wanted to interject that passion into my life more than the every 3-4 months when I am preparing for a conference... so here's me, exploring, sharing my opinions, & finding my professional voice.

Though it is a blog, where I am essentially, pushing information out to followers/readers, I do want to create a dialogue so please comment on my posts or contact me via twitter @Chelsea_Newton. I expect my voice to grow and evolve as I 'figure' out this blogging thing and I hope you will stick with me throughout my journey!

Food for thought - have you found your professional "voice?" How are you choosing to "speak?" Cheers & thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Extending your Knowedge: Make the Most out of Conferences

I was one of those people who LOVED university as I enjoy learning new things. It’s been a few years since I was in school but my passion for learning hasn't slowed down at all. I'm super active on social media and use twitter, linked in, and favourite blogs to stay tuned in. Online surfing is a great way to fit learning into your day to day (during your morning coffee/during a longwinded conference call) but, is it enough!?

Another option: conferences! I love attending conferences that peak my interest to see what’s current in the industry, what other companies are facing, seeing other speakers good habits and things not to do, and, of course, the networking opportunities. Conferences don’t come with small price tags so here are some of my tips to deciding if it’s the right conference for you:
-     Look at the online agenda – are the topics relevant?
-     Look up the speakers on social media sites like Twitter & LinkedIn and see if you find them interesting.
-     Tweet or reach out to your network and see if anyone has attended the conference before and see what they had to say

Okay, you decide to go, now make the most out of it!
-      Meet people - take a stack of business cards  & mingle!
-      Sit in a different seat during each session & always introduce yourself to your neighbors
-      If a speaker is interesting, go up and meet them and exchange contact information
-      Tweet relevant information throughout & see what others are saying
-     Take notes to share with your team, write a blog article, or make a to do list with your learnings

My last tip is: build you your personal brand & become an expert in your field as you may get invited to speak at conferences = free attendance and great experience. This is my latest goal  and it's working as I love public speaking & love the learning I'm getting for free!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Who 'Owns' Employment Branding?

As a prompt from my first blog comment, my 2nd post will be on the topic of 'owning' Employment Branding. This is a role that can easily fall within the HR/Talent Acquisition teams or within Marketing. I have always described being an Employment Brand Manager as sitting on the fence within the 2 fields. It is totally the best of 2 worlds as you can use great marketing techniques for a recruiting purpose, in a very current and changing field. The reason I feel I have been successful is that my background is in marketing but I am interested in the HR field. Personally, I believe that a strong Employment Brand Manager (and I am obviously biased on this one based on my own background) should have experience in, or a real passion for, marketing. Employment Brand Managers who think "marketing" can strategize in how to use marketing tactics to market job opportunities that could similarily be used to market a specific product or brand.

For those organizations who are seeking to start an Employment Brand role, I suggest looking internally within your marketing department and see if someone would like a cross functional role that reports into HR. For those of you who are HR through and through but interested in marketing - this is not a lost role for you. I would suggest taking a marketing course or self educating through working closely with a liaison team member in the marketing department of your company. The role will only truly be successful with signoff from both teams as marketing will be concerned with the reputation of your company and have access to more resources, techniques and ideas to support HR needs (like sourcing, recruiting and referrals!)

To be successful in being an Employment Brand Manager or starting a team, I think these are a few key points:
1. Understand how marketing drives brands - be it products, experiences or employment choices. Take your cues from the hottest techniques in Experiential Marketing and social media.
2. Understand your KPI (Key Performance Indicators) related to recruiting. Are you trying to drive applicants, decrease your cost per hire, become an employeer of choice? All of these? Prioritize! This will guide your vision and 6 month, 1 year, 5 year plan. (Again a whole other post on how to design KPI).
3. Have executive buy-in (again a whole other post!). You will not be successful unless your plan is signed off from the top. Have direction/support/resources/funds from both the HR/Talent Acquisition and Marketing Executives.  I am very lucky to have also worked very closely with a Creative Director for create resources in webdesign etc.
4. Understand how your role relates to the recruiting team as a whole. Are you sourcing candidates for them? Driving marketing for the company as a whole? etc. The structure of your team and your role will drive success or failure. Employment Branding should be a senior role within the team who can drive strategy that supports the recruiting and sourcing efforts of the team.

Just my point of view & a few ideas to get you started. For those who have HR or marketing backgrounds and are in this role, what has made you successful?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Employment Branding: What is it and how do you start?

For the first post on my blog, I am going to discuss the topic of Employment Branding as a quick overview. When I first had the title of Employment Brand Manager, the question I most often received was, "What does that even mean? What do you do?" 5 years later, companies are behind the times if they aren't thinking of Employment Branding. 

Wikipedia is always a great way to start a discussion in securing a definition: The term employer brand was first used in the early 1990s to denote an organisation’s reputation as an employer. Since then, it has become widely adopted by the global management community. Minchington (2005) defines your employer brand as “the image of your organisation as a ‘great place to work’ in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders). The art and science of employer branding is therefore concerned with the attraction, engagement and retention initiatives targeted at enhancing your company's employer brand.". See the whole deal at:

Okay, we have a fancy well defined employment brand definition. That's great. Now we all know what it is. But, what do you do to build one? It's never too late to start!

Starting or expanding your current plan, is where I can start to help in providing some ideas on building your plan, getting buy-in from senior team members, extending your plan to recruiting efforts (online & offline) and then building a Talent Management strategy. I don't have all the answers but I have built some great employment strategies in Canada, the USA, and 10 other countries around the world including working with clients in China, Ukraine, Russia, South Korea & Western Europe. I won't be giving away trade secrets but can give some great places to start and then how to expand your plan to become an employeer of choice!

What are your main pain centers and wishes when it comes to Employment Branding & building a great Talent Management plan!?  Join the conversation here so I can build posts that mean something to you!