Thursday, May 30, 2013

No One Is Coming to Save You from the Skills Gap

Your company is going to have to take the initiative. Trefoil Group’s principal, Mary Scheibel, reflected on this reality and how companies can win the talent game at the recent Society of the Plastics Industry conference in Miami. 

Open almost any major manufacturing publication and you’ll see a common thread: the ever dooming skills gap. Despite the worrying, however, many mid-market manufacturers are not doing all that they can do to make themselves attractive to skilled recruits.

So how can you do a better job? Let’s break it down into three focus areas.
  • Differentiate your company. Why should people want to do business or work for your company? Don’t blend in with all the competitors. Tell a compelling story. Be the bold, colorful competitor that sticks out. Keep in mind that a strong brand that appeals to customers often appeals to recruits as well.
  • Define and drive your culture. Culture is more than a competitive advantage; it’s the number one attribute recruits value most. If you don’t have a culture that’s driven to succeed, start to build one right now.  If your employees are inspired, they’ll help you win against the toughest competition. 
  • Build a strong online presence. A recent study done by Cisco demonstrated “that 1 in 3 college students and young professionals consider the Internet to be as important as other fundamental resources like air, water, food and shelter.” Thus, the web offers one of your strongest opportunities to showcase your brand personality and engage talent. 
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to tackle this tough issue today. For further insights on recruiting, retaining and aligning a great workforce, you can review Mary’s presentation below.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Identifying Your Content Marketing Mission

It’s not about what you’re saying. It’s why.

For your content marketing program to be effective, you need to start with a clear, simple mission.

That’s just one of many valuable insights shared by Joe Pulizzi (Twitter: @juntajoe), founder of the Content Marketing Institute, in a recent presentation hosted by AAF Madison.
The three keys to your content marketing mission statement
Joe's presentation included several examples of content marketing mission statements.

Joe advises answering these three questions to help guide all your content:

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. What kind of content are you delivering?
  3. What outcome are you trying to produce for the audience?

Start with that foundation, and build compelling stories from there.

Enjoy many more content marketing tips from Joe’s presentation, posted below.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Honing the Elevator Pitch for Analyst Presentations, Media Interviews and More

Guest post from Tom Gable, founder and CEO of San Diego IPREX partner firm, Gable PR

Whether working with a CEO who loves to spin long tales about his company and his successes, a Ph.D/M.D. who knows too much, or a startup or anyone else who is new to trying to connect with financial, media and other audiences, we’ve found a good starting point in the communications process is drafting a classic elevator pitch.

The challenge is writing short copy, especially for engineers and scientists who are used to citing published articles, case histories and other resources ad infinitum. The long approach is perfect for pitching peers and colleagues, less so for connecting with analysts, the media and non-industry audiences. Thus, the following was created by Gable PR as a starting point for honing a one to two minute pitch (also referred to as the cocktail party pitch) to grab the attention of your audience in the shortest amount of time and set the stage for next steps.

TAG LINE/SOUND BITE – The opener – an instant picture or quick summation of your positioning.  What you do, what you stand for, to what effect and why it’s important. One sentence is best. Practice with people who don’t know what you do and keep honing this one sentence (two at the most) until it rings like Shakespeare.

PROBLEM, SITUATION ANALYSIS – What exists – the pain or problem you solve?

DYNAMICS AND OPPORTUNITY – Quick historical overview of how it got to this point, how the challenge has been addressed, what is the sweet spot for your company or organization (keep it to three important points, no more!).

WHAT (solving the problem) – Your company (or organization) has been working X years to plan for and develop D, E and F to solve the problem, take advantage of the market opportunity and grow and succeed over the next Y years.

OVERVIEW FROM 30,000 FEET – We have done it: the macro view, the big picture of how your great concept all comes together and grows market share, sales, traffic, profits, benefits the community, whatever – the BIG PICTURE vision of future success rather than technical details and features.

SO WHAT (benefits) – You will succeed because of the creative planning, results and ultimate value you deliver.  Create a mental picture of the benefits to science, patients, customers, the world. If there is a good case history, cite the proof of principle in a sentence or two. Do it in two sentences and you get a Pulitzer Prize (plus the desired result).

THE TEAM – The team includes executives with national credentials in A, B and C. It has a combined ZZ years in the industry, has built MM, helped YY other companies or institutions grow and knows the market and how to provide an expanding array of products and services to help it succeed (make it relevant to the big picture).

THE CLOSE (call to action on the elevator) – “We have the people, the plan and the commitment to succeed in a rapidly growing new market.  I can provide incredible detail that I believe will convince you to … (invest, interview, buy, etc.).  How about a follow up meeting?  Where would you like to meet?  What else can I provide?”

Ask questions that will take it to the next step!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Corporate Social Responsibility Isn’t Just Good PR

It’s also a recruiting tool. A path of professional development. And a whole lot more.
For example, I serve as the PR + Media Chair for Autism Speaks Milwaukee. We’re just coming off some big events in April for National Autism Awareness Month, most notably the fifth annual Walk Now for Autism Speaks in partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. 
Together, our committee of 10 young professionals gained the support of numerous corporate sponsors, participation of 25+ area businesses that support the autism community, secured media sponsors and coverage in our local market and produced awareness pieces with one of the Bucks’ most notable players – Brandon Jennings.
Events like these require a fair amount of time and energy. But I’m happy to do it, because it’s a cause that’s close to my heart. And I’m just as happy that our agency encourages me to support it. I believe many young professionals like me are looking for opportunities to give back to the community, and we gravitate toward employers that boost these efforts.
Many of my coworkers also donate time and talents to individual causes, and we participate as a team in corporate fundraising campaigns for organizations including the United Performing Arts Fund, as well.
In the process, we’re improving the communities in which we live, work and play – while also improving individual skill sets by taking on additional professional responsibilities outside the office. I see that as a win-win-win for me, my community and my employer.
What about your organization? What do you do to advance CSR?
By the way, look for these upcoming Autism Speaks events: Team Up! with Autism Speaks during the Summerfest Rock ‘n Sole Run on June 13 and Ride for Autism Speaks at the House of Harley on July 15.