In this episode, Leo speaks to Corey Archard, head of talent acquisition at global loyalty and benefits company, Collinson Group.
Coreys’s wide ranging brief includes overseeing the organisation’s employer brand and talent advertising strategy. He has over ten years experience in the recruitment industry, and previously led WPP’s talent team.
Leo and Corey discuss:
the shift in power in the employment market in light of COVID-19 (01:00)
the power of simplicity and authenticity in employer brand (9:30)
how talent acquisition can attract candidates when they’re asked to ‘do more with less’ (21:30).
A message from Alison Branch, Park Managing Director, to any business facing hardship as a result of Covid 19.
Like many other businesses, the task of troubleshooting Covid-19 continues to be the top priority at Park.
We’re open for business, but working in ways that once would have seemed unthinkable.
Staff have agreed to have their temperatures tested on the way into the building, and visitors are being asked to do the same.
Desks have been moved to maintain a safe distance of two metres between colleagues.
Everyone’s keeping to their own pens and pencils. Machine touch points, handrails etc. are being sanitised multiple times a day.
It is, without doubt, a unique set of challenges.
But one challenge is not entirely unprecedented. In 2008 and 2011, almost every business suffered. These economic shocks were less unnerving and sudden than coronavirus, and more protracted, but they still had serious consequences for many.
In those earlier crises, Park particularly noticed the impact on creative industries, as brands shifted budgets to what – then – was perceived as the ‘safe haven’ of digital media.
Many companies did not survive. Those that did, found themselves forced to adapt to an evolved business environment, compared to recent years.
This prompts the question: what learnings are there, in those recent crises, that could be useful for businesses facing hardship as a result of Covid-19?
A question of timing
I gave a second thought to publishing this.
Given that coronavirus poses a direct risk to human life, some may consider it too soon to talk about the business impact.
But as a business owner, it’s impossible to see the business and human risks as separate.
We bear great responsibility to our teams – and further, to their dependents, to our suppliers, and to the clients who rely on our business in order to carry on in theirs.
Client-side, responses have been varied.
One of the interesting things about working at Park has always been the perspective it lends on very many different industries: from cottage-industry indie mags, to global corporations.
Events have been hard hit as public gatherings are curtailed. In financial services, print deadlines must be met for legal reasons.
One response that has stood out is that by creative industries. Marketing professionals mostly continue to work from home, and we’ve already had a few conversations about how print can help brands ‘be there’ without employees actually being there.
The impression is of a business culture, particularly in marcomms, which is now shaped around rapid and far-reaching change.
Everyone has their favourite example of a company which did not adapt quickly enough – or one that radically changed its fortunes by thinking ahead of the curve.
Blockbuster clung on until 2014, at which point, 4,000 jobs were lost; but few remember that Netflix launched as a DVD rental service in 1998, before migrating into online streaming.
Today, these memories, combined with real and rational fears, are stimulating very sensible and timely conversations about the change that may play out over the next few years.
An eye on the trends
The Economist earlier this month said that Covid-19 will have ‘…a lasting effect, accelerating trends in business organisation that were already under way’.
It delves into supply chains which, for sustainability reasons, had been becoming more EU-centric for Park for some time. Our suppliers had also increased UK stocks to prepare for any distruption cause by Brexit. This has shielded Park from global disruption, and this month, it has made it easier for us to stock up on paper, ink and spare parts as a precaution.
But for our clients, the more important trend is the changing role of print media in the marketing mix…
There was a mix of good and bad, for loyalty in 2019.
Much of the bad has derived from a lack of belief or understanding from CEOs, who constrain budgets, and prop up short-term earnings with value that ought to flow to customers.
The widespread devaluation of loyalty currencies during the past few years brings this into sharp focus.
Despite such obstacles, however, many determined loyalty professionals have carved out real gains. This has mostly been via low-investment, tactical approaches that increase ROI, and by educating the C-suite regarding long-term strategic value.
That same growth-hacking approach – a trademark of Silicon Valley firms – has led to some important advances for the entire industry to observe. But there remain some fundamental things that loyalty programs need to achieve to weather the looming storm that open banking, mobile payments, aggregation models, and other marketplace dynamics will bring.
In this ‘perfect storm’ of change, the sheltered existence, that many leading loyalty programs have enjoyed for three decades, will come to an end.
20+ sales-qualified leads
+30% LinkedIn following in 1 month
Webinars are an in-vogue lead generation tool: capturing large numbers of leads through events signups, for relatively little effort.
However, the majority are low-energy and poorly produced. In the crowded talent acquisition market – and with virtual events surging during the Covid-19 pandemic – we needed to make sure Chapter 2’s webinar was cut above the rest.
We positioned Chapter 2’s webinar as a Newsnight-style debate, and worked closely with the panellists before the event to understand their expertise and play to their strengths.
To derive lasting value from the exercise, we captured high-resolution footage of all the panellists, which was then used to produce social media assets which continued to drive brand engagement for months after the event.
Run your own webinar with Navigate B2B
Superior editorial standards: incisive debate around the difficult questions in your industry
Compére at your service: ensure fast-pasted, stimulating discussion with an experienced journalist in the interviewer’s chair
Post production and content creation: get lasting value from your event by capturing the footage for social distribution
Marketing & administration: run your webinar as part of a full-service marketing strategy and get a clear view of your ROI.
Independent magazines have always pushed the boundaries of culture.
This hasn’t always been to their financial advantage. More often a labour of love than a business, they’re typically side projects alongside somebody’s day job. Sadly, many are too short-lived.
But this is also part and parcel of what makes the indie mag. With principles and identity before profit and scale, they’re uniquely adept at capturing cultural shifts ahead of the curve, and tackling complex, even controversial issues with intellect and sensitivity.
Unsurprising, then, that many have taken up sustainability as a cause.
There are some similarities in their approach. Few use recycled papers (though many would like to), due to the higher cost and budgetary restrictions. Many have chosen rough, uncoated stock for its natural look and feel, and as a fitting carrier for candid, smartphone-style photography and unapologetically intellectual prose.
But the indie mag scene is most remarkable for its diversity and innovation in approaches to sustainability, and not just in the range of subject matter (titles in this review cover art, cooking, politics, sports and more).
As more brands increase investment in their environmental creds, it’s worth examining how these mags have harnessed sustainability as creative pivot, and uncovering ideas which may be useful print inspiration for businesses in every industry.
We investigated 10 magazines currently tackling sustainability, from America and the UK.
Thanks to Jeremy Leslie of MagCulture for providing the mags.
1. It’s Freezing in LA
“I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total and very expensive hoax!’
Donald Trump, 2013
With its psychedelic colour palette, and a title borrowed from America’s President, your first assumption is that It’s Freezing in LA! is a direct product of America’s west coast.
Actually, the organisation is a UK-registered non-profit, and the mag is a superb example of how it’s possible to harness a tight budget as a source of creative inspiration.
IFLA screams counter-culture.
Many features, which might be rejected by higher-end mags, are deployed by IFLA as a clear part of its identity.
A bargain at £7, with its handy compact dimensions, and running to only 60 recycled, uncoated pages, the mag feels half-way between magazine and political pamphlet.
Our copy isn’t quite fully folded, springing slightly open along the saddle-stitched spine. Whether that’s intentional or a consequence of the mag’s promise to ‘sell all misprinted copies’ doesn’t really matter; it only contributes to IFLA’s hipster identity.
Inside, margins are so left so thin, that the shouty, oversize type of the editor’s note appears to protest being confined to the page.
The choice of content is right in step.
In ‘The Future of Freshness’ (pp. 35-38), the correspondent delves into our perceived dependence on carbon-hungry refrigeration as a means of food preservation.
“This cold chain has completely altered our collective conception of freshness and, more importantly, our perceived right to consume fresh goods.’
A fitting observation from a magazine which, perhaps not inadvertently, alters our conception of what constitutes ‘quality’ in print…
‘It began in the smoke-filled gaming rooms of South Korea in the late 1990s… farmers collectively earned hundreds of millions of untaxed dollars.’
The Economist, 2019
The farmers in question weren’t agriculturalists. They were gamers who spent hours playing ‘MMORPG’ games (think World of Warcraft) for the sole purpose of collecting ‘gold’ – digital currencies traded for useful items – which they could sell to other players for real-world cash.
The practice now props up the economy of Venezuela, much to the chagrin of the games’ developers, some of which ‘sell virtual gold themselves, and dislike competition’.
There’s a lesson here for your digital strategy.
Many businesses often fail to spot revenue opportunities in their own ideas.
That’s nothing new; think of Alta Vista, and the numerous other pre-Google search engines that disappeared.
But in 2020, brands will come under unprecedented pressure to master the art of digital value creation.
Some pressure will come from the ground up.
Former digital bit-part players have matured into driving forces. Content publishers, influencers and startups are evolving novel, scalable business models off the back of monetized digital experiences. Consumers are speaking with their wallets.
From the top down, appetite for ‘growth investing’ has waned.
Behind the scenes of high-profile IPO embarrassments (or lack thereof), tech unicorns are now diverting into R&D around new profit centres, with promising early results.
Established businesses are watching closely. Banks, in particular, are making smart investments designed to defend and grow their existing market shares.
As pressures build through 2020, one thing is certain.
If you don’t start mining your own gold, somebody else will.
Virtuous circles in the creator economy
2019 saw huge gains for the creator economy: small publishers fulfilling a public appetite for branded content, and the various businesses spinning off it.
Unlike some early digital publishers which struggled to turn a profit, many are now managing to monetize in innovative ways.
Youth culture media platform Complex earned its reputation off long-form, advertiser-friendly entertainment. Its ‘Hot Ones’ show spun out a $10m hot sauce business. It also has a show called ‘Sneaker Shopping’, and is rumoured to be launching a sneaker marketplace in 2020. Complex now turns over $200m.
A newer business, Kyra TV, is tracking $10m this year: a threefold increase on 2018, off the back of diversifying into brand integrations, social commerce and talent management for influencers.
You only have to read the comments on PAQ, Kyra’s YouTube fashion show, to see that a Netflix show is a likely next step, as are new commerce lines and more influencer events.
These businesses are interesting for two reasons.
A screenshot from Kyra’s PAQ Ralph Lauren 100th Episode Special
One: what I call the Media x Marketing x Enterprise business model, whereby an audience-and-creator network, profitable in its own right, provides a springboard for complementary business.
Two: they produce the greatest value at small scale….
Fixating on the ‘talent shortage’ has always been unhelpful.
Rising unemployment may finally kick employers into gear.
How will your company capitalise on the talent surplus?
If your answer to that is, ‘what talent surplus?’, it’s not too late. But you have some catching up to do.
The most desirable employers have been hoovering up talent, in recent weeks, as a wave of Covid-related redundancies injects some much-needed liquidity into the jobs market. This may not be a short-term shock. The Economist argues that ‘The new normal will have higher joblessness’ in most industries[i].
This should be good news for talent teams, but in reality, most employers are woefully ill-equipped for this ‘new normal’.
After 8 years of falling unemployment, the entire talent ecosystem is currently calibrated a candidates’ market: where the employer is powerless, where jobseekers are ‘passive’, and where the recruitment agency database is the only way to recruit for the skills you need.
This logic no longer applies.
Far from being powerless, employers can be highly effective at acquiring talent. The thinking and the tools needed to do the same at your business are more accessible and affordable than ever before.
Even if The Economist turns out to be wrong, and employment swiftly rebounds, the shock of short-term blip will bring the deficiencies of modern corporate recruitment into sharp focus.
Professionals worldwide – and not just furloughed and redundant ones – are using the opportunity of downtime to proactively seek out new opportunities.
It would be a gross oversight for employers not to do the same.
Out with the old
The idea that talent is difficult to hire, or that jobseekers are ‘passive’, was a universally accepted truth.
The scarcity of talent was a truth indeed. Until March this year, the UK was as close to full employment as it’s been in recent memory. It was a candidates’ market[ii].
But, like many universally truths, the ‘talent shortage’ adage came with a lot of expensive baggage, of questionable veracity.
It was certainly true that the workforce wasn’t looking. It was also true that this made them difficult to reach, and that recruitment agencies alleviated that problem.
This graph shows new recruitment agency registrations since the 2008 financial crisis[iii]. It’s almost a mirror image of the unemployment figures.
Talent outsourcing became the default.
Despite the snowballing costs of agencies, efforts to recruit independently were usually underfunded, half-baked, and prone to becoming scrapped in favour of easy, expensive, outsourced talent acquisition.
The cost, and the idea that the cost was unavoidable, became part of the universally accepted truth.
Of course, the silver lining to crises or shocks is that they throw ‘truths’ such as these out into the open, and force a rethink.
For comparison, consider another universally accepted truth: that a professional organisation needed a fixed workplace.
This is partly true; businesses do need offices. The benefits of home working ‘…look likely to be heavily outweighed by drawbacks.’
But businesses have also discovered they need far less square footage than they’ve been paying for, for the last century.
Universally accepted truths, when they are blindly adhered to, create as many problems as they solve.
The ‘talent shortage’ truth has been just as costly. But it now seems a far less pertinent concern.
Unemployment in the UK almost doubled in April, and a depression lasting several years is widely accepted to be the most likely outcome of the pandemic.
Employers must adapt their approach for this altered state of play.
Talent awakens: an opportunity for in-house recruitment teams
Make no mistake: recruitment is not about to become easy.
As of February this year, 72% of UK firms were facing a skills shortage[v]. The jobs market is due a natural correction. Competition will remain stiff, especially for the best people and most in-demand skills.
But, as employees start shopping around for roles, the employers which snap them up quickest will be those which are best suited to selling to a newly switched-on audience…
Collaboration with your printer is key to meeting sustainability goals.
Requesting a “sustainable” production from your printer is a bit like requesting a “nicer” haircut from your barber.
No problem. Where would you like us to start?
In the last couple of years, sustainability has become a boardroom buzzword. And like many buzzwords, it belies the extent of its implications.
Most people probably think first of sustainable materials such as recycled paper. But paper is a complex issue in and of itself – and this only part of the story.
In the printing industry, due to the wide variety of materials and processes involved, and our complex supply chains, many long-established norms have been overhauled as we’ve sought to rein in our environmental impact. The process is still ongoing.
Client-side, ‘sustainable’ is not a fixed term. A production considered sustainable by one business may be unsatisfactory to the next.
For some businesses, emissions are the prime focus. For others, it’s reducing carbon footprint, for others it is reducing landfill through use of recyclable materials or materials that can be recycled. Increasingly, today, the agenda is led by plastic and petroleum products.
For us, this is all in a day’s work.
A good printer should be prepared to discuss and consider a client’s business goals and marketing objectives in order to come up with the perfect formula. Sustainability is just one more dimension to be factored in.
For the best chance of success, bring your CSR goals and budget to the table right at the beginning, and arrive armed with questions to test the limits of your printer’s sustainability credentials.
Environmental certifications: no easy solution
If you’re shopping around for a new supplier, it may be tempting to rely on industry certifications. But while some industry certifications can be used to create a shortlist of suppliers, they won’t give the answers you need.
OLIVER: In-house agencies took a beating in May when PepsiCo was forced to pull its Kendall Jenner ad.
Was the agency model really the culprit?
Debbie Morrison, ISBA: “Let’s get real here: this could have happened with any agency, external, in-house or on-site. To blame the agency model is naïve in the extreme and implies that only external agencies are connected to the real world and popular culture. This was purely and simply a judgement miscall.”
Adele Gritten, Future Thinking: “This sort of thing usually happens because a brand misunderstands its audience.
Whatever your model, if your agency doesn’t have the right insights or you’re not feeding those insights into your marketing strategy, you will end up in situations like this.
The problem was amplified in Pepsi’s case because it tried to tap into the zeitgeist, but failed to recognise its place within it.”
Sharon Whale, OLIVER: “It’s also important to remember that every iteration of each agency model – in-house, on-site and external – takes a slightly different form.
It’s possible PepsiCo’s own specific setup did allow a mistake to slip through, but eight brands in our survey are creating their own TV advertising in-house; four completely off their own bat.
There’s no reason an in-house agency can’t be creatively and strategically excellent, with the right level of rigour and push-back if properly built.”
Digitalization has made some things in life simpler, but not security.
A joint-press release by MasterCard & Microsoft, who have recently launched a collaboration over online payments and identification, said:
“Currently, verifying your identity online… places a huge burden on individuals, who have to successfully remember hundreds of passwords for various identities and are increasingly being subjected to more complexity in proving their identity and managing their data.”
Beyond being inconvenient, this complexity is proving positively dangerous – and yet, neither brands nor consumers seem capable of tackling the problem.
Today’s consumer has little patience for the faff of multi-device, multi-interface, multi-page verification processes, thumbing codes into cumbersome mobile keyboards and endless password resets.
Businesses, meanwhile, are still figuring out how to profit from customer data, and the scale and costs of data hacks are escalating. The Marriot-Starwood breach this year was the second-largest in history, with 500m customers affected The largest-ever attack – on all 3bn Yahoo accounts – ended up costing $47m in litigation expenses.
More worryingly, a trend towards card-not-present transactions, and a general, deepening dependence on our digital identities, leaves consumers ever more exposed to crime.
If simpler security protocols do not become widespread, consumers and merchants alike may sleepwalk into cybercriminals’ hands.
Horses to water
Consumers are cybersecurity-conscious, but disinterested in managing the risks.
PwC’s 2017 Protect.me survey found that “87% of consumers say they will take their business elsewhere if they don’t trust a company is handling their data responsibly”.
“Almost one in five people has faced an account hacking attempt but … only a third create new passwords for different online accounts and a worrying one-in-10 people use the same password for all their online accounts.”
A lack of understanding seems to be an issue.
Two Indiana University academics surveyed 500 American adults to understand why two-factor authentication – theoretically, a fairly effective security protocol – is not more popular.
Most consumers, apparently, simply didn’t see the urgency.
One of the researchers said of the participants, “We got a lot of, ‘My password is great. My password is plenty long enough.’”
Even Adam Cooper, who helped set up Verify, the UK government’s online identity system, confessed of his experience of online security processes that “I am baffled most of the time. I just click OK.”
This shows that if we are to work towards a more cyber-secure world, consumers are unlikely to be much help.