Newsflash: Your HR and Marketing Strategy are a lot More Aligned Than you Think
Guest Post by Jared Goodman of PurelyHR. Jared is a content marketing consultant who’s worked with dozens of tech startups from San Francisco to Switzerland to South Africa across various industries from dating apps, to drones, to design. Currently responsible for content at PurelyHR, Jared can be found building their brand through effective storytelling and content creation.
Six months ago I did something crazy. I took a content role at an HR company which may not sound that crazy … except for the fact that up until a short 6 months ago, I didn’t really know much about HR at all.
Obviously one of my first tasks was familiarizing myself with the HR space as quickly as I could. One of the discoveries I made in my research? HR and Marketing aren’t really that different… I know, crazy right?!
When done right, your HR and your marketing strategy should be so closely aligned that your brand values become your hiring requirements. And your employees will become your biggest marketing collateral.
If we’re doing marketing right, we’re ditching the spin and we’re picking up the truth. We’re telling real and honest stories about ourselves, our products, and/or services in order to make a sale - we’re staying true to ourselves and showing that through a powerful brand.
So where does HR fit in? Well, your brand values should trickle down to your hiring requirements.
Look at Netflix, their HR strategy has been viewed by more than 5 million people since it’s launch in 2009 and there’s a damn good reason. Sheryl Sandberg called it one of the most important documents ever to come out of Silicon Valley and it’s easy to see why.
At Netflix, their company values aren’t just a combo of buzzwords - these values are their hiring requirements.
As you can see, HR and marketing aren’t in completely separate universes as I had previously thought! In this post I’ll walk you through 3 different examples of opportunities in your business where these two worlds should collide.
1. Finding your purpose…
As Simon Sinek says “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” If you don’t know your purpose as an organization, your community is likely going to view your brand in a not-so-flattering light. Salesy and transactional. Ehck
Understanding who you are and why you’re in business is a vital component of your story that should impact everything you do!
From your social media strategy to your recruitment policies, content strategy to hiring requirements - your purpose is the thread that pulls all of these components together to create clarity and consistency within your business and brand. Your purpose and core values should be non-negotiable.
Let’s be clear.
Culture is NOT beanbag chairs, ping pong tables and unlimited Red Bull (contrary to popular belief).
Culture IS, however, the way your employees feel when they’re at the office. It’s the way they interact with each other and with your management team. It’s their understanding and true belief in your values as a business. This should be what your brand embodies and shares to the world.
Look at companies like Drift, Hootsuite or Mailchimp, for example: including employees in marketing campaigns is a part of their culture. This is likely because these companies know that to fit with their culture, the right hire needs to be outgoing, relaxed on camera and comfortable on company social media.
Neither marketing nor HR can create culture on its own, but together? Now that’s a power couple if I’ve ever seen one! While HR is doing it’s thing, hiring based on company core values and expectations, marketing has the opportunity to bring the team together to express company goals, employee personalities and connect with an audience that relates to who you are as an organization.
*Proceed With Caution*
One of the biggest challenges here is to make sure that the employees you include in your marketing don’t feel forced to take part.
While employees may be excited to share the content they’ve participated in, you can optimize their success by ensuring that they don’t sound scripted or transactional. In 2018, consumers are skilled at filtering out promotional messages and sales pitches so it is crucial to ensure that your brand culture is communicated in the most authentic way.
3. Content, Distribution & Human Resources
Content is king. Distribution is dominant. HR is human!
Marketers have been embracing content for the last few years in exciting new ways. We behave more like publishers and relate to our audience as humans. With social media and the general power of the interwebs, easier distribution mediums allow us to shout our values from the rooftops.
Combining this power of content marketing with your human resources can be a very effective tactic if you have creative writers on staff who are eager to contribute. I highly recommend giving it a try to offer up a really diverse voice to your blog! Just be sure to enlist some rules for any content produced. The ladies at Marrow would tell you NO product promo!
You won't have to worry about the distribution portion of this strategy because your team will be excited to see their post live on the company blog and share it with their friends and family!
At the end of the day, HR is the management of your company’s most valuable resource: talent - and marketing is taking your beliefs and screaming them into a megaphone, rallying your community. Although they don’t always collaborate, we should be trying more often!
Did I miss something? Are there ways your HR and marketing departments collab in your business? Let me know in the comments!