How to Brand an HR Service Business

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Branding a service-based business is inherently more complex than branding a consumer product. Outlines common misperceptions of brands, defines what brands are, what they do, and why they matter. Provides a blueprint for effective brand strategy, recommended positioning approaches for an HR service business and process for brand building.

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  • I’m giving you $1 in 1979. You can invest it in Target or Wal-Mart. Which would you choose?
  • $1 invested in Walmart in 1979 would have returned you about $57,000. $1 invested in Target in 1979 would have returned you about $6,900.
  • Now, I’m giving you $1 in 1999. You can invest it in Target or Wal-Mart. Which would you choose?
  • $1 invested in Walmart in 1999 would have returned you about $32. $1 invested in Target in 1999 would have returned you about $103.
  • Key Dates: 1969 – 1999 – Target completes 9 acquisitions to create scale and build footprint. It grows from 24 units and $200M in sales to 851 units and $23B in sales. 1967 – 1995 – Walmart grows from 24 stores in Arkansas and $12M in sales to over 2,500 international stores with $93B in global sales. By 2000 U.S. sales doubled from $78B to $156B.
  • Key Dates for Target: 1999 – First designer line of products. The Michael Graves Collection of housewares and home décor products. 2005 – ClearRx redesigned prescription bottles to make them more functional, easier to read and easier to use. 2005-2008 – Biodegrable gift cards, exclusive relationships with leading fashion designers and brands including Mossimo Giannulli, Fiorucci, Liz Lange and Converse. Key Dates for Walmart: September 2007 – Introduces “Save Money Live Better” tagline. June 2008 – New corporate logo. Target Outperformed Last Year What this means to the PEO: Only one company can be the biggest, the cheapest, etc. Everyone else has to compete on other terms.
  • Insight: For the first 25 years, both Walmart and Target drastically changed the way a retailer operates. They invested in scale and technology to move products and information better. And, they brought us quality merchandise at unbelievable prices. And, Wal-Mart did it better. For the last 10 years, Target has drastically changed the way it communicates about who it is and what it offers the customer. It’s built a brand around a clear, focused belief system: good design is meaningful and valuable. It should also be affordable. Transitioning to the PEO: Show of hands, how many of you have changed the way you do business drastically in the last 10-15 years? CRM, HRMS, document management, etc. Show of hands, how many of you have drastically changed the way you market and present who you are and the value you offer to the world?
  • The PEO industry is where the discount retailer was around 1985-1990. Industry with very thin margins and tremendous liability Margins have been halved in the past few years Sales are lagging (30% growth for 10 years straight; 15% growth for the past few years; likely negative growth in 2009). Clients are contracting Firms are consolidating Generally, industries that are changing like this create great opportunities for new approaches. Redefining the way we talk about ourselves and present ourselves is one way to differentiate and create growth.
  • Landor and P&G.
  • McDonald’s and Service Experience.
  • Brands become a badge and part of a customer’s self identity. Easy examples: Starbucks, AmEx, Harley Davidson.
  • They stay longer and buy more.
  • We care more about the relationships in our lives that our central to our own identity.
  • Why AFLAC? Naming – simple, memorable name, increases cognition and memorability. Focus – clear business focus combined with a clear brand focus. Clear Brand Message Aflac is not major medical insurance. Aflac pays you cash benefits when you are sick or hurt to use however you want. Can you or your family afford to be without Aflac? Smart use of advertising tactics to create memorability Emotionally Driven Brand Tagline We’ve got you under our wing.
  • 1978 – 2010 Comparison of performance between AFLAC and Aetna from 1978 to 2010 (I could’ve picked a comparison with Unum, Torchmark, Cigna – it wouldn’t matter. AFLAC has outperformed most everyone). Points of interest: 1955: AFLAC founded as American Family Life Assurance Company in 1955. A general provider of life insurance. 1964: Began focusing on worksite settings, policies sponsored by employers and funded through payroll deductions. Focus on supplemental insurance. 1990: Shortened the company name to AFLAC. (1978-1990 returned shareholders 730%; from 1990-2000 return was 873%). 2000: Introduced the AFLAC duck. 2010: Brand awareness from 13% to 93% in 10 years. Focused now on brand cognition.
  • Why this brand works. Culture and brand are 100% aligned. High level brand concept Exemplary service and great food. Background WaWa is a c-store, HQ in PA with 500 stores in 5 eastern states. Regularly outperforms. Company considers employees their living brand. Devote resources to train and develop them to reflect core values. Details Hiring – focus on skills and characteristics; intrinsic traits rather than experiences. Create brand pride --- investment in its private-label offerings; recognize employees work as an investment in the brand. Outcomes 100+ applications for each job opening. 14% turnover rate. From 1977-2003, stock grew at CAGR of 17%. Doubled the S&P 500.
  • Why this brand works. Focus and exclusivity. High level brand concept Your personal concierge. Examples Appeal to the consumer through customer service; force the retailer to carry the card. Handle consumer disputes quickly and effortlessly. Create a sense that you’re part of something. “Being a member.” Maintaining some exclusivity to maintain margins.
  • Why this brand works Philosophy. High level brand concept is tied to a feeling. High level brand concept High Performance Rationale Focused on business drivers: not specific services and details. Showcase thought leadership. Aligning the brand with proven performers.
  • Why this brand works Philosophy. High level brand concept is tied to a feeling. High level brand concept Do what’s best for your people. HCM is the lever for tomorrow’s best businesses. We help you attract, retain and motivate. Examples Advisory council story. Focused on selling to emotional needs rather than cost-savings or transactional benefits.
  • Why this brand works Philosophy. High level brand concept is tied to a feeling. High level brand concept Ambitions realized – we’ll lead you there.
  • Changes rarely, if ever.
  • Changes occasionally, every 3-5 years.
  • Changes occasionally, every 3-5 years.
  • Changes rarely, if ever.
  • Change and evolve regularly.
  • A “category killer” We process payroll better than anyone else. We manage UI or WC better than anyone else. We’re expert at helping owners manage business succession. Have to do that one thing tangibly better or much cheaper.
  • A Market Leader We provide PEO services exclusively to professional services companies. We brand service-based businesses. We’re management consultants to the PEO industry. We’ve engineered 50% of the power plants built globally in the last 25 years. The selected market must be growing. The selected focus must create relevancy for the customer in such a way that the specialization derives value.
  • Own a Belief System We create high performance business. (Accenture) We’ll give you your life back. (HCMM)
  • Four Stages Insight = Research Ideation = Strategy and solution. Implementation = Development and marketing. Inspection = Measurement and analysis.
  • Insight: Customer Research (Existing, Past, Prospects) Combination of one-on-ones and online surveying What makes us unique? Why did you hire us? Why didn’t you hire us? What do we do better than anyone else? What could we do better? Internal Research -Workshops and online surveys -Same questions from a different perspective Competitive Research (Site, Materials Audits) -How are they messaging their offer? What are they claiming as their UVP? How do they state or demonstrate their value? -Where can we mimic? Where can we improve? Where is our whitespace? Industry Research -What compelling trends will drive this marketplace? -How do we position ourselves at the forefront of what will drive our industry today and tomorrow.
  • Ideation: Develop the brand belief system Develop highest-level brand assets (name, identity, unique value proposition, visual language)
  • Implementation: Develop tangible brand assets -Marketing collateral -Environments -Interactive -Sales and promotions
  • Inspection: Measure performance and look to improve -Internal surveys Gauge brand alignment, comprehension, motivation -External surveys -Measure unaided brand awareness -Gauge perceptions of brand and quality of service delivery
  • Change Perspective. An industry that has exploited market opportunities Cheap healthcare, cheap workers comp, cheap unemployment insurance Failed to use those opportunities to build a compelling value proposition for customers Failed to use those opportunities to build a compelling, long-lasting brand that creates emotional connection and fosters customer advocacy.
  • Do you really think I hire you because you can do payroll for less? Or, because you assume employment liability? Or, because you’re efficient at managing my benefits plans? I don’t think that’s what it’s about. I hire you because you give me something I don’t have. The resources, expertise and skills of a larger company. You’re at the leading edge with a value-added solution for a SMB But, you’re at the trailing edge of presenting yourself effectively; your names; your visual language; your value proposition. Most of it is focused on low-level features and benefits. I don’t care about UI. I don’t care about WC. I’m trying to grow my business. How can you help?
  • How to Brand an HR Service Business

    1. 1. 2010 AND BEYOND Branding for growth in the New Normal Jason Mlicki
    2. 2. $1 in 1979.
    3. 3. $1 invested in Walmart in 1979 $1 invested in Target in 1979 would have returned you would have returned you about $57,000. about $6,900.
    4. 4. $1 in 1999.
    5. 5. $1 invested in Walmart in 1999 $1 invested in Target in 1999 would have returned you would have returned you about $32. about $103.
    6. 6. 1960 – 1995. Focus on footprint and scale.
    7. 7. 1999 – 2010. Target focuses on brand building.
    8. 8. But, I’m not a retailer.
    9. 9. Okay, I’m still not a retailer.
    10. 10. 2010 AND BEYOND Branding for growth in the New Normal
    11. 11. 1.0 About brands 2.0 Brand building 3.0 Closing thoughts
    12. 12. About brands. brands Part one. What’s a brand?
    13. 13. No matter what you think, you know a good brand when you experience it. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    14. 14. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    15. 15. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    16. 16. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    17. 17. What a brand is not. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    18. 18. A brand is not a name nor a trademark trademark. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    19. 19. A brand is not a logo nor a tagline tagline. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    20. 20. A brand is not a product nor a package package. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    21. 21. Okay, so what exactly are brands? 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    22. 22. Brands are perceptions. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    23. 23. Brands are experiences. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    24. 24. Brands are cognitive. And emotional. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    25. 25. Brands are commitments. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    26. 26. Brands are relationships. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    27. 27. Brands are built on products, taglines, trademarks, logos, services, experiences, gossip, p press releases, tweets, message , , g boards, sales calls, packaging, call centers, signage. 1.1 I WHAT'S A BRAND?
    28. 28. About brands. brands Part two. What brands do.
    29. 29. Brands provide recognition to simplify a purchase purchase. RECOGNITION 1.2 I WHAT BRANDS DO
    30. 30. Good brands create growth by providing consistent experiences. EXPERIENCE C RECOGNITION 1.2 I WHAT BRANDS DO
    31. 31. Great brands connect, inspire and create fans fans. EMOTIONAL CONNECTION EXPERIENCE C RECOGNITION 1.2 I WHAT BRANDS DO
    32. 32. Fans are loyal. 1.2 I WHAT BRANDS DO
    33. 33. Fans are passionate. 1.2 I WHAT BRANDS DO
    34. 34. Fans advocate on your behalf. 1.2 I WHAT BRANDS DO
    35. 35. And yes, sometimes fans pay more more. 1.2 I WHAT BRANDS DO
    36. 36. About brands. brands Part three. Why brands matter.
    37. 37. Strong brands grow sales and increase margins margins. 1.3 I WHY BRANDS MATTER
    38. 38. 1.3 I WHY BRANDS MATTER
    39. 39. 1990: Shortened the company 2000: Introduced the AFLAC name to AFLAC. duck. 1.3 I WHY BRANDS MATTER
    40. 40. About brands. brands Part four. Examples.
    41. 41. 1.4 I EXAMPLES
    42. 42. 1.4 I EXAMPLES
    43. 43. 1.4 I EXAMPLES
    44. 44. 1.4 I EXAMPLES
    45. 45. 1.4 I EXAMPLES
    46. 46. Brand Building. Building Part one. Brand strategy.
    47. 47. Five components of an effective brand strategy strategy. 2.1 I BRAND STRATEGY
    48. 48. 1. Brand promise. What the brand stands for for. 2.1 I BRAND STRATEGY
    49. 49. 2. Brand positioning. What makes it unique unique. 2.1 I BRAND STRATEGY
    50. 50. 3. Brand attributes. What it’s like like. 2.1 I BRAND STRATEGY
    51. 51. 4. Brand vision. What it hopes to become become. 2.1 I BRAND STRATEGY
    52. 52. 5. Brand assets. Valuable items that identify it it. 2.1 I BRAND STRATEGY
    53. 53. 2.1 I BRAND STRATEGY
    54. 54. 1. Brand promise. Our consumer comes first Always first. Always. 2.1 I BRAND STRATEGY
    55. 55. 2. Brand positioning. We deliver intimate service every time time. 2.1 I BRAND STRATEGY
    56. 56. 3. Brand attributes. Exclusive, premium, signature, personalized, accomodating. signature personalized accomodating 2.1 I BRAND STRATEGY
    57. 57. 4. Brand vision. The world’s leading day-to-day financial partner for the moderately affluent to wealthy consumer. 2.1 I BRAND STRATEGY
    58. 58. 5. Brand assets. Green. Blue. “A member. Don t member ” “Don’t leave home without it ” it. The centurion. 2.1 I BRAND STRATEGY
    59. 59. Brand Building. Building Part two. Positioning a service brand.
    60. 60. Option 1. Position around a service or skill skill. 2.2 I POSITIONING A SERVICE BRAND
    61. 61. Option 2. Position around an industry or market market. 2.2 I POSITIONING A SERVICE BRAND
    62. 62. Option 3. Position around a philosophy or belief belief. 2.2 I POSITIONING A SERVICE BRAND
    63. 63. Brand Building. Building Part three. Group exercises.
    64. 64. Brand Building. Building Part four. Process.
    65. 65. Brand development process. 4.0 I BRAND STRATEGY
    66. 66. Insight. Learn what you don’t know. Customer R C t Researchh Internal Research Competitive Research Industry Research 4.0 I BRAND STRATEGY
    67. 67. Ideation. Form strategy. Develop b d b li f D l brand belief system and highest-level brand assets. 4.0 I BRAND STRATEGY
    68. 68. Implementation. Bring it to life. Develop t D l tangible ibl brand assets. 4.0 I BRAND STRATEGY
    69. 69. Inspection. Evaluate and adjust. Measure performance M f and look to improve. 4.0 I BRAND STRATEGY
    70. 70. Closing thoughts. thoughts
    71. 71. What does it mean to be a PEO? 4.0 I BRAND STRATEGY
    72. 72. Why do customers really hire you? 4.0 I BRAND STRATEGY
    73. 73. Thank you

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