Who are the best ambassadors for your business and what makes it unique? Your own people, of course.
In a competitive landscape, the talent and authenticity of your employees makes your company stand out. They are the most compelling ‘Influencers’ you can find to distinguish your brand.
Utilizing video storytelling and the power of social media can propel the key attributes of your company. It can enable you to reinforce the choices of longtime customers and attract new customers to your business.
Best of all—it’s a cost-effective way to boost impact. Here are some compelling examples:
When JC Penney launched its new Belle & Sky apparel line, it chose the creative designers behind the brand to explain why shoppers should gravitate to cold-shoulder tops and dark floral fashion:
Letting these designers become the influencers enabled an in-depth look at the design process. It added a human face to what were 'anonymous' styles. Fashion blogger Brie Bemis Rearick joined the piece as an 'interviewer,' adding additional credibility with the target millennial shopper segment.
Sean Ryan, former director of Social Media at JCPenney told us: “I was looking for test opportunities to create brand building content that resonated with Millennials, doing so in a scrappy and quick-turn way. They did not disappoint. They were incredibly easy to work with, providing a cost-effective, turnkey solution to help tell the story of the Belle + Sky brand. The campaign outperformed all expectations and the design team loved working with the team on the project. Based on the ease of partnership, cost and – most importantly – performance (video views and engagements), I have 100% confidence in the ability of Versant and their team to continue to produce these results at scale.”
Kwik Trip, a 629-unit convenience store chain throughout the Midwest wanted to promote the quality of its in-store offerings, starting with the dairy case. What better way to tell that story than to go down on the farm—and see where the milk comes from?
Kwik Trip put Dairy Supervisor Al’s human face on the previously generic milk bottle. Customers now know how it’s made, and why it’s so fresh when it moves from farm to fridge in a single day. They have a new confidence in and relationship with the people who put it there.
The Medical College of Wisconsin had a different challenge. It sought to shine a light on the talented researchers and scientists who work behind the scenes (and away from patient-populated clinics) devoting themselves to the basic science that makes later breakthroughs possible. Brian, aka the “Fish Dude," and his team are working on experiments that could lead to cures for glaucoma and other eye disorders. Viewers get the chance to enter their lab and understand their work through a video ‘visit.’
All of these examples are part of campaigns initiated by creative and far-seeing clients who wanted to harness social media to connect with customers in new ways. They also saw this approach as effective outreach to their own employees. Spotlighting one of their own in a high-profile vignette boosts morale and employee engagement.
We’d love to visit with you and your team about how a 'Smart Influencer' campaign can drive your business. There’s no better time to see the impact than in the all-important Fourth Quarter of 2018. Contact Will Ruch, principal of Versant at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 414-436-3100 to learn more about how ‘Smart Influencers’ can become a part of your marketing plan.
The Wisconsin worker shortage has been brewing for years as the economy expands and a growing number of baby boomers retire—you're probably seeing the impact now.
You know that having the right employees with the appropriate skill sets is critical to success. You, along with many other leaders, should take charge of shaping a culture that's attractive to your "right-fit" talent—an environment they want to come to, stay in and grow.
So how can you increase your organization's success in hiring and retaining the right employees? Read our latest white paper to find out how you can help avoid a talent gap in your organization.
Every non-profit organization that depends on private individual or corporate philanthropy is looking for new and more effective ways of tapping their donor network.
Old techniques – direct mail solicitation letters, telemarketing, - don’t have the impact they once did. They’re drowned out in the crush and clutter of multiple appeals from scores of good causes. Even personal outreach is limited: non-profit leaders can’t access the broad array of existing and new donors they need to reach in a timely, cost-effective manner.
And ‘donor fatigue’ is real: givers are barraged with multiple requests from an army of worthy causes, making them resistant to the same old ‘ask’ advanced in the same old way.
So what about identifying new donors who haven’t established a giving history with your organization? Well, finding these elusive sources of new revenue is as difficult as locating the proverbial needle in a haystack.
That’s where the power of social media and video storytelling married together can create new impact for your non-profit: grabbing the attention of your longtime base and powerfully connecting with potential new givers.
The ‘magic’ here is using your own ‘influencers’ to tell the unique story of your organization – and do it in video. See this example from The Guest House of Milwaukee, the city’s preeminent shelter for homeless men:
Attorney Patrick O. Dunphy, board chair of The Guest House, creates a compelling rationale for contributors. As an ‘influencer,’ Dunphy is well-known within the Milwaukee community. The segment is brief; The production quality of the piece is high, and there is a strong call-to-action that links to a microsite containing contact information and ‘how to give’ specifics.
The series included testimonials from board members and from funding ‘influencers’ who believe In the Guest House mission, and support it.
These brief video segments were pushed to a wider audience by leveraging the organization’s own internal network. Board members took this and the 10 other segments in the series and pushed them out to their social friends, associates and acquaintances. For a very cost-effective technique, The Guest House achieved maximum exposure for their message.
Guest House’s organic reach was supplemented with a targeted paid Facebook campaign. This included the use of ‘SmartBoost’, - a proprietary technology that optimizes Facebook reach and engagement. The results:
Better yet – the campaign was an outstanding success. Guest House private donation grew dramatically.
“Our Influencer campaign launched in November last year, and since that time we have achieved an impressive 61% increase in donor contributions... which was one of our key goals”, said Cindy Krahenbuhl, executive director.
“Our board, staff, volunteers and other key partners have been excited to share the new content to help tell our story - obviously it's working!"
It’s a simple formula – but complex when it comes to blending compelling stories, powerful production values, pinpointed social media outreach and the engagement of a willing Board.
We’d like to help you harness the power of your own Smart Influencers campaign to drive new philanthropy for your non-profit organization.
Contact Will Ruch, principal at Versant, ‘email@example.com’ for more information.
Thank you to the Milwaukee Bucks and ACG Wisconsin for the awesome tour of the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center last week. It looks amazing and we can't wait for it to open!
We had a great time at last night's Wine Not? 2018 Event benefiting Guest House of Milwaukee!
If you aren't familiar with the great work the Guest House does for our city, check them out: http://www.guesthouseofmilwaukee.org/
It was a privilege to hear journalist Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic at this afternoon's Rotary Club of Milwaukee luncheon. His discussion focused on the opiate epidemic affecting our county and city. Check out his great work and book here.
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr stepped aside and let the players coach the game last night. This was an excellent leadership move and provides valuable lessons for anyone leading an organization. Leaders must constantly listen to employees and find ways (sometimes creative ways) to empower and engage them.
Why is everyone talking about Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris? Because the three men who star in it are the real-life heroes of the Paris train attack. Eastwood is disrupting Hollywood with his casting, and the film is getting much more attention than the standard movie hype. In a recent USA TODAY article, Eastwood explains that people want to see the "real deal," not actors or movie stars.
The "real deal" is also important for many of our clients. We all see companies using customers to help promote their products or services. We’re now seeing that authenticity extended by using real employees to communicate with talent. It’s what Versant calls Branding from the Inside Out. It brings legitimacy to your message and it’s the "real deal."
Here’s the 15:17 to Paris movie trailer...we'd love to hear what you think.
For many people, Super Bowl Sunday means watching two of the best NFL teams duke it out. For others, it's all about one thing: watching the best brands duke it out. No matter which camp you're in, it's undeniable that Super Bowl commercials have become a popular part of Super Bowl Sunday.
Here’s a look at 10 of the best Super Bowl commercials of all time:
In this season of thanks we have many things to be grateful for – and one of them is our wonderful clients and vendor partners.
Yesterday's ACG WI Growth, Leadership and Human Capital Conference was a huge success. We were fortunate to hear from three wonderful speakers: General Stan McChrystal (Former Commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan), Kyle Maynard (bestselling author and first quadruple amputee to summit Mount Kilimanjaro) and April Dunn (SVP, CMO at ManpowerGroup). Each brought unique insights on leadership, corporate growth and talent development. Versant is glad to be a part of ACG WI as we continue to grow the event.
We had a great time celebrating the amazing work of the Neighborhood House of Milwaukee at last night's 27th Annual Harvest of Hope Gala.
Thank you to everyone who came out for our blood drive today! We are proud to report that we surpassed our donation goal. Big thanks to the BloodCenter of WI for all of your help.
Manufacturing month is WI in nearing an end, but our client, Milwaukee Composites, Inc. is just getting started. Milwaukee Composites runs under the radar locally, but they are the leading manufacturer of flooring and doors for mass transit vehicles used around the world since 1997 & are donating all the floors to the Milwaukee Streetcar. Yes, you heard us right - donating! For more information on Milwaukee Composites & their donation to the Milwaukee Streetcar, check out the microsite & video we made for the streetcar project: milwstreetcarfloors.com
Versant was happy to support the Women's Fund of Greater Milwaukee Title IX 45th Anniversary luncheon. Thank you to Donna Orender of Generation W, Inc. for your inspiration keynote speech.
If you missed our recent webinar with The Novo Group, check it out here:
Calling all marketing and HR professionals! Do your candidates know your story?
Register for our webinar with the Novo Group to find out just how easy it is to create your organization's Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and how it can set you apart from your competition in the war for talent. Register today: http://bit.ly/2vsqP4Q
ALSO: The first ten registrants to send questions in advance will receive a signed copy of Will Ruch's book, HR and Marketing POWER PARTNERS.
Versant was happy to participate in the Cream City 5K this weekend. Although it was a very cold day, we were happy to come out to Greenfield Park to help raise awareness and support for organ, tissue and eye donation.
GREAT THINGS HAPPEN WHEN YOU HAVE THE TALENT YOU WANT.
Learn the winning practices that attract and keep talent by registering for a 5 session interactive boot-camp, hosted by the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Biweekly 1-hour sessions begin April 5, 2017.
Led by Will Ruch, CEO of Versant, co-author of Power Partners, and workplace brand expert.
Cost: $500/person for the 5 session series. Includes lunch and a copy of the book, Power Partners.
While many of us were voting on November 8th, the US Labor Department released its monthly workforce statistics. Of note, the number of workers quitting jobs hit a 15-year high, and there were only 1.4 unemployed workers per job opening (a 2 to 1 ratio is "healthy").
Over the past few months, I've spoken at six conferences on workplace branding and how to effectively compete for talent in an increasingly tight labor market - both retaining good employees and attracting good talent. In each case we surveyed the audiences (private equity leaders, C-level business leaders, professional service associations and staffing services businesses) to get their anonymous feedback on how their organization is positioned with talent.
Key findings include:
As you prepare for 2017, think about how competitive your organization is with talent, and how employees and candidates see the value proposition of working for your organization.
It's an ongoing journey, but in the end make sure the talent you need votes to come - and to stay.
Last night's event for the Neighborhood House of Milwaukee's 26 Annual Gala, Harvest of Hope, was a great time. Thank you for allowing Versant to be apart of the celebration! We were proud to sponsor a table.
Versant had a great time at yesterday's ACG WI Growth, Leadership and Human Capital Conference. Will Ruch, this year's co-chair, introduced Sue Quackenbush, CHRO of Vonage (and Versant client). Other presenters included keynote Marshall Goldsmith, Executive Coach and renowned expert on business leadership, and Andrew Fastow, former CFO of Enron.
This year was another great event and we can't wait for 2017!
Congratulations to Versant's Lindsay Ruch on her membership to Young Association for Corporate Growth - Wisconsin (YACG).
Versant and Inside Media Partners launched an exciting social media campaign for JCPenney. This is the first of three campaigns for JCPenny's Belle + Sky line. Be sure to check out the behind-the-scenes videos with one of our fashion bloggers.