Monthly Archives: November 2014

Human Resources

HR Tech Europe Conference: the new frontier of the HR role

HR Tech Europe Conference: the new frontier of the HR role

by Antonia Di Lorenzo

 Human Resources

Although there is no commonly accepted definition of Human Resource Management, the key point is to see the staff as a real asset in the organisation.

From this principle, the basic schools of thought are divided into two theories:

  • the RBT (resources-based theory) sees this resource as the sole source of a unique competitive advantage, enduring and inimitable. Therefore it brings the management of human resources to the centre of corporate strategy (see Barney 1991, Boxall and Purcell 2003).
  • The second school, also called “soft HRM”, starts from the analysis of Porter (1985) and sees the competitive advantage reachable only by product differentiation or cost leadership, therefore suggesting an integration (a “fit”) of human resource management policies with those concerning the general business strategy (see also Miller 1987).

staff-chart

The HR officer is the professional figure who deals with the management of the staff, from research to selection, from training and evaluation to administration. Their tasks can vary widely depending on the size of the company.

Agota Czeller, Human Resources Manager Intern in Grow3, is responsible for ensuring the quality of written correspondence with applicants and third parties, preparing reference letters and employment contracts, scheduling and conducting interviews, screening CVs, producing weekly departmental summary reports and working on improving the current recruitment process.

“HR priority is to make sure that all the employees are well looked after and their concerns are addressed and met appropriately. It is important to make sure that the company’s people needs are aligned to its strategic needs. People are the most important assets of a company,” she says.

According to her, the main responsibilities of a HR officer are:

  • To find the right person and someone who can fit into the organisation;
  • Once someone is in the firm, make sure that the employee’s needs are met and they are well, and that they stay for the needed time (to complete job) also;
  • HR looks after the training, learning and development needs of each person;
  • If a person needs to leave the organisation, they will make sure that this is done as professionally as possible;
  • All of this includes documentation and administration;
  • Communication.

In order to facilitate this last aspect, Agota confirms that “technology can be a tool which helps communication between different parts of the organisation such as HR and employees of different departments or employees and their line managers.”

“If, for example someone is working flexibly, some apps like skype can help keep in touch or if performance review takes place, then skype could also be used,” she says.

Regarding the relationship between the HR role and the new technologies, London will greet the HR Tech Europe Conference in March 2015, considered to be the fastest growing HR event in the world, for the third successive year.

It is believed it is the best European conference on HR and technology, delivering timely, thought-provoking keynotes, panels and networking opportunities with senior leaders from around the globe.

With regards to a potential innovative side of the HR role, our HR Manager Intern says: “I think HR can be innovated if we start to see its function as being strategic rather than only administrative.” She supports, “that means that HR – policies and practices – is one of the tools that can be used to ensure that a business is successful. If the employees are looked after, their well-being is good, then they will perform better, helping the company prosper.”

“In order to change the role of HR, we need to make sure that it is less transactional and more about relationships,” Agota continues, “although HR is aiming to be strategic, it must not ignore the needs of the individual. Organisational goals must not undermine employee goals, they should go hand in hand. Technology should be used also as a way to modernize recruitment, training, performance management.”

Among the confirmed speakers of the global event that is coming to London next March, we find the names of Peter Hinssen, Chairman and Co-founder of Nexxworks, one of the world’s thought leaders on disruptive innovation, Rachel Botsman, named the Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and Costas Markides, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship.

 

“Your physical, mental and intellectual resources, continually growing and changing, are your personal capital.”

Brian Tracey – writer and expert in development of human potential.

 

 

Neuromarketing: strategies for persuading people to buy

Neuromarketing: strategies for persuading people to buy

by Antonia Di Lorenzo

brain-neuromarket

Neuromarketing is a new field of marketing research that studies consumers’ sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli. It is aimed at the identification of the communication channels focused on buying decision processes, in other words, what happens in people’s brains when confronted by stimuli related to products, brands and advertising. The objective is to determine strategies for persuading people to buy.

Researchers use technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure changes in activity in parts of the brain, electroencephalography (EEG) and Steady state topography (SST) to measure activity in specific regional spectra of the brain response, and/or sensors to measure changes in one’s physiological state, also known as biometrics, including (heart rate and respiratory rate, galvanic skin response) to learn why consumers make the decisions they do, and which brain areas are responsible.

Our brain is divided into three parts:

  • The rational part thinks, elaborating rational data;
  • The intermediate part listens, elaborating emotions and sensations;
  • The primitive part decides, taking into account the results that come from the other two parts.

 Neuromarketing

How does the primitive brain work on the emotional side?

According to an infographic generated by Nashville, Tenn.-based Emma, an email-marketing software provider, the primitive brain controls gut reactions and emotions and works much faster than our conscious mind.

Gut reactions are absorbed by the primitive brain in less than 3 seconds and emotions process information 5 times faster than our conscious brain does.

How does it work with images?

 The primitive brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. It is believed that 90% of all the data processed by our brain is visual and it is easier to remember pictures with text rather than text alone.

According to the infographic mentioned above, the brain is particularly attracted to images of sex, danger and food, but also using facial expressions can quickly grab the customer’s attention and can be a beneficial advertising strategy. Faces and eyes, particularly of women, have a positive impact on feelings of trust, but they shouldn’t disturb the reader from the message.

Why colour matters.

 More than 60% of our feeling about a product is determined by the colour alone. Different colours can actually send various signals to our brain.

 According to an article on Focus.it, 80% of a brand’s recognisability comes from its colour alone and colour has a profound effect on our decisions.

 Blue: safety, reliability, serenity.

Yellow/Orange: vitality, positivity, brightness.

Purple: spirituality and mystery.

Black: value, prestige and sophistication of a product. Used by important Italian fashion brands, such as Armani, Gucci, Versace, Dolce&Gabbana.

Green: calm, health, freshness. Ideal to attract consumers careful of the environmental aspect.

Red: health and victory.

Before you decide which colours to choose for your app, or a new product launch, you should identify the target to which it is addressed. According to research commissioned by KISSmetrics, a web platform that deals with American marketing and statistical analysis, women on the web like blue, purple and green, but do not like orange, brown and gray; men prefer blue, green and black, but do not like brown, orange and purple.

 psicologia-colore-01

 

“One of the best ways to persuade the others is through your ears: beginning to listen to them”

Dean Rusk, former Secretary of United States.

Social Media Monitoring: some tricks to do it better

Social Media Monitoring: some tricks to do it better

Everything you should know to increase your social media strategy.

by Antonia Di Lorenzo

social-media-conversation

 

Would you be able to drive with a covered dashboard, without knowing how much petrol you have, how fast you are going, if you have any problems? I don’t think so.

At the same time, you cannot know how your activity is going if you don’t monitor periodically what happens on your website, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and if you are achieving your goals.

Social media monitoring is a magnifying glass on your company, that allows you to know how, from where and who visits your website. As Jasmine Jaume, Marketing Manager at Brandwatch, writes on the blog, “social media monitoring is the act of using a tool to monitor what is being said on the internet”.

The clients’ feedback is the most effective instrument to orient your brand, to plan your future actions and to optimize your website. Conversations on social media channels reveal authentic users with needs and opinions expressed in a natural environment. It is a sort of crossfire between you and your clients that allows you to understand how and why to act.

Grow3 met Domenico Armatore, Founder of Community Manager Freelance, who explains to us in an interview tricks to create the best social media monitoring strategy.

 social.media_-1024x922

  • What is social media monitoring and why should PR start tracking?

Social media monitoring is a set of activities aimed at listening to the conversations on social media. The internet is now a place where people express opinions on certain topics, and very often also talk about the brands they love or hate. Knowing exactly what happens online is therefore crucial for companies. In these activities PRs play a central role because they can anticipate and resolve various kinds of crisis.

 

  • How can it be managed by companies?

My advice is to commit to professionals who are able to read the tone of the conversations and then help companies to take action on any trouble spots. Listening is often not enough, you have to know how to intervene and “enter” into conversations related to the brand. In order to do this, very specific strategic skills are often required that companies do not have.

 

  • How important is Social Media Listening to build a solid reputation?

Understanding what people think about a particular company is central to any brand reputation strategy. You cannot build a solid reputation if you do not know what are your weaknesses. It’s the client who often gives the most useful and relevant feedback and in recent times the internet is the tool most often used.

 

  • How can we gain the trust of customers?

Social media is a great way to create strong relationships with customers or potential ones. Companies must be able to know how to listen and to give definite, relevant and fast answers. Brands must make every effort to show that the customer is always at the centre of their activities. Quite often you can achieve this goal by giving unique and targeted experiences, where the element of personalisation can make a difference. If you look at digital campaigns of the last few months, you’ll notice that the customisation is central to all of them: personalisation of experiences, products and so on.

 

  • Could focusing directly on customers be the key to gaining their trust?

As I said before, the answer is absolutely yes. Social channels are to be used in this way and, in my opinion, companies that are able to do it as best as they can win a very strong competitive advantage.

 

  • How can you handle negative feedback?

As Social Media Community Manager, I often find myself having to deal with negative comments or criticism from various channels of my clients. My advice is to always respond with grace and apologise if necessary. Depending on the severity and the impact of the comment, it is essential to activate different tactics. Most importantly: the crisis management on social media should not be left only to the Community Manager, but always requires the participation of various departments of a company.

 

  • And the positive ones?

The positive comments on social channels are a very important resource for companies. They reflect the reliability of the quality of a brand, its products or services. Surely thanking is the first step to take in the event of congratulations or appreciation of various kinds. If, for example, we find a number of positive comments on a single topic, we could use this insight to develop activities that give visibility to a company’s strength.

 

  • In this regard, some people have said “stop talking about yourself and start listening to the others” can be useful to become number one in your business. Do you agree?

As I said before, listening is one of the most important tasks that the brand has to do. In my opinion, this is for a basic reason: the conversations of people about a company often reflect the perception that these people have of the brand. And sometimes, as you know, the perception of the brand is more important than the brand itself.

 

  • What should we monitor? What is the main aim of an operation of social media monitoring?

It depends. The monitoring must be calibrated according to the needs of the brand. There are not, in my view, unique directions.

 

  • What are the prices of the instruments used for this operation?

Around the web there are several sophisticated tools to help you monitor online conversations and in particular on social media. The prices change depending on the quality of the instruments. Recently on our blog we published two articles analysing the avalaible tools. You can read more here http://communitymanagerfreelance.it/blog/category/tool-2/.

 

  • Are there any free tools?

There are some free online tools, but if you work with major companies, I always recommend buying one that returns accurate insights. Among the free packages, one of the best is SimplyMeasured (link: http://simplymeasured.com/free-social-media-tools/).

 

  • How can organizations get the most out of establishing workflows for increased analysis and management?

I believe that companies should begin without creating any distinction between digital departments and non digital ones. The analysis on social media is an important resource not only for those who create the communication, but also and firstly for marketing departments. The analysis often allows you to have real time views of people about a certain product or service, although it has not yet been launched.

Listening to internet communication can also help in the development of a product that has the features required by the market. As you might guess, it can mean a big competitive advantage.

 

 

Domenico Armatore

Domenico Armatore, Italian, Founder of Community Manager Freelance, co-founder of Pinterestitaly  and teacher of Community Management and Pinterest Marketing for Ninja Marketing, Il Sole 24 Ore and other Italian realities. Co-author of the e-book “Pinterest for the business”.