5 Minutes with Caroline Carr

Caroline Carr is the Director of CC Marketing Communications and Communications & Client Director at workplace mental health organisation This Can Happen.

In this role, Caroline works across sales and marketing to achieve the company’s aims of supporting employers and employees to create a positive environment for good mental health.

Hi Caroline, thanks for chatting with Colour Me Social! Can you tell us a little bit about your professional background?

My background has always been in events marketing. I am events through and through – any type of events, awards, conferences, big consumer exhibitions – in every sort of industry. I’ve done everything from finance, retail, and consumer. I was the Marketing Director of the Ideal Home Show for about six years, which was the massive big event that happened at Earls Court, and on the Ski Show, women’s health events; a real mixture! 

And then, about seven years ago, I set up my own consultancy, and it was very much a lifestyle choice. I wanted to be a mum to my kids and run my own business as well, and I haven’t looked back. This Can Happen is one of my clients, so I juggle them along with a few other clients as well. I love the variety. 

What do you like about running your own company? 

I love the flexibility, and I love being my own boss. The fact that it’s in marketing is exciting, as things are constantly evolving in the industry. I had learned more new skills in the last five years than ever before because suddenly, I didn’t have a team around me, and I had to do it myself. I’ve really become an expert at WordPress and MailChimp and HubSpot, and so much more. Previously I was working at a much more senior, strategic level, but now I’m managing strategy plus all the hands-on elements of marketing too.

What does your role at This Can Happen entail? 

Well, I’m an early riser. So you’ll always find me at my computer by half-past five in the morning, and that gives me an hour and a half to get ahead of everybody. In my role at This Can Happen, I head up all the content and the sales side, so I’m really spinning two plates. On the content side, I’m looking after our social channels and email, all of our content, be that video articles, blogs on which I work with the brilliant Colour Me Social! 

Within my role, I am responsible for marketing our different products and pushing them out appropriately, and also, I’m a brand ambassador – it’s up to me to make sure that everything we put out represents the brand.

Then on the flip side, I also look after the sales team. So it’s my responsibility to bring in the revenue that allows us to do what we do to continue growing. So that’s revenues across everything from ticket sales, our friends’ programmes, the webinars we sell, speakers –  everything, and we’re a really small team! Although everybody gets involved and helps, which makes it lovely.

What was it that appealed to you about This Can Happen?

So much, you’re not gonna be able to stop me! The company is all about workplace mental health. I can honestly say for the first time in 25 years of being in the event space, I feel like I’m working on a brand that is making a difference – quite simply making a simple difference to people’s lives, and that is so refreshing, and motivating, and so rewarding. I just love it. 

Everything we put out as a brand is there to offer solutions and support to people to help them with their mental health, and if one thing I do can make a difference to someone’s mental health, then that’s just brilliant. 

It’s also really exciting to be part of a brand that is growing rapidly. We started as a conference three years ago, and now we’re much more than that – we’ve got about seven or eight different products. So the pandemic really challenged us to look at changing our model and how we operate and offer resources all year round, not just sporadically. 

The people you meet come into this mental health space because they have a personal experience of some sort. It might be their own personal experience or colleagues or a family member. Still, they’ve all somehow indirectly or directly been involved in witnessing someone with poor mental health, and it’s made them want to make a difference. 

What are the unique marketing challenges for an organisation like This Can Happen?

I think the challenging thing for us is that in the last 18 months, mental health has really come to the top of the workplace agenda. With that comes 3000 companies offering apps and solutions of some sort to people. So it’s suddenly become a very crowded space – there are a lot more conferences, a lot more awards, a lot more experts, and a lot more services being offered. So that’s a real challenge, trying to make This Can Happen’s brand stand out amongst all the support out there. 

Ultimately, the fact that there is so much support and that it has come up to the top of the agenda is brilliant. But we as a brand have got to make sure that we get our voice out there, and we’ve also got to make sure that we are constantly innovating to stay ahead of the competition. So it certainly keeps us on our toes!

How has the role of marketing at This Can Happen changed in the Covid-era?

Of course, the biggest shift is that nearly everything is now digital. I’ve seen LinkedIn explode. I think that’s due to a mixture of people having a bit more time, people being furloughed, job hunting, people supporting each other and struggling industries more – there’s a real sense of camaraderie. However, LinkedIn has been saturated on the flip side, so trying to get your voice and your message across has become almost impossible. 

Another change is the shift to virtual events and webinars, and I think there’s real fatigue for that now. People are consuming media on the go – there’s been an explosion of podcasts, which is great because you can listen to them as you’re walking. And I think the way to stay ahead is just being really innovative with your approach in terms of digital, particularly on LinkedIn. 

Finally, what is the best marketing campaign you’ve seen?

You know, there’s only one brand that I absolutely love. And I don’t know if it’s because my mum was Irish, but it’s Guinness. I absolutely love the Guinness marketing – I think it’s so clever. But, of course, I also enjoy a pint of the black stuff myself! So I just think it’s brilliant: it’s simple, striking and funny – the adverts make me smile. And if something makes me smile, it sticks in my head. So to me, it’s genius marketing. 

5 Minutes with Kathy Koomson

We sat down (virtually) with Kathy Koomson, Head of Brand and Marketing at Core Talent, to find out more about marketing in the world of recruitment, the changes the industry has seen over the past ten years, and what the future holds.

Hi Kathy, thanks for chatting with Colour Me Social! Tell us about your background before joining Core Talent?

I’ve been in marketing for over 20 years and just been elected as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Before I joined Core Talent, I worked as a Commercial Manager and Head of Product for an English manufacturer – that role gave me an excellent insight into Engineering & Manufacturing. Before that, I was at Bank of America/MBNA for 10 years and held various positions in marketing. During my last role, I was Head of Retail Strategy and managed the Retail Strategy Team, which was financially results-driven and creative.

What prompted you to move into recruitment marketing?

Core Talent asked me to come in on a contract basis and help initially as they wanted a new website. However, the further I got into the business, it became clear that it was an exciting growing business. A new website would not do it justice, so we completely rebranded and repositioned the company with a new logo, colour palette, and imagery. We even developed our values with input from clients, candidates, and employees. I have been with Core Talent for almost five years now. Recruitment Marketing is exciting and fast-paced; you need to be creative to appeal to candidates with job opportunities, informative to clients, and persuasive to potential employees. It’s a very stimulating company to be part of.

How does Core Talent help businesses?

We’re a specialist, engineering & manufacturing, construction, and consultancy business, and now we work globally across the UK, Europe, the USA and China. Our Directors actually transitioned from engineering and purchasing into recruitment, so they worked in the industries we recruit, adding significant value to technical knowledge and ability. We’re not a generalist recruiter – we really understand our clients’ needs.

We have consultants working in very niche markets, and they get to understand the client, the candidates, and the actual market incredibly well, so we’ve got some excellent knowledge. 

We recently developed our consultancy division, Tactical Consultancy. So we offer more than a recruitment service. We can re-engineer recruitment processes, manage a temporary workforce down to the payroll, provide competitor intelligence, support social media activity all support and improve our client’s recruitment processes. So we help clients in a lot of different ways. 

What does your role entail? 

My remit is the internal and external brand. So I’m looking at anything related to communications, branding, our messages, external brand, and internally. I am also responsible for introducing new products and innovation in the business and managing performance and spend on job boards and advertising platforms. As our consultancy division grows, I support clients with their social media and marketing, which is an exciting new angle to my role.

What does an average day as Head of Brand and Marketing look like?

On a typical day for me, I’ll come in and check my emails, and then I develop social media posts. I will also review the current performance of Core Talent and our client’s social media activities. As I manage the website and job boards, I will also analyse performance and ensure the consultants are supported with any queries.

I will also produce collateral, presentations, and pitches for new clients. Or I could be briefing our creative agencies or be speaking to Phil at Colour Me Social about social media activity. I often attend various meetings with consultants or the Directors who’ve got a particular challenge or particular piece of support they need. 

So, it’s pretty well rounded – it’s not just about the marketing. It’s about supporting the business, clients, and candidates using my expertise and experience. 

How would you say recruitment differs from other industries when it comes to marketing?

With recruitment, three key audiences are always at the centre of what we do – candidates, clients and employees/ potential employees.

We moved from a candidate-rich, job-short market to a job-rich, candidate-short market, so we have to work even harder to get exactly the right people for our top jobs.

With clients – it’s about bringing new ones in and supporting the clients we have. For the other audiences, our people, it’s essential to keep them engaged and happy at work. We are on a recruitment drive and always looking for new employees. This could be experienced recruitment consultants, trainees, or graduates – we want to attract those kinds of people into the business, so we need to demonstrate what it’s like to work for us. Everything we do needs to ensure that all of those audiences are considered.

How has the role of marketing within recruitment changed in the last ten years?

Years ago, you could put a job on a job board, and you’d probably more or less fill that job from that advert. But now, it’s about a lot more than that. You can’t just put a job on a job board and think it’s gonna drive people; you have to have an online presence, offer a variety of services and have an extensive network. So it’s critical, now, I think, to have a marketer within a recruitment business to support recruitment activities and the company. So it’s a lot more popular now to find experienced marketers and agencies than ever because recruitment really does need it. 

What marketing trends can you see happening in recruitment?

LinkedIn has become more and more popular for many recruiters; I see a lot of firms invest a lot more in terms of LinkedIn. They’re also changing how they communicate on social platforms – it’s much more creative, whether it’s white papers or explainer videos. This is true of Twitter, as well, but to a lesser degree. So there’s a lot more investment going into social media now than there was before. 

Also, as we see in other industries, a lot more digital technology is coming into the recruitment market that supports consultants and candidates. Video interviews, for example, have been invaluable over the last 15 months. However, I don’t think human contact should or will ever be replaced in the processes, but there will be many more shifts in the next few years with these great new technologies being introduced.

How has Core Talent changed in the Covid-era?

It has been difficult, as it has for everyone. We had to rebuild our workforce and restructure to enhance our offering in the US and Europe. Business areas like international construction and data centre construction continued to perform really well, as mission-critical projects were still ongoing. In contrast, other markets went a lot quieter during the first lockdown. So as a business, we’ve spent the last 12 months really looking at our markets, expanding further in the areas where we see more significant growth, like E-mobility, autonomous vehicles and AI, and dealing with our usual fields of construction and manufacturing.

Finally, what is the best marketing campaign you’ve seen?

There have been so many excellent campaigns I have seen and experienced over the years. I admire the teams who have created the current public health campaigns we have all been exposed to over the last 15 months. They have had to get the information and strategy out to the whole country in a short space of time and ensure that the core message is memorable and easy to follow.

There are also two above-the-line advertising campaigns that I have always loved. The Guinness Surfer/Horses advert and the Dairy Milk Gorilla advert. The mix of cinematography, the characters, the straplines ‘good things come to those who wait’ and ‘a glass and a half full of joy’ set against the musical score all contribute to these adverts being some of the greatest and most memorable of all time.

Social Media Marketing in 2019 – What trends can you expect and what should you focus on?

2019-trends-final

If one thing is for certain, it is that the general trend for Social Media Marketing this year will be to focus back on actually ‘being sociable’ as a brand. Efficient communication with your customers and building relationships and loyalty are key. Brands must go back to be more human and relatable. Audio and visual content and the latest AI will be your friend. We are talking Podcasts, what the best Visual Content should look like, Live videos and Chatbots.

Podcasts

These are a good alternative to a video if you are not comfortable with your video skills or haven’t got the budget for the required equipment to make it worth your while. Podcasts are the new live radio and many users prefer it because they can choose exactly what they are interested in and listen anytime and anywhere on their portable devices. Podcasts also don’t force themselves onto customers as advertising, as they have to subscribe to what they really want to know about. They help to build familiarity with your brand and feel they get to know you through the voice of the presenter, especially if they subscribe to a series. Listeners recommend them to friends and help you grow your audience.

All you require is a good quality microphone and headphones, editing software is available for free online and easy to use. Just ensure that you have a good WiFi connection for uploading them. You may want to send them by email to existing customers first, but then make them available on podcast distributions channels. A recent survey of 300,000 listeners showed that 63% made a purchase due to podcasts.  Making them will help you become a better public speaker and engage your audience.

https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/01/benefits-of-podcasting.html

Visual Content

On Social Media, the trend for Visual Content is towards Stories and Augmented Reality. AR may currently be only achievable for the big players with the big money, but we can all tell a story through visual content. Venngate asked 500 digital marketers what makes good visual content. We will summarise a few of the most interesting statistics here for you:

The five best-performing formats in 2018, were:

  • Original graphics, such as Infographics (40%)
  • Videos and presentations (23%)
  • Charts or data visualization (20%)
  • Stock photos (12%)
  • Gifs or Memes (5%)

Of these, 49% were produced through Online Tools or Graphic Design Software, and Venngate has seen a 60% increase in the use of their Online Tool from 2016. Around a third of the informants used In-House Designers, 11% a software like Adobe Suite or other tools or had professional help. 10% said that they employed Freelance Designers, who have seen a fall of 150% usage from 2016. So as you can see, you can create good Visual Content yourself. Over two-thirds of the marketers asked to consider them to be essential for any marketing strategy, and 81% of businesses will rely heavily on visuals. However, they also said that it can be a struggle to produce engaging visuals consistently, so spread your wings and use a wide spread of different content for best results.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/14-visual-content-marketing-statistics-to-know-for-2019-infographic/545056/

Live Videos

These have seen a big increase recently because when you see real humans talking live, it feels less corporate and more genuine. It has been shown that on average people watch live videos for longer than non-live ones. They really help your customers to engage more and allow for brand story-telling. If you think of live videos as the kind of thing a teenager does on Facebook when he wants his friends to know what a great time he’s having somewhere, rest assured that when it comes to marketing, it is nothing like that. Live streams are used for:

  • Q&As – you can answer your customers’ questions live and build a connection
  • Customer Support – again, giving your brand a human face
  • Special Announcements and Product Introductions
  • Interviews with influencers to increase outreach
  • Blogger hosted or partnered streams
  • Behind-The-Scenes videos
  • Live events – presentations, talks, performances, product demos, conferences

https://hi.photoslurp.com/blog/live-video-marketing/

https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/using-live-streaming-video-successfully/

Chatbots

Okay, using AI doesn’t appear very human, but Chatbots can provide your instant customer support 24hrs a day, exactly when they want it and very efficiently. Chatbots are mostly used inside messaging apps, but you could also have one on your website. The first question will always be ‘How can I help?’ – even though you are talking to a computer, you still get friendly customer service, even if human interaction is an awful lot more complex. Chatbots are designed to provide shortcuts to give the user exactly what they’re looking for and nothing more. That also means they don’t feel like you are pushing them and trying to persuade them to buy something else. Instead of scrolling through endless options on a website and then filling in all their details, then ordering – the Chatbot will take a simple request and do the rest.

Most people will use only 5 apps most regularly on their devices, and these are mostly messaging apps with 5 billion monthly users. As bots are integrated into these, there’s no need to go to another app or website, therefore very convenient. By thinking about every micro-decision a user has to make, you can create chatbots for things like adjusting a reservation or updating shipping info. It is best for businesses to focus on 1 function but do that well, as according to statistics 47% of users are happy to buy through a bot. China is setting the trend here and there you can use a Chatbot to hail a taxi, order food, book your next holiday, etc.

To summarize, Social Media Marketing in 2019 is all about making your customer feel like he knows you and your brand, create a connection and therefore loyalty. You do this by being more human and literally visible (or audible in Podcasts) plus conveniently and efficiently available 24/7 with ‘no-fuss’ when that’s what the customer wants.