iPhone 5, Milking Goats and Other Branding Opportunities: Taking your recruitment brand marketing for a piggyback ride.

by Charles Davis

In recent weeks, most of the immediate universe seemed to be focused on iPhone® 5 mania. Like some combination Superbowl and holy pilgrimage, I watched with a bit of disbelief while once again hordes of people camped out behind snaking steel barricades to be among the first to possess the newest iteration of this Apple icon.

As someone drawn to branding and marketing, I was impressed by the cadre of aggressive and resourceful marketers who found ways to capitalize on the Apple happening, penetrate a primary tech demo and use the opportunity to gain real branding traction for themselves.

Take, for instance, Gazelle—a company that until researching this blog I had never heard of. A Gazelle team descended on the line of customers at Apple’s 5th Avenue and 59th Street flagship store in New York City (as they had in 2011 with the introduction of the iPhone 4S). Gazelle, it turns out, is a device reseller that has decided to use Apple product rollouts to interface with a unique gathering of potential customers. Last year’s promotion consisted of passing out Gazelle-logo sweatshirts. This year, the savvy reseller upped the ante by agreeing to purchase iPhones for the first five “iFans” waiting in line at the Manhattan and Boston stores in exchange for the fans agreeing to wear an assortment of Gazelle-branded gear.

Because the eastern U.S. was experiencing some rainy nights during the iPhone 5 events, quick thinking phone case creator Otterbox arrived with “survival packs” containing fleece blankets, water bottles and ponchos, which they handed out to the stalwart and soggy. Line holders were even plied with free food delivery (under $25) if they tweeted @Otterbox or hash-tagged #protectme.

But, what about the goats?

I know I promised you “milking goats” in the headline, and I won’t disappoint.

Online game developer, The Milking App, brought two cows and a goat to the pre-iPhone 5 proceedings to promote their newest phone app. Jessica Mellow, a first-in-line New Yorker, got a goat milking lesson as a reward for her participation in the18-day siege of the 5th Avenue glass-box building.

And the list goes on, including Refundo, an online banking app that contributed to the impressive sea of swag…

The point I’m making is this:

Whether you’re looking to gain exposure for a consumer or an employment brand, opportunities abound. So, look for chances to engage your target markets by piggybacking on activities involving brands that are looking to connect with the same people you want to reach.

Say you’re trying to recruit software engineers. Why not concentrate some of your efforts where they congregate? CES, one of the world’s largest annual consumer electronics shows, strikes me as a likely target. Bundle up your giveaways and freebies, take a cheap flight to Vegas, and get to work engaging the masses of targetable professionals streaming in and out of the venue.

Sure there are niche sites and associations where you can drive your message home, but what about those places where you’re unexpected? The recent rash of online “to do list” neighborhood task sites, like TaskRabbit, could be a potential space for talent mining. Yes, these are people looking for odd jobs, but more than likely, the site also attracts skilled workers who are between jobs or are just pursuing a hobby/skill that is a sidelight to their principal career interest.

These days, as successful recruitment marketers, our top-of-mind challenges are prioritized around two fundamental actions:

  1. Finding ways to positively impact marketing costs without sacrificing brand reach. Solo branding efforts can be measurably enriched by developing strategic initiatives with brands who share separate objectives but similar prospects. Could healthcare and automotive brand employment go together? Why not?
  2. Discovering talent in places where your competition isn’t either relentlessly slashing and burning well-trammeled territory or breathlessly nipping at your heels.

So, get your team together and do some brainstorming. Scour business news sites for upcoming notable events. Check out convention, association—or even community calendars. With a little inspiration, you might be surprised how many golden co-opportunities are out there for you and your brand.

Unrelated to today’s topic, but germane to our ongoing education of “good vs. not-so-good” brand implementation is Stephanie Haberman’s insightful and instructive Mashable.com article, “The 8 Most Annoying Things Brands Do on Twitter.”

Cheers, and happy employment brand marketing!

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