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November 20, 2008


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Alex Hens

Think you're hitting the nail on the head again Mr Baird sir – in the main anyway :).

The only point I really am not sure about though is: 3. Retained accounts will become increasingly rare.

I have a horrible feeling that you're right because of the general short termism that seems to drive business these days (and that certainly holds within the HR community where "big hitters" seem to 'appoint, deploy & move' on the back of their "glory" before the reality of their actions actually reveals its true outcome), but if you're going to be doing the whole brand engagement thing right then it's definitely a long term play that you need / will win through.

The future surely is about tracking, measurement and refining your activity rather than breaking "building & delivering a brand" into a project based exercise. Now sure - if brands/companies get wise to the power and effect of the Employer Brand then maybe we'll see Marketing departments taking greater ownership & responsibility of those elements HR aren't equipped to deal with, and if they're wise the they'll also appreciate the specialist skill of a Employer/Recruitment Brand specialists over their general Product Agency roster, but I'm afraid I can't see that happening in the near or even medium future.

So with HR arguably not able to truly grasp what a long term brand engagement strategy is (that which would engage best with the candidates), nor given the latitude (or budget) to act on anything much more than a knee jerk business requirement basis then the picture you paint in this point, if this is the future, is a nasty place indeed IMHO.

Now I'll gladly eat seconds of humble pie if/when I meet an organisation capable of comprehending and bringing together all the complex strands of a long term Employer Brand and Engagement strategy and with it the long term vision and backing to make this happen - but without that then I'm afraid medium/long term retained relationships that give the Ad Agency an opportunity to prove themselves (or not) is probably the best hope for this industry to raise to the game we're now faced with (as scary a prospect as that may seem in itself at times).

The rest I think is spot on – and please god you’re right about point 4.!


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