A hush rolled across the room as the presenter strode to the lectern.
“It has been six months of research, interviews with hundreds of customers and employees, and long hours of management debate,” the chief marketer explained to an audience of his colleagues. “What we have come to learn is that our difference is our people.”
A collective groan sucked the spirit from those in the room. Within two years, the global consultancy American Management Systems (AMS) was sliced up and sold off to suitors buying on the cheap. It was a quiet end for an innovative organization.
Starting in the late 1990s and for more than three years, Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) provided public relations and marketing services to a number of AMS’ business lines. It was gratifying work and I still consider AMS a foundational client relationship in my career.
The company’s demise resulted from changing market dynamics, failed customer implementations and, ultimately, an inability to differentiate itself.
To this day, the “difference is our people” mantra is one that business-to-business marketers struggle to articulate, validate and justify.
Yet, unlike AMS’ conundrum 15 years ago, we now have an arsenal of tactics that can be employed to successfully and cost-effectively communicate with key constituents how special are people truly are. Here are three approaches you can put in play:
- Incorporate subject matter experts into a corporate marketing program by sharing their wisdom via written posts, podcasts and videos. Rather than a promotional stance, think thought leadership and education.
- Reward employees for sharing content through their social media participation on business-oriented platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Explain clearly and concisely why your organization attracts and retains exceptional performers.
I’ve included below articles three of my colleagues at Strategic recently published on LinkedIn. Each presents a sincere story. In fact, I suspect you may even see much of yourself in these personal accounts.
By Shany Seawright
“While my husband worked from home and was the primary care giver for my child, I remained focused on climbing up the corporate ladder and being available to my clients every moment of the day, and even in the middle of night, for my start-up clients that worked around the clock. I saw my family for a few hours every day. My husband pushed back, and then pushed back harder, demanding more job flexibility from me.”
By Shayda Windle
“I had my son Will in 2013, and just as any parent will tell you, my life completely changed. Work didn’t seem to matter in the same way it did prior to him being born. It was important, of course, but my priorities completely changed, and I began to realize that my family would have to be first.”
By Eldon Marr
“My wife, daughter, son, and puppy are at the center of that happiness. I couldn’t be a father that checked in before heading out the door and spent only a few minutes with my family at dinner or before bedtime. I didn’t want to miss out on watching my kids grow up.”