In every industry there are certain accepted truths regarding success.
In real estate it is location, location, location.
In the cell phone space, it is all about the innovation and effectiveness of software architecture, the innovative features and elegance of design and performance.
In merchandising it is all about packaging and telling a story.
In career management it is some variation of all of the above.
In terms of location, candidates who limit themselves geographically will frequently face more frustrations in finding a new job that meets their professional and financial goals. Market consolidation is accelerating the impact of the natural restrictions that always existed for executives who wanted to stay in the same place, doing what they had been doing. Now, those factors are more profound.
Today, more than ever, employers are searching for executives who are on top of their game and who can demonstrate their creativity in solving problems and expanding market share. They want leaders who can corroborate their value by presenting a resume that reflects quantifiable relevant accomplishments.
When it comes to packaging, the ability of the candidate to present his or her story in an interesting way that fully engages the employer in a comfortable manner, will often determine whether they make it through the various stages of the recruitment process, and, ultimately, offered the job. While there are creative/innovative limits to what one can do with a resume, and how one presents in face-to-face interviews, there is very little outside the box thinking regarding brand differentiation.
The vast majority of executives do little or nothing to distinguish themselves from the dozens of candidates they are competing against just to get to the final interview, much less win the job.
So how do you distinguish yourself? Case in point: If there was ever a noisy, crowded market segment in retail, it is in the perfume industry. If you walk by any department store counter, you can be overwhelmed by the dozens upon dozens of choices, the air filled with conflicting scents as customers sample the perfumes. Competition for the high-end price point perfumes is just as intense as some of the popular, lower price ones.
Eight & Bob, a men’s perfume has found a unique and compelling way to tell its story. Their marketers decided to stay inside the box, so to speak, and tell their story with unusual packaging that emphasizes a key part of the company’s history and legacy. Eight & Bob is not cheap — the perfume or the packaging — a box that resembles a book — but when it comes to selling something through story telling, it is persuasive.
Here is an excerpt from The Houston Chronicle about the Eight & Bob.
Years before Camelot, there was the Côte d’Azur – the alluring resort coastline known as the French Riviera – with its glamorous beaches and glittery parties. In 1937, John F. Kennedy, all of 20, spent his summer vacation there.
JFK was captivated by a cologne he found there created by perfume connoisseur Albert Fouquet (with help from his devoted butler, Philippe) — a fragrance so coveted that it was smuggled into the United States to a president-to-be in a book with cut-out pages to keep Nazis from seizing it.
More than 70 years later, Eight & Bob, the scent made with the rare aromatic Andrea plant that Fouquet found while traveling in Chile in 1934, is back on the market, nestled inside the neatly whittled pages of a bound book that also tells the fragrance’s amazing story — one packed with intrigue, mystery, a future president and Hollywood stars, an untimely death and a faithful manservant, all set along the French Riviera.
In chapter one of the “book,” the story is told in English. In chapter two the tale is in French.
As we enter a brave new world of recruiting and career management, digital marketing and social media will play an increasingly important role. Candidates must be open to new ways of effectively telling their story. Executives in the market, who assume that recruiters and employers will figure out their value, will miss the boat — completely.
Our Firm already provides clients with video summaries of our interviews with candidates. In each candidate presentation notebook, there is a DVD with an edited summary of the candidate’s performance reacting to, and answering, questions that are relevant to the employer’s needs. For the leaders who are comfortable communicators it is an excellent opportunity to shine while telling their story of accomplishment and success. For those who do not like innovation, being filmed, or who are uncomfortable telling their story with confidence, it is a steep mountain to climb.
Over the next five to 10 years, there will be unimagined changes in healthcare recruiting. The early bird candidates who pursue innovations run the risk of getting eliminated because their creative thinking is a turnoff. However, those executives looking for work who have a keen sense of where the market is in terms of employers accepting creativity in the recruitment process, will be wildly successful.
For the present, our innovation must remain inside the box.
© 2021 John Gregory Self