For much of the general public, the idea of furloughing and remote working has become the norm. But for HR, these ideas are not so simple. As redundancies ensue and workplace arrangements transform, the challenges for HR and business management change continually.
So with the current workload, tension and uncertainty, there comes an altered challenge for suppliers who are trying to help employers. Right now, it’s even more difficult to be noticed. From our experience of supporting HR and the suppliers who want to market to them, we see some very specific boxes that need to be ticked when answering HR needs.
So what are the qualities that HR suppliers must have if they’re to stand out?
The equation for success is a combination of 3 practical elements – qualities that promote the supplier and its services as viable options within easy reach of HR buyers – and 3 emotive elements – qualities that resonate with the values of HR buyers and compel them to connect with the brand on a human basis.
So what exactly are these?
On the practical side, HR suppliers must be…
The lack of certainty for HR in 2020 has been overwhelming and the HR market wants and needs clarity. HR suppliers that provide this can help overcome buyer problems by highlighting straightforward opportunities and providing direction.
To create this clarity, marketeers need to deliver branding and messages that are direct, succinct and harmonious. This helps buyers understand just how your product or service will help them.
It’s also important that suppliers don’t overload their audiences with different ideas – precise and concise messages are key when it’s so loud out there.
With so much information – from employee wellbeing to redundancies to performance and diversity – HR is facing an increase in blog posts, videos and social media content. HR publications receive a barrage of pitches too.
As a supplier, being both detectable and distinct from competitors is essential so HR can easily find solutions and services.
Targeting HR where it matters most is key. Building connections on Linkedin and Twitter and writing educational blog posts that both answer buyer questions and drive traffic to your company website is important. Earning coverage in HR publications is essential for heightening visibility and building trust, so steps to create this will help a brand.
It may sound obvious, but having an effective product or service is fundamental. However, demonstrating a brand’s effectiveness to others is a challenge. Having clear and visible messaging will help this, but it’s always worthwhile to think critically about your business – does it do what it promises? Is the promise something that people actually need? Is the promise what HR needs today, when so much has changed?
And then there’s the emotional side. HR suppliers need to make sure their offering stacks up with the emotional side of how and why people buy…
According to research from Edelman,the global communications giant that helps evolve, promote and protect brands and reputations, 70% of consumers said trusting a brand is more important now than before the pandemic, while 60% say they are more likely to turn to brands they can definitely trust during times of crisis.
Indeed, in times of uncertainty, consumers and those with purchasing power tend to seek out brands which provide security. For HR suppliers that can demonstrate authenticity and credibility, buyers will more likely turn to them for guidance.
As companies move into their own versions of ‘the new normal’, HR suppliers that can demonstrate reduced buyer risk will help alleviate buyer concerns about what they need for their employees in a changing environment.
Diminishing uncertainty and fears while conveying an understanding of buyer needs helps suppliers portray expertise in a specific area.
Lastly, relevance is an emotive quality that truly allows people to connect over shared experiences, opinions and beliefs.
If HR buyers do not show an understanding of the current needs, desires and concerns of their buyers, they’ll find it hard to truly connect with them.
This could mean showing an awareness of broader political or economic events that impact HR, while tapping into the nuances of the market.
Kay Phelps, director at PR in HR, explains:
“The dramatic events this year – from the pandemic to the Black Lives Matter movement – have had far-reaching effects on HR, organisations and their people, so suppliers are all aiming to provide answers for HR’s new and older challenges.
“How companies and people have rallied has been phenomenal yet getting noticed is getting harder. If companies want to be noticed, trusted and respected, their brands and services must be watertight and reflect shifting priorities now and in the future”.
PR in HR’s newly-launched, free evaluation service provides HR suppliers with bespoke, personalised insights and industry benchmarking to assess how their brand stands up to current demands. It helps marketers to understand how their brand works alongside the three + three key qualities typically sought by organisational buyers.
The PR in HR brand evaluation tool supports the HR market by showing brands what they need to succeed right now through instant insight and brand evaluation.