Building a personal brand is one thing. And creating a positive culture around a brand is an essential element that entrepreneurs and employers should keep in mind when gathering their marketing teams. In addition, the salary standards have risen, and employees have many more opportunities than before. And that has become quite challenging for employers.
But building a culture around a brand is not reflected through higher salaries. If employees, especially the so-called A-players, are surrounded by a toxic work environment, they’ll soon find a place with a positive work atmosphere and other A-players.
In the new episode of Rep Your Brand, Nick Bennett welcomes Kathleen Booth, the SVP of Marketing at Tradeswell. They talk about what it means to build an employer branding strategy, why hiring has become a challenge, and the importance of involving the C-suite in marketing.
Kathleen Booth and Her Passion for Helping People
“I read something that Harley Finkelstein, who’s one of the founders of Shopify, said about their theme of arming the rebels. So, they think of e-commerce merchants as rebels. And I love that theme considering the last several years in our economy and how it’s devastated traditional brick-and-mortar. I don’t want to see brick-and-mortar disappear, but I also recognize that for the savvy entrepreneur who wants to future-proof their business, being able to sell online and to meet their customer—wherever that customer wants to buy or feels comfortable buying—is so important.
And for me, the ability to set them up for success, give them the tools they need, or give them the weapons in their arsenal is really impactful. So, I get excited about that, especially when we start to work with some of these fun B2C brands, and I see them in my real life, I use their products, and if we’re helping them be successful, that charges me up.”
Hiring New People Has Become More Challenging
“Salaries have gone way up. And for businesses that haven’t been willing to keep pace with what the market is doing when it comes to pay, that’s a problem. You can’t look at salary studies from 2020, which a lot of them are doing. You have to look at salary studies from halfway through 2021 to get a read on what’s happening. But it’s beyond money.
You need to create a fantastic culture. […] If you don’t maintain a team of A-players, your A-players are going to leave because they’re going to want to be surrounded by other A-players and [get] the benefits and flexibility in today’s world of hybrid versus remote versus in-person. There are a lot of components to it, but you have to be firing on all of those cylinders in order to attract the best candidates, and you need to work on your personal brand as well.”
Tradeswell is More Than a Logo
“I’ve only been here [Tradeswell] for two and a half weeks, but I’m in the middle of gathering pictures from our employee holiday parties and the Orioles game we went to. […] It shows that we’re having fun, which we’re not doing in a forced way. These are the humans that work at this company. We’re more than a logo. Thinking about how we can spotlight what gets those people out of bed and into work every day. Why do they love working here? Is there a way that we can shine the spotlight on those people and tell their stories in a more public way? How do we involve them in our marketing? And I mentioned Gong earlier as an example of a company that has a strong brand. And one of the reasons that they’ve been successful is that they’ve galvanized their employees, whether they’re in the marketing team or not, to play a role in the company’s marketing.
They’re a team that’s working as a team as opposed to a team that has a marketing unit that’s doing all the work. At this company, everyone needs to be in marketing. So, how do we empower our team to play that part and embrace what they can do to contribute to our success?”
I Want People to Learn Alongside Me
“My mindset is that I want people to learn alongside me because my hobby is learning. And if there’s something I’m trying to learn about, then other people are probably out there wondering about it too. I can be transparent, learn in public, and share what I’m learning. And I might not always be right. And I welcome people sharing alternative opinions with me because then I learn even more. The rising tide lifts all boats, and it is about giving back. My big Why is about supporting entrepreneurs and helping them be successful. And for me, this is a part of building a community.”
Building a Future for E-Commerce Businesses
“We want to empower them [e-commerce businesses] to meet their customers where they are, pull all the data from digital channels back into one system of record, and normalize it at a SKU level, which is a lot harder than you might think. We are the only system in the e-commerce industry that pulls in the cost of goods sold, and we’re able to build an operating system for e-commerce brands where their finance, marketing, sales, and merchandising leaders can sit around a table, look at a single system of record and make business decisions that are focused on driving profit and growth. Nobody else is doing that. And that’s the future of where e-commerce is going. So, I’m super excited about that and especially about our future path to being able to do this for an e-commerce business of any size, and not just the big guys. You can learn about that at tradeswell.com.”