This month’s High Growth Collective (HGC) served a Smörgåsbord of specific and broad-ranging business insights, from getting Google for Jobs ready, through good (and bad) branding, to growing a business while growing a family. Oh and a puppy dropped by… cue super cute but kind of irrelevant photo!

Google for Jobs: get prepared or get left behind

James Newton, founder of talent consultancy Magic Torch

Equipped with his extensive industry knowledge, James came to drop some Google for Jobs truth bombs: the juggernaut’s job search engine is coming to the UK – soon – and if its launch Stateside is anything to go by, businesses better get prepared or risk losing up to 50% web traffic.

What is Google for Jobs?

A new product from Google – already launched in the US – with a focus on the jobseeker. Vacancies will be indexed both from partner jobs boards and direct employers and candidates will be able to apply directly via Google for Jobs. If your vacant role is correctly indexed it will be seen.

Does the world need it?

If you’ve done a job search recently, you’ll know that the answer is yes. The current set-up too often proliferates a wild click chase from jobs board to irrelevant listing and back again, ill-equipped to deal with the nuances around different titles for similar roles. Google for Jobs will return jobs based on highly personalised searches, eliminating duplicate listings and utilising machine learning and AI to sniff out related and more relevant positions each time it’s used.

How to prepare

James sagely says that Google doesn’t care about businesses, it cares about job seekers. But don’t lose heart! Make some small sacrifices to the Google gods and ye shall be rewarded. You have two options:

  1. List with a Google-partnered third party, i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, Glassdoor. It’s worth noting that Indeed have chosen not to partner with Google for Jobs.
  2. Optimise your own job postings on the same domain as your website. Edit the HTML to integrate with Google, ensure your site is mobile friendly, keep the content updated and use the right keywords and job titles. If you use video on your careers page, all the better.

Branding basics: the strong and the wrong

James Read, Founder of digital agency Giant Peach

Having re-evaluated his own and used that learning to help bring businesses of all shapes and sizes to the next level, our chief Peach James knows a thing or two about branding. He spoke to the HGC about why strong branding is important and how some big names get it wrong.

What’s in a brand?

  1. Memorability. It’s well documented that people go for what they know.
  2. Trust. Integrate a consistently good experience into that memorable picture and you’ll be winning hearts.
  3. Loyalty. Gain trust and you’ll gain loyalty to boot.
  4. Adds value. Apple, Google, BMW are all more than the sum of their parts. These brands are so strong they have created their own worth.
  5. Employee satisfaction. It’s not news that we don’t work for money alone. Branding can attract the right people, keep them and empower them to do their best work with you.

4 Ps

1. Positioning
Above and beyond delivering a great service/product, it’s knowing how your brand is different and shouting about it.

2. Promise
The experience your customers can expect every time they interact with your business. If your brand promise is empty, there’s a disconnect between message and customer experience.

3. Personality
Successful brands have well-defined, unique personalities that customers know, trust and develop emotional ties with.

4. Purpose
Consumers are caring more and more about this: they want to see brands reflecting the beliefs of its buyers.

Getting it wrong

4 mistakes to make and how to avoid them.

1) Failing to move with the times. A brand needs to change as the business grows, innovates, diversifies and as new competitors move into the space.  

Wrong: M&S
With profits slumping and planned mass store closures, M&S has lost its positioning. Cheaper, faster, more aspirational competitors have snatched their clothes shoppers, while cost-conscious food shoppers have turned to lower-cost rivals. M&S has a strong purpose (Plan A) but with confused positioning, it’s failing to thrive.

2) Betraying your purpose. To resonate as real, persist over time and yield rewards, purpose must be ‘inside-out’. Drop it from the agenda at your peril.

Wrong: Etsy
The online handmade and vintage marketplace’s “Values-Aligned Business Team” (which oversaw the company’s social and environmental efforts) was dismantled last year and focus shifted to profitability. Many employees took to the internet to inform customers that the business wasn’t what it once was.

3) Neglecting your employer brand. Respect and reward employees and they can be your biggest advocates. Mistreat them and they can be your saboteurs.

Wrong: HMV
In 2013, HMV made mass redundancies, overlooking the fact that an ex-employee was also in control of their social media channels and tweeted “There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution, of loyal employees who love the brand #hmvXFactorFiring”

4) Inappropriate marketing. Spread positive company news and relevant external news. Never capitalise on tragedies!

Wrong: Cinnabon
Following the death of Carrie Fisher of Star Wars fame, Cinnabon tweeted “RIP Carrie Fisher, you’ll always have the best buns in the galaxy,” alongside a picture of Princess Leia with a cinnamon roll hairdo.

Growing a business while growing a family

Chloë Luxton, founder of natural beauty brand Bramley

Chloë’s a shining example of how to build a strong brand around your lifestyle. When her husband bought a pub in the Wiltshire countryside, she had in mind a quality, British, natural brand for the bathrooms to complement the surroundings, but she couldn’t find it. So she utilised her career contacts and created it. Eight years down the line over 300 sites are stocking her characteristically beautiful smelling (and looking!) products.

So how has she achieved all of that while raising three small people? Here’s her journey and top tips:

  • Ahead of the game – Bramley rebranded last year (see James Read’s wisdom on this above)
  • Starting small – Chloë started by supplying her husband’s pub, then mail orders while her children were small to keep things manageable. The business grew organically while her kids did!
  • No compromises – Bramley would never launch a watered-down product. Chloë keeps as much as possible in-house to help keep control.
  • Cash is king –Having had a near-miss with bankruptcy, Chloë advises finding out what payment terms work for your business and keeping an eye on cashflow.
  • Delegation – Learn your weaknesses and use your team to their strengths.

Chloë’s top tip is to enjoy what you do. And we can get on board with that.

If you’d like to speak at or come along to a future High Growth Collective, get yourself on our email list and get inspired.