Yves Pilet Consultancy
Employer brand management
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Time for technology

The future is now

Back to the Future: Oct 21st 2015

Back to the Future: Oct 21st 2015

A lot of technological developments we dreamed of were just things we’d imagine in movies. In one of my favorite movies from my youth, 'Back to the Future II, " 26 years ago a lot of them were predicted for October 21st in the year 2015: drones, flat screens, smart glasses and biometrics (your fingerprint as house key and for a fee). Back to the future II showed that technology would have significant repercussions on the everyday reality. Today's reality shows that this is no different.

 

The law of large numbers

Technology is not only here for convenience of consumers, but at the same time poses an increasing threat to Western producers. The total revenue of the technology sector has grown from $ 600 million to $ 6 trillion in 30 years. Every minute, 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. The number of Facebook users worldwide is now comparable to the size of the population of China. In 2014, Alibaba managed to generate $ 9 billion in revenues (in one day that is!). New players such as Airbnb and Uber pose a realistic threat to respectively hotels and taxi companies, while 10 years ago this was not yet the case. Technology is everywhere and will become increasingly important in the future. The growth of the global turnover will continue to rise (up to $ 185 trillion, an increase of 40% between 1980 and 2025), but thanks to technological developments and increased competition from emerging markets, total global profits as a percentage of global GDP in 2025 will drop to the 1980 level: 7.9%.

 

End of an era

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, companies have been able to profit from global trends such as globalization, economies of scale and technological developments between 1980 and 2013. But the end of this trend is in sight. The growth of emerging markets, the urge for a more agile work processes and new technology developments impacting products, consumers as employees are changing the world at an increasing rate once more. Small players like start-ups are more maneuverable than large, existing organizations, and therefore more able to adapt to new developments. In addition, emerging markets are increasingly able to compete with North American and Western European multinationals, originally the players who were able to take advantage of the growth in world GDP the most in the past three decades.

 

Transparency and technology

Today's world requires organizations to think globally and operate more agile. Those who do are able to attract the most talented employees. For brands, in particular technical brands, the transparency factor is becoming more important. Consumers know through social media increasingly what's happening inside the walls of the business. Unlike many traditional organizations, the smart ones embrace transparency. The solution is both simple and audacious: put employees more in control and give the power to the customer. Companies who choose to share for example their software – like Microsoft and Google – (temporarily) free of charge for end users are aiming for acquiring market knowledge hidden in the minds of smart developers and customers. After all, they know exactly what they want.

 

Manoeuvrability

Brands like Microsoft are increasingly able to meld technological developments with their products and services. They make it an essential part of their organization, implement a holistic approach and consciously choose to build their employer brand in a similar way. This makes them faster, bigger and more agile. Undoubtedly, this is more complex for large organizations: they are less agile than smaller players in the market. On the other hand, they are in a position to attract more talented employees. Their corporate reputation is generally much stronger than a smaller player, and the opportunity to merge their employer brand with their corporate is therefore greater.

 

Man and machine

Although technology plays an increasingly important position in the labor market, the human aspect of an organization continues to predominate. Top brands in the technical sector such as Apple, Google and Microsoft have strong corporate brands as well as strong employer brands. They are able to attract the right people, who are able to put innovative products and services down to their customers, investors and other stakeholders.


Technology brands dominate  In 2015 the top of the world's top corporate brands is dominated by technology brands like Apple, Google, Microsoft and IBM. Although Coca Cola has dominated the charts for years, Apple now ranks as the number one corporate brand in the world thanks to the strongest rise in 2015 with 43%.

Technology brands dominate
In 2015 the top of the world's top corporate brands is dominated by technology brands like Apple, Google, Microsoft and IBM. Although Coca Cola has dominated the charts for years, Apple now ranks as the number one corporate brand in the world thanks to the strongest rise in 2015 with 43%.

Top 10 most valued corporate brands in 2015

Source: Interbrand

Methodological differences in ranking

Interbrand annually calculates the financial value of corporate brands and subsequently determines the ranking of these brands. For Interbrand, the focus is therefore on economic grounds. Universum on the other hand determines the ranking of employer brands on the basis of qualitative research among over 10,000 students worldwide. Hence, Universum focuses on the appeal of an employer brand, not the economic value.


Top 10 best global employer brands in 2015

Engineering/IT
1. Google
2. Microsoft
3. Apple
4. BMW Group
5. GE
6. IBM
7. Intel
8. Sony
9. Siemens
10. Shell

Business
1. Google
2. PwC
3. EY
4. Goldman Sachs
5. KPMG
6. Deloitte
7. Apple
8. Microsoft
9. J.P. Morgan
10. P&G

Millennials know what they want  Most millennials do not what to work at a large organisation. But the ones who do, have specific wishes regarding technological progress and have been dreaming of them since they were a kid.

Millennials know what they want
Most millennials do not what to work at a large organisation. But the ones who do, have specific wishes regarding technological progress and have been dreaming of them since they were a kid.

Source: Universum


Technology remains dominant

Although the valuation methods of Interbrand and Universum are completely different, it may come as no surprise that both organizations provide similar top 10 global brands. Interesting to see is that not only do the biggest technological brands dominate in terms of economic value, they also do in terms of labor market attractiveness.

 

The corporate and employer brand are one

Research shows that the better the fusion between the corporate and employer brand, the higher the financial value of the brand. Apparently brands like Google and Apple are able to attract the best talent, are able to hold on to them and are able to create loyal customers who provide a continuous flow of revenues.

 

Occupations come and go

Over the next decade this will result in increasing labor market the largest deficits we have seen so far, both in quantitative and qualitative terms. Especially in sectors like IT and less so in a sector like banking this will be the case. Through robotics various occupations will disappear as well from our society - such as checkout clerks (due to self scanners in supermarkets and online ordering), taxi drivers (due to Uber and self-driving cars) and accountants (due to online applications). Likely new professions will appear as well (occupations like big data analysts, designers of care robots and, yes, employer brand managers). Research from The Economist has shown that the probability of occupations likely to disappear through automation is larger in occupations where the education level is lower. Creative professions, where it is much more complex to replace the human brain and body by artificial intelligence (think of artists, actors and authors), will likely persist in the future.

 

Ensure a balance between technology and people

To conclude, I would like to leave you with the following statements and recommendations:

  • Technological sectors and brands are doing well. This is reflected in rankings of Interbrand and Universum, where companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft do well. Leverage technological capabilities and do not rest on your current performance: tomorrow could it be a new player with new technological applications from a country from emerging markets.
     
  • Strong brands are valuable not only in financial terms. They are able to blend well the corporate brand with the employer brand, which makes them talented employees know to turn into strong financial performance. A word of advice for any organization: divide your attention between your corporate and your employer brand.
     
  • Ensure a good balance in technology and man. Occupations come and go, technologies come and go, but people remain. Employees are crucial in the battle to win the trust of customers and employees become increasingly important.

And if you think this may be impossible, just remember Marty McFly’s words: “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”

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