Is Your HRO Brand Aligned with Your Communications?

For HRO providers, brand positioning is important in gaining new clients. It is also important in building and reinforcing client loyalty. One element in brand reinforcement is consistently aligned communications. Beyond the interface points of service management, service delivery and executive relationship management, you must remember the HR practitioners, as HR folks can be one of the hardest groups to win over as an outsourcer.

In past blogs I touched on the importance of thought leadership through research and webinars. Today, my focus is on an old standby – the newsletter. Newsletters that fit within an overall communications strategy can be a good vehicle to reach the broader HR client community.

Examples of good ones produced by a variety of providers include: Ceridian Connections, a monthly e-newsletter, Aon Hewitt’s Hewitt Edge, In Focus and Emerging Trends (which cover topics ranging from benefits to retirement to workforce issues), and ADP’s quarterly ADP Advisor and a number of specialty newsletters with a top topic (as one would expect) being payroll tax issues.

How do you make your newsletter worthwhile for the e-age, and one more outstanding touch point for brand reinforcement?

  • Talk about what you know and your clients care about.  Ensure audience interests are aligned with provider sources of service impacting knowledge development.
  • Say it with style.  Have a clear purpose and voice suited for the e-world and desired audience.
  • Make it count. Be relevant, concise and authoritative on a few subjects per newsletter. Insight is more important than quantity – showcase your quotable subject matter experts.
  • Do not pitch. But do offer topical news that happens to now and then align with new services.
  • Make it fun and interactive when subject matter allows. Perhaps have a home page for the newsletter(s) with short instant answer polls, quizzes and links to HR-specific content.
  • Link it. Newsletters should lead readers into a deep relationship with you  – every click through is a reinforcement. Naturally, link to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, your corporate site, sponsored research, partner sites and well known (and HRO neutral) sources of topical subject matter.
  • Time it. Consider frequency of publication in light of the newsletter’s purpose, audience and available resources. We are awash in communications, so you must make yours a welcome arrival.
  • Track it! For example, as a part of a year-end wrap-up, Ceridian lists its most accessed articles. Know which topics are a hit, not only to cover more in the future, but to pass along internally as areas of broad client interest.

Larger service providers like IBM and Accenture have a great variety of professional publications and major studies. (IBM’s Global CHRO Study, Working Beyond Borders, surveyed more than 700 CHROs worldwide!) That may not be the best path for all, but your voice and connection with clients is just as important. A newsletter focused on tools and tactics for getting more out of your services can be just as valuable as one that explores the future of human capital management.

Know a good example of a HRO service provider newsletter? Please share!

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

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