Marketing is King. Technology is just an enabler.

Brand is “your everything else” that goes around the logo, the total perception of you in the market.

This is part one of my three-part talk with James Whitelock about brands, marketing vs. technology, and the current effectiveness of recruitment agency marketing activities. James is the founder of Think in Circles.

Steve: So of everything you’ve seen here, what’s the number one contribution to consultant productivity you think is being delivered via technology?

James: What a question, Jesus! [laughter] But you know the first thing is that technology is just an enabler. You’ve got to have a good starting base in the first place.

A lot of the stuff [at RecExpo conference] here is great – some of it does the same stuff as another product, some of it doesn’t, and some of it does things a little different. And the way you use it, it’s all kind of similar. One CRM works the same as another CRM and they might have a few distinguishable differences, but you’ve got to define that start point.

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I come from a marketing/branding background – for me that’s where you start – you start with the message of what you’re putting out into the market first. I know that’s not necessarily a technology thing, but I believe it’s core. There are businesses that we work with where the marketing is so fundamental to how they do business, that the technology is just supplementing that.

And really, there’s nothing in recruitment that’s revolutionized it for years…

15 years ago, it was job boards, then it was social media. Now, we’re still talking about mobile, for God’s sake – but none of these things have really changed the way recruitment’s done. You need to be a market expert on what you’re talking about.

Put yourself out there as a business with a strong set of core brand values. And by brand, I don’t just mean you’ve got a nice logo! Brand is “your everything else” that goes around the logo, the total perception of you in the market.

That’s core to running a recruitment business now and it’s more important than all the lovely technology in this room.

James Whitelock (@thinkincircles) is the Founder and MD of Think in Circles.

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