I recently ran across a job description that went something like this:
“[Company Name] seeking full-time Sales Assistant. Responsibilities include: inside sales customer service, creating spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel, updating company brochures using Microsoft Publisher and Adobe Photoshop and providing clerical support for our team of nine outside sales reps.”
Names have been changed to protect the guilty, although this company would be smart to listen to this important lesson in branding!
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
To be honest, stuff like this gets me worked up. Why? Because this company clearly undervalues the importance of their marketing collateral as a representation of their brand – and that means this company is setting itself up for failure.
Think about it: the person hired into this position will likely be an administrative professional with some experience in sales and/or customer service. While this person may be highly skilled at clerical work, let’s face it – it’s unlikely he or she will have a fraction of the marketing, branding and/or graphic design experience or education present in an independent, professional branding expert.
When You Skimp on Your Brand, You Skimp on Your Business
I understand it’s tough out there. In today’s economy, many companies are hiring double-duty employees; businesses are looking to streamline their processes to get rid of excess spending – but you can’t skimp where it counts and expect long-term success.
This company is looking to charge a sales assistant with something as important as crafting the entire look and feel of the business (while, at the same time, attending to a wide variety of other responsibilities). This company is looking for a magical employee who has marketing, branding and graphic design experience (not to mention proficient knowledge of Excel, excellent communication abilities, customer care experience and great organizational skills). In reality, this company is not only setting up a new employee with unrealistic job responsibilities (and we all know that never ends well), but they’re also neglecting to project the negative impact insufficient, inexperienced branding attempts will have on the future success of the entire company.
Save Money Without Shortchanging Your Business
Your business is important and so is your budget, but you don’t have to cut out branding expertise to stay afloat in tough times.
My advice: it would be more cost effective to hire a part-time sales assistant and use that savings to engage a professional creative team that specializes in branding and marketing. A good creative team has knowledge beyond brochure updates; a good creative team can offer the business-building direction you need to create a powerful marketing plan. If your company budgeted for a full-time hire, all of this can be accomplished within that same budget.
Value your business: value your brand. Don’t trust something so important as your brand and your marketing plan to a junior staff member – it’s way too important.