Coming into 2012 we set a goal to increase our brand awareness. It sounds sort of funny for a small company to be thinking about brand awareness and realistically what could we expect to gain by this increased brand awareness? Our goal wasn’t to be looked at like the next Apple or anything but rather to just focus more on getting our name out there. Just 2 months into the new year I am happy to report it is working….in a big way.
We started by trying to increase our attention to social media. We set up accounts on Facebook and Twitter and began posting updates about things going on within our company. We didn’t have any false ideas that we would start recruiting people or anything through these mediums but simply viewed it as a way to get our name out there to family and friends and when it comes to twitter to get our name out there to other companies.
We started to pay a LOT of attention to our website and ensuring that we had fresh content on it. We realized that a lot more people than we thought were visiting our website (www.integrateit.net) and each time a person went to our website it was similar to meeting a person face to face making that first impression. If they went to our site and were not impressed they probably wouldn’t go back and may not have any interest in contacting us for more information. We also updated job postings on the site to ensure they were current and improved the method by which people could contact us through our website. It has worked. I have received several resumes that have come to us through our website whereas in the past we have had to seek out resumes. We have also had several inquiries from accountants, recruiters, and just last night a call from the local economic improvement board looking to work with us as we were a local small business.
Charity Events -This has always been something we have taken pride in. We are a company that is very active with charity. What has changed is that we used to not advertise it because it was not why we did it. What I have learned over this past year though is that a LOT of people view our involvement with charity as a huge reason to want to join our company. We are about to start our first ever March Madness Pool for all of our employees where they will each fill out a NCAA basketball bracket and play for $500 for the charity of their choice as well as $200 Visa Gift card for themselves. This event has garnered a lot of excitement among the staff and I am very excited to share updates on our Facebook page on not only how everyone is faring in the pool but also which charities are staff have chosen to play for.
On March 29th I have been asked to speak to the Capstone program at George Mason University. This is a very big deal for me as well as the company. For me, it has been weird to speak to the dean of the program as well as the professor of the classes I will be speaking to and see their excitement in having me come to speak to their class about my story. I don’t view my story as anything out of the ordinary but to them it is a chance for these students to hear a different story from the usual large company executives that normally come in and speak. It is a chance for them to hear someone that is passionate about what they do and where their company is headed. For our company it is an awesome opportunity to get our name out there to individuals that will be entering the job market soon and to grow a relationship with a local university. I am so excited for this opportunity.
Finally, last week we were informed that we have been named a finalist for the Washington Business Journals 2012 Best Places to Work. Being named a finalist for this award is affirmation that we are doing some great things and that it is being noticed. When I started integrateIT in 2004 I had this vision in my mind that I could start a company that would be a really cool place to work, that we would be looked at as experts in our field, and that we could do great things for our community. Being named a finalist for this award sort of gives me a push and makes me realize that we are doing it. We still have a long way to go and there are a lot more things we can (and hopefully will) do.
The Biz and I have been really busy this year trying to increase our brand recognition and get our name out there. It was something we thought was important heading into this year and after a few months we are already starting to see a big payoff from these efforts. If anyone else has any other branding ideas we could take advantage of that are outside the box we’d love to hear about them.