Normally I focus on the PR lessons we can learn from the latest episode of the Apprentice, however this week it makes absolute sense to focus on recruitment marketing instead. Afterall, it was a marketing challenge – or fail for some.
The wrong choice
While I don’t really agree with the relevance of the tasks in the show given the move from finding the best apprentice to finding a business to invest in, I do tend to agree with who is fired each week. However, I honestly think Lord Sugar’s latest decision was wrong (if we’re being consistent with the criteria each episode, anyway!)
I completely understand that Dean has been pretty useless across the board, but he wasn’t the reason for the failure of this task in particular. Where things went drastically wrong was in the marketing department. What a trained marketing professional was thinking with that packaging, imagery and the photo on the bottle I do not know.
Recruitment marketing lessons: what not to do
The problem here is Lewis took a brief that he didn’t fully understand and ran with it, rather than stopping and thinking about the relevance of anything to the task at hand or the target audience. Firstly, what woman buys perfume (or ‘au du parfam’ as he labelled it) to go hiking? Secondly, Lewis’ version of an empowered and determined woman doesn’t really resonate with most females. An image of a women’s posterior in denim shorts doesn’t fit the brief (excuse the pun) for most modern women. And finally, there was absolutely no consistency. Lewis was aiming for a powerful and arguably masculine image (though I think he failed at that too). While Pamela and Dean’s poster was much more feminine.
For recruitment marketing professionals, the lessons from the latest Apprentice are clear. Ensuring there is a consistent brief that every relevant stakeholder is in full agreement with and everyone understands is crucial. And if as a marketing expert a particular brief doesn’t make sense or has flaws that are obvious to you but not others, say it! At BlueSky we’re completely upfront with our clients. If we know something our contacts have asked for won’t work, we tell them and we explain why. And we won’t be pressured into blindly following the idea against our expert opinion – after all, for everything we do our reputation is on the line as much as the agencies we partner with.
Check, check again then ask someone else
One of the other significant failures from that latest episode that is hugely relevant for recruitment marketing was the spelling errors on the packaging. Nothing screams unprofessional like mistakes when it comes to marketing copy. And while Lewis has argued on social media that it was the designer who let him down (let’s just pass the buck shall we!) the responsibility ultimately lies with the final decision maker to ensure there are no errors in any copy.
And I’m sure most recruiters would sympathise with the frustration around silly spelling mistakes – most will have seen their fair share on CVs. So, the same scrutiny should certainly be put towards recruitment marketing and PR. For anything you write that’s due to be published publicly, proof the copy and get someone else to check it as well.
The next episode: will it be more of the same?
As we eagerly await the next episode where contestants pit their business plans against infamously critical judges (well I am any way!) I can’t help but wonder if we’ll see more of the same mistakes. I fully expect that someone will have over-exaggerated their achievements or forecasts, another will have severely mis-understood the market they’re trying to target and someone else will have made damaging assumptions. And Lottie will get into an argument.
Check back next week to find out what PR and marketing lessons we can take away from the Apprentice as we count down to the series finale.
And of course, feel free to share this blog and your thoughts on Twitter – and include me in your conversation of course @VickieCollinge