Chad & Cheese are turning the world of employment branding on its head.
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Announcer: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese Podcast.
Chad: Hidey ho.
Joel: Oh, yeah. Back again. What's up Chad?
Chad: Dude, I am fucking excited right now.
Joel: You are fucking excited.
Chad: I'm so excited.
Joel: I'm ducking my head under the desk. I'm so scared of how excited you are.
Joel: Welcome everybody. Again, this is the Chad and Cheese Podcast, in case you didn't know. This is Joel Cheesman.
Chad: Chad Sowash.
Joel: And we have a very special series of podcasts coming up that Chad and I would like to introduce you to.
Chad: Yeah, they're called the Cult Brand Series that we wanted to put together. And Joel and I had an opportunity to go to The Gathering of Cult Brands last February in Banff, Canada, and it was amazing.
Chad: I think that the coolest thing from my standpoint, Joel, was really trying to understand what the fuck a cult brand is. My head's still reeling. But I personally wanted to bring that message kind of like down the mountain. Ha, see what I did there?
Joel: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chad: To talent acquisition and HR, and I know that you felt that you had a great time there too, but it wasn't just about the experience. It was more than that.
Joel: I mean how long have we been hearing that recruiting is marketing?
Joel: But yet, do we actually live that? Do we actually practice it? And the answer is probably, no, in most cases.
Joel: Both from a marketing perspective and from a recruitment talent acquisition perspective. So our experience at The Gathering, I think, really opened our eyes to the fact that all these brands were preaching talent, employees, are our first sort of level of brand and where we build our purpose, but they talked a good talk, but when it actually came to walk the walk, a lot of the CEOs and the people that were in charge of these companies didn't really get how are we connecting with candidates.
Joel: How are we making their experience as solid as possible when they go through the hiring process and the interviewing process, as well as how do we retain top talent through a brand of purpose to make sure that people stay on the job and love what they do because they love what they're doing?
Joel: And I think that this series really crystallizes our desire to say, “Look, let's get some real marketing professionals, some real meat and potatoes, to come on the show, talk about how they can build brand, how they can build a bridge with HR and talent acquisition, and how we can really all get on the same page in terms of building a solid brand that can recruit and retain the best people around the world.”
Chad: Which is why we have a special guest.
Joel: We do have a special guest. Is this when we introduce him?
Chad: I think so.
Joel: Awesome. Well, welcome to the show everyone, Chris Kneeland. Chris is the cofounder of The Gathering of Cult Brands and the CEO of the Cult Collective, which is an agency. So give us the elevator pitch on you and why we should care that you're here.
Chris: Well, I've devoted the last decade of my career to this concept of a cult brand and hope that by the time this series is done, Chad will be able to explain it to others as well as I can because there's something very powerful in the concepts of cults.
Chris: Certainly, there's negative connotations in the societal or religious sense of the word, but there's a lot of enviable connotations as people create a brand that people don't just buy, but they buy into. And I think there's a lot of things that people are doing wrong, and there's a lot of things that people simply don't know they could be doing when it comes to boosting their levels of customer adoration.
Chad: So from your side of the house, Chris, because I mean you're on the big brand, the big marketing side of the house. We first came to you and said, “Hey, look, HR, talent acquisition recruiting, they need to understand this.” But why do you believe it's important for HR talent acquisition and recruiting to understand what actually makes a cult brand?
Chris: Well, it's hugely important, and it's important for two reasons. One, there's a high correlation. So when we look at the brands that are dubbed the most cult like brands on the planet, they're highly correlated with brands that are also the most desirable places to work, so that's not an accident.
Chris: Now, I'm not sure which is the chicken or the egg. Are the Dallas Cowboys awesome places to work because people just love working with the Cowboys, or is it the fact that they've built an organization and a culture that has resulted in the talent that has made them so desirable. Right? So that's something we can explore on this series.
Chris: But I think the other issue is that traditional HR professionals are ill-equipped to solve this problem, and traditional marketing departments are distracted to solve this problem. We have an employee group, a culture situation that's largely orphaned because the HR professionals don't have the resources that are to be found in the marketing group, but the marketing group doesn't have the mandate to fix it the way that the HR department does.
Joel: Chris, we sat down in February, in Canada, to talk to you, and one of the things that you said almost eight months ago or 10 months ago has stuck with me since, and the conversation went something like this. I said, "Do you feel like marketing looks down on HR?" Do you remember what your response was to me?
Chris: Yes, I said, "Doesn't everybody look down on HR?"
Joel: Yes, you did say that. So my question to you in this series, and as we move forward, is HR, and recruitment, and marketing are historically divided. I don't even know if they speak the same language. Right? So how the two come together to benefit not only recruiting and retention but for just the overall corporate brand? In other words, what can we do to help bridge the two departments together to strengthen the core organization?
Chris: I hope that this series will do two things. I think that the people that both of those stakeholders report to, probably presidents or CEOs, need to step up and realize that there is probably a flaw in their organizational structure about how some of these problems are going to get fixed. And we are starting to see heads of people, and heads of internal engagement, and heads of culture, are new C-suite positions that don't report to HR or marketing. They report directly to the CEO.
Chris: You know I like HR professionals. I don't mean to say that everybody looks down there. I mean that they have been historically viewed as very tactical, not as brands strategic assets, and they should be. But the marketing department has dollars, and capabilities, and agency resources, and skill sets that are being wasted that should be redeployed into the HR coffers and into those HR teams. So we've got to find a way to stop thinking of these as disparate silos, but rather peers that can work together for the common good.
Chad: Well, excellent, Chris. You'll hear more from Chris Kneeland, I promise, during the Chad and Cheese Cult Brand Series. This is just the introduction, so look for it, Cult Brand Series. We're really excited. Thanks again, Chris, for joining us, and thank you so much for introducing us to these amazing people at these amazing brands.
Chris: My pleasure.
Joel: You're the man Chris. We're so excited to bring this series to our listeners. Thanks a lot, Chris.
Chris: My pleasure. Thanks, guys.
Chad: We out.
Announcer: This has been the Chad and Cheese Podcast. Subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts, so you don't miss a single show. And be sure to check out our sponsors because they make it all possible. For more, visit chadcheese com. Oh, yeah, you're welcome.