Real-time Brand Management…Implications to Real-time Talent Acquisition

In John Sviokla’s Harvard Business Review blog about the horrible Virgin America’s flight on March 13, he discusses the power of real-time brand management. This was driven by one passenger, David Martin, the CEO of creating a perfect storm around the incident.

During the four hours the plane was on the tarmac in Newburgh, NY, he documented and shared it with the world. This led to Martin negotiating on behalf of the other passengers a full refund and $100 voucher (Virgin America’s CEO C. David Cush originally only offered the $100 voucher).

So that is the sordid story of the flight and passengers…The interesting part is Sviokla’s statement below…

“Firms may “own” their brands, but brands really live in the heads of their consumers. Companies must constantly nurture and actively manage their brands at the speed customers form opinions about them.”

In a world so globally connected at mind numbing speeds, implications of these type of incidents is “real-time” and can have a major impact on the bottomline for a company if it does not act quickly to address it…just ask Toyota.

While there are no studies, I suspect that these type of incidents also have an impact on “Real-time Talent Acquisition.” How many people with the right knowledge and skills to help execute Virgin America’s business strategy may have been thinking about joining the company and now are not? We will never know, but managing brand for talent acquisition can have similar short-term and long-term impact on an organization’s growth, market share, etc.

Companies must manage their brands at the speed that talent, both inside and outside the organization, form opinions about them. CHCOs, CHROs, and CTOs must prepare to make adjustments in talent acquisition strategies at the same speed that these type of incidents occur for an organization. In the new talent war that is approaching…the ability for Human Capital Management leaders to be agile and adaptable in dealing with these types of incidents will be critical.

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