Hi there and thank you for listening to The Business Storyteller Podcast. My name is Wilson and I’m your host for today’s episode. In today’s episode, we are exploring how storytelling can improve employer branding and I’m delighted to be joined by an expert in this field. It’s my privilege to speak with Mick Griffin, who is the Chief Growth Officer at traffic.
Mick has 13 years of experience in SaaS companies, mainly in sales and growth roles. He has served previously as the Chief Revenue Officer at Brand24 and before that as the Director of Sales at GetResponse. Additionally, Mick is also the founder of a SaaS sales conference called Pipeline Summit and he’s also a mentor at GrowthMentor.com. He has been involved as a mentor in a number of programs such as Google Launchpad.
Hi Mick, welcome to The Business Storyteller Podcast today and I’m so glad to have you with us. How are you doing?
Hi Wilson, thank you so much. That was an amazing introduction. It sounds like a lot. It makes me feel old, but thank you, I’m really good. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a real pleasure for me to be here.
I’m so glad to be able to have this time to speak with you. Before we go any further, I know I’ve introduced you briefly, but I’m sure our listeners would love to hear from you directly. Maybe you can tell us more about your career journey and how it led to your current role at Traffic right now.
Sure, absolutely. I’ll try to keep it really short. So I’ve been working for the last 13 years in SaaS. Actually, my long story is I used to play professional sports. So when I finished that, I went on around the age of 20 or 21 without a degree. So the real obvious career path for me was to kind of get into sales. I went into a number of sales roles back in the UK. Then I moved to Poland and suddenly found myself in this crazy world of SaaS with GetResponse and managed to find a really nice way of mixing my traditional sales kind of experience with this nice new world of digital. And I got really lucky, joined some really great companies over the years. Companies who have kind of really ambitious and we were doing lots of cross border selling and things like that.
And yeah, that’s kind of brought me to where I am now with Traffit. Traffit is a HR tech product or solution, so that was a new industry for me. We are kind of like this scale-up startup-type scenario right now. Looking after the sales marketing kind of customer success elements of the business and just learning from a lot of experiences. That’s probably where we hopefully will talk a little bit about today – where we are, what we’re doing and what’s hopefully a little bit different. And hopefully my goal today is that the listeners will learn or take even away just one idea. That’s like my big focus for today.
Well, that’s great! Thanks for the introduction. I’m sure our listeners are curious because you mentioned about playing sports professionally. What sport was that?
Yeah, so I used to play rugby league actually back in the UK. I was a rugby player a long time ago. Now I’m 37.
I started professionally when I was 17, but it’s actually ironic. Not to go too much on a tangent, but a lot of the things that I’m doing today in sales and marketing and SaaS, I took even from that period of my career from being a sportsman. So learning to be as a team, those kinds of things. A little bit of some leadership tactics, but also just feeling responsible. And I think that sport, I’m very lucky that I know a lot of ex-sports men who have managed to migrate into technology companies and they say the same. So it’s a really unique kind of experience and skillset, but it actually kind of complimented and got me where I am today. So yeah, it’s been an interesting journey.
Yeah, that must be really interesting! And I’m sure that context itself would have given you a very different perspective in terms of leadership. Well, I’m excited to get our conversation going, so let’s get started. My first question for you is this, as an expert with a wealth of experience in sales and growth roles over the past 13 years, why do you think employer branding is so important at the present time?
There’s kind of two reasons for that. So one is very time-specific. So I know that in a number of regions right now, recruitment is such a really hot topic, but it’s also a quite difficult topic. The market went up and down because of the lockdowns and COVID and so on. Finding good talent is actually quite challenging right now, specifically because the market is very much in demand. We’ve also suddenly seen this huge change where companies when they move to fully remote, they certainly opened up that talent pool. For example, I’m at Traffit and based in Poland. Two years ago, my market was basically competing with other Polish employers mostly. Now I’m competing with employers from all over the world. Everybody can hire from everywhere. So employee branding is kind of so hot topic for us right now because when we do need to find talent, we really need to make sure that we are attractive, our branding is clear, and that people look at our company from the outside and think, “Okay, that’s a place where I want to work”.
But the more longterm strategy of that is also basically coming from the social media space previously to working at Traffit. We know just how important now the outside voices are. What I mean by that is 10 years ago, when I used to talk to a hotel manager, he didn’t really care too much what was on TripAdvisor or Yelp. It wasn’t such a big deal. It was only one bad review. I mean, now we know that hotels completely thrive and have whole strategies around customer reviews. What we truly believe is as well is that future employees of businesses are also now going to start to Google you. They’re going to check out your social media, they’re going to check out what your customers think about you. They’re going to check out what your previous employees, you know, platforms like Glassdoor are so popular right now as well. I think that we are moving to a phase where we won’t be able to live without employer branding in the same way that I feel like the same strategy happened for sales and revenues 10 years ago. Customer opinions didn’t really have so much power 10 years ago, and now they are super powerful. And I believe in that same trend for employees and future employees of companies.
You brought up a really interesting point about the difference between 10 years ago and where we are today. Even you mentioning how remote companies are finding employee branding is so important. I would say it’s the same for us at Piktochart as well because ever since the pandemic, we realized that you have to start hiring remotely. That has been a challenge for us. So I’m glad to have you on the show to talk to us more about this. We covered the present aspect of it, like over the past 10 years and maybe the history of it. Now let’s talk about the future.
Based on your observation, how do you see employer bending affecting the future of brands and individuals in the long term?
I truly believe that it will become what we are seeing now is this migration. I think employer branding even as a keyword was very much an HR-type owned topic. We are now in this moment where I think you’re seeing a little bit of a crossover between HR and marketing now. They are both trying to assist in this to make sure that the company as an employer has the right messaging, but it’s still in a very early phase. But what will be really interesting for the future is firstly for me, who will own employer branding? I think right now that is a really hot topic in businesses. I think that companies really are confused a little bit, whether or not it’s HR, whether or not it’s marketing, and how those things connect.
I do really believe that in the future, this will become a very strong marketing-connected focus. You’re going to start to see also the budgets are going to change. I think that’s a big thing. Right now, again, some companies do this really well, but there are many companies out there whose employer branding is based around posting more things on social media from inside the office, which is a great start, but eventually, we’re going to start to spend money. I already know IT companies that are, what I would say early adopters who are spending ad campaigns for employer branding right now. So they are pushing it through, especially through social media ads and LinkedIn and Facebook. They’re pushing the employer branding projects, such as corporate social responsibility projects, integrations. I was so surprised to see that a company was talking about the integration and it was coming through to my Facebook feed but as a promoted post, and I think that’s the future. Because we are all starting to learn more and more the cost of not only bad hiring. I think we’ve talked about having a bad employee for a while now, but what a lot of companies haven’t really focused a lot on yet is the cost of not being able to hire at all. So again, talking about the old times where if it took you three months to fill a role instead of one, we didn’t really know as a business how that changed too many things. It was maybe frustrating, but what we’re starting to see now, again, which is something that I think is driven by the IT industry. They’re really able to tell the cost of that empty hire. Companies like Slack were talking about this 2-3 years ago. It can be costing them $5,000 a month not to have that person because they need those tasks taken care of. They need that responsibility to be picked up inside the company.
So I think in the very near future, we’re going to be talking a lot more about the cost of recruitment, also the cost of not hiring. And then that money is what’s gonna flow hopefully in a really good way into those employer branding budgets. You will start to see a lot more creativity, a lot more videos related to employer branding. So I think it’s going to be really exciting. Again, I think that companies in marketing departments don’t know what they are missing out on yet. I think when they find that out, it’s going to be a really exciting time because it will empower even more future employees. I can’t wait for the time that I’m thinking about joining the company and I’ll be able to click on a website that allows me to do kind of like a 3D walkthrough of the office to meet the team, all that kind of fun stuff. I genuinely think that’s where we’re going and I’m looking forward to it. Let’s see.
That’s a really interesting fact that you mentioned about how budgeting is going to change for us, or there’s going to be a fusion between the marketing and the HR. Even like you mentioning some of the ideas that could possibly happen.
I mean, I’ll give you a prime example. Piktochart is probably a great example of a company that is very visually orientated. You probably have your brand book, your design guides internally, you keep everything in line. A lot of companies have that now for their marketing when it comes to generating leads and sales. But the amount of times I will then go to a company’s career page and it will look completely different. Cause those style guides, those fonts, those brand colors, they are not aligned because the HR team hasn’t decided to pass that overall collaborate with the design team. Or they’ve been told the design team doesn’t have time. This happens so often. We’re still in this world where HR is rather lower down the list of priorities in a lot of companies. And I think it’s going to change. I think the look and feel of a career page will have to be the same just as if someone was going to buy your product.
Really interesting point. Because I think when you mentioned that, I’m just recalling like employer branding is an extension of a brand’s own branding as well. Like you say, we focus so much on selling a product and we forget the employees themselves. It has to be an extension and related to one another, is it correct?
Exactly. I also think this also leads to great existing employee satisfaction as well. Because again, what I really think is from the very first person who’s reading your job advertisement, they should feel that consistency of how things will work along the company altogether. And you might have had this. I’ve seen people where they’ve had an experience during the recruitment process and with the HR team. Then they start on day one and they’re already seeing things that they didn’t expect. So suddenly the culture is different here. The things that they’re working on is different. Just like with the customer. When a customer goes from being a lead to a customer, we try to make that transition as smooth as possible.
The worst thing we had is 20 years ago, salespeople saying “We can do everything and everything’s going to be great” and then they (customers) buy the product. Then the salesperson is like, “Oh, it’s not my problem anymore”. This is where I’m excited because my experience was always sales and marketing, and I joined an HR tech company. I’m like there are so many similarities here. The way we treat customers is the way we should treat employees. The way we attract candidates is the way we should attract leads. And so I’m just surprised that I always say that HR feels like sales with a delay – 10 years, five years, however we determine it. But ultimately I expect those things to catch up and it’s going to be like in sync.
I really agree with your valid points over there. I’m sure I’m speaking to the right person because you have experience in marketing and sales and now in HR. In fact, when we were talking about Traffit, you were letting me know about one of the biggest employer branding campaigns for Traffit is something called Traffit Pathways. So that is a transparent sharing of internal processes in the company, and let’s make available to the public from salary to career promotion path and the skill score. So perhaps you can share with us more about that. Why is Traffit Pathways important and what is it all about?
Absolutely. Again, I will be careful because it’s one of those topics that I can talk for hours and hours. I get quite excited about this. Traffic Pathways is this kind of hyper transparency type of platform. For people who don’t know about it, what we did at Traffit is we decided to share all of our internal processes externally because we are an HR tech company. The first thing I want to do is be the best possible HR provider we can possibly be. If we are trained to convince our future customers like you should use Traffit – we are a source of knowledge, we can teach you. We also have to practice what we preach. So we had to sit down and discuss how could we be the best possible employer we can be ourselves. So the same way with Piktochart, I imagine that you guys really focus on design and you have a beautiful website, so it’s believable that I’m going to trust you. That’s where it kind of came from. And again, I think a lot of businesses are probably nodding their head going, “Yeah, we do that”. But it’s also surprising how many businesses don’t use their own products or don’t follow their own practices. So we did that. Then it started to turn into a little bit more of a kind of complex thought process.
And one of the other things we wanted to have at Traffit was we don’t plan to hire 200-300 people. We always had this kind of idea of every time we want to grow twice the amount of customers, we shouldn’t have to grow twice the amount of people. How about we think about a solution where we help our existing people just get better? Instead of having two people doing the role, maybe we can get that one person to be twice as good, twice as effective. We started to think that’s a really good thing, but we also don’t have a 50 people HR department who can help hold those employees. So how can we motivate them? How can we create 35-40 mini CEOs inside the company? We came up with this idea of let’s literally show people what do they have to do for the next year, two years, three years to achieve their goals. Then hopefully what will happen for us as a company is our team will become the drivers of the company. Not us. We didn’t want this top-down mentality where me as a manager says to my team, “If you do more, I’ll give you a pay raise”, or “I want you to work harder”, or “here is our idea”. I thought is there a structure and a strategy we can rate where our team will come to us and say, “Mick, I need more responsibility from you so I can grow in the company”. And this is where it evolved. It started off internally when we started to build this. Then the second phase of that was we also realized that we wanted to make things as transparent as possible. Firstly, internally also because again, if we’ve got 35 people and we expect those 35 people to be a rocket ship, they all need to be pulling in the same direction. They all need to feel that they are driving towards the same goals. One thing that I knew historically from working in the companies was looking at the person next to you doing the same job wondering like, “I wonder how much they make, I wonder what their goal is when they came and said, oh, I just got a promotion wondering why did they get that?” What we needed to do is create an environment and a mentality where I know what the person next to me is trying to achieve. I know what their goal is. I know their current setup and ultimately when they come to me and say, “Oh Mick, guess what? I just got a promotion”. I’ll be able to be like, “Awesome, awesome!” I will know that no way in any way affects me as my own professional because I’ve got my goal. I know my pathway. If I want to check what that person did to get to that next stage, I can go look. I can go read through it. So we want it to also come up with this scenario where everybody feels part of the same team. And my opinion was that if a manager knows a team member’s salary, why can’t that team member know the managers? I couldn’t actually come up with a valid reason. I know it’s hundreds of years of culture and so on, and that’s great.
The other thing to kind of point out is that what we don’t want to do at Traffit is preach that everybody should do this. It probably doesn’t work for some companies and that’s fine, but we wanted everybody to know what their own personal goals were and to share that. Then the final step of it was we had two elements finally to go, “Well, why are we going to show this outside?” So one was employer branding. We thought to ourselves if we preach transparency internally, and if we want the right people to join Traffit in the future, let’s give them a window. Let’s give them a window to see how this looks. Let’s give them a window to let them know what they’re getting into. And it’s been really nice to have those people since we launched Traffit Pathways come over and say, “When you do have a position in my field, I would like to know about it”. It has attracted some people, which is great. I’m sure that it turns some people off by the way. And again, we don’t preach this as being perfect. Then the second benefit was and we didn’t think about this till towards the end was our customers also get to see inside the inner workings of Traffit. Our customers get to see how many people are working, what are their pay scales, how we are developing, how we are growing. We hope that that transparency will also allow them to build trust in us.
I’ve talked a lot as I said I would, but I’ve got one more kind of added benefit here, which is we didn’t have this challenge so much in our company yet, but it also really now allows us to make sure that we never will have this problem. We now have 100% insured equality inside Traffit because our salary is transparent. There is never that element in the future that someone will be doing the same role, giving the same results to the company, giving the same value to the company, and earning different for any other reason. Not talking so much even about gender or race or sexuality, but also just because managers lost focus. There are times in companies where managers like Peter will come and ask for a pay raise and say, “Okay, you’re great”. And managers don’t automatically sometimes think what about the other three people doing the exact same thing, because they are busy. So it’s not always done as like bias, but sometimes it’s just done out of being distracted. But that kind of like the fundamentals behind it.
In fact, my next question was how Traffit Pathways have benefited the employer branding of your company. I think you’ve answered that so well. I really appreciated how you all actually embody transparency and what it meant for you all. And also, I appreciate the fact that you mentioned that you don’t preach this as it’s something that’s applicable for every single company out there. It’s really depending on your industry and the type of organization that you’re running. So I think you all (Traffit) embodied it well, and I can think of a few companies who are also doing very similar things. I think it’s a very radical step, but one that I would applaud and say well done!
Thank you. I mean we definitely didn’t invent this. We took a lot of inspiration from Buffer, for example, a great company out there. What was great for us is that we had a couple of companies come to us and said, “Mick, we like what you did at Traffit Pathways”. But what they said is and the wording is very specific, “We’re going to create probably our own version of that”. And I was like, “That’s awesome!” That’s exactly right – take the bits that work, throw away the bits that don’t. Change it because it’s not a template that we would just post online and you could apply. So yeah, we are excited about it. We are learning, it took a lot of time to generate as well. I was also explaining to people who ask me questions about it. It took us, I think, five months to build internally.
Like it wasn’t a quick fix. Let’s just share the transparency. You know, let’s go for it. We had to do a lot of structure because we also understood that there’s a lot of risk of getting it wrong. So if we’d have rushed it or we got the pathways wrong, or we didn’t match up the salaries correctly, or our salaries were drastically under a market value or something like that. We actually really had to take our time and focus and it was worth it, but it was a lot of time. It was a lot of time, a lot of energy, but so far it feels really good.
Well done and thank you for inspiring so many other companies out there as well in considering to do this. Well in relation to that and since we are talking about storytelling on this podcast, I wanted to know and pick your brains on how can storytelling be tied to employer branding?
I feel like I’m quite lucky, or maybe it’s not the right approach. But instantly when I look at that, I think how are we doing this for customers? It doesn’t particularly have to be so much different. One of the things is the storytelling of the journey. The journey of a candidate, for example. One thing we are doing right now at Traffit is during the recruitment process, we are able to tell the story of transparency. “Why are we doing this? What are the benefits? What our team members would say and feel?” We have this goal that even if we don’t hire a candidate in a recruitment process, we want them to go away with a really good feeling about the company. It seems that this out-of-the-ordinary approach, this uniqueness is helping build that work. People are coming back and saying, “Please let me know in the future if you reconsider me”. So for me, I think first is the story of candidates. Feel free to make them into real-life stories. When we complete a recruitment process at Traffit, we turn that actually into a social media story. We will post this. We will talk about how many days it took, how many candidates we had, what was the money that we spend? Because again, like many great SaaS companies, we are kind of like sharing first. We’ll share all our stories, which is great.
One of the things we started to do, and this is something that has helped us. We started to add videos to our recruitment processes as well. So now in our job descriptions if you’re going to apply for a job in my team. In the job description, you’re going to see a YouTube video for me, where I literally go, “Hey, listen, it’s Mick. I’m going to try to take all these fancy words that we put in the job description and just talk about them normally”. And I’ll be like some of the questions are how does it feel to work in the office? Well, this is how it works. We have three dogs, they are running around like crazy, those kinds of things. To be honest, I feel like the biggest part of storytelling in employee branding is making the company human again. We have to talk about real people inside the company.
One thing we do with Traffit, which is a huge change for us. We haven’t publicized this yet, but we now have no stock photos. We have a hashtag internally, which is #nostockphotos. And what we do now is in every marketing campaign that we have, when we need a picture of someone, we take a picture of someone in our team. All our landing pages, all of our social media posts, all of our thumbnails, and so on. They’re all pictures of Traffit team members because we’re like let’s put them in the front. When there is a call to action which is like, “Would you like to have a call with our customer success team?” Let’s put a picture of them there so that you instantly feel like I’m going to be talking to that person. I think a lot of it is just putting your employees at the front of your company and trying to give your company a real face, a real voice. I think that’s where our storytelling is coming in.
I love the idea of #nostockphotos, perhaps something that we could think about as well.
It’s so ironic because it’s not that I think stock photos are not valuable. I think it was a great move. But the ironic thing for me was that once everybody starts doing something, it becomes normal. When I started to see the same stock photo on three different websites, I was a little bit like oh my God. We have a problem a little bit. So what we wanted to do is, again, this is nothing new. As a SaaS company, we thought to ourselves, how do we make ourselves different and unique? Nobody can take a picture from someone from my team and put it on their website. Therefore I now know without question that this is unique. But the underlying benefit is our team are now, I think they’re a little bit more proud. We are really showcasing everybody and we’re like you are going on our homepage today. That’s how much we are happy about you being part of our team. And it also generates a little bit more of this slight proudness, this kind of rocket ship mentality. Like it’s not just the talk. We’re really going with it. So yeah, it’s been good and we will keep trying to make it better. We like to put our team members at the front and again, it’s been inspired by other companies. It wasn’t something we invented. I’ve seen some other SaaS companies do this really well already.
I think it’s so inspiring. I was going to say, I’m sure your employees would be so proud to feel that sense of ownership that they have for the organization, being part of the website. I think it’s humanizing the brand all over again and that’s also very helpful for employer pending.
I think it sets the tone for future candidates as well. Again, I don’t believe that everybody wants to work in that kind of culture and that’s really super okay for us. I would rather people find that out on the first day that they consider working at Traffit than their actual first day in Traffit where they go, “Oh my God, I don’t like it here. I feel under pressure, et cetera”. We try to get all the pros and cons about working here and being part of this company really out there really early. The same way that someone can come to me and I’ve had it like, “Mick, so your salaries in marketing are not the highest on the market”. And I’m like, yeah, that’s true. That’s okay. That is exactly one of the parts of work at Traffit is that we are not the most wealthy company in the country, but let me tell you about the other benefits. Let me tell you about the other things. Just like in sales, it’s all things that I learned from selling products, not telling clients that we do everything for everybody with the cheapest, the best, the fastest saying, “Hey, listen, we are quite expensive but this is what you are getting instead”. So it’s a very similar culture, a very similar approach to things now. And I’m very lucky cause I’ve just got that from my experience. I never knew it joining a tech company. Who would know that sales would actually help us in employer branding? But it seems to be very well aligned.
I love that approach and really appreciate that you all are taking the steps of doing that. Well, you are a great storyteller in the sense of being in marketing and sales, and now also in employer branding. If you could share some tips with us on how to do storytelling right, especially for employer branding, what would your top three tips be?
The first one is to involve the team in those decisions. So what I mean by that is when you decide, okay, we are going to do recruitment or we’re going to start to create a career page, involve as many teams, at least interview people in your company. Because one thing that you’ll realize very early is your opinion as an individual of what your company’s employer brand name is, your values, it will be different as you start to venture into other departments. But our point of view, me being a very talkative sales marketing person, we have, I think probably 70% of our companies are IT people. So they have obviously different traits, different characteristics. And they honestly said to me, “Mick, before we set our brand, please be aware that IT people are introverts, but they are extremely good at their job”. So I was like, that’s a great point. I don’t want to be like come to Traffit and every day you’re being videoed and you have to do this. I was like, “Come to Traffit. Then if you want to take part, if you volunteer”. So that was probably tip number one, which is to try and make sure you get different opinions, just like you will do when you’re talking to customers.
The second tip for storytelling is to also sit down before you start. And once you’ve got that collected, that information, decide on your brand. Decide on your messaging. What I mean by that is try not to switch it around too much because what we might have in some companies, what you have is one job description can sound very cool. Like we are awesome. They’re using words like this. They’re using great graphics. They’re saying that things are cool that we’ve got dogs. But then in the very same company, there could be a job description that is very formal because they are recruiting for example for the legal department. We have a Head of People and Culture here at Traffit now, Anika, and she’s amazing. Every job description runs through her so she can look and say, “Okay, I’ve got to balance these out”. Our core values for our recruiting and employee branding are transparency, empowerment, responsibility. So everything runs through her so that she can make sure that we have this culture guide in this brand book, but they also obviously run through the marketing department as well.
My third storytelling technique is obviously just to use multichannel. Again, I say this talking to marketers and they’re going to look at me and go, “Mick, obviously. Tell us something new”. So I always feel a little embarrassed, but you’ll be surprised how many companies are not thinking about this when it comes to employer branding. You’ve got a lot of things at your disposal. You’ve got social media channels, you’ve got video, you’ve got blogs. I mean the amount of companies now that are launching these internal blogs, which I think are amazing. I think this is really important that you use multichannel. TikTok is obviously something that companies can now use to show inside of that brand.
And then if I can sneak a fourth one in because they’re coming into my brain as we’re going, which is also just a really important one and I’m taking this from my social media days – make sure that you’re also listening. Employee branding is a two-way street. What you’ve got to be really careful of and keep constantly lookout is what are people talking about in your space? So first of all, are people talking about your business? Make sure that you’re throwing your brand name in a Twitter search once a week. On Facebook, let’s see what people are saying. Maybe they’re not reacting well to it. And then the second thing is also just to keep an eye on the actual employee scenario in general, especially with things like the scenario that we’re in right now, where lockdowns are increasing, decreasing, et cetera. We really have to remember. I’ve seen a number of companies now that get really challenged when it’s like “come and work in our office” is their core employee branding message – when two weeks before, the country went back into lockdown. So it’s like you have to be dynamic and you have to be also looking at what’s happening in the market at the same time.
I think those four tips that you gave us are really concrete. Thank you for the additional one as well. Those are really good concrete tips that we could take home and think about how to do it better.
Well, we are coming to the last question and this is one of my favorite questions because I’d love to ask you, what are some of your favorite examples of brands or companies out there who are nailing it at employer branding?
This is such an interesting question. It’s kind of hard because I’m sure there are companies out there that are doing amazing that haven’t crossed my path yet because if I’m not looking for a role or they’re not really hitting the mainstream. So I’m sure there are great companies, but two always come to mind for me and they inspire me a lot. One was obviously Buffer. We talk about Buffer a lot, but it really was for me that kind of blueprint of how to do this correctly. Ironically, Buffer’s level of transparency was so intense at some point. I didn’t even realize that they used to have something called open inbox, where you could literally look at everybody else’s inbox and read all of their mails. And ironically, I was reading the story that I think two or three months ago, they finally stopped this. Not because they didn’t want to be transparent, but they realized that people were just so interested in what other people were working on, it was becoming almost like a little mini distraction. So I really appreciate Buffer. I think they’re doing a great job.
But then the second company that came to mind, which is Gong.io. They are a sales product. They did a lot of amazing work as a product lately. I think they went to the stock exchange and they got great valuations. But one thing that really struck out for me is they bought advertisement billboards in San Francisco and they put pictures of their team on them. I thought it was just amazing. I found out about it through their employees going, “Look how awesome this is.” So they (Gong) didn’t have to say they were awesome. Their employees were saying awesome. They were buying like the space on the benches in San Francisco where like, “Come join Julie in this team.” And it was her picture. And I was like, yes, we have to do this! This is where the whole like no stock photo kind of came to mind and I love that. So those two, I think were just like really genuinely nice companies that kind of went for it and they’ve inspired our process a lot.
I would definitely agree with the both of them. I think even at Piktochart, Buffer has inspired us a lot especially in terms of remote working and us making the decision to go fully remote. Buffer was the one who set the path many years ago and we just followed suit.
You know, the CEO here at Traffit, Adrienne, we were talking about Buffer for three months about how they do everything. And then the last question he was also like, “What did they do?” He was already a brand advocate. He was already so bought into the brand. It wasn’t about the product, it was about the culture. And then at the end, the second that we needed a social scheduling tool, it was obviously going to be Buffer. We didn’t shop around. We didn’t even care about the functionality. We were like, we just want to buy from those people. They are awesome. So yeah, it really worked out well and we hope to have the same kind of impact hopefully.
In fact, that was the same scenario for us at Piktochart as well. We were attracted to their employer branding first even before their product. And then we decided to get your product, so it seems like it’s working.
Yeah. I think that people like to buy from a brand that they like. I think if you can like a brand, it’s a really good first step. Let’s see what the future holds. I think that Piktochart is probably a great example. I’ve met people at Piktochart that made me buy into the brand. It was the people. I think that you have a great marketing department. Another thing that is great about employee branding in Piktochart is that your marketing department really has the power to go out there and share knowledge, be on stage, speak at conferences, share their opinions. And I think that’s another part of why there are people out there that will join companies like Piktochart just because you give them a stage. You give them a presence. I think it’s a great thing, so I think that’s another little tip that people can consider.
Well, thank you for the nice compliment! It’s nice hearing from someone who’s an expert in that area that we are doing well in this area. Thank you so much for sharing so many valuable and helpful insights with us today, Mick. I’ve really enjoyed learning some more about storytelling and also how can we use that to improve employer branding in this episode. So thank you for sharing so many valuable lessons with us.
Now, as a wrap-up to this episode, I do this with every single guest. I would love to ask you some fun questions related to storytelling. It’s a great way for our listeners to learn about what really inspires you as a person. So are you ready for this? My first question for you is what is your favorite movie?
So I would have to say that my favorite movie is – I’m going for Rocky 4. Wow, that’s an impulse answer, but I’m going with Rocky 4 because it stuck with me for 20-30 years, and I still love this movie.
Nice! And now in the second question also related to storytelling, what about your favorite book?
Oh, this is easy for me. It’s definitely the Harry Potter series. I can’t deny it. I’m a big fan. You can’t make me pick which one. It would be like picking which of my children I love more. Harry Potter hands down, it has to wait I’m afraid.
I remember reading Harry Potter as a teenager and growing up in that as well. So I can definitely resonate with that.
The next one is a list of lightning questions I’m going to ask you is this or that? So it just gives you two choices and you just choose one. If you get to choose between a theater or cinema, which would you go for?
What about reading or writing?
Now in terms of social media, would it be Twitter or LinkedIn for you?
In terms of streaming services, would it be Netflix or YouTube for you?
That’s a difficult one. Lately I’m going with YouTube. I’m surprised at that one, but I’m going with YouTube.
In terms of movies, would it be Lord of The Rings or Star Wars?
Finally, in terms of type of movies, would it be action or documentaries for you?
Documentaries. Again, surprising. I love action movies, but I’m an addict for documentaries. I can’t get enough of them. So yeah, documentaries. This is good.
Well, that was fun! I’m also a fan of documentaries and I love your take on these questions. I trust that our listeners have also enjoyed listening to that and possibly check out Rocky 4 again and Harry Potter. To our listeners who’d like to be connected with you Mick, how can they best reach you?
I’m super open to any questions. I also love when people listen to something they say and say, actually, I think that you might be wrong. I think it’s great. I want to be challenged on these things. LinkedIn is a great way to find me. I’m always there. You can grab me and just look for the guy with a hoodie on when you type Mick Griffin into LinkedIn. I’m going to be there. I get really inspired by talking to people about what their challenges are and what they have going on. It always gives me the energy to go back to Traffit and do something new. Please be encouraged to drop me a line and ask me questions about anything we’ve talked about today. I’d be super happy to hear from anybody.
Thank you for your openness, Mick. To our listeners, we’ll also be posting the LinkedIn link for Mick in the podcast episode notes, so you can reach him through that. Once again, thank you Mick for coming on this episode of The Business Storyteller Podcast. It’s such a pleasure to speak with you and until the next one!
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