Marketing can be messy. Companies strive to get their positioning and their messaging very tight and succinct, but their customers don’t always see it that way.
David Aplin Group is a full-service recruiting agency with ten locations across Canada and revenue over $25 million. They specialize in several sectors including IT, sales and marketing, accounting, and supply chain management.
But Aplin is a bit of an anomaly in the recruiting industry. Over 75% of their searches are for permanent, full time positions, and 25% of the roles are contract positions. This is unusual, because most mid-market and large agencies are focused on the contract market. While the permanent market is dominated by small agencies with annual revenues below $2 million.
On paper the David Aplin Group has a clear value proposition. They are a Canadian-owned family business with a national footprint, clear areas of specialization, and they are one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. But as Jeff Aplin, President of the David Aplin Group points out, “The client determines what they value.”
Value serves a need
The unique differentiators of a brand may not resonate if they’re not connected to a present need.
Jeff explains, “Some clients want to work with a Canadian-owned company with a national presence, but other clients couldn’t care less. Clients radiate to what they need.”
A national presence is of value for companies hiring for multiple positions in multiple cities. But if a company is only hiring a project engineer in Calgary, then their priority is what the David Aplin Group can deliver for them locally.
A brand comes to life when it has context. By understanding your clients’ needs you can tailor your services and your value proposition to fit them.
Serve the need first
If your value proposition shifts based on customer need, a modular operational structure provides the latitude to adapt to the situation. Flexibility becomes a marketing asset.
Look for opportunities to focus business units or services to fit customer expectations. For example, Aplin operates their business under three divisions:
- Aplin Executive: providing retained and executive search for senior level positions.
- Aplin Professional: recruiting for mid-level professional and technical positions in areas like finance, accounting and engineering.
- Aplin Office: providing temporary and contract recruiting for general office positions.
Each division is designed for a targeted business need, and has its own value proposition and brand experience. But they also interact and connect like Lego bricks.
Each division solves point solutions for specific hiring needs. For example, a firm could engage Aplin Executive to find a new General Manager. Once the GM is onboard, the Aplin account manager can introduce them to the Aplin Office division to help the GM recruit an Executive Assistant.
The pieces can stand alone to serve one need at a time, but also have the ability to be unified to create custom HR solutions for companies with more diverse hiring needs.
Create a modular value proposition focused on customer needs.
Reinforce the brand’s story
Adjusting your value proposition for each customer can become exhausting. If it’s always shifting, it can become exceedingly hard to market and grow your brand.
Instead of adjusting course constantly, anchor your brand.
The David Aplin Group holds a unique position and point of differentiation in the recruiting industry. They start with the big picture with their broad capabilities, and then drive to the need.
The size and capabilities of the firm set it apart from the countless independent recruiting agencies and the faceless multinationals. But they also leverage a modular brand architecture to get to the need and develop a personalized value proposition.
Understanding and tailoring your brand to fit each client’s needs sets you apart in a field of choice.