Recruitment Marketing

The Apprentice: Series 14 - We're Backing Brooksy

Whilst in previous years there has been a north-south divide, or favouring, in the selection (or casting) of candidates for ‘the process’ of reality TV business show The Apprentice, there seems to be a fair geographical spread (and why not?) for this year’s series (perhaps a few more from further north than you would expect...and Yorkshire!) which returns to BBC One next Wednesday at 9pm, followed by You’re Fired at 10pm. There is even the usual stretch of age range, well 20s and 30s among the professionals.

Having carefully assessed the chosen 16, we’re already firmly set to back 27-year-old Senior Marketing Manager Frank Brooks from London. He is currently Marketing Specialist at Thomson Reuters in the capital.

On his profile, he is described as “a self-proclaimed trend-setter who likes to push boundaries with his humour.” He uses charisma and charm for both negotiating and building morale within a group and admits he can sometimes play people off against each other to get what he wants. He can be brutal when he needs to be and doesn’t stand for people who are lazy or shirk responsibility (I hear ya! Preach!).

Like any passionate, aspiring candidate, Frank promises to bring a ‘hardworking attitude’ with ‘fire in his belly’ and is a “unique, one-of-a-kind, generous, fun-loving soul who really knows what he wants in life.”

He philosophically claims that “being good at business is like being good at karaoke. You need to be able to be confident, command the attention of the room and to roll over failure” - I guess that is good advice for anyone looking for a new role. His karaoke song is ‘Relight My Fire’ by Take That and Lulu and hopes that he “can be the Lulu to Lord Sugar’s Take That (yay! a Manchester reference).

If he was a dinosaur he would be a T-Rex and, apparently, he smells like success!

Let us know who you’re supporting. Email

Check out more about Frank on LinkedIn or the candidate pages of The Apprentice website

The other candidates (in age order) include:

IT Analyst, Alex Finn (21) from The Wirral

Nut Milk Brand Owner, Camilla Ainsworth (22) from Lancashire

Law Graduate, Kurran Pooni (22) from London

Tennis Events Company Owner, Sabrina Stocker (22) from Middlesex

Professional Speaker, Kayode Damali (26) from Cheshire

Swimwear Brand Owner, Sian Gabbidon (25) from Leeds

Tree Surgery Firm Owner, Tom Bunday (28) from Southampton

Eco-Cleaning Company Owner, Khadija Kalifa (28) from Lincolnshire

Lifestyle Brand Owner, Daniel Elahi (28) from London

Actress and Children’s Acting Academy Owner, Sarah Byrne (29) from Manchester

Tax Advisor, David Alden (32) from East Yorkshire

Sponsorship Consultant, Jackie Fast (34) from London

Learning and Development Manager, Jasmine Kundra (34) from West Midlands

Quality Controller, Rick Monk (33) from Lancashire

Solicitor, Sarah Ann Magson (37) from Teeside

Take A Break - It’s your right and for your own good

With the majority of workers spending more time at work than at home, their minds are always working rather than relaxing or looking after their own health. One way to stay healthier is my being active and stretching your legs with a break from your desk and work. Breaks - not for cigarettes - can help to improve mindfulness and prevent aches and strain.

In the UK, employees have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than 6 hours a day. This could be a tea or lunch break. Obviously it is at the discretion of the company whether there are more, ie how long a lunchtime is, whether you can have cigarette breaks, etc. but it is best to get up and make a drink, use the facilities and engage with colleagues or go for a walk to clear your mind or refocus, without taking advantage.

As more and more people work with VDUs (Visual Display Units) or computers screens (do we still have monitors? Well I guess as some use two!), the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) suggest that short, frequent breaks are better than less frequent longer breaks, so a 5-10 minute break after 50-60 minutes is better than a 20 minute break every 3 hours.

To consider how to appreciate and create a positive working environment for your staff, get in touch.

Get women on-board! They improve productivity

Earlier this year, the Financial Times wrote of the fact that gender-diverse companies are more productive and productivity growth boosted by having women on company boards. We are one of those - our founders are all Marmaladies and they make up the majority of our board.

“Gender diversity on a company’s management board has a significant impact on productivity growth and on returns to investors, according to research published to mark International Women’s day by MSCI (examined the composition of boards at 617 of the world’s largest companies)”.

It found that average employee productivity growth was higher for companies that employed three or more women at board level* than those that had just a single or no female directors. 

Companies that had a ‘gender-diverse’ board, translated into higher profits (measured by returns on equity) than at those which did not have gender-diverse boards. The report’s findings provided support for the argument that meaningful gender diversity at the board level was also a reflection of the importance paid by companies to the recruitment and development of both male and female talent. Women remain remarkably under-represented in senior corporate roles globally and account for fewer than one in five board directors of the world’s leading publicly traded companies. (Just 17.3 per cent of board seats were held by women at the 2,494 companies spread across 47 countries that comprise the MSCI All Country World index).

*between 2012 and 2016


To share your stories of experience, get in touch with our MD, Jo Lee, at

Presenteeism? That's mental!

Absenteeism, or the fact and reason that people are off work, are commonplace within HR. They usually lead to misunderstood circumstances and disciplinary action but think how much time you could save and how more valued a workforce will feel if you delved into the real reason for their absence and helped them to combat their feelings of fear, lack of enjoyment and make sure they enjoy their work more. Stress is, after all, a big reason for people not attending work or developing illnesses that mean that they don’t have the mindset to undertake or focus on the tasks of their role. This impacts their team and ultimately the business. Anxiety and depression are more reasons for lack of productivity but who really understands, of tried to understand, them?

Similarly, ’Presenteeism’ or “working while sick” - which sounds extreme - can cause and contribute to a loss of productivity, poor health, exhaustion and workplace epidemics. It has also been referred to as “the practice of being present at one's place of work for more hours than is required, especially as a manifestation of insecurity about one's job” and links to the wellbeing and mental health of employees. This is something that needs looking at and needs support around.

As a People or HR Manager, why would you not recognise the signs that something is wrong with an employee, based on a slump in productivity and drop in their target achievement? Would you not suspect that there is a change in circumstances or the mental state of the individual? One of the ways in which the impact can be reduced is by talking to staff and ensuring that you operate an ‘open door’ policy whereby they can approach you and talk about anything that is affecting them, that may affect their job, but as an employer or manager you can support them whilst they are at work to prevent them  taking as much time off. Mental health related absence now accounts for almost 13% of absence due to sickness in the UK.

How can you ensure confidentiality between someone who has a problem and the senior member of staff or team leader handling it? Technology can be an effective way. Emailing someone discreetly can reduce the impact of judgement - not that there should be any - from other team members and colleagues and taking someone out for a walk during lunch time, away from a glass meeting room or communal break-out area could work too. Judgement affects mental health too.

To find out how to improve your internal culture and monitor feedback through a staff survey, get in touch.

Taking control of your recruitment marketing

Whilst many MDs and business owners, understandably, like to have a say on the marketing of their business, there are a proportion who do not understand the benefits of element of the marketing mix and who they should be targeting and how to do so. They end up either targeting the wrong audience or give the marketing lead, in-house or external, a free rein and only get insight into the effectiveness through reports.

Here at Marmalade, we take the pain away from MDs and business owners by taking a look at their current marketing and strategies and producing a plan for now and the future to ensure that all bases are covered and the most is made of the recourses and systems available. Whilst this is great in order reduce the burden, we are effective in keeping our clients informed through regular communication. It is important, however, that you are kept aware of all goings-on, whether you are signing them off or not, in order to prepare for a swift and smooth handover should you choose to take the operations back in-house or hand them elsewhere at the end of a contract or start of a new project.

Imagine if you were rebranding and couldn’t get hold of the design files to update your website, or you couldn’t log in to your own website to update the blogs and staff profiles…the inaccessibility of this information can lead to wasted time, resulting in lost money, both of which that could have been spent in other parts of the business.

To get some innovative new ideas about your marketing and remain informed of whats happening, get in touch with our MD, Jo Lee at or call +44 0161 879 5806

How does your Employer Brand look to Candidates?

It’s time to assess your candidate experience.

As a recruiter, from the moment you receive an application, you are assessing a candidate but how many businesses take a look at the journey a candidate takes and how their experience with you - from communication to attendance at your office for an interview - influences and affects their decision whether to accept an offer if successful or what they tell other people about their time in the recruitment process for the role you have advertised? Consider the ‘Cost Per Hire’.

The phone call inviting them in; the battle of finding a parking space; after circumnavigating the route as instructed by the voice of the sat nav; the time taken for to get a response from the intercom and the welcome of the receptionist; the offer of a drink and looking up and down as you enter and sign-in; the well-informed awareness of the staff around the reception of your anticipated presence and then…the handshake of their interrogator before the cliche and occasionally insincerely taken “did you find us ok?” as they are escorted to the meeting room for the interview to take place. Sat opposite a relative stranger to be asked why they want the job and what they know about the company from the night before’s brief research and swatting of the company website, it all contributes to a rather daunting experience in a short space of time…the notes-taking and psychological attempt of assessing the interviewer’s body language and what they are thinking of your nervous waffle are just a bit more to deal with.

What does the candidate think? How is it going? What impact has been made to help them make an informed choice about the reputation and operations of the company and whether it is somewhere they would like to work?

A strong Employer Brand has been proven to be a key identifier in the effective attraction of better quality and higher retention of candidates.

Taking a step back to see what a prospective new team member might experience and what their judgement might be based on the ‘touch points’ can help you to save money and time when processing the mass of interviews to narrow down the number of options to fill the post. You are spending time waiting for them, giving them a taste of the working environment and the levels of organisation and competence within your business. You are exposed. If you think you have found the right candidate but they decline the offer based on their experience at interview, you then have the frustration of having to choose a Plan B and that takes time and effort. Equally, careful assessment of their lifestyle and interests can be a great way to gauge how a candidate might perform and thrive in the fold of your business of that of your clients - someone with less experience of a sector or role than another who is less proactive, passionate or driven would fit the bill. That culture match is important as someone who appears to match a role on paper may not fit the mould and operations of a business. It’s all about thinking about what is best for all parties.

In order to ensure maximum positivity and efficiency for you and any candidates, take a look at how things work at the moment when someone is contacted and invited in for and attends an interview. Will they be kept waiting without any information? Do the team know to expect them if you are busy? Is there a meeting room booked and do those involved know that they need to sit in? Communication is key in reducing embarrassment on the day and enabling everything to run smoothly, especially if there are multiple slots in the diary for getting through everyone.

Remember, you too want to make the best impact so you find the right person to join you, as well as being impressed by them.

To discover more about how to enhance and refine your Employer Brand, get in touch with our MD: or call 0161 879 5806


We may or may not have existed in this current state, but your recruitment brand shouldn't.

On the day the globally-regarded tennis tournament Wimbledon opens its doors to the masses, another high-end brand - the mothership of renowned department store John Lewis and innovative supermarket Waitrose - has announced it is rebranding the two businesses to differentiate between their product offerings amid the widely reported challenges facing the high street retail sector.

With both companies having a focus on offering quality experiences to their customers, we wondered where our services of rebranding and strategic marketing planning in the recruitment sector fit in…and it’s obvious, isn’t it?!

There comes a time when a brand is less prevalent and struggles to keep its beacon ablaze in the midst of an increasingly crowded world of social media and a competitive sector. We have been working with many recruitment agency and recruitment tech clients to refine their propositions and refresh their visual identity, as well as getting them out into the market to increase awareness and stand out through their content and social media management, getting them in front of the right people, at the right time.

So.. as these big brands are 'playing ball' to earn 'match points', we just hope there isn’t a 'backspin' by keeping their marketing in-house, preventing them from having an 'advantage'. We’re increasingly working to mentor and navigate internal marketing teams through the latest recruitment marketing landscape. 

We’ll be keeping up with the results on Centre-Court and might even sample some Strawberries and Cream, with a dollop of Marmalade too of course…

Subscribe to our latest newsletter - WTF?! (What the Fudge)

If you’re offended easily, please don’t subscribe. There’s some weird stuff in there.

Email our MD Jo at or call 0161 879 5806


Like most of you, I’ve recently been seriously feeling the love from every mailing list I’ve ever signed up to.

“We’re going to miss you!”

“Please don’t let this be the end.”

“It’s been great knowing you.”

A couple of years ago, I bet these brands had no idea they’d be writing their own Dear John response to people, but here we are. The GDPR, which came into effect on the 25th May, compels companies to obtain explicit permission from users to use their information, which is why we’ve received so many frantic mailers asking for us to opt-in and remain on these valuable contact lists. No permission means they need to hit delete on your details or face a considerable fine up to a maximum of 4% of a company’s global revenue.

There’s been a lot of articles offering information, advice and warnings for businesses surrounding the GDPR, but what happens afterwards? There are companies who may have depended on email marketing as a revenue stream that are now facing depleted lists and a more challenging environment in which to capture data in the future.

So, what does post-GDPR marketing look like? Are there any positives we can take from it? Absolutely! Here are just some of them:

A clean slate

Scary, but exciting. Companies reliant on user data now need to have a serious rethink of their marketing strategies. It requires a back-to-basics approach, looking at all of the available channels that can be used to connect with people and exploring innovative ways in which to do so.

Trusted communication
Barely a week goes by without news of a massive data breach or cyber attack hitting the headlines, and it’s having a detrimental effect on brand trust. The GDPR has forced businesses to become more open and transparent in all communication with their audience, which will help to start restoring that all-important public confidence.

Better quality contacts

Marketing lists might get considerably smaller, but businesses can be confident that those who have decided to opt-in are genuinely interested in what they have to offer. As a result, these people will be much more open to campaigns and be easier to nurture.

Marketing gets the spotlight!
GDPR is a data issue, and the responsibility of ensuring compliance has fallen at the feet of the marketing department. This has given marketers the opportunity to step-up to the challenge and lead in developing a culture of privacy throughout their organisation, which will not only highlight the critical role that marketing plays but goes a long way in increasing the overall credibility of the department. It’s your time to shine, so perhaps an excellent opportunity to put forward some of those innovative ideas for sign-off (or request a bigger budget!).

It’s early days, but we can certainly expect to see things start to change as companies implement new marketing and communication strategies. Hopefully, they will embrace the GDPR as a chance to turn over a new leaf and explore some new and exciting ways of reaching out to their audience. We’ll be watching!