Why I Can Picture Life at Adobe

 

Due to my passion for employment branding, I often take the time to research different ways that companies showcase their brands. In my recruiting days, I realized how helpful or hurtful a brand could be when it came to attracting talent. I recalled the challenge of overcoming candidate concerns due to unfavorable reputations. This was especially true when I had to battle against poor employee reviews on public forums, such as Glassdoor. Once I moved into the marketing function for HR, I dove into the topic of employment branding and explored the ways that a company could successfully market itself. These examples were essential when it came to educating people on the differences between an effective or ineffective brand. Upon my research, I discovered the “Adobe Life” page and it has easily become my “go-to” brand to promote.

Even a person who was happy and secure in their job might be lured by the Adobe Life page. Not only does it display anything and everything you’d want to know about its company culture, but it also does it in a visually stimulating way which simultaneously shows what its quality product is all about. Before I even research further, I often sit there to watch the images flash by at the beginning of the page. This is saying a lot, as I’m a person with practically no patience whatsoever. The five images that rotate through is the hook. It inspires curiosity, making it effective right off the bat.

Below are a few key areas that show why Adobe is a top brand:

  • Sense of community: Adobe is a massive company, spanning over several continents, but it doesn’t let its size stop it from seeing its employees as individuals. Its culture also encourages employees to support one another. If it has an employee in accounting who plays in a folk band, the team will go out and see him/her play. Someone in engineering who is participating in a triathlon to support veteran PTSD might even have a few additional co-workers signing up for the cause. Photos and videos are used to showcase such events on their Adobe Life page which humanizes this person to both employees and non-employees around the world.
  • Connectedness around the globe: Connectedness goes hand in hand with the community aspect of this brand. One the most interesting things I’ve seen was the “Adobe Around the World” campaign. With this campaign, individuals at Adobe locations took pictures of their offices and the surrounding views and then posted on Instagram. I loved the fact that multiple offices around the world participated. This is just one of the many things that Adobe does to promote the unity of its branches.
  • Strong values and culture: During my time in talent acquisition roles, I often heard that companies were focused on promoting diversity.  Although it was preached a lot, I sometimes saw companies struggle to embrace the concept. Adobe clearly doesn’t have this problem. I recently saw some postings in their “Adobe Clubs” section. Sure, it’s something so simple but it was great to see the different clubs around the world partaking in activities that are native in their countries. It was nice to know that they promoted the cultural differences from area to area.
  • Career progression: In my recruiting days, I often had candidates ask me about career succession within the organization. Of course, there were always the usual responses I would provide that were almost elusive and redundant. I always wished I could provide more information to help candidates get excited about a long, progressive future with a company. Thankfully, Adobe recognized the importance of showing people a future in their careers. Moreover, they did it in a way that brought it to life—through informative, entertaining videos.
  • Focused areas: After people have investigated the overall “Adobe Life” pages, they have the ease of looking further into the areas that are relevant to them. Are you a student who’s about to graduate? Check out the University page. Are you an engineer looking to switch to a company that offers more challenges with some of the latest tools? Don’t hesitate to watch the engineering videos. Adobe Life makes it effortless for people to envision themselves at the company and in a specific job function.
  • Options for additional research: Even if you don’t have time to log in and check the Adobe Life website regularly, it still offers you plenty of options to keep up with the company, such as Twitter or Instagram. You can also stream the hashtag #AdobeLife. If you don’t want to be bothered with all of that information, you can chose to follow one of the many specified handles they have available, such as a handle for their careers or university team.
  • World domination: It’s one thing to have a great employment brand, but what about a consumer brand? After seeing the economy rise and fall, many candidates are cautious about the stability of a company. Adobe doesn’t miss a beat and made a section to present all of the exciting things in the works that will be launched in the future. Maybe the company isn’t exactly dominating the world (yet) but it can ease a candidate’s mind by displaying how it plans to continuously progress in impressive ways.

In the war for talent, especially tech talent, it can be fatal for a company to neglect its employment brand. A strong brand that offers something for everyone can be the key to engaging active talent. Even passive talent could be so moved by a brand that they would be willing to share it with their networks (much like I’m doing right now). Companies should take note and review Adobe Life as a prime example of how to do employment branding right.

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Employer Brand: Is Yours Costing You Candidates?

After being in the working world for a few years and seeing the many different working environments an individual could be involved in, I believed that performing extensive research on a company’s brand was important for me once I returned to the job market. When I looked for jobs a few years ago, I never thought to look further than the job description I was applying to. Needless to say, I was often unprepared and didn’t have any intelligent questions to ask the recruiter once I landed an interview. Even worse, I wasn’t prepared to make an informed decision if I was offered a job and would occasionally find myself in work environments that were less than appealing. After seeing the difference that research can make, I often try to preach this to the candidates and job seekers I speak to.

Recently, I saw how helpful research could aid in a job seeker’s journey for a new opportunity. One of my good friends had just graduated with a new degree but was having a hard time moving up in her current company. Her current company was a tech giant and although it offered great opportunities and benefits, red tape and politics made it nearly impossible for her to transition into a new role. Reluctantly, she decided to apply to jobs outside of the organization to see if there were better chances for her elsewhere.

A few weeks into applying, she received a call from a recruiter asking to set up a phone screen. I told her the first thing she should do to prepare for the interview is to complete in depth research of the company. This included anything from press releases, social media, forums, Glassdoor sites, etc. Of course companies try to do a great job of presenting their employer brand in a positive way on their career sites, so it’s important to get some feedback from real people, such as employees or previous interviewees. Needless to say, she saw some red flags via employee reviews on their Glassdoor page. With this being a job out of state and with a company that wasn’t as secure or well known as her current company, this was a bit disturbing. I urged her to bring up these questions in her interview.

The first phone interview went well but when it came time for her to ask the recruiter questions, she completely stumped the recruiter. Apparently, the recruiter had no good response to the probing questions referencing what their current employees were saying about the company. Despite the poor responses, the recruiter suggested that my friend ask the hiring manager during the next phone interview. Although hesitant, she agreed for the next interview just to hear the hiring manager out. Unfortunately, the hiring manager also didn’t have much good to say ease my friend’s mind. It’s a bit concerning when members of company don’t even know its own brand well enough to be able to answer these types of questions during the interview process. How did they expect to convince people that they were competitive against tech giants?

Candidates should take note of the situation to properly prepare themselves to make good career moves. Additionally, companies should work with their recruiters and hiring managers to ensure they prepared for these sorts of situations. Needless to say, when my friend received a job offer from the company, she quickly rejected it. She was thankful to have taken the time to research its reputation otherwise she might have left her great company for something that was an awful career move.

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Do You Have an Internal Employer Brand?

 

Last week, I took a trip out to Seattle to spend some time working, exploring, and learning about the city. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to visit Amazon.com, one of the many corporate campuses that are located in the area. I had never explored a “campus” in the past but I’ve always been extremely eager to get a first-hand experience after reading the many articles that are out about it. Needless to say- I was impressed. But I wasn’t just impressed by the immensity of the campus, I was blown away by the branding located around the campus which had me thinking about the whole “employer branding” thing. I know HR is struggling to implement a strong brand to attract external candidates, but what about their internal brand?

One of HR’s main functions is to recruit and attract quality talent to their organization but it’s also about retaining the talent that is currently there. What are we doing to keep our employees engaged and loyal to our organizations? Competitive compensation isn’t going to be the only option to keep an employee from walking. Maybe you aren’t an enormous organization like Amazon.com, Google, or Linkedin who are notorious for having awesome internal brands, campuses, and culture, but there are ways to adopt some of these things to fit with your organization:

  • What vibe does your workspace give off?: One of the most notable things I think of when it comes to campuses like these are the different workspace options that are available. Yes- I said OPTIONS. Their offices are not set up with jail-like cubical rows with the occasional office or conference room here or there. They have open spaces, co-working options, lounge areas, and unique personalities. Perhaps you don’t have the space or budget to create these areas but there are plenty of ways to create an open environment that seems welcoming and non-restrictive.
  • What internal recruitment marketing do you have in place?: As I was riding an elevator in one of the Amazon buildings, I noticed a vibrant poster marketing one of their departments that currently was recruiting for Software Engineers. One side of the poster showed a man sitting at a computer with the saying, “This is what it looks like to work on my team.” The other side showed an imaginative, creative, and fun scene surrounding the man at the computer with the saying, “This is what it FEELS like to work on my team.” Below both posters had the team manager’s contact information that you could rip off and take with you. I absolutely loved it. Amazon is huge so having marketing options like that could really make it easy to recruit for internal candidates that didn’t know about your team. Makes sense for a company that’s as large as that, right? Here’s the kicker- even employees in small organizations admit that they aren’t aware that specific jobs exist or they don’t know about internal job openings within the organization. This can be a huge issue, especially since many employees leave their company because they feel like they have no internal mobility options. That situation might not be true and their perception of this might just be due to lack of information.
  • Are you too scared to adapt?: I understand the phrase, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” And that phrase is a perfectly reasonable one. If your company is functioning fine, there is no reason to fix it but what about offering more options? Compensation isn’t the only thing that can retain your employees, sometimes other options can be the deciding factor: telecommuting; flex work; tuition reimbursement; on-going training; co-working; employee engagement initiatives; and so on. Your competitors are coming out with really cool options to provide to their employees. Don’t let them beat you out because you were too scared to adapt to the changing world of work.
  • Is it a place of hierarchy or community?: There most definitely needs to be order within an organization but top down communication doesn’t really work as well as it did in the past. Your employees want their voice to be heard, they want to make suggestions, they want to contribute, and they want to build relationships. I’ve worked in an organization where the President and Directors are extremely open to two-way communication. They make it very easy to hold conversations, even to the point where interns aren’t scared to make suggestions or hold a casual conversation with someone higher up. It has created a great sense of community within the organization which has helped it be more progressive than other companies who haven’t adopted this.

Your employer brand isn’t just about convincing external candidates that your company is a great place to work, but it’s also about making sure your current employees also love working there to the point where no other company or job offer seems more attractive.

Is the Candidate Experience Affecting your Company’s Reputation

I know quite a few months back, I wrote about the importance of the candidate experience. At that time, I was going through some hardcore job seeking and came across many different ways that companies handled their interviewing processes. Some were amazing experiences, some were a little weird, and some were awful. After a while, I took some time to research as much as I could about companies in order to better prepare myself whenever I did land an interview. Surprisingly, I learned that I was not the only one trying to learn about the interview processes at companies and many other candidates have even posted information about their interview experiences.

As a candidate, it’s amazing to come across this information. It can help you be prepared for the types of questions the interviewer might ask, how long the interview process will be, and so on. As a company, having that sort of information exposed can be terrifying. Not because candidates have a “cheat sheet” to your interviewing process, but because candidates can rate their experience with you. These candid responses can either help or hurt your employer brand and can affect the way you are able to successfully attract and engage quality talent.

As a talent acquisition specialist, I often tell my candidates to go to the website www.glassdoor.com to read up about the company I’m recruiting them for. I say to them, “I can tell you that a company is great but that will only weigh so much because you know that I’m trying to sell you on this position. Do yourself a favor and read about it from the people who have actually worked there.” After they did so, I’ve had plenty of candidates come back to me telling me how excited they were to move through the interview process. I’ve also had candidates come back to me with concerns about some of the things they learned about the company. I often try to bring this to the company’s attention when I can so they can clarify anything and ease a candidate’s mind (or do some damage control.)

Technology makes it extremely easy to research anything. Every candidate experience you provide can be scrutinized publicly. It’s important to remember these sorts of things and handle every situation with respect and care. I would also suggest that employers regularly take time to research themselves and see what their talent community is saying about them. This can help them find out which areas they can improve on in hopes to attract the best talent and keep them engaged throughout the whole process.

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Why is HR Scared of Employer Branding?

Maybe my Type A personality makes me a little over-eager when it comes to getting things done but I often wonder if this quality would be beneficial for certain professionals. Employer branding has been a highlighted topic for a little while now, and HR professionals are realizing that having a strong employer brand is a significant way to attract candidates to their company. Sometimes this topic has been talked into the ground but when all is said and done, there still doesn’t seem to be any action taking place. I hear them say that they want to do it, that it’s important for their company to have it, and so on. But when it’s time for them to actually really consider putting into play, they choke.

I get it- it’s a scary thing to put yourself out there. It’s scary to think that however you promote and brand your company might be detrimental to its reputation if presented wrong. It’s hard to fathom investing money and time into something you don’t know will truly work for your organization. I know. I know. I know. However, the more you drag your feet on this, the easier you are making it for other forward-thinking companies to snatch up quality talent from the candidate pool.

Here are some steps you should consider when starting the employer branding process:

  • Research: put on your networking hats on and start talking to people who do marketing, social media community management, social HR, and even consultants that handle employer branding. For example, Jocelyn Aucoin  has been a great resource when I had questions about all of these things. What better way to get a solid understanding on all aspects of branding than talking to the people who are deep into it everyday?
  • Formulate a plan: … then reformulate. Over and over again. No one said that the brand was going to happen overnight but this is the key thing to help you have some sort of structure when you put your plan into motion.
  • Put it into action: it’s time for you  to bite the bullet and put your plan into action. And trust me, there is going to be a bunch of bumps along the way but try your best with damage control. New ideas and new processes are never perfect, so don’t expect this to be any different. Remember, it is important for you to: take notice, observe, listen, and learn from these situations/feedback.
  • Adapt: after listening and observing, it’s essential for you to seriously take the feedback into consideration and, once again, reformulate your plan. The best branding is one that is active and engaged in their “audience” and then delivers the results that these individuals are looking for.
  • Be consistent: branding is an ongoing thing. Your company changes often and your brand should reflect that. New people are entering the candidate pool every day, so be sure to also find new ways to engage these people. Be a constant presence and stay in front of people’s minds. Branding often fails due to lack of consistency.

Employer branding is important for a reason. The economy has put a lot of people out of jobs or in search of new ones. These people have potentially been in bad situations (underemployed, laid off, terminated, unemployed for long lengths of time) and want to make sure that the next choice they make is the right one. They are looking for companies that have transparency so they can feel more confident about applying.

Gen Y is also entering the workforce and the workforce will be majorly comprised of these individuals in just a few years. They are extremely savvy when it comes to finding information on things, thanks to being brought up in the technology era. Therefore, they will also be looking hard for companies that seem to be providing the most up-to-date and useful information. With that being said, do you really think branding isn’t a good investment? What you doing for your employer brand? Feel free to respond here.

More Links:

HRTechEurope White Paper on Employer Branding

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HR Tech: HR Cloud On-boarding Platform

The other day, I had the pleasure to speak with the individuals from HR Cloud again. As stated in my previous blog, I found their platform to be particularly interesting. I loved the fact that everything an HR professional would need was located in one, easily-manageable interface. Additionally, I really enjoyed how customizable these features were, which not only saves a lot of time but also helps strengthen the internal employer brand. After initially getting an overview a couple months back, I was happy to connect with HR Cloud so I could get a closer look at each portion of their platform. This time, we focused more on the on-boarding piece.

Here are some interesting features:

  • Landing Page: this page can be the “Welcoming Page” for a new hire. Your organization can provide a username and password for the new hire so they can get some of the on-boarding processes done before their start date. This landing page’s layout and widgets can be customized to include: videos, specific HR forms, tasks with due dates, a welcome message, and so on.
    • Key take-aways:
      •  Reduce time and money by having new hire paperwork on this platform, rather than shipping, printing, faxing, etc.
      • New hire paperwork can include additional paperwork or customized paperwork for specific job role or department. Digital signatures can authenticate paperwork.
      • You can build an employer brand and strengthen the culture by including videos, internal information, welcoming messages, and anything else that can help increase transparency of your organization to the new hire.
  • Administrative Tab: this tab can be utilized by HR professionals and department heads. The tab can be configured for specific needs, help reduce time, and keep everything organized and on track.
    • Key take-aways:
      • HR and department heads can send out messages/forms/tasks either to a collective group of people or to individuals.
      • Checklists and tasks are easily visible to allow HR and department heads to know what needs to be completed.
      • IT will receive an automatic alert to help prepare for new hires. For example: an alert to order laptops/computers/equipment; and to create passwords/usernames.
  • First Day Activities: This feature streamlines new hire paperwork processes and training to help your new hires jump right in.HR can create a task to-do list so new hires can be productive in their on-boarding. This feature will also include an organizational chart so employees know who they will be reporting to and who they’ll be working with. The organizational chart will be complete with avatars so new employees can put a name to a face.
  • Form Creation and Customization: This feature allows the system to upload any forms into their PDF creator. These forms can include the usual 1-9s, W-4s, direct deposit forms, and so on. Also, companies can create forms that are specific to job role, industry, department, or their company. These forms can also be auto-populated with employee details to save time and ensure that information is accurate.
  • Career Planning: Employees can review the expectations and goals of their current position so they can properly position themselves on their career path. This transparency can allow employees to take control of their professional development.

The on-boarding process can be grueling, both from an HR perspective and a new hire perspective. Time can be wasted if: forms aren’t completed properly; you have to wait for shipping and receiving; or you have to wait to give/receive directions on your first day. To do lists and checklists can make it easier for the organization to keep track and make sure everything is squared away, which will potentially limit any headaches down the line. The first day activities and organizational chart can help a new employee feel more comfortable in the transition. The interface makes navigation effortless and it’s very user-friendly, which can cut down time and frustration. Overall, I think this platform is organized, effective, and can make the process stress-free for all individuals involved.

Contact HR Cloud today for a demo.

 

Sometimes, Culture Fit Overrides Job Fit

As some of you know, company culture is one of my favorite topics to discuss. So, in light of a current situation, I felt that today’s blog post should discuss this. Recently, an individual was referred to me for some career and job seeking advice. Of course, I jumped all over this because I absolutely love helping people figure out what they truly want and how to be proactive about getting it. As I provided some advice to her, I recalled some important lessons I learned while job seeking myself.

This woman told me about some of the job roles she was interested in and how a couple of the companies she interviewed with seemed to have great opportunities involving this type of role but the company in itself left her feeling uninspired. She also happened to know a few people that previously worked at these companies and she was able to determine that the company culture didn’t really seem to match what she valued.

Of course, the fact that she mentioned personal values seemed to pique my interest and we hashed out these details. After learning what seemed to be important to her and what she really was passionate about, it was easy to see why these companies left her feeling uninspired. The companies had nothing to do with any of that. And after thinking about it, I recalled the time when I was aggressively looking for work. I was so set to get my career going in HR that I accepted jobs with companies that didn’t match my personal values. Or what’s worse, I found that their culture and ethics were awful. Needless to say, I was happy to land a role in HR but I was miserable, I learned nothing, and I really felt like I gained nothing from working there. Before I knew it, I was looking for work again because I desperately wanted to get out of that less than ideal situation.

As I considered these situations, I realized that sometimes finding a job in a company that has a culture that matches your values could be more important than struggling to get your foot in the door for a role you’re targeting. I wanted to be happy and I wanted to find a company that made me want to stay with them long term. I realized that perhaps starting in a position that wasn’t necessarily what I was targeting might be the way to go. I knew that if I was happy with the company, I wouldn’t mind taking a little extra time to work my way up to where I wanted to be, career-wise.

Sometimes it’s not enough to just be involved in the role you desire if the company in itself isn’t ideal for you. If you’re a job seeker, it’s important to research the culture to ensure you don’t end up in a bad situation that leaves you scrambling for a new job and company that is better suited for you. Unfortunately, changing jobs so quickly doesn’t look great to recruiters.. It looks better if you stick with a company longer-term and progressively move your way up.

Spend that extra time to do your research and really dig deep to make sure the company you’re accepting employment with is going to offer you more than just a job title and a couple skills in your field. You spend a good portion of your time at your job so finding an overall fit might be the better choice when it comes to finding a long and lasting career.

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Employment Branding: Using your Employees as a Megaphone

Recently, I was discussing employment branding topics with one of my colleagues and the many different ways a company can try to promote their brand to prospective candidates. Many companies have done a wonderful job creating different marketing campaigns, job fairs, and conferences to help spread the word of why they should be a candidates’ employer of choice. But there are other methods that employers are forgetting about that can help spread their message, such as using their current employees as a megaphone and cheerleader. This can be a great way to build and promote a brand to large audiences that will know and trust the source.

So, how can you utilize your employees as a resource for branding? Here are some suggestions:

  • Educate your employees: sometimes employees are unaware or unclear of what your employer brand actually is. It’s important to educate your employees on your brand, how they play a part in maintaining the brand, and help them get a deeper understanding of what the brand is attempting to accomplish in terms of obtaining and retaining talent.
  • Present opportunities and attach rewards and recognition to it: tell employees how to promote the brand whether it be at networking events, social media updates, or just a regular conversation with someone. Let them know these options and the recognition or rewards that may be tied with it. This can create an incentive for employees to want to market the brand.
  • Encourage social media marketing: social media is huge when it comes to reaching a large audience of people effectively and efficiently. The message that is sent can even weigh more coming from an individual that the audience trusts on a personal or professional level (i.e. your employee). Help create marketing campaigns that employees can effortlessly post for on their social media channels. Also encourage employees to create their own personal marketing efforts (but be sure to approve them first to ensure that the message is properly and accurately executed).
  • Create a “word of mouth” campaign: what’s a better or more honest way to promote something than to get real-life customer testimonials? The same can go for your employee testimonials. Encourage employees to provide testimonials in which you can put into an employer marketing campaign, social media campaign, video campaign, or even a publication that focuses on your company.
  • Incentive: employer branding focuses on wrangling in some quality talent. A great way to get employees motivated to help the cause is by offering incentives or bonuses based on individuals who are hired that are directly linked to the employee’s efforts.

As I’ve always stated, employees are your greatest assets, but using them this way can even prove that on another level. This can be a cost-effective way to market your brand and most importantly, it can be a source that gives the brand more meaning. Be sure to consider this option when creating your employment brand marketing efforts.

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The Social Community for Talent Acquisition

Last Wednesday’s #TChat had once again explored one of my favorite topics: social media uses for talent acquisition needs.  With a mix of social media community managers, recruiters, human resources professionals, and job seekers- the contributions presented were amazing. Contributors shed some great light on how social media can reach a huge audience, how HR professionals have started to utilize it for their recruiting needs, and how job seekers are starting to realize that their social media presence could be a great resource for landing a job. I’m a strong believer in this because this method was one of the ways I not only found a job, but also an internship and many other fantastic opportunities to network with HR professionals. So, today’s blog will be a recap on what we discussed.

Community managers don’t just have the task of marketing to their communities but they also need to be the brand ambassadors, the personality, the customer service, the voice, and the conversationalists. Not only do they put out information but they can also learn from the customers and fans who are interested in the company and brand. They help get people engaged and stay in-the-know in real time. They create humanization and create transparency for your company culture and vision. They are the cheerleaders that spread their conviction for the brand so much, that customers/fans will pick up on the excitement and energy and also spread the word. Most importantly, they are a huge part of helping a company gain and retain customers and even potential talent.

So how can community managers help in the talent acquisition and recruiting world? Community managers not only promote the company and its products/services, it also promotes the company’s culture, vision, and why they are amazing- aka they promote themselves as being a great employer which can really pique job seekers’ interests. Some pros of social communities for talent acquisition purposes:

  • Helps job seekers learn about companies and positions
  • Helps job seekers learn about company culture to compare against their personal values
  • Helps engage potential job seekers
  • Helps job seekers have questions answered before deciding to apply
  • Reaches a larger audience of job seekers
  • Helps recruiters find candidates in an unorthodox way
  • Helps recruiters see what candidates can offer to their company
  • Helps recruiters see beyond a candidate’s resume

 

I can’t help but respect community managers because their job is jam packed with different duties. Not only do they need to market and promote the company’s products and services, but they also need to market the employer brand. They need to respond and communicate with their people to really create a solid community to gain, retain, and keep customer/fan/candidate loyalty. Additionally, they need to be the eyes and ears of the company- they have to gather intel and feedback based on what their customers and candidates are asking for. And most importantly, they must respond in a way that will keep the brand alive and well.

 

If you enjoy topics like this, be sure to participate in #TChat on Twitter- Wednesdays at 7pm EST.

More links:

#TChat Recap by Kathleen Kruse

Some Top Tweets about this topic

Talent Culture

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