Millennials Own A Piece Of Your Brand (AKA Your Company)

Last month I spoke to a group of business owners.  I introduced the 30 million strong Millennial Generation and they all sat back and crossed their arms.  When I explained that they already owned a piece of their brand, many business owners guffaw and told me, “No, they don’t. Oh my God, they are so lazy and entitled, they just want their own way.” 

Think again!

Gone are the days when your bad hiring practices where just a rumor at the local coffee shop. Millennials not only use Social Media to help promote themselves to get hired, but when you let them down, they now have a stage to share their side of the story to the world…and this includes all of your customers.

CoutureWriter is just one such Millennial. 

With a passion for professional sports, she has invested time and effort into developing her social media footprint in the CFL and NFL arenas.  She not only has a Tumblr account for her own writing, she also contributes to several football sites geared at getting women talking about football.  This time consuming work has netted her lots of loyal followers.  Still think they’re lazy?

The average time it takes a person to develop ongoing content, gain followers, and then engage those followers, is the same as three people working around the clock in a small ad agency.  Think about the thousands of hours devoted to staying current, not to mention back research; now just add that to the invoice.

Recently, CoutureWriter thought it would be a good time to lend her knowledge, experience, and network, to the Hamilton Tiger Cats, by applying for an internship.   

This is where I demonstrate how much control a Millennial has over your brand

The Hamilton Tiger Cats are not alone. This blog was written to vent frustrations over a bad-hiring process.  We are seeing more and more of this happen. Millennials blogging about bad work experiences and organizations with little-to-no leadership are becoming more and more commonplace.

A blog like this raises a bunch of questions for me about the Hamilton Tiger Cats brand:

  1. It’s really hard to attract women to the sport as is, so why would a business owner let this happen to a young, inspired fan?
  2. Where is your HR team in your hiring process?
  3. Do the Hamilton Tiger Cats know their managers are making promises they can’t keep?

Last but not least, are any of these the kind of questions you want your customers to have rolling around in their head?

Before you run and hide under a rock or yell, kick and scream at CoutureWriter, stop and think!  These Millennials understand social media better then you and I ever will. If we could all just set our negative bias aside about the Millennials, and really engage them, we might find they can be our most hardworking asset or the whistle blower at the end of your game.

Which one do you want standing next to you as we enter the Knowledge Age?

Views: 282

Comment by Jerry Albright on June 18, 2013 at 9:35am

I read her blog and thought "So what?" - this is a fairly obscure example of "Millenials" having a "stage".


So what.  She didn't get the job.  No one cares (other than her).


Sorry Rebecca but this means nothing.

Comment by Jacqueline Bozorgi on June 18, 2013 at 9:48am
I scanned the article. Really? She didn't even follow up? Or did I miss that part?
Comment by Jerry Albright on June 18, 2013 at 10:20am

I just scanned some of her other stuff:  complete nonsense.  Seemed to me more childish/boyfriend stuff than any significant contribution.  In fact, her blog is a fantastic example of (not only Millenials - but anyone) thinking every lame thought they have is somehow in need of publication.


Most people would be well served to simply shut up from time to time. 


Comment by Jerry Albright on June 18, 2013 at 10:27am

And - just for fun I'll save anyone interested a bit of time and grab some blog headlines for your Tuesday fun:

"I was on Skype yesterday and my boyfriend said he didn’t want to say
things like, “You’re the worst” to me anymore in case he died and it was
the last thing he texted me."

"I forgot to post about my squats yesterday I think."

"“Hold on, I have to pee. I think I had too much, coffee I’m really freaking out right now.”

"Guys smiling at you while you’re waiting to cross at an intersection: Acceptable.....Yelling, “Hey nice ass bitch” from your car as you drive by me: Unacceptable. It also makes me never want to go outside very again."





Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 18, 2013 at 12:29pm
Based on just these excerpts , if I were representing this young lady I would suggest that she take it all down, delete as much as she could and suggest to her that her bathroom activities are better not published.

My first thought was, would she be sitting in a meeting and tweet that she was freaking out because she had to pee and her boss was still talking. No class whatsoever.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 18, 2013 at 12:31pm
Stay home until you are fully housebroken, puppy.
Comment by Amy Ala Miller on June 18, 2013 at 3:26pm

I haven't gone to her site yet but from what I've seen so far no need. I think I'll go home and hug my kid who just nailed an interview this week for a summer job while she waits to start her Sophomore year at UW. No tumblr needed. Thank God my millennial is smarter than this... I don't disagree with your points Rebecca but the gems Jerry shared make me wonder if there isn't a better poster child for the cause than CoutureWriter...

Comment by Jerry Albright on June 18, 2013 at 3:40pm

The part of this blog I'm struggling with is "they already own a piece of your brand" - what does this mean?  How does this 20-something "own" a piece of any "employment brand" when she was not hired by them and then goes on a blogging crusade about how lame they are?

This is the kind of hype (sorry Rebecca but that's just how I see it) that gets far too much airplay nowadays.

Comment by Rebecca B. Sargeant on June 18, 2013 at 7:32pm

Thank you everyone for your comments! While we all don’t necessarily agree, the comments are great.  Keep them coming.  We can all poo- poo what this Millennial did and dismiss her today because we don’t like her content. However..

My point is there are 30 million Millennials out there, all doing the same thing.  Youtube has tons videos of people telling the world why they quit their jobs. is full of people screaming about bad hiring practices.  Millennials are not sharing any of this information for our benefit, or posting to our level. They are telling their FRIENDS about their experiences, posting to their friend’s level, and their friends pay attention.  The next time one their friends think about working for someone they have seen a rant about, they will think twice.

As you can see, eventually our personal opinions about what they do and how they do isn’t going to count.  Our responses to their posts aren’t even on their radar (and they probably couldn’t care less, either). They already have an ‘audience’ as it were, that they are comfortable with.  However, as Recruitment Professionals, we are still out to get them jobs.  In fact, I think as this generation comes to market, we as Recruiters are going to be an integral part of helping our clients avoid nasty social media land mines. At the same time, we have coach these Millennials about the etiquette of getting a job.  The only way this is going to happen is if we stop dismissing them, listen to their concerns and then coach them to doing the right thing.

Jerry:  when I say “they own a piece of your brand”,   I’m  meaning that  if a business is not actively watching for bad information about their company on the web,  I’m thinking that  they are not responding to that information proactively.  Anyone can come along and hijack a company’s brand, if one is not managing the ‘brand’ in areas that one doesn’t even know it’s being discussed.

Comment by Amy McDonald on June 24, 2013 at 3:47pm

I think you make a good point here, Rebecca. It is not necessarily how a professional recruiter perceives her rants. Obviously this is not what we would recommend However, what this is really about is how others that would consider working for this company perceive her comments and how the brand's customers, fans, etc perceive it. If she is their target market, well, this could mean PR trouble. Millennial aside, job seekers in general have a lot more influence on a company's credibility because of their online voice than ever before.One bad comment can show up for years in a Google search. Whether it was valid or not doesn't really matter because once it is out there, for the most part, it is there to stay.


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