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When are we going to stop coddling Millennials?

A PSFK post stopped me in my tracks earlier this week. In fact, at first glance, I really thought it was an sponsored Onion post on PSFK.

Really, I did.

But nope–this is very real. Grey Advertising, AdWeek’s 2014 Agency of the Year, has created a separate work environment–specifically for Millennials–within its New York office called “Basecamp.”

Working in Closet

Grey representatives describe “Basecamp” as “an environment that gives structure, but creates self-sufficiency [and] encourages relationship building with key learnings more readily shared.”

And, according to the PSFK article, Michael Houston, CEO of Grey North America, says that Basecamp shows that “we’re learning from this group rather than showing them how we’ve previously worked. We’re working to understand their organic tendencies.”

So, essentially, Grey has cordoned off Millennials from the rest of the workforce in the interest of “understanding their organic tendencies”?


OK, so I’ll fully admit, I’m a huge skeptic when it comes to discussion that leads with “how do we adapt to working with Millennials in the workforce?” I know Millennials are a big demo. I know they have incredible power. I know they work differently.

But man, I think this is a horrible idea.

For starters, think about the message it sends to the rest of Grey Advertising.

Grey claims to have 1,000 employees–48% of which are Millennials.

OK, so what about the other 52%? What about the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, who, by the way, are most likely the managers and leaders of the agency at this point? What message is this sending to those folks?

I’ll tell you what message it’s sending. It’s the same one we’ve been hearing non-stop from Millennials and those looking to accommodate them for the last few years: We need to coddle the Millennials in order to better work with them.

That’s it. Plain and simple.

Why else would they create a SEPARATE WORK ENVIRONMENT for these employees? Why would they go out of their way to talk to the media about it?

I mean, I get it from a business perspective. You need to attract the Millennial market. You need them more than they need you. Junior to mid-level talent is the engine that runs agencies, right?

I’m just not sure this is the right way to go about doing that.

Look, I’m sure Grey has done their due diligence. And who I am really? Just some consultant with a blog in Minnesota. I’m not running AdWeek’s 2014 Agency of the Year. So, clearly these people know more than I do.

I’m just sick of the coddling.

And I don’t think it’s doing the Millennials any favors either.

Think about the message they’re sending to Millennials now for a moment. We’re going to give you your own work space. We’re going to go well out of our way to make you happy. WE WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY!

I think this, too, is a horrible message to send. It says: People are going to go out of their way to accommodate you and your workstyles. So, don’t worry about it. We’ll work around you–don’t you worry about learning to work with other people. You’re Millennials, after all!

Also, think about this. If you put up a wall around these Millennials in the workplace, how will they find mentoring opportunities with more experienced staff? Aren’t you kinda telling them the opposite by doing this? Stay with people your own age/experience. Learn from them–not the older folks.

I don’t know. We’re now crossing an awfully dangerous line with all this coddling.

I mean, really, isn’t this taking it a bit too far?

photo credit: Jin_sama via photopin cc

Talking Points Podcast: Is Digital Strategy All Wrong?

In this latest episode of the Talking Points Podcast, Kevin Hunt and I talk about a very interesting (and very well written) article in HRB titled “Your Digital Strategy Shouldn’t Be About Attention” (see Show Notes below for link).

In the article, the author laments that digital strategy, as we know it, is essentially broken. That too many companies are focused on gaining attention through online channels, and not nearly focused enough on providing true value to customers and giving them YOUR attention instead.

Talking Pts Podcast

It’s a very interesting read–Kevin and I agreed, the “must read” of the week. Hope you’ll take a listen to the rest of the show, too.

SHOW NOTES – January 22, 2015

“Your Digital Strategy Shouldn’t Be About Attention”


“Nike Sends 100k Customers Personalized Training Videos”


“To Boost PR Results, Look to Paid Channels”


“Storytelling in the Age of Social News Consumption”


“25 Disruptive Technology Trends for 2015 – 2016”


LinkedIn vs. Facebook: What’s the best social network for job seekers?

Last week, author and consultant, Shel Israel started an interesting conversation on Facebook:

LI vs FB 3


So, this isn’t necessarily a new discussion. People have debated which social network is best for job seeking, business networking and recruiting for years.

But, in previous years, I haven’t heard it discussed in terms of LinkedIn vs. Facebook, which is what the comment threat on Shel’s initial post devolved into:

LI vs FB 1

As you can see, tech influencer, Robert Scoble got involved, and as sometimes happens when he does, things got a little “interesting.”

People advocated for both sides, and made some good arguments, but Scoble defended Facebook. Vehemently. Citing research and evidence all along the way.

LI vs FB 2

Now, for every person who says they sourced 10 jobs via LinkedIn, you’ll probably meet 10 more people who will claim they found a job on Facebook. But, let’s set that aside for a minute. We know both are useful, but ever since its inception, LinkedIn has HUNG ITS HAT on the fact that it is THE social network for business networking. It is THE social network, THE place to go to find a job.

And, now you have people debating whether Facebook may now be that place. That one place where people go to network professionally and uncover new opportunities?

When you think about it like that–that’s interesting, right? That’s certainly not the way it’s been positioned the last few years–not by the networks, or by most people you talk to.

Yet, there’s Scoble making that claim right in the thread. And, he’s making it and citing he has research to back it up (we’ll see, I guess–he doesn’t share that in the thread).

Here’s my take on all this. Facebook is still THE social network. It has the users. It still has the majority of people’s attention. It is THE place people hang out online. At least, from a mass population perspective.

And, through all that time we spend on Facebook, relationships are nurtured. New people are met. And, all that “networking” and getting to know you, can (and most likely does) lead to new opportunities. After all, you can get to know someone a lot better on Facebook than you can on LinkedIn, right?

However, it’s a much more closed network. A lot of people still want their personal and their professional worlds separate (read: Facebook vs. LinkedIn). They don’t want to mix those two.

But, for those using Facebook as a networking tool, I could certainly see those personal relationships driving new opportunities. It’s probably not a direct line of sight, but it starts and ends with the relationships you’ve developed and nurtured on Facebook.

On the other hand, you have LinkedIn, which has become a recruiter’s rolodex. And, let’s face it, that’s really what it is at this point. Most people only use LinkedIn when they have to–when they’re looking for a job, need to update their profile, and connect with a few new people. They’re not on LinkedIn every day. They’re not connecting with new people each day there. They’re not sharing details of their lives.

They’re merely using it as a job-finding tool. Period.

I don’t use it that way. You may not use it that way. But, I would venture to guess most of the people in the working world DO use it that way.

Add to that the fact that LinkedIn is littered with garbage. Recruiters. Real estate agents. Tons of garbage content (thanks now, to LinkedIn publishing).

People complain about the Facebook algorithm, but if you spend any amount of time on LinkedIn, you know that experience isn’t exactly perfect either.

So, Scoble’s notion that more people are using Facebook to find jobs and opportunities starts to make sense.

But, here’s the thing: It’s not an either/or scenario. It’s BOTH.

For example. I use Facebook the way most people use it. I post pics of my kids, my life and the beers I’m drinking. I DM with friends and family. But, I also use it to keep in touch with professional friends and people I know here in town. I’m friends with a lot of people I know–but don’t know all that well. From a “new opportunities” perspective, you could say I use Facebook to bring these people closer to me. To allow them to get to know me a bit better. And, it’s a way for me to get to know THEM a bit better, too.

I use LinkedIn, on the other hand, to build my official professional network and resume. And, I use it to keep tabs on people and their new jobs and promotions. I send DMs regularly to new connections and friends, congratulating them on new jobs. I use it to re-publish my blog content, so there’s a thought leadership angle, too. But, it rarely leads to new business. In fact, neither Facebook or LinkedIn lead to much new business.

But, they’re both very, very powerful in the way they allow me to nurture relationships with friends, colleagues and clients.

And those people are all referral sources.

And that’s how you get jobs, folks.

So, the answer to the question in the headline is simple.

It’s not Facebook VERSUS LinkedIn.

It’s Facebook AND LinkedIn.

Why more brands are using Facebook CTA buttons (but more still should)

In case you missed it, Facebook rolled out “call to action” buttons last February.

It was hardly a revolutionary move. Advertisers wanted to bolster results. They needed clearer calls to action. More advertisers were joining the fray. It was time for something like this.

Since then, we’ve seen more and more companies using these buttons. And the results (of which we know) have been pretty decent.

In fact, according to AdRoll, brands are seeing a lift of 2.85X their normal lift when using these CTA buttons. Not bad, right?

What’s also interesting, according to AdRoll, is that the “Learn More” button is the top performer, but “Shop Now” is the most “popular.” Hmmm… Probably a result of apparel, consumer electronics and home goods companies being the most popular industries for CTA buttons.

“Shop Now” makes sense for apparel companies like Banana Republic:

FB CTA Button 2

And, “Sign Up” makes sense for the legion of subscription based services on the web (and in real-life) like Uber.

FB CTA Button 3

The “Download” button makes sense for tech and online companies encouraging folks to download e-books, white papers and other lead generation-type products.

FB CTA Button 4

“Book Now” is probably the button of choice for any company that deals in reservations (Zipcar, in this case):

FB CTA Button 5


But, isn’t it odd that the “Learn More” button, the one you thought would be the MOST popular, is the LEAST popular, according to the recent research (just 10 percent vs. 74 percent for the “Shop Now” button).

What’s more, the “Learn More” button is the TOP performer in terms of clicks, according to the research!

That’s odd, right?

Doesn’t it seem like the “Learn More” button would be far-and-away the most popular? There are so many uses. Here are just a couple from Toyota and Allina Health.

FB CTA Button 6

FB CTA Button 1

Part of what’s at play here is certainly the fact that the only way to add these buttons to your ads or organic posts (yep, you can use them on organic posts, too) is to create them in Power Editor (just follow the steps in this Jon Loomer post). I’m quite sure most people don’t work within Power Editor when creating posts/ads (would love to see the stats on that, by the way)–in fact, it probably scares off most folks.

But, I’m sure the CTA buttons will be added to the native Facebook advertising options soon. And, after that, I’m sure adoption rates will go up.

But, until then, this will probably be a feature reserved for only advanced Facebook users. Which is too bad, because clearly these CTA buttons are doing some heavy lifting. After all, what brand couldn’t use a little click-thru help when coordinating a Facebook ad campaign?

Might be time to learn Power Editor after all…



Twin Cities PR This Week – Jan. 16

Happy New Year! It’s been almost a month since my last “Twin Cities PR This Week” update. A lot has happened already this year! New jobs. Promotions. New board members. It’s been a busy first few weeks of January.

So, let’s get right to it.

Fenced In, Part 3


Ryan Mathre, who was recently over at Starkey Hearing Technologies (former client) accepted a role over at Medtronic as a senior PR specialist as part of the PR team.

Heather Rist, former senior manager-communications at Cambia/Sun Country, recently accepted a job as director of social media and content at Deluxe.

Jennifer Bagdade, previously over at Traveler’s, is now the Change and Communications Project Lead at Cargill.



Jill Renslow was recently promoted to senior vice president of business development and marketing at the Mall of America (former client). Congrats, Jill!

Jen Joly was recently promoted to vice president of marketing, brand and creative design and BlueSpire Strategic Marketing.



Weber Shandwick (Minneapolis) is seeking a bunch of roles, including:

Vice President, Account Leader: http://ch.tbe.taleo.net/CH15/ats/careers/requisition.jsp;jsessionid=CD499BAFF941E40C6C0E7DA8FCC6F1F2.NA10_primary_jvm?org=CMGRP&cws=37&rid=3642

Senior Manager, Content Strategy: http://ch.tbe.taleo.net/CH15/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=CMGRP&cws=37&rid=3668

Account Supervisor, Financial Services: http://ch.tbe.taleo.net/CH15/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=CMGRP&cws=37&rid=3317

Intern: http://ch.tbe.taleo.net/CH15/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=CMGRP&cws=37&rid=3665

Preston Kelly is seeking a social media strategist: http://prestonkelly.com/about-preston-kelly/news/social-media-strategist/

Mall of America is seeking a social media community specialist. Is this you? http://www.mallofamerica.com/about/employment-portal



Jeron Udean celebrates 12 years at Strother Communications Group in January. Wow!

Excited to welcome friend LeeAnn Fahl to the MIMA board of directors. LeeAnn will officially join the board at the Feb. board meeting. Congrats LeeAnn!



Author and Brain Traffic founder, Kristina Halvorson is talking content strategy at the MIMA monthly event next Wed. Register here.

MN PRSA is hosting its annual “Trivia Meet & Mingle” event at Bellmont Partners PR next Tues. Register here.

Listen to Dave Erickson, Jeff Achen, Erica Hanna, Chuck Olsen, Farrington Starnes, and Lindsi Gish talk video and social media at next week’s Social Media Breakfast. Register here.