RonAmok!

The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.

While sitting in the audience at a SoCal Action Sports Network event last month, one of the panelists, Tim Young, CEO of Socialcast, said something that caught my attention.

“The way we communicate is different than upper management.”

The “we” in his statement referred to the Millennials. “Upper management” was code for Baby Boomers.

Tim described how millennials are entering the workforce with a new set of communications skills that the Baby Boomers just don’t understand. At first, I took the statement personally. I mean, this boomer doesn’t need some new-hire to teach me how to communicate! Right?

Just as I was about to write him off, though, Tim offered another insight.

“Millennials can help Gen-Xers and Boomers communicate, and Gen-Xers and Boomers can help ‘onboard’ Millennials.

“Onboard?” I thought. “What does that mean?”

And then it hit me. Tim was describing the experience-gap between the groups. Although millennials are natural collaborators who can teach the “me” generation something about communication, they are still green when it comes to the ways of business. In order for businesses to succeed in the future, Tim simply pointed out that these groups will need to learn from one another.

This experience-gap reared its ugly head during last week’s Dominos Pizza fiasco, when two millennial employees collaborated swimmingly to create a sickening video. Unfortunately, their youthful inexperience blinded them from the fact that the food preparation business is all about trust, which the young communicators napalmed in the amount of time it took to upload their video to YouTube.

Dominos responded by releasing its own video response, a two minute video of Dominos’ President, Patrick Doyle, describing the seriousness by which the company was taking the situation. Although the corporate video contained all the right words, it fell flat because some public relations genius puppet-stringed Mr. Doyle’s performance, having him look off-camera to read a prepared speech.

ATTENTION PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONALS OF THE WORLD. Executives responding to a crisis don’t need no stinkin’ teleprompters. Nobody cares whether it comes off as polished or not. All we care about is that the message is authentic and real.

Ironically, the millennial employees actually produced a “better” video than upper management. Think about it. Rather than reading from a script, they looked directly into the camera and clearly communicated their stomach-turning message.

Tim Young was correct. Millennials and Boomers do have a lot to learn from one another.

Photo Credit: Photo Mojo

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Filed under: Social Media

Comments

You’re absolutely right that millennials and baby boomers have a lot to learn from each other. Millennials understand the speed and reach of social media while experience has taught boomers the right messages and tone to set when addressing a crisis. When a crisis erupts online, we counsel clients that their response time is measured in minutes, not hours. Your crisis team needs to meet, develop initial – and authentic – response messages, and communicate to stakeholders before the online masses are able to set the tone. The unprecedented speed with which information now travels – in Domino’s case hundreds of thousands of potential customers viewed a devastatingly brand-damaging video before the company was able to respond – means that your communications team must be prepared to respond in real time. Read more at Bulletproof Blog: http://www.bulletproofblog.com/2009/04/17/tylonel-enron-dominos-the-cheese-moves-again/

Dallas Lawrence
April 21, 2009

You’re absolutely right that millennials and baby boomers have a lot to learn from each other. Millennials understand the speed and reach of social media while experience has taught boomers the right messages and tone to set when addressing a crisis. When a crisis erupts online, we counsel clients that their response time is measured in minutes, not hours. Your crisis team needs to meet, develop initial – and authentic – response messages, and communicate to stakeholders before the online masses are able to set the tone. The unprecedented speed with which information now travels – in Domino’s case hundreds of thousands of potential customers viewed a devastatingly brand-damaging video before the company was able to respond – means that your communications team must be prepared to respond in real time. Read more at Bulletproof Blog: http://www.bulletproofblog.com/2009/04/17/tylonel-enron-dominos-the-cheese-moves-again/

Dallas Lawrence
April 21, 2009

I’m in the minority I know, but I didn’t think the Dominos response video was so bad. Could it have been better, sure. But I have to tell you, at first viewing, I bought it. Maybe I’m gullible. Upon second viewing, I could see what you and others are talking about. But I am so used to companies not responding at all or doing so in a completely half hearted way and with such horrible marketing spin, I was impressed to see anything at all that smacked of the right direction. Compare it with that way Amazon.com responded to the “gay” book debacle. Now how bad does Dominos look?

David Jacobs
April 22, 2009

I’m in the minority I know, but I didn’t think the Dominos response video was so bad. Could it have been better, sure. But I have to tell you, at first viewing, I bought it. Maybe I’m gullible. Upon second viewing, I could see what you and others are talking about. But I am so used to companies not responding at all or doing so in a completely half hearted way and with such horrible marketing spin, I was impressed to see anything at all that smacked of the right direction. Compare it with that way Amazon.com responded to the “gay” book debacle. Now how bad does Dominos look?

David Jacobs
April 22, 2009

Great article. I read it because I said to myself, “What the heck is ‘onboarding?'” – same as you. Everyone has something to offer – and it’s the mix that matters. I’m not eating any pizza anymore, though!

Michael Benidt
April 28, 2009

Great article. I read it because I said to myself, “What the heck is ‘onboarding?'” – same as you. Everyone has something to offer – and it’s the mix that matters. I’m not eating any pizza anymore, though!

Michael Benidt
April 28, 2009

So right. The kids knew instinctively how to make an engaging video. The Corporate Communications Department knew instinctively how to wring all the candor and authenticity out of a video.

Murphy
May 7, 2009

So right. The kids knew instinctively how to make an engaging video. The Corporate Communications Department knew instinctively how to wring all the candor and authenticity out of a video.

Murphy
May 7, 2009

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