Who has the keys to your Brand?


There was a lively discussion on Spin Sucks about how a dying company in the UK (CD Music chain…like they still exist!) closed some stores and laid off workers. One of their employees a 21 year old Poppy Powers (of Iron Man fame) decided she had nothing to lose and used the company account @HMVTweets to publicly diss the company who employed her.

The main point of the post was to show Brands how to help prevent rogue employees hijack their Social Media Accounts because even though HMV caught and deleted the tweets, many people had always taken screen shots and it went viral (calling Sweden anyone?)

I wound up tweeting that a big brand is crazy to give a senior social media role to someone so young. And one of Poppy’s friends attacked me on Twitter calling me old and stupid (this proving why a 21 year old shouldn’t have the keys to your brand).

Usually when something for a Brand goes viral it is because they did something dumb (Chrysler), wrong (BP Oil Spill), or stupid (Kenneth Cole).

I replied to my detractor a kid is not qualified to:

1] Handle or plan for crisis management – they haven’t experienced crises or been around enough to see the other train wrecks to learn from.

2] Community Management – Would a 21 year old know that having porn link sam on your Brand’s Facebook Page is not good? What about if a post goes viral with people fighting and cursing? Etc.

3) Strategy – what to post, why post it, who to follow, who to connect with, what are the Brand goals for social etc. How to pursue Blogger and Media outreach.

4) Opportunity Discovery – I have 14 years direct sales experience. I know what an opportunity for my client presents itself. I might see the perfect Twitter Chat announced by a key client. Or see a Media person of importance was going to come visit (or maybe I will generate that by connecting). Or maybe I will see a target company pissed at my client’s competitor in my Twitter feed? Would a 21 year old notice and react to a major quality assurance issue showing up out of the blue, would they respond properly? would they forward this to the right Managers immediately?

Mr. Ted Rubin feels it is ok to have an intern start up social for you. He is right in a  general sense if you are a small business and there is nothing comlex about it. I see plenty of Brands with nice Twitter and Facebook followings who did nothing to garner this. It means customers like you and are passionate about you and most likely easy to start working those communities.

But what if you are a national or world brand? What if you are a B2B company? What if you are a boring Brand in a boring Industry? How would a 21 year old know what steps to take on what platforms?

By all means have young workers assist and learn under the guidance of a seasoned professional. But that $30 an hour you save hiring a cheap newbie out of college could cost you your Brand Image or your Business.


About chiefalien

Howie Goldfarb with 20 years of Sales and Marketing experience founded Blue Star Strategic Marketing in central Vermont to serve as the objective and strategic adviser of brands to help them grow and thrive. His Degree in Finance and 14 years of B2B sales to Fortune 500 companies gives him a CFO’s view of marketing. Thus bringing a dose of reality to the confusing world of jargon, spin, and hype. Also playfully known as the Chief Alien of Blue Star Strategic, Howie relishes his role as an industry outsider. A native New Yorker and former Angelino, he currently lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is still seeking his first moose sighting. His passions are living life, art, music, the outdoors, he tries to cook and loves the Vermont Fresh Network – local sustainability initiatives like farm to table and buying local.
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4 Responses to Who has the keys to your Brand?

  1. You nailed it. I was also told today by same gal that “all my opinions are only my opinions because I work for Spin Sucks” – sigh. That statement right there is the problem. God knows I have my own opinions, much to Gini’s chagrin at times. 😉 I’m not ageist, not in the least – and trust me, I’ve experienced it from the other side: “You’re old therefor must not be hip/cool/on trend/insert whatever else”, while on the job and on the job hunt. But with age comes experience. That, my young friends, is simply a fact. And a lot of that life-experience totally sucks! LOL But what it does that doesn’t suck is give you situational context and prior examples to draw from when the crap hits the proverbial fan.

    • chiefalien says:

      My wife is about to turn 25 how old can I really be? 8)

      I just feel if you want to get ahead you have to learn from those you can learn from. There are plenty of idiots in senior positions who deserve to be questioned. But someone who says old people don’t get social media they forget it was old people who gave the funding and much of the management to bring social media into existence.

  2. chiefalien says:

    I agree Gini. It is how they learn. I have had 10 interns work Twitter for me for a client. Only 3 ‘Got it’ no matter how much I coached. Just because someone uses Social Media for themselves doesn’t mean they know how to for a Brand. The other 7 were ok but they didn’t impact the brand like the other three.

  3. I think having a young professional help with social is fine. But there have to be stop gaps in there for approvals, coaching, and mentoring. Part of the book I’m writing right now dissects some of these crises and I dig even further into what happens to sales or stock prices when this stuff happens. It’s not good. Why would you leave that to an inexperienced professional to fend for themselves?

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