SMBH 116 – With Lee Caraher

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Medieval And Millennial, Lee’s Life Of Contrast

Lee McEnany Caraher, is a recognized communications strategist, who has more than 20 years’ experience in marketing and communications in consumer, technology and interactive business.

Before founding her company Double Forte, Lee founded and served as president of Red Whistle Communications, an Interpublic-owned integrated marketing communications firm. During her time at Interpublic companies, she also served as executive vice president of The Weber Group and Weber Shandwick, and managed multiple offices in the US and the UK.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in history (with a concentration in Medieval History, which she finds useful every day) from Carleton College. And from Medieval History, now focused on talking about the Millennial generation, how to market and work with them and how social media is so important in both marketing and working with this huge generation.

Lee’s Double Forte

Her minor in college was music which means very loud and Lee as an owner of a public relations firm, her job is to get her clients very loud to the public and towards the people that truly matters to them, like a double entendre.

Double Forte live to its promise. Lee’s company has demonstrated success in a wide range of categories including: Consumer Lifestyle, Interactive Entertainment and Consumer Technology, B2B ad Business Productivity which resulted to increased sales, driven dramatic Web site traffic, attractive acquisitions, etc.

These Strange Creatures Called Millennials

Lee started Double forte in 2002 in Silicon Valley where the competition is already high during that time where a lot of startups are flocking in San Francisco. She started with around 20 people who belong mostly to the generation X. However, when the .com boomed, people who are now flocking in San Francisco are young people who really are not qualified to do much in getting huge jobs and huge salaries. It is also some sort of a pain to keep them as part of the staff.

The Four Different Types Of Generations At Work

Do you wonder what generation you belong? Lee shared a very interesting fact about this moment in time in our history that there are already four different types of generation working side by side together.

1. The Generation Y (The Millennials) – They belong to the age bracket of between 15 to 35 years old and they have a gap of around 20 years from the gen-Xers.
2. The Generation X (gen-Xers) – This generation X belongs to the age bracket of between 36 years old to 50 years old.
3. The Boomers Generation – They are in between 51-68 years old.
4. The Silent Generation – The last standing generation, anyone over 68 years old. They are considered as the greatest generation of all. Nowadays, there are still a lot of people over 68 years working in the office.

History tells a lot about the individual condition of every generation written. Lee further explained that for instance gen Xers, they are the “screwed” generation. They’ve been through a lot. These people have been through 9/11, they’ve been through the .com boom, and they’ve been busted. They’ve been also through 2008, where boomers couldn’t get out of work because they too had lost so many, like their retirement, and they can’t leave the workforce, even they already wanted to retire. And now, because the boomers can’t leave the workforce, they then suppressed the opportunity. Now here comes the millennials, who are also driving the gen-Xers out of the workforce primarily because they belong to the much smaller generation.

Gen-Xer are about 46 million, boomers, around 78 million and millennials around 80 million. So imagined the Gen-Xer’s being squeezed between the millennials and the boomers and still expected to withstand the economy. So this generational war is really tough for them..

Myths About The Millennial Generation

Lee talked about the six myths that most people have thought about the millennial generation, which can also be applied to communications, marketing, and social media. Most people say that millennials are;

– Entitled
– Disrespectful
– Out of order
– Prone To Being Showing-Off
– They Expect Flexibility
– They Are Job Hoppers

She started hiring “millennials” way back in 2010, on which during that time, she was still not aware that there is a generation called the “millennials”, and most of them she hired, failed miserably. This situation hits her so hard that she started to figure out why. Why most of them or all of them are failing and she never had this issue towards recruitment. Lee, as she tries to figure things out, found herself the answer. She is facing a new generation called the “Millennials” and amazed that all she can find about this generation are basically negative.

The Millennial Generation Of Negativity

Is it just a myth or can it be true? As Lee tried to understand her newly encountered generation, who are again, are entitled, who always demand what they what they want…and pout when they don’t get it. She thought this can’t possibly be true. A whole generation cannot be THAT negative. As Lee tried to dig deeper, she then realized that even though the millennials are defined mostly on the negative side, a business without millennials, is a business without future. Realizing this fact lead her to face the future. Remaining negative about this generation is not good for her company or her options. Lee discovered that she needed to change her company and be positive despite the negativity, because they are the future of her company.

Are The Myths About Millennials True?

Lee confirms that they are not just myths…but are actually facts. Why? This generation grew up differently. They’ve experienced all the benefits of technology and automation, making them who they are.

She also realized that her job is to get them to understand the rat race and to make her workplace the best environment not just for millennials but for all generations, which in return makes her employees the ambassadors of the company.

The Millennial Marketing Death

The millennial generation is again, one very interesting generation. They always want to be engaged, yet they are very transparent. This generation can either make or break your company. On this note, Lee provided a good example as to how this transparent generation is. In fact, during this great interview, Lee mentioned an example (edited for this article), “If you say you’re a good company and for instance, you’re an apparel company…You might say to your market: I’m a good company, I’ve got great style and it’s good value…and then you peel the onion and people find out that there are incarcerated slaves in other countries under the age of 18 are actually making those clothes; well, expect a lot of people — a lot of this Millennial generation to flee from your business because you’re faking it. You’re faking it. It’s not that great. The only reason your clothes are cheap is because you have enslaved people in another country….”

Being transparent with your company and your products is essential with Millennials. If you’re not totally transparent, then it is most likely, marketing death for your business.

The Advantage Of Being Imperfect

Lee’s Double Forte engagement strategy works well even with millennials. You might ask, what is her strategy? Basically, it’s being “Imperfect”.

She said, the advantage of being imperfect and being confident about who you are is something no one can’t underestimate. Who doesn’t want a company who is transparent and can deliver what they’ve promised. For Lee, millennials are the generation who are really pushing transparency and delivery, which in turn is not just a benefit for their generation, but all generations.

Click Here to Read the Full Transcript +

Lee: Hi. This is Lee Caraher and I’m so excited to be here on the social media business hour. Today I’m going to be talking about millennials, how to market to them, how to work with them and how social media is so important in both marketing and working with this huge audience.

Woman: In business and know the way forward most include social media. Perhaps you find it a bit confusing. Even frustrating. Well, you have no idea how to make it work for your business. Fear not. We interview some of the best social media experts in business who will share their experiences, ideas and knowledge. Plus offer tips and tricks to make using social media a breeze. Leverage the power of social media and grow your business now. Welcome to social media business hour with your host Nile Nickel.

Jordan: Hello and thank you again for joining us. This is Nile’s trusty sidekick and co-host Jordan and I’d like to take a moment to share with you how you can benefit from Nile’s incredible experience using social media for real business success. If you’re an entrepreneur or thinking about starting your own business then using social media might be the most cost effective and time effective way to get your business real results. That’s not to mention much of what you can do to get those terrific results on social media is even free. Take Linked In for example. Nile always says it’s the best social media platform for business today. And that’s why I recommend you go to linkedinfocus.com and start your social media education today. Sign up for Nile’s free tips, tricks and strategies. Once again, it’s free and it only takes a few seconds. Go to linkedinfocus.com today. You’ll be glad you did.

Nile: Hey. Welcome back to the social media business hour. This is Nile Nickel with my sidekick Jordan.

Jordan: Hello.

Nile: And once again you have to listen to my voice being a little bit deeper, sort of a Barry White I guess impression than what I’d normally do because I’m still recovering from the plague and the death.

Jordan: Now you’re bringing the sex appeal to the show. Lord knows I can't.

Nile: Hey, we’re spinning the hits dust to dawn and so -- that’s -- I used to do some of that. We’ve already got Lee cracking up and we haven’t even gotten into the show yet. We’re doing well folks. You’re going to enjoy it today because we’re going to talk about all of these different generational groups. We’ve got the silent generation, the great generation, the gen X, gen Y, gen Z, gen ABC. We’ve got gens all over the place.

Lee: And boomers. Don’t forget boomers.

Jordan: Oh, yes. And boomers.

Nile: How could I forget a boomer? I’m a boomer. I boom everywhere I go and people complain about it all the time so -- of course that’s a different type of booming but we’ll leave that alone right now. Anyway Lee, great introduction that you did to tease the show and to get us into the segment here but Lee is a CEO and an acclaimed communication strategist knowing for her practical solutions, the big problems. Now I have to ask you a question Lee, right.

Lee: Sure.

Nile: I mean, before we even get into it. You started Double forte which is a public relations and marketing services group. Double forte is sort of a musical term.

Lee: Yes.

Nile: So where did that come from?

Lee: So my minor in college was music and double forte in music means very loud and as a public relations firm our job is to get our clients very loud to the people that matter to them so sort of a double entendre. When I started my company I had myself and my partner so there’s two of us and we’re really good at what we do so we’re sort of like all these multiple meanings of the same thing.

Nile: I like it. Well, I’m a trumpet player and if you know anything about trumpet player’s double forte is sort of mezzo piano which is release soft.

Lee: Oh, you are? Wonderful.

Nile: But trumpet players don’t know how to do that so they play double forte and louder.

Lee: Exactly.

Nile: Sort of like drummers.

Lee: Oh, my goodness. Well, right. Well, my son is a pipe organist of all things and what he really likes about the pipe organ is that very loud to sort of regular and then you really dial it up.

Nile: Well, you know one thing? I thought about becoming a pipe organist because --

Lee: Did you really?

Nile: Well, you never had to carry your instrument around.

Lee: Only have to carry your shoes.

Nile: So only music people will get that joke but that’s okay. Anyway, she started Double forte in 2002 to work with good people doing great work for good companies and she’s in the -- or she started out in the Bay Area. She’s spread around the country right now but she was in the hot Silicon Valley arena where there were lots of startups at the time. For that matter there still are. And it’s sort of a fun area in the country to do business and it’s sort of a younger area in the country to do business and hence your book Millenials and management, the essential guide to making it work at work where you’re really talking about how to work with this new strange creature called a millennial. And I’m glad -- hey, I am entertaining. I like this.

Jordan: More strange than new I think but that’s just me.

Nile: Now, I’m really curious. She’s become an expert in working with millenials and how to manage them and obviously market to them as well. We’re going to talk about that today. But you graduated college with a degree in medieval history.

Lee: Absolutely.

Nile: Medieval history and millenials. I’m -- now I’m really confused.

Lee: Right? I know. Well, I went to Carlton College in Minnesota which is a wonderful institution, liberal arts education and I went in as a premed and my first forum as a freshman I had Chaucer’s England which I just signed up as a lark. We all had to take a forum. And I just loved it so I took sort of medieval -- in the history department lots of medieval history and I had to break it to my father when I was a sophomore that I was not going to declare biology or chemistry and pursue medicine. He was -- he’s a retired surgeon. Like I was not going to follow in his footsteps but I was going to declare history and I was shaking in my boots when I phoned home that day and it’s oh, dad. I’m not going to be in premed, I’m going to declare history. And my father could not have been happier. He was so excited that I was not going to have his lifestyle which was pretty --

Nile: Pretty hectic.

Lee: Pretty stringent and quite a lot of hours. Of course, then in the end I went into PR which hello, all it is is hectic and on someone else’s time zone but whatever. And I decided that the -- I think the value of -- I still think this. The value of an education is finding something you really are -- really love and then getting the education around it, around how to sink, around how to articulate yourself, around how to defend your opinion, around how to write. And it has less to do -- and I still think this even though I’m not very -- it’s not a very popular view today that the more important thing about education is actually what you get of it and not what you major in. so I’ve learned everything I need to know about the art of public relations which is how to define your point of view, write down your point of view and defend your point of view through my history degree.

Nile: Okay. And that makes sense. I could buy into that. Now, already I can see your life is a life of contrast. I could already see this.

Lee: Okay.

Nile: Because I’m reading --

Lee: It’s important to me.

Nile: I’m reading the introduction to your book.

Lee: Yes.

Nile: And listen. First page, introduction. We were determined to have a better day every day than we’d had in our previous jobs. To mandates. One, our company would be independent and small. And two, we’d have no 20 somethings to babysits. I’d had it with the younger generation in my previous job where I’d had hundreds of them in my group. Now, what is the title of this book? Millenials and management. I have a feeling that somewhere along the way things changed dramatically.

Lee: Dramatically. Well, of course I started my company in 2002 so 20 somethings were actually gen Xers. They weren’t gen Y or millenials. So I’ll -- and the -- so gen Xers are very different situation and San Francisco in two -- in ’99, ’98 -- ’98, ’99. 2000, 2001, you could not -- it was if you had a pulse you were getting a job and during the .com boom right and people were flocking to San Francisco, young people who really weren’t qualified to do much getting huge jobs with huge salaries and it was just a pain to keep them on your staff. And I remember I worked for a very large company and I had several hundred people in my group but I remember I was just so scared of them leaving me because I couldn’t -- if I couldn’t keep them on staff then I couldn’t bill them, if I couldn’t bill them I couldn’t get my target, if I couldn’t get my target I wasn’t -- all these things. And it was a publically traded company I was working in so there are all these metrics that are really, really important and then one day I -- this kid came in and he’s like I’ve been recruited to this other place. And I was like okay. Have an -- good bye. I was just sort of tired of the whole _____17:48 and he said aren’t you going to counter me? I said no. you’ve decided to go. He goes you mean you’re not going to counter me? I’m like no. why would I counter? You’ve decided you’re leaving. Well, I thought you’d counter me. And it’s like -- and then I -- it clicked in my brain right then. It’s like I’m not going to be scared of people leaving anymore. My job is to get them to understand the rat race so that -- and to make it the best place to be as possible. So as soon as I wasn’t scared of anyone leaving, no one left so it was -- it worked, right. But then everything sort of imploded in San Francisco -- particularly San Francisco in -- from 2000 to 2001 and when I left that firm I was just like okay. I just don’t want to babysit anymore. So much babysitting. I was flying around the country babysitting. And I’m not sure if it was a 20 something thing but I definitely had pegged it as that but I’m not sure it was -- actually was that. It was more like just the -- where -- how you were living in San Francisco at that time. Then when I started this firm I took some time off. That’s a very long story I will not bore you with but I took some time off and my partner and I at the time -- he has since left the firm to be -- do much larger PR and stuff. We were like you know what? We just want to work. We want to do the work. We don’t want to like be flying around the country and we’d like to -- we actually like doing the job as opposed to being elevated out of the job. So what if we had an agency where we were doing the work and people paid us for the stuff that we used to promise but could never deliver at the big firm which was senior retention and people who knew what they were doing. And therefore we wouldn’t hire 20 somethings because it just -- we’d had this bad taste in our mouth and that worked really well.

Jordan: I have a quick question for you Lee.

Lee: Yeah.

Jordan: So why were the 20 somethings being hired? Just out of curiosity? Just for a little bit of clarity.

Lee: Oh, there was so much work. There was so much venture money going into the system in ’98, ’99, 2000. So much venture money going into it. There was -- I mean, categories. Entire categories would pop up over a weekend where you’d have three or four competitors just over night would get millions of dollars and on the road -- on the run to the IPO in -- if you remember ’99 -- ’98, ’99, 2000. So many people -- so much money was going into it that you -- the only way to get there was to hire people to get the work done to create the value to sell it or to go to IPO. So it was just this -- they call it a boom and a bust for a reason because it sort of was manufactured out of this extra capacity of dollars that was in the venture capital system that in the middle of 2000 just -- they put -- someone put a pin in the balloon and just -- right. And then that took about nine months to sort of dissipate. It took about nine months to let all that air out of the system but then 2001 was just -- it was just a disaster and then when 9/11 happened it was all over. We knew it was just -- all the money just dried up right there. So there was this moment of time three or four years where everything was getting funded. If you had a pulse you were getting a job because you had -- there was work to do. There was just stuff to do. That’s why.

Nile: That nice Silicon Valley or .com bust -- I was in telecom at the time.

Lee: Oh, my goodness.

Nile: And lost probably my third major retirement of stock options that became worthless.

Lee: Right.

Nile: So I understand that.

Lee: Yeah.

Nile: Hey, before we get too far in -- we’re going to be talking about some different generational definitions and whether I give it or you give it -- just so our listeners know.

Lee: Sure. So millennial -- so there’s right now -- what’s really interesting about this moment in time in our history is that there’s four different generations at work together and that’s the first time that’s ever happened that we’ve had four defined generations working side by side together. So the generations that are at work -- I’ll start from the bottom. The millenials who this year are between 15 and 35 years old -- so it’s a 20 years span as defined by peer research which uses US census. Then gen X which this year are 36 years old to 50 years old so really 15 years. It’s a smaller time span. And then boomers which is -- who are 51 to 68. I’m a boomer. I’m the last year of boomer. 51 to 68. And then silence, anyone over 68 years old and pretty much -- there are some greatest generations but those people are about a 100 now. So those people at general aren’t working. So those are the four generations that are in the office today depending on where you are in the workforce today. Those four generations. And in general most office -- although the silence -- people over 68, there are lots and lots of them still working. But you really see the regular -- the standard office would have at least the three generations. Millenials, gen Xers and boomers. And while -- really all of generation tells you is when you were born, right. It’s like well, you’re born between here and here. but then also if you line it up with American history it tells you a lot about sort of conditions so for instance gen Xers, they really have been -- excuse me when I -- they’ve been -- they’ve just been screwed. They’ve been through -- like you just said now that you’ve lost your third pension or whatever. These people have been through 9/11, they’ve been through the .com boom, they been -- bust. They’ve been through 2008, they’ve had boomers who couldn’t get out of work because they too had lost so many -- so much of their retirement so they didn’t leave the workforce. Because they didn’t leave the workforce they suppressed opportunity right at the same time as millenials are coming into the workforce in droves because Xers are a much smaller generation. They’re about 46 million of them. Boomers, around 78 million. Millenials around 80 million. So they’ve just been squished in the middle and then on top of it to have these economic -- just think about how a gen Xer who’s today 36 to 50 where they’ve -- what they’ve had to withstand in terms of the economy. They’ve been -- most gen Xers have been through two sometimes three downturns depending on where they lived in the country right in the beginning to the mid of their career which is just -- it’s really tough. Really, really tough.

Nile: Well, you talked about how we’ve got four generations in the workplace. My company is a smaller company. All told including our board members we have -- let me see. About 14 people. And we cover all four of those generations so it’s fascinating. I’ve never thought of that so --

Lee: Right. and if you think about -- I mean, if you think about communication with those four generations -- it’s really interesting about that too is that communication really -- people -- boomers and Xers -- the rotary phone didn’t get taken over by the pushbutton phone until 1982 as the number one phone in this country. And then the memo, the paper memo was the primary mode of communication until around 1990 truly. Pagers came in around in the late 70s but they were just one way. And then there was this boom of other technology that was sort of pager like so the fax machine, the wireless telephone, the -- your first Nokia phone and then the two way pager around 1982 so that -- I mean, there’s a -- the 60 years of a rotary phone and a memo. Then a burst of technology that changes communication in the early 80s. email sort of shows up, messenger shows up around 2000 in bulk and then if you think about the last 10 years, social media in general -- there’s just -- it’s just an explosion of options of communication that millenials have been able to take advantage of but it’s very, very compressed timeframe. I mean, if you think about 2007, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook all at the same time and then we add Asana and Slack and Snapchat and Instagram. I mean, it’s just a tremendous compression of time when the modes of communication have exploded. So if you layer just communication on top of these different generations you can see why it’s just so hard to even get the four generations to talk to each other.

Nile: No. absolutely. There’s a lot of differences there. Well, one of the things that I’m curious about is you talk about six myths that most people have about millenials. And I’m curious about those because it does apply as you talk about in your book to management but obviously it applies to communications and marketing as well and social media.

Lee: Absolutely.

Nile: So would you mind talking about those?

Lee: Sure. Well, I think for management the myths are -- the things that people talk about most are that millenials are entitled, millenials are disrespectful -- I’m going to get them out of order but millenials are -- they want a trophy for showing up, they want flexibility day one, they’re job hoppers, all this sort of negative stuff. And when I -- the reason I actually started looking at millenials at all, when I even figured out there was a term called millenials was because I -- in my company we started hiring them in 2010. We changed our business model so we would have -- be growing our own future and I hired six in -- within about two months of each other and all failed. And one person failed within three months. They had all failed within three months. I mean, they weren’t here for two years and failed. They were -- they failed within three months. And one person failing could’ve been their fault. Two people failing could’ve been probably their fault. Maybe a little wiggle but six people failing could not. It had to be us. And that’s when I sort of like was just flabbergasted. I’m like how did this happen? I was known for being -- people wanted to work for me, I had hundreds of people working for me, they all want to be in Lee’s group, it was exciting and I never had a 100 percent failure in recruiting. Ever. And to have it in my own company and it’s a small company. I only have 35 people. Just really hit hard and I started looking at the phenomena which is when I found out they were millenials. I didn’t know there was such a concept and everything I found was negative so those -- that I just talked about. There’s all these people are entitled, they always want to -- they want everything they want, they want flexibility, they want what they want, want, want, want, want and there is just nothing positive and I just sort of sat down. I’m like it can't be true. It just -- a whole generation cannot be negative. It just can't be true. And two, I sort of looked at sort of how age was going to go and how I was going to be in this company and how long I anticipated being here and a business without millenials is a business without future so if I’m negative about who’s going to be the future of this company I better change my company or roll up in a ball. Just I need to be positive about who’s going to be the future of the agency. So I decided to sort of look at all that stuff and in the end what I -- some of those myths are true but because of how millenials have been growing up and the condition in which and the benefits of technology they’ve had, I don’t believe that all those myths -- those negative things are valid actually.

Nile: No. That makes perfect sense. One of the things you do talk about though, you talk about the inverted traditional pyramid for employees.

Lee: Yes, yes.

Nile: And I really like that and again people are going to have to get the book to see this but I know that you could probably explain it in a snapshot because I think that that is so poignant to some of the differences.

Lee: Absolutely. I have some of these tools on my website leecaraher.com and if -- you can go to leecaraher.com/smbh and you -- I will put those things on there for people to download as well. But the inverted pyramid is that we used to think about on the bottom of the pyramid -- at the top of the pyramid is a company is so important. That’s the most important thing you can think about when you’re thinking about yourself and a company is what the company’s mission is and then you sort of -- you peter it down to my little role in making -- my little cog in the wheel role in the company’s huge vision. My suggestion to everybody is just to turn it upside down and so that the bottom of the pyramid is my role and the top of the pyramid is the company mission.

Nile: So the big base at the bottom is my role?

Lee: Bit base at the bottom is my role. So everybody has a really good sense of who they are in the company and what they bring and who’s dependant on them and -- so that they understand the dependencies of them showing up and bringing their game as opposed to just feeling like a cog in the wheel. Millenials in -- this works for everybody. This has nothing to do with generations but this really resonates first with millenials because they are used to having the power -- bit -- more power than the Apollo series of lunar capsules in their hand as adults, right.

Nile: Yeah.

Lee: They have the power of -- more power than it took us to the moon in their hands every day and they’re used to having a lot of say in how their day goes because of the power of one email away from every CEO in the world, one tweet away from changing how JetBlue deals with being on the tarmac, one tweet away from taking -- Egypt rising. I mean, all of these things, right. They’re used to having incredible amount of access to knowledge, one click away from any information they want and then if they go into a constricted environment where they’re a cog it just is antithetical to how they’ve grown up. so if you can flip the pyramid so that the biggest part of how you describe is -- your role and how that goes to the company so that you understand -- so everybody understands that they matter because no -- a lot of -- particularly new employees, people who are right out of college, three or four years out of college -- I’m just doing paper pushing. I’m not doing anything meaningful. Well, no one employs anybody who -- where the job doesn’t need to get done. That’s not how capitalism works, right. We only employ those people that we need. We don’t employ extra people. But it may not seem that way if you can't understand how my role matters to the rest of the team. So my first -- I always want people to invert the pyramid and make my role the biggest piece of how people understand their role in the company.

Nile: And you’re listening to the social media business hour and we’re talking to Lee Caraher who is the CEO of Double forte. Also the author of the book Millenials and management, the essential guide to making it work at work. we’ve sort of been talking about the differences in generations and how those generations really have some unique characteristics and I loved in that segment how you really talked about engaging with millenials a different way in the workplace which brings us to obviously there are dramatic differences there. In fact, one of the things that surprised me about millenials is the majority of them have never had email. They communicate in other formats whether it’s messenger, whether it’s text, whether it’s social media, whatever. So obviously working with them is one thing but you mentioned in the first segment how really the largest single portion of a generational group is the millenials right now. That means that there’s a huge marketing opportunity there so now --

Lee: Ginormous.

Nile: How do we start to make that transition to market to them in ways that are engaging to them?

Lee: So I think the first thing people -- I always start -- in my business, I didn’t -- my business is not writing this book, right. but my business became over time, became much more about this topic because if you do not have engaged employees who are and believe ambassadors of your company as millenials you don’t bother trying to engage anybody outside of your company because you need -- which has not always been true but is absolutely true today and from a millennial perspective people who go to work, they are the first line of defense of ambassadors. We used to think of ambassadors as outside the company always but today I think with the way the millenials in general work and their point of view on life that you need them in the company to be totally engaged and on board before you could even start marketing out of your company. So that’s first -- number one is even how I even got into this world. In terms of -- there’s a few things. One -- I’ll talk about it in a different -- couple of different ways. One is millenials are very interested in -- or more and more interested in the things that they purchase or the causes that they support and so brands who are transparent about what they do and bring them a real authentic voice and don’t try to hide anything are the ones that -- this generation are more attuned to so if you --

Nile: Can I interrupt just a second?

Lee: Sure.

Nile: Do you have an example of that? I mean, I could think of a couple but I bet you’ve got many.

Lee: Yeah. So if you think about a couple of examples. If you say you’re a good company and you’re an apparel company, I’m a good company, I’ve got great style, it’s good value and then you peel the onion and you find out that there are incarcerated people in other countries under the age of 18 actually making those clothes; well, expect a lot of people -- a lot of this generation to flee from you because you’re faking it, right. You’re faking it. It’s not that great. The only reason it is that cheap is because you’re -- you have enslaved people in another country doing things for you so that kind of thing.

Nile: You could be one social media post away from --

Lee: From death.

Nile: From death. Yeah.

Lee: From absolute marketing death. Absolutely. If you think about -- I mean, I could give you lots of examples like -- I mean, if you say you are a healthy -- this has been -- if you’re a healthy food. Well, really? How is that healthy? Are you organic, are you non organic? I mean, what are those things? If you say you’re healthy but then you -- you have a product in your -- an ingredient that you can't tell where -- people where it came from. Well, there’s a huge number of people who really care about where their food comes from, how did it grow, under what circumstance was it gotten out of the ground and if you don’t -- if you can't bring that transparency forward then you are not engaging where these people want to engage and it used to just be the wackoes but now it’s not the wackoes anymore. This is mainstream.

Nile: As you’re talking about that I’m thinking about one of the companies that when I was young virtually didn’t exist. I mean, it did but it was in its infancy stage and today it’s everywhere which is McDonalds and McDonalds has resisted so long moving towards the healthy trend and now you see that --

Lee: You see that they’re doing it but their numbers aren’t so great.

Nile: Yeah. Well, now you see a mass movement. In fact, they may even be -- I don’t know if it’ll happen this year but based on what they’re doing they may be leading the pack which just blows my mind quite honestly.

Lee: I just read a story and I’m sorry but I think it was in Fast Company. I think. About McDonalds -- so they’ve made much -- they’ve offered many more “healthy” options but those aren’t the things that are selling because they’re more expensive and millenials don’t have as much money. So in general, right. You’re 22 years old, you don’t have as much money as a 40 year old. In general. So they’re not selling -- the numbers are not pulling for them in their healthy options because even though they’ve done all these surveys and all these groups, focus groups and I want this and I want that it’s not pulling through as veraciously as they had anticipated based on their surveys and focus groups. So there is a dissonance between what the people say they want and what people go and get. I mean, if you want healthy food you’re probably not going to McDonalds. If you’re a healthy eater.

Nile: But where I’ve seen the change and I read the studies too which is fascinating is when the millenials have kids and what they’re doing for those kids.

Lee: Absolutely.   

Nile: They’re seeing in the kids meals that now they want GMO free. They want gluten free options. And there’s all sorts of things so they’re seeing that younger menu which is sort of that long tale of a customer -- they’re trying to get that engagement and they’re doing that through the moms and the dads.

Lee: I totally agree. Well, and if you think -- so today a millennial is -- oldest millenial’s 35. We’re in -- 35 -- 25 to 35 prime time to become parents, right. And I think that the biggest impact may not be on their own behavior but on their children’s behavior in terms of all those things, right. And maybe you go to McDonalds and you get your own Big Mac but you get your kids a healthier option and you give them a fry off your plate but not -- you don’t give them their own fries, right. So I think that there’s -- we’re just in a transition period on that.

Nile: Yeah, yeah. But those are trends that we’ve got to be sensitive to.

Lee: Absolutely. But I think the transparency thing -- if you look at Chipotle or -- owned by the same company. Chipotle, incredible company if you think about how they have been -- if you just looked at the social media footprint for Chipotle versus McDonalds, right. Really a stark difference in how they’ve engaged. Legacy brand versus newer brand obviously but their dedication to fresh ingredients, dedication to non GMO, moving towards organic. All of these things, right. And not knowing -- they’ve been very forthright. We can't do everything perfect yet but we’re going to keep trying. This is -- that’s the authentic message people want to hear, this group wants to hear. I know I’m not perfect. It used to be brands had this -- brands decided they had to be perfect, right. They were shiny objects that were behind glass door and you really couldn’t get behind them. Today everyone knows that that’s a sham, right. There’s been too many examples of companies who have put on a great front and then behind it was gross things happening behind. And now today’s companies -- if you think just the difference between Chipotle and McDonalds which is the same company, Chipotle’s saying we aren’t there yet but we’re going to keep trying and just that authentic message of we can't do everything we want to do but we’re going to keep moving forward on it. At least that sets up the expectation for imperfection which millenials will accept. They definitely accept that because of the broken promises of other brands have made as they were growing up.

Nile: Yeah. I don’t know if it’s just accept. I think they embrace it. It goes beyond acceptance.

Lee: I agree.

Nile: In fact, I’m looking at your website, your doubleforte.com website.

Lee: Yeah.

Nile: And there’s some subtle things on there that I think in a way illustrate exactly what we’re talking about. You use something that marketing people like to refer to as copy cosmetics. That type thing. On your website.

Lee: I have to look at my website. I have to go there and see what the heck’s going on. What you’re looking at.

Nile: Well, if I look at Double forte it looks like that there’s a red marker that’s sort of underlying.

Lee: Yes.

Nile: And then when you’re talking about the message that’s there you’ve got an arrow connecting two parts of the message and at the bottom you’ve got an arrow sort of moving forward.

Lee: Yeah.

Nile: Well, in the “olden” days, the boomer days -- well, for a corporate website -- why would you put markup on the page? I mean, that’s just crazy. You edit the page, make it look like what you want it to look like. If you want to put emphasis on Double forte then make it bolder or do something like that. But this is an engagement strategy that works more with millenials and I found this out in the cell phone or the telecom industry. And here it is right here. Subtle thing but it communicates a message.

Lee: Yes. Well, I think that if you were -- the advantage of being imperfect, right.

Nile: Yeah. Exactly.

Lee: The advantage of being imperfect and being confident about who you are is something we can't underestimate. I think -- well, let me just backtrack. One, I think anything that works for Millenials in general works for every other generation so who doesn’t want transparency, who doesn’t want companies to actually deliver what they promise? Everybody wants that, right. But millenials in general -- millenials are the ones pushing the envelope on this stuff but it benefits everybody. From my -- I mean, our website is so funny. You say that -- I just got a call today from somebody who’s like you know you’re not getting a lot of traffic to your website? I’m like I don’t need any traffic to my website. I -- my website is designed and it’s actually -- we’re redesigning it. There’s way too many pages so I have to -- we’re in a middle of a redesign right now. But I don’t need lots of traffic to my website. I need the right traffic to my website and when people go to the website and people are looking for our services if they go through it and they listen to the video and all that kind of stuff -- the people who actually call are close rate and people who call after going to our website is close to 60, 70 percent. So it’s doing the job that I need it to do, right.

Nile: Yeah, exactly. And so many people lose sight of that.

Lee: Yeah. And it’s not about lots of traffic and this is true in all of social media too, right. It’s not about lots of traffic. It’s about the right traffic in the right place at the right time. So making -- you can't -- what I’ve seen a lot of marketers and particularly older marketers do is they apply the old paradigms of here’s the memo, everyone has to read it to a website which -- here’s a website, everyone needs to read it. I’m like not really. You need to -- you can -- there’s so much more you can do to get the right people to your website or to your Twitter feed or to your Facebook page or to your Instagram. Whatever it is. So that they can engage where they are as opposed to where you are.

Nile: Yeah. And that’s something that people struggle with. I know we hear that all the time and we always talk about -- if you’re looking for a lot of traffic to your website -- I mean, we can get lots of traffic to your website but that doesn’t mean anything. As a matter a fact you want as little traffic to your website as you possibly can convert so if you get the right people coming to the website and you said yourself a high percentage are converting, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.

Lee: Yeah. If I’m on Amazon I want as much traffic as I possibly can have.

Nile: Well, no. you want buying traffic. You don’t want as much traffic. You want buying traffic.

Lee: Right. People who are ready to buy.

Nile: People that are ready to engage with you.

Lee: And frankly that’s what I want too, right.

Nile: Yeah. Absolutely.

Lee: So there’s not -- I mean, I have to say for our website, when people actually talk to us after they -- if they don’t know us already which is most of our clients -- if people go to the website and they don’t know us and they call us the first thing they always say is -- after we talk to them they’re like I  got what you promised. And so we’ve done what -- I need -- that’s what I need my website to do. Deliver what we offer. Not give them a false sense of what we can do for people or how we approach it because we have -- my agents, we have a very direct approach to this work that we do that is different than other agencies and if you’re looking for razzle, dazzle, sex and sizzle all the time you don’t -- you’ll never be happy with what we deliver.

Nile: I’ve got a new phrase Jordan. Razzle, dazzle, sex and sizzle. I like this. Yeah. I told you you’re giving me phrases so I love this.

Lee: Anyway --

Nile: Well, hey, let’s make the transition. We’ve talked a little bit about the Millenials in the workplace and working with them. We’ve talked a little bit about marketing different to them or differently I should say and being more transparent and real. Good for everybody but particularly important for Millenials. What are we doing on social media now?

Lee: Yeah. Well, on social media I think what’s -- you’ve got to understand who’s where and why, right. Pinterest -- I mean, you have so many options. So in the workplace if you think about what the social media in the workplace, we have Slack, we have texting, we have Asana, we have Hip Chat, we have all these things that are basically social media platforms, closed social media platforms for the workplace that are changing the way people are working but that has to work for everybody, right. In marketing to Millenials -- so different activity. There are -- Snapchat is more -- has more Millenials on it than Instagram but Instagram is the fastest growing platform, right. So has many more people than Millenials on it. Facebook, still the big elephant but their algorithm’s changing, their purpose has changed over time. And then if you take Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, Periscope -- I mean, you just -- you cannot even keep up with it all, right.

Nile: Right.

Lee: So the most important thing as you think about is first what are the different -- they’re not all the same purpose. We have to -- you have to not think about them -- just because they’re social media doesn’t mean they all have the same purpose and they will fulfill the same information that you are trying to do.

Nile: There’s a difference that I want to point out here because we talk about this and I think you and I are comfortable with what we’re communicating right now but I want to make sure that we’re not losing the listeners and so we’re talking about social media and its different uses. It’s a media just like broadcast media was or print media or direct mail media so you could have a newspaper, a magazine, a television program, a radio program. They all had different formats. They engaged with you differently. You had different formulas for what worked and what didn’t. That’s what we’re really talking about with these different platforms here.

Lee: And understanding how they’re used, right. By the people who are on them. So Facebook, super important for consumer brands in general to be on. Most business to business brands -- I don’t really advocate for because you have to maintain all these things and it takes time. You can't just throw some stuff up and hope that it fits. But if you think about Facebook -- so many people on it. 4.7 billion pieces of content are shared daily on Facebook, right.

Nile: It’s just a little bit.

Lee: It’s a major news -- that’s where most news is disseminated from today, right. Facebook. People are getting information from their -- whoever’s in their feed and people are sharing news items more than they’re sharing other things. Original content is the most shared stuff that will show up on your Facebook page but the news pieces depending on how it goes -- depending on how many people have liked things. Those show up as well. And then you have to understand about Facebook -- that’s where you’re going to have people like you and engage with you and that’s where you can engage with a group of people in a relatively closed environment. How to use it right? So if you think about the best times to post, right. Are Thursdays and Fridays between one and three PM. As opposed to Twitter which is going to be eight to nine AM in the morning and then seven to eight PM at night in your local time zone. So you just have to understand each platform and when you have -- what analytics you need to use to see where you’re going to get the most engaging way to do it. So for brands, we always start with the less. The least number of platform we can because we have to get people to be using them really effectively before you keep -- you add on Periscope and you add on this and that and you add -- there’s just so much to do. So from a brand perspective, from our perspective Linked In, Facebook, Twitter are the number one, two and three for different reasons. As long as you have your own -- and we like people to have their own blog or their own content to be coming out of it because Facebook is where you can -- get people to engage with a brand. Twitter is where you can broadcast and then engage with people in a very different kind -- very transactional kind of way. And then Linked In from a recruiting perspective, Linked In could not be more important to have your own company page. There are over three million company pages on Linked In today so from a recruiting perspective and again it goes back to our philosophy of -- your employees are your number one target always. If you can -- and if you focus on your employees you have a really good base to be focusing on other people who are going to buy your products. So they have different purposes and how you use them is coordinated but different, right. People who are on Snapchat may never see something you do on Instagram.

Nile: Absolutely.

Lee: People who are using Periscope are tied to Twitter so they’re probably going to -- there’s not a lot of cross over there but you have to understand the different reasons. Like YouTube. Don’t have a YouTube channel that you’re not posting to constantly because the people -- the sites, the feeds that ride to the top of YouTube are the ones that are constantly refreshing and constantly putting up new, great content so it’s not about -- I mean, quality matters on YouTube but quantity and frequency matters much more. Facebook, quality matters over anything else. You could do it once a week and you’d have a great engagement on your Facebook page but your YouTube would drop if once a week is all you’re doing putting up a 30 minute video no one’s going to look at. You can put up two or three times a week five-minute videos, three minute videos, 30 second videos you’re going to have a much better engagement on YouTube by just understanding each of these different platforms you’re going to have much better engagement. So it’s really important from the beginning to say what do you want to accomplish, who are you trying to reach, where are those people and how are they using those platforms as opposed to just sort of saying well, I’m going to be on Twitter, I’m going to be on Instagram, I’m going to use this stuff over here. You really have to have a thoughtful approach because it’ll grind you down, right. They’ll just grind you down if you just do everything without a plan.

Nile: No. it makes perfect sense. We’re up against the clock here and I’d really like to talk about so much more. Would it be reasonable for me to ask that maybe we have you back in the future here?

Lee: Oh, I’m happy to come back. Sure. Absolutely. I’d love to talk with you again.

Nile: There’s just so much here that we’ve talked about and we haven’t even scratched the surface really. I really appreciate your insights into what you’ve done now. one of the things that I always ask our guests because it’s a way to not only say thank you for being our guest but I know that a lot of our listeners might like to say hey, this sounds like a firm that maybe I’d like to look into. We’ll post all the links up on our website and it’ll all be available so you don’t have to -- if you’re working out, driving or whatever and listening to the podcast that you downloaded on iTunes or Stitcher or whatever it may be. You’re fine. We’ve got it there. If you’re listening to the live show, just go to socialmediabusinesshour.com and you can download all of these links. So let me ask the question. Lee, if people want to get in touch with you what’s the best way to engage with you?

Lee: The best way to engage with me is to go to my personal website which is leecaraher.com and if you go to leecaraher.com/smbh I will have all the stuff that we talked about today in downloadable form as well. And then on my website you can also get to my agency or to my book from that one place.

Nile: Oh, super. It makes it real easy then.

Lee: And then on Twitter it’s @leecaraher I’m easy -- probably the easiest person on the planet to find.

Nile: Well, it sounds awesome. Listen, I want to thank you so much for joining us today and for our listeners as always, thank you for listening to us on the social media business hour. Hopefully you’ve learned a few new ideas or concepts. Maybe you were just reminded of a few things that you already know but you haven’t been doing to improve or grow your business. Our desire is you take just one of the things that you learned or were reminded of today and you apply it to your business this week. We know that a small change can make a big difference and I’m committed to bringing you at least one new idea each week that you could implement. So go back and listen to the show over again. Identify just one small change that you can make to your business this week and see what a big difference it will make for you. So until next week, this is Nile Nickel. Now, go make it happen.

Woman: Social media business hour is powered by linkedinfocus.com. For show notes, updates and to pick up the latest tips and tricks head over to socialmediabusinesshour.com. Until next time. Thanks for listening.

Weblinks:

www.leecaraher.com
www.double-forte.com

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