How do you motivate, engage, and inspire young employees? If you are public relations firm Porter Novelli, you give them their own division and set them loose. Last summer, the firm created a "pop up" agency called Jack & Bill (named after the firm's founders, Jack Porter and Bill Novelli) and staffed it with eight young employees. "We have an agency filled with millennials, with a need to feel empowered," Porter Novelli managing partner Lisa Rosenberg told Stuart Elliott of The New York Times, who wrote about Jack & Bill in his Advertising column today. You can read the full story here. The Gen Y PR execs had their own micro site, a blog, a Facebook page, and a YouTube channel that chronicled Jack & Bill's "casting call" for fledgling fashion industry clients, five of whom would get free PR services for several weeks leading up to Fashion Week, which was held in Manhattan last week.
A bit gimmicky? Well, sure. This is a PR firm we're talking about after all. But it also seems to me that it was a potentially brilliant strategy to not only give young employees responsibility and freedom, but to showcase for Porter Novelli's more traditional clients exactly how those employees use tools such as blogging, micro blogging, viral video creation and social network branding to create PR buzz. It made me wonder if other companies out there have found creative ways to tap into the new skill sets of young talent and to use those skills to land new clients or enter new markets. If so, let's hear about it.
DONNA FENN is the author of Upstarts! How Gen-Y Entrepreneurs Are Rocking the World of Business and 8 Ways You Can Profit From Their Success, an exploration of the ways Gen Y is changing the entrepreneurial landscape.
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