At today's Social Media Week panel on "Ushering Your Brand into the Social Era", attitudes towards age were revealed.
The panel included Gareth Hornberger, 23 (according to his Twitter bio and ankle-revealing jeans), who started as a contractor at Levi's two years ago.
Now Levi's Social Media Marketing Manager, a.k.a. The Levi's Guy, he advocated "putting young people at the center" as the solution to the challenges brands face in meeting the competing demands of customer care, marketing, PR and other departments. His advice was to "inject digital natives (who he'd already referred to as 'young people') at the core of the process".
Joanne Wan, a Senior Digital Strategist from Ogilvy Public Relations, added that most people who understand social media are younger.
Though it can be hard finding the right people for the team, the best predictor of success is the candidate's own social footprint, she contended. While I agree that to understand the social media you have to be active in the space, what about the candidate's experience or achievements on behalf of their clients? Successfully promoting your band on Twitter does not necessarily translate into the ability to develop a stategy to communicate effectively on behalf of a global brand.
Joanne also said that the right personality was required - someone who is willing to say "Hey guy who's 10 years older than me, do you need some help with that?".
Looks like The Levi's Guy is just the right fit then - when the moderator inadvertantly referred to him as Blake Cahill, a fellow panelist and Principal at Banyan Branch, he quickly corrected her, pointing out that there was "about 10 years difference" between the two. I'm sure Blake took it as a compliment; based on his LinkedIn profile The Levi's Guy was off by another 8 or 9 years.
What do you think? Do all brands need a twenty-something at the heart of their social media activity?