First, I’d like to start by saying thank you to Sherwin-Williams. I appreciate that this morning’s Twitter feed was the most normal I’ve seen it in a while.  The  breaking news about Covid and politics was pushed to the side while we all went bananas over this story. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here before reading on. 

Now let’s all take a minute and learn from this experience.

I’m picturing the room where those in the C-Suite learn about this young employee who is buying their product and creating a community around it and feeling like someone swooped in and stole something from them. So instead of embracing him, they – wait for it – fired him.

Wait. What?

I’m trying to rack my brain on why something like this would happen.

In my head, I’m going back to 2009. Facebook was still pretty new as a household name when two fans of Coca Cola created a Facebook fan page all about the brand. So put yourself in the seat of Michael Donnelly, Global Interactive Marketing at Coca Cola at the time. Here he was sitting in his board room, trying to figure out how to use this new platform when – POOF – it had already been done for him (go with me on the storytelling of the board room, makes for a better effect). Coke had the ability to shut the page down, take ownership of it, and put it out in their own voice. Instead, they embraced the fact that these two guys had basically done their job FOR them and worked together to bring that page to the forefront. They didn’t shut them down… they flew them to Atlanta, gave them the grand tour and said thank you.

We don’t see a lot of thank yous these days. And of all weeks, we really should.

Listen, these Millennials get a bad rap. I’m even guilty of generalizing them into a group who was rewarded for participation, who wants to live on Avocado Toast but not get their boss coffee, who wants Fridays off from their first job out of college. Yes. I’ve said these things. BUT you know what? Tony Piloseno of Sherwin-Williams goes against all of that. He liked his job, he engaged in his job. He even purchased his own paint to make those videos which in the end, could have benefited the BRAND, not necessarily himself. But for some bizarro reason, Sherwin-Williams shut him down, fired him, and now what? Now they are sitting in their board room trying to figure out who knows how to log into the TikTok machine so they can create some content.

Here’s the point. Of all weeks, Sherwin-Williams, be grateful for what you have (err… had). You had a goldmine and now you… don’t. When an employee likes working with your product so much that they create an entire community around it, say thank you. Figure out how to reward Tony Piloseno, not to punish him. It’s probably too late for you on this one. I mean… the tweets are out there. I guess Benjamin Moore is about to make a big offer if they haven’t already.

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