What @PeriscopeCo and @Meerkat mean for employer brands

20150401_092704Meerkat is so last week…no sooner had the live stream video mobile app taken SXSW by storm, Periscope pops its head above water with the release from their beta state last Thursday.

So now everyone is getting a bit excitedย about streaming live video at any time from the comfort of their own phone and Twitter account. I’ve been busy checking out Meerkat since it launched earlier this month. And I’ve been playing around with Periscope since Thursday.

It all reminds me of the fledgling years of Twitter when we were finding out what it could do and got to speak with some really interesting people across the globe.


I’ve been Meerkating my commutes to work and doing a live desk in the agency. I’ve watched people Periscope their night out in Istanbul and Periscoped my car journey (I wasn’t driving) into London with people from across the world asking me about living in this great city and giving me the thumbs up. I’ve Periscoped conversations with our MD about the subject I’m writing about now, Periscoped from my desk and Periscoped a tour of our fridges (upon request of a viewer).

So what does this mean for employer brands?

It means a lot.

Human Resources (and the like) spend a lot of time and money trying to attract the right people into their organisation. This has typically been done by selling a vacancy or training programme with “No Day Is The Same” content…you know the kind of thing…


…That photo shoot of employees “acting naturally” in their place of work (nice one Vince Vaughn and his Unfinished Business film promo on the right) or the employee profile video that is more “lights camera action” than a real and authentic view into what it’s like to work in an organisation. Whatever the outputs, this often has an employer brand at the heart.

An employer brand is ultimately a company’s reflection of its employees. It’s the character and culture of the people behind the business. Sounds great. You have an authentic representation of your employees.

But getting that authentic view into an organisation at scale hasn’t been possible until social media hit the big time. The social web gives everyone the opportunity to tell a story. Employer brands need to be owned and lived by their employees, not just end up being a bunch of slides on audience insight, value statements and pretty pictures: This kind of body of work is no doubt important, but it can be in danger of ending up as the proof an organisation “has an employer brand” and not much else.

Meerkat or Periscope….whatever the company that ends up on top (it’s far too early to tell and maybe WhatsApp, Snapchat or Facebook decided to get involved too) it means that live video will have a big impact on social media.

This means that people, and therefore employees, have the power in their pockets to give that authentic view into an organisation. Being able to put a future employee in the shoes of a current employee must surely be employer brand nirvana. And live video streaming has the power to do that: that commute to the office, the walk around the floor, a view of kitchen facilities or an AMA (Ask Me Anything) style discussion with a graduate trainee.

No, it shouldn’t mean that all of a sudden reluctant employees are captured on live video and that confidentiality is ignored.

But it certainly means that anyone involved in the development and activation of an employer brand should consider and experiment with the huge potential that is currently Meerkat and Periscope.

This is another example of the ever shifting and exciting times we’re experiencing in marketing. And it’s important recruitment marketeers experiment with emerging technologies like Meerkat and Periscope. The future of their employer brand may rely on it.