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Social Media Portal interview with Jemima Gibbons about A Bigger Bang!

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 09 November 2012

Social Media Portal interview with Jemima Gibbons about A Bigger Bang!

Social Media Portal profiled interview with social media strategist Jemima Gibbons

Social Media portal (SMP): Can you please introduce yourself?

Jemima Gibbons (JG): Jemima Gibbons, I’m a freelance social media strategist.
SMP: Briefly tell us a little about the work that you do?

JG: The work I do for clients tends to fall into one of two distinct areas.

Firstly, looking after consumer facing social media.  Running social media marketing programmes and campaigns, social media monitoring, devising and implementing social media strategies and client training around these areas.

Secondly, acting as an internal champion / social media evangelist.  Supporting technology adoption within an organisation, driving employee engagement, helping to devise and implement corporate technology and communications strategies.

Monkeys with Typewriters: Myths and Realities of Social Media at Work by Jemima Gibbons imageSMP: Tell us a little about your book, “Monkeys with Typewriters” was published by Triarchy Press in 2009 - why did you decide to write the book?

JG: The original concept for Monkeys with Typewriters came about in 2005 when I was lecturing in leadership at Cass Business School. I kept drawing comparisons between the type of “distributed” leadership preached by management gurus like MIT’s Peter Senge and Shell’s Arie de Geus in the late 1990s with what was happening online with “Web 2.0” in the mid 2000s - it was all about the power of collaboration in business.

As I was researching and writing the book, the whole social media revolution began to take off, so it became very much about that: how business leaders should embrace and work with social tools rather than try and stop them. The title came from Andrew Keen’s 2007 book, “The Cult of The Amateur,” where he criticized social media for being a load of “monkeys with typewriters," Of course that was a bad analogy for him to use, because while there’s admittedly a whole lot of rubbish out there, if you give enough monkeys enough typewriters, they eventually come up with a thing of beauty.

SMP: Who / why are your target audience the book and has anything changed since you wrote it?

JG: I wanted to reach out to Baby Boomer/ Gen X managers and business leaders who were frightened by social media, or at very least wary of it. I wanted to convince them to give it a go. Obviously far more business leaders are familiar with social media now and most businesses use it to some extent, but I’m still amazed by the amount of ignorance out there – not because people are foolish, of course, but because they simply haven’t had the chance to get their heads around it.

SMP: Do you have any other books in the pipeline, and if so what areas would it / they cover?

JG: Heh. Well I have a friend who’s an agent and I’m talking to her about the next one, but as yet I’ve nothing to show but a lot of binned proposals!

SMP: You’re on a panel at Cognifide’s A Bigger Bang! Digital Marketing: "How to do more with less?" event in association  with Rackspace and in partnership Sitecore, what are you most looking forward to about the event?

JG: I’m looking forward to meeting the delegates and hopefully inspiring some into thinking a little differently about the way they do things. I’ll be talking about the “4Cs of Social” and the “dangers of the Broadcast Paradigm.” Hopefully that doesn’t sound too arsey.

SMP: More than anything, what would you like attendees to walk away with from the half-day event and your session in particular?

JG: The idea that social media is not just about marketing – it’s about the way businesses will be run in future.

SMP: How well do you think brands are using technology to manage campaigns and where can / are they go wrong?

JG: Some are doing brilliantly but others are failing massively. Often common sense is forgotten, especially in times of crisis. And why do brands revert to corporate speak on social channels?

SMP: What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for agencies and brands in the current digital / technology age we’re experiencing?

JG: The main challenge is to go from talking the talk of social to actually walking the walk. That’s a bigger leap than most agencies and brands seem to realise. The biggest opportunity is just that: the brands and agencies that get it will have tremendous competitive advantage – those that don’t will fall by the wayside. You hear this a lot – but it’s true. Social brands and social business are the future.

Photograph of social media strategist Jemima GibbonsSMP: What are the next moves for agencies and brands when it comes to social media?

JG: The biggest trend right now is visual branding: Pinterest, Instagram etc – brands have got to get onto those networks. And experiential branding - creating something physical that, customers can step into. When I did an MBA ten years ago there was a lot of talk about the power of “bricks and clicks” – well, what we have now is bricks and clicks on steroids – it’s like Technicolour after black and white.

SMP: What’s the next big step for social media and networks and impact they have upon agencies and brands?

JG: More of the same: the customer will increasingly call the tune, shape the product and define the strategy.

SMP: What can be the most challenging part of building a brand presence in a digital and social environment?

JG: Authenticity – or (more often) lack of.

SMP: What are your top five predictions for social media throughout 2012 and into 2013?

JG replies with:
  • The trend towards more visual, impactful, instant messaging will continue: Pinterest and Instagram will continue to grow, and quite possibly another new visually led network
  • The experiential trend will continue as people have more of a desire to make, hold, touch and feel something real
  • A new and genuine challenger to Facebook will emerge – as Facebook is no longer “free” (increasingly, you have to pay to get attention), the platform will start to decline in popularity – it may be slow at first, but it’s going to happen
  • Social media will become increasingly mainstream and there will be even more rubbish out there
  • Someone will come up with a new term for the more cutting edge stuff (“social” is crying out for a rebrand)

SMP: What are your top five social media tips for agencies and brands?

JG replies with:
  • Find your authentic voice
  • Make sure your brand messaging is consistent across all networks: I know this sounds obvious but it’s amazing how many brands out there have slightly (or even very) different names on different networks, for example
  • Enjoy using social media, be relaxed, don’t force it
  • Build on the strengths you already have: your C-level execs and employees should be your greatest brand ambassadors – get them tweeting and blogging! At very least make sure they all have updated and photo-ready LinkedIn profiles. Train them and have a social media policy and guidelines in place
  • Have a strategy: set targets, iterate, monitor, tweak and repeat

SMP: Best way to contact you?

Twitter: @JemimaG
Instagram: JemimaG
Foursquare JemimaG
Flickr: JemimaG
Blog (social business):
Blog (flexible working):

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

JG: Coco Pops

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?

JG: Allowed my daughter to have Coco Pops

SMP: If you weren’t consulting what would you be doing?

JG: Sleeping

SMP: What’s the best campaign site that you’ve seen over the last six-months and why?

JG: I have to say Dementia UK’s Time For A Cuppa because I worked on it and it was a lovely campaign to be involved with

SMP: When and where did you go on your last holiday?

JG: Tipi Algarve in Portugal

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

JG: Have a coffee

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

JG: Time Travel

About the A Bigger Bang! event

The Cognifide and Sitecore A Bigger Bang! event hosted and chaired by Miro Walker, CEO at marketing technology agency Cognifide is in association with Rackspace and in partnership with Sitecore, is half-day a free to attend event on Monday, 12th November 2012 from 12:00 to 15:00.

Screening Room & The Crimson Bar
The Soho Hotel
4 Richmond Mews

Register now to book your place at

Keep up-to-date with the A Bigger Bang event via @cogcaas and hash tag #CaasBB for the latest and the A Bigger Bang! competition. Follow all things Cognifide on Twitter@cognifide.

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