We’re all glowing with pride this week as 1000heads’ Engagement Director James Whatley embarks on the first few days of his training as a Marketing Academy Scholar 2010.
He is one of only 28 “exceptionally talented” young marketers chosen from over 200 applicants to take part in the prestigious programme, which helps “the current generation of successful CEOs, CMOs, Entrepreneurs, Agency Presidents and Academics to collectively share their knowledge, experience and wisdom with talented young marketers on a one to one basis” throughout the next year.
This means he’ll get invaluable mentoring from some of the top movers and shakers in the UK from organisations such as Pepsi, Facebook, Diageo, BT, Virgain, M&C Saatchi, the Home Office, the IoD and Comic Relief in order to both broaden and deepen his own skills.
Sherilyn Shackell, Founder and CEO of The Marketing Academy says: “From the moment we got James’ application we knew he was of exceptional calibre. James is incredibly innovative and creative and destined to be an influential future leader.”
We can’t think of anyone who deserves it more, and we’re all looking forward to benefiting from the insights James will gain. In fact, check out his application video, which shows us waxing lyrical about our Whatley:
Like Minds 2010 was such an inspiring and idea-packed event that it’s difficult to restrain my thoughts to the short form of a blog post. James and I headed to Exeter on Thursday night and spent the next three days with some of the most articulate and innovative folk working with brands in the social space.
At Friday’s conference, James was part of a panel discussing the controversial ‘How can dying business models innovate through people-to-people?’ and I joined Chris Brogan, Trey Pennington, Kate Day and Kristian Carter to debate ‘Where are the forward thinking organisations going next?’
One of the themes across the presentations, panels and audience discussions was social media policies: how to regulate, guide or support employees’ use of the space so it becomes an asset and not a liability.
Now, I’ve crafted a few fairly detailed policies for our clients in my time, and I’ve written before about the need for basic regulations and protective processes. But as the conversation developed I discovered that I feel more strongly than I had previously suspected that policies simply don’t work. No-one reads them, and even worse, they exempt people from feeling that they have to think and make judgement calls for themselves.
John Bell‘s emphasis on training (Ogilvy employ an admirable judo-belt rating system) really hit a chord. Experience is so much more effective than explanation. And Olivier Blanchard emphasised how businesses must empower every department to have their own training and evaluation programme so the strategy and execution is custom-fit and sits in the context of a close, evolving team.
It all reminded me of Samuel Beckett’s adage ‘fail better.’ We need to allow employees the freedom to act, and yes, sometimes fail, in the space. A twenty-page policy won’t help. What will is provision of a framework whereby those failures are shared and discussed, so they can become valuable drivers of change and growth.
James blogs with a view from Bovey Castle via Flickr
On the Saturday James and I headed to the beautiful Bovey Castle for the Like Minds Summit, an intense and intensely rewarding two days with nine social opinion leaders from both agencies and brands. I can’t tell you much about it here (and that is very hard for me to do!) because a forthcoming white paper will be distilling the discoveries and best practices we thrashed out over scones., but you can get a sense of the atmosphere from this interview with me Trey filmed on Sunday. More to come as soon as we can share.
A big heads up goes to Scott Gould and Drew Ellis for impeccably organising the whole thing. And now I’m looking forward to the really exciting stuff as we all continue the conversations started at Like Minds over the following weeks. Jump in…
This week, our Director of Engagement James Whatley headed over to Dublin to speak at Simply Zesty Winter Camp, where a big noisy bunch of people gather to discuss the future of social media and brands. James will be posting about it all over the next couple of days but until then you can check out the video below and flick through his presentation as you do.
“I’ve been aware of and worked alongside many different people from 1000heads (aka ‘the word of mouth people’) over the past four years, and they’ve always impressed me with their ideas, professionalism and more than anything else, their ethics. We’ve often shared stories about our respective projects & conversation ideals and very recently I had the opportunity to talk to them much more openly about my long term plans and ambitions.
It was the synergy that came from these meetings that made me realise that working with 1000heads was clearly the next logical step in my career. When it transpired that they felt the same way, everything just fell into place…
I am absolutely over the moon about joining the ‘heads and can’t wait to sink my teeth into the work ahead. I’ve already been into the office to meet some of the team and I’m going to spend this coming week getting up to speed with the accounts, campaigns and overall strategies I’ll be working on in the coming months.”
Here’s to the continuation of a beautiful relationship…