Jim Coleman, UK chief executive at We Are Social, is on the look-out for inspiring locations that stimulate the mind.
1 – Summarise yourself in three words.
“Ambitious, direct, optimistic.”
2 – What made you want to pursue a career in media and marketing?
“I always knew what I didn’t want to do. I was clear about wanting a career that allowed me to add to and be involved in culture, in whatever way possible. So when I finished uni in 1998 and realised digital was getting big and lots of interesting creative businesses and agencies were emerging, I just knew I had to be part of it.”
3 – Describe your ideal client.
“A client who isn’t afraid to challenge and push their own business to do some amazing work. A client that talks to us like we’re real partners, who can comfortably share their issues and not feel like they’re looking weak. What we don’t want is clients who are on the two year cycle of playing it safe before they jump ship to a different role.”
4 – Name your favourite ever campaign.
“It has to be Nike Chalkbot. It’s a beautiful blend of tech with a global sporting event (The Tour de France), a worthy cause and brilliant personalisation.”
5 – Which award win are you most proud of and why?
“For We Are Social it’s not a single award win but the culmination of years of work to now be regularly recognised in Campaign’s School Reports as one of the top agencies in the UK.”
6 – Who is the best industry speaker you have seen?
“Martin Weigal, head of planning at W+K. Brutal, direct, provocative and clever with no marketing bullshit language. For me he’s the benchmark.”
7 – Which is your favourite social media platform, and why?
“Instagram by a country mile. I sync all photos to a separate blog for my parents who don’t do social and I sort of forget that everyone else sees it! Also, the ad targeting seems much better and much less annoying than on other channels – I’ve even clicked on some.”
8 – Where is your ideal meeting venue?
“Ideally, and this is a big ask for the speed of our business, but somewhere inspiring. People are hugely influenced by their surroundings and by the dynamics in the room. If you’re in a great place where there are signs that great things have happened (think art gallery rather than war room) then I think this stimulates the minds in the room. I think it helps people to think bigger. I’m also a firm believer in getting all the right elements properly organised – where people sit, the lighting etc. Admittedly it’s a total pain in the arse for anyone who works with me.”
9 – What is your favourite restaurant?
“The Wolseley. The food is actually pretty average but the atmosphere and opulence are worth every penny.”
10 – What is hot in international media and marketing, and what is not?
“What’s fascinating in the US, and soon to happen here, is the gradual unravelling of the traditional media agency ways of working. Data is forcing transparency and that doesn’t necessarily fit with how they have traditionally operated, meaning they’re having to look hard at their business models. I hate the fact it tarnishes the broader industry but I love the fact it’s finally happening.
“What’s hot now and spreading fast is how brands are using ‘dark social’ – real-time messaging platforms like Messenger and WhatsApp – to connect on a much more personal level with people. We’ve created Tango Squads for adidas over the last year connecting them with one of the toughest and most cynical groups to reach, 14 to 21 year-olds. We now have 1,500 kids across 12 markets speaking directly to adidas. This form of marketing is going to explode in 2017.”
11 – Which industry buzzword would you ban?
“Programmatic. It’s thrown around all the time by people who haven’t got a clue what it means.”
12 – Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
“Still very much involved in the We Are Social story in the UK or somewhere else in the world – we’ve still got loads to achieve.”
13 – Finally, who would play you in a movie of your life?
“I’d be immediately corrected if I didn’t say Matthew McConaughey. Or Crusty the Clown!”