Interview with Molly Flatt, Head of Social Business Consultancy at 1000heads

Hi Molly, could you introduce yourself ?

Hi Lilian, great to speak with you. I am based in London and passionate about word of mouth and the interaction between people, technology and culture and the arts.

I head up Social Business Consultancy at the global word of mouth company 1000heads, and I am also the President of WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) in the UK. I am also a literature, arts and lifestyle journalist and blogger for the likes of the Guardian, Bookdiva and my own blog

How did you come up to word-of-mouth marketing ?

By a very circuitous route! I started my career as a theatre actress and corporate acting coach in London before stumbling across 1000heads.

I had always been a bit of a geek, and I am fascinated by human communication and behaviour, so it was great to find a discipline that combined those areas in a very exciting and applicable way.

In today's economy, what career lessons would you give to people ? (especially for their online and offline uses)

Be genuine, be enthusiastic and be reliable! Above all work out what you really love and follow that like a demon. I have found social media invaluable for personal branding; all my freelance writing works stems from creating my own blog, where I could showcase my abilities and then persuade organisations that they needed me to write for them!

I started off by always saying yes to opportunities - to get a foothold, I would meet anyone, and take on work for free if necessary - but then I was always careful to follow through, and to be rigorous in delivering to the highest quality work.

There is a lot of enthusiasm and rhetoric out there, but the best way to get consistent work is to be reliable, to do what you say you will on time, and never compromise your own standards.

It's an essential skill - and difficult to master! - in a landscape where portfolio careers juggling different disciplines are becoming increasingly common.

To you, what did social media bring to companies over the last 3 years ? What do you think about the 'Social CRM' concept ?

Look, social media is just another channel. It is not the answer to anything. But it has encouraged certain expectations in people - that they have a voice that deserves to be listened to, that products should be relevant and personalised to them, that they expect transparency, personality and attention to detail in their communications with brands.

That spirit needs to be acknowledged and incorporated into every aspect of a brand, from their social media presences to their retail to their internal comms.

Companies becoming organisms rather than machines; becoming collaborative and driven by purpose as much as profit; becoming nimble, flexible and mobile - these aspirations are nothing new. But the technology is now there to make it happen, as is the financial motivation; word of mouth and social ways of doing things are determining where we spend our money, time and attention (and our careers) so businesses have to start embracing the change.

How could organizations scale their efforts and be able to have an healthy adoption growth?

It's always best to show rather than tell, so a good approach is to find a quick win project and prove the value of social and WOM through that (measuring rigorously). Once others in a company see the benefits it brings to that team and their deliverables, they start to want a slice of the pie!

Great new internal comms technology such as Socialcast, when implemented alongside good training, can help dissolve internal barriers and spread great initiatives regardless of who, or where, they come from.

However, it's also essential to have a strong structure of ownership - regional and global teams who are accountable and clear on their objectives and measurables, and who can then co-ordinate efforts and share successes and mistakes.

It's all about achieving a careful balance between slightly chaotic but fruitful sharing on a real time basis, and more structured sharing and review processes that keep the business strategy on track.

Thanks a lot Molly!

P.S : Un meetup #SocBizParis (25 places maximum) s'organise le Mercredi 29 Juin 2011 de 18h à 21h30 chez Next & CoWorking avec la venue de Molly Flatt en France, qui interviendra la veille au Like Minds Paris le Mardi 28 Juin. L'occasion de partager des idées autour de thématiques dont on entend beaucoup parlé en ce moment; telles que le social business, le social CRM, l'entreprise 2.0 aujourd'hui, etc....

Stay tuned...


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