What’s in a name?


I’ll be picking up a name badge this morning as I attend an event in London. It will have Paul Thomas – Senior Manager, Digital Communications and Social Media typed on it.


There are two sides to this post:

1) I need a new, shorter job title which doesn’t lead to confusion – my own usually.
2) Digital. Really?

To do my job, which spans Internal Communication, PR, Marketing and often grumpiness, I need something that says what I do on the tin.

I also have a problem with digital and social media.

Social media either excites people or leaves them running for cover. Those who run, will run even further when they see someone who has social media as a ‘thing to do’ in their job title gunning for them.

Digital. Well isn’t everything nowadays? Does it mean I don’t do analogue?

I think there’s a place for ‘online’ in here somewhere, maybe even a ‘web’. Perhaps I could just sneak up on people without a badge to announce me. A Minister Without Portfolio if you like.

What’s clear is that people doing jobs like mine are getting much more visibility within organisations and in a world that loves a monicker, a title isn’t as important as people understanding what you can do for them. This is far reaching, taking in BD, recruitment, etc etc. Digital and Social just don’t cut it and lead to misconception about what I can do for people within Grant Thornton.

Whether we like it or not, our label is our bat signal and either helps or hinders the conversation we’re about to have. So for the time being I’m going with Senior Manager, but less of the ‘old’ please.

Is ‘digital’ useful anymore?

Update: Et voila!



Offer of a lifetime: secondments for consultants

Working in digital communications, I get a lot of sales emails and newsletters. The more I unsubscribe from, The more I seem to get. All of them tell me they have the answers to my digital communication and social media problems.


But the problem I see everyday with the world of consultants is that there’s a massive disconnect between theory and execution. There’s so much intellectualising behind closed doors that purpose and fit are sometimes ignored.

A few years ago I was in the same shoes. I left my role in a digital agency in order to be a better consultant. I joined my biggest client to experience the pressures and concerns on their side of the divide for myself. This, I told myself, would ultimately put me in a better position in the long term; I’d have insight and understanding that few of my peers would have.

I’m not tarring all agencies with the same brush. There are clearly brilliant ideas and brilliant people out there and I thrive on working with the best of them, but I do find more and more examples of wide of the mark advice and bandwagoning.

Too many agencies are full of first jobbers who’ve never experienced the joys of IT departments, risk teams and restricted budgets. They’ve not suffered it, so how would they know? You can tell the frustration in their eyes as you tell them, “just another six months and we’ll be there.”

I wonder, can we help? Should we be saying, “Yes we’ll work with you, but come and work with us first.”

So here’s my offer. Want to find out how the other half live, then come and spend the day with us. I may give you some work to do, shove you in an endless meeting, but it will give you time to really make me believe you have the answers to all my problems.

I promise. It will make you a better consultant, even for a day.