In an attempt to showcase the personalities of the people behind the media and marketing sector, The Drum speaks to individuals who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what insights and life experience they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions are put to Jen Rankine, global social media lead of Skyscanner.
What was your first-ever job?
I was 14 and got a job in the local chip shop. I did everything from washing dishes to running the cafe, but would only be allowed near the main serving desk if they really needed me. I prefer quality over speed and I’d spend too long making sure the chips had an even distribution of sauce on them.
One piece of tech you can’t live without?
I’m going to say it. My phone. I know everyone says the same thing (I’ve considered detoxing from it many times), but it covers both professional and personal life.
I’ve got Slack, email and Zoom on it for doing work things on the move, my bank, enough photos of my cat to fill a gallery and every tv streaming app out there to keep me entertained on my bus ride home. Basically, I’m guilty of staring at my phone instead of Edinburgh’s beautiful cityscape on my commute.
Which industry buzzword annoys you most?
I’m not a fan of jargon in general, but saying the phrase ‘make this viral’ will usually make my eye twitch. There’s still a weird conception that anything you’ve ever worked on has the potential to go viral when, in reality, it’s often the ad-hoc/reactive things you post which tend to get picked up because they feel more natural.
Who do you find most interesting to follow on social media?
NASA. And anyone who happens to be in space. I loved space as a kid and if I could have learned about it live from Chris Hadfield while he floated around singing songs, I would have melted.
Jameela Jamil - she’s one of the strongest voices on social right now and is a role model I’d want kids to look up to.
For industry news, Matt Navara. He’s kind of become the go-to guy when it comes to what’s happening on social and always seems to know the secrets
Highlight of your career (so far?)
It’s a few years old now but I’ll keep milking it until I can. There’s a story called the 47-year layover kicking around the Internet that stemmed from a light-hearted question from a traveller over on Skyscanner’s Facebook Page and too much coffee on my side.
By replying in a human way, it ended up on pretty much every news site and it confirmed that I did actually know what I was doing. People even started a #teamjen hashtag. *Blush*
Who or what did you have posters of on your bedroom wall as a teenager?
All my friends had posters of Boyzone on their walls which they tried to strongarm me into having as well. During sleepovers, I lived a double life pretending I, too, worshipped at the altar of Roman, Shane, Mikey, Stephen and Keith but little did they know my walls were covered with the Spice Girls and Westlife
Then I moved into my emo years and my walls soon got covered with Blink182, KoRn and Murderdolls posters. My mum hated it.
What needs to change about social media?
There are a lot of things, but my main gripe sits with customer service on social. Nothing winds people up more than scripted answers which tell you absolutely nothing or send you round in circles because no one reads the previous message. It just whacks a big ol’ dent in that person’s trust for your brand.
I wish brands could see the value in offering human responses when it comes to their customers having issues. Yes, it takes more time but, in the long run, you’ll create advocates and build brand loyalty.
Also trolls. Begone.
What is your favourite platform?
I’m still a big fan of Instagram. Yes, I miss the chronological grid of yonder years, but I find people are a little more natural on it and brands can relax in Stories. You get to see the more human side or the behind-the-scenes content and their values in action.
What is (in your opinion) the greatest film/album/book of your life?
Books - I read a lot of fiction so it’s hard to pick a favourite, but the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber is one of my main loves.
I’m not a huge fan of books about real-life things i.e. work, but one that changed my entire perspective was The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo. Genuinely useful and, unlike most work type books, wasn’t written by a CEO so completely relatable to my role.
Film - Robin Hood. The 1973 animated version. Perfection.
What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
I don’t mean in that annoying toddler way, but asking questions can open up a lot of doors. It shows you’re interested, that you want to understand and are willing to challenge anything you don’t necessarily agree with.