Godfrey Parkin, CEO of Britefire (www.britefire.co.za), is an internationally renowned consultant and author in digital business strategy, social computing and online marketing. He has founded innovation-led companies in Zurich, London and Washington DC. He is currently developing Eskom's digital and social strategy, runs the E-Marketing Professional Certificate, and leads programmes at USB-ED, DMA and ASTD. Email , follow @gparkin and connect on LinkedIn.
Godfrey Parkin graduated from UCT with a degree in business science and is a popular speaker in his field. His focus is on creating and implementing innovative strategies that build profitable relationships with the online consumer.
He has an enduring passion for exploiting the power of online social networks for both marketing and learning (and dislike the simplistic tag "social media"); and he has particular interests in the marketing of consumer products, high-end luxury goods, financial services, hotels, tourism, and property. His expertise in digital strategy extends beyond marketing to encompass reputation management, internal employee engagement, recruiting, and stakeholder engagement.
He has published two books, Doing Business Digitally: Eight Steps to Online Success in South Africa, and Digital Marketing: Strategies for Online Success, in Europe and the US, and is busy with a third.
He ran the Worldwide Management Services Division of AC Nielsen in Switzerland and then went on to found a series of pioneering web-centric businesses in Zurich, London and Washington DC, where his client list included Global 500 companies eg Unilever, Nomura Bank, American Airlines, Motorola, Ford, DreamWorks, American Express, Honda, Nestlé, academic institutions (eg Georgia Institute of Technology) and government agencies (eg U.S. Library of Congress), as well as smaller organisations and start-ups.
He is on the faculty of the University of Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development (USB-ED), leads the (USB-ED) Programme in Online Marketing Strategy and the Programme in Marketing Wine Online, runs the Social Media Bootcamp for the Digital Marketing association (DMASA) and heads up Britefire's EMP (E-Marketing Professional) certificate programme.
Godfrey has an international reputation in the area of e-learning, where he has pioneered the frontiers and possibilities of distance learning and written extensively on the subject. He moderates the E-learning Forum of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) and is a permanent member of the judging panel for Brandon Hall's annual international "Technology Excellence Awards" and "Learning Excellence Awards."
[Godfrey Parkin] Since a critical mass of senior executives were given iPads for Christmas, even the most previously technophobic of business leaders are demanding that digital marketing be taken seriously. This is a blessing and a curse - we see a lot of overnight app-happiness driving silly projects ahead of important initiatives. But at last the momentum is building and companies are striving to connect with customers in the digital places where they hang out.
[Godfrey Parkin] How efficiently does your organisation think? Whether you are a 40 000 employee corporate or a five-person start-up, if you cannot sense what is going on in your competitive environment, cannot analyse and interpret that input, and cannot make the right decisions or act appropriately in real-time, your enterprise is poorly equipped to thrive in socially networked markets.
[Godfrey Parkin] We're often asked whether social media is replacing search as a driver of online business. Social media is certainly getting way more attention, but it is a complement to search engine marketing, not a substitute for it.