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Ex UK government’s social media chief Tiffany St James launches digital agency Transmute and signs Abu Dhabi government as first client

Former UK government digital consultant and its first head of social media Tiffany St James has co-founded a new agency Transmute, created to help businesses prepare for digital transformation.

St James, who is also a Bima executive director and TED speaker, has founded the company and will run it alongside business partner – digital strategist Charlie Southwell.

The new agency will focus on helping businesses restructure to better cater for the speed of consumers’ multimedia consumption habits across areas including HR, recruitment, sales, digital and social media strategies and marketing.

Speaking to The Drum, St James said Transmute’s ambition is to help businesses, and by extension the British economy, become a better “digital powerhouse”, while tackling the current digital skills gap by helping businesses get to grips with how to attract and cultivate future digital talent.

The company will focus on six main pillars, one of which includes helping businesses understand how to capitalise on social media as a recruitment tool to display their cultures from the outset.

“There is a dearth of digital skills at the moment, not just in the UK but globally, and there is evidence to prove that socially recruited people have a lower attrition rate. So if you are attracted to a company and engage with them as part of the recruitment process, if people are warmed up to a brand and engaged with them to start with, they will have a better culture match from the outset and will know more about the brand,” she said.

Other pillars include helping re-engineer sales teams and processes to become more digitally focused, while advising those with call centres to prepare for shifts to more social media-based customer service plans.

Digital strategy along with social media corporate and marketing strategy will also be core areas it will help businesses.

The Abu Dhabi government and Market Research Society have become the first two Transmute clients, with the former looking to embark on a major digital transformation plan.

Meanwhile St James’ work for existing clients under her consultancy business Simulation, which include Google, SABMiller, TalkTalk, Big Lottery Fund and the National Trust, will all continue under the new Transmute umbrella brand.

Big Lottery Fund is a business on the cusp of a major digital transformation project which will see it tie together all its digital properties in one place. St James has been a consultant on this journey, having advised on challenging areas such as how to shift its call centres to social media focused customer service hubs.

Claudio Concha, head of digital media at Big Lottery Fund, said: “Tiffany has very particular expertise in social media, having worked at No 10 and in the war rooms with the Met Police. She has helped us with our own social media strategy which has involved coordinating all our channels in one place. We are the biggest charity service funder outside of the government, so we have a huge amount of people communicating with us.

“She helped us become an authentic brand in that space but without diluting the brand. She brought the insight that you can manage a big corporate company through social channels while maintaining the human side of it,” he added.

A full interview with St James will be published on The Drum shortly as part of the Girl Guide series, championing female business leaders.

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