An interview with Giles Palmer - Inspirational game changer


“Ignore the competition, go for it anyway.” Giles Palmer.

Giles Palmer, CEO and Founder of Brandwatch was interviewed by Gerry Thompson at the Brighton Summit on how he grew Brandwatch into the successful business it is today.

Brandwatch was launched in August 2007 and our first sale was in the September of 2007 but we didn’t have our second customer until January 2008, so the months in-between were extremely difficult but that’s when you learn.

We believed in our product and at the time there were very few brands looking at social media for their own purposes, this combined with introducing a monthly sign-up for customers, employing an account management team, finding the “sweet spot”, which for us was an Inbound Marketing machine that delivered a demo request a day, and the bright minds of some 24 and 25 year olds. I believe that all these things contributed to our rapid growth in the beginning and Brandwatch’s growth has been really consistent since 2009 at 100 % per year.

When asked what Giles had learnt from his experiences he said, “Build the best product”. The best is always valued at three to four times more than the second best. Also, decide early on how big you want to be. At the beginning of each year we put a plan together and usually when you put a plan together you think wow, how are we going to do that, but it’s a belief thing. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you write stuff down and give yourself something to aim for. Although we often got within shouting distance of our goals we didn’t actually achieve some of them, so that is when you have to manage levels of disappointment which can be tough.

I try to think short term with ambition – longer term with the, “Where we are going and what’s going to keep me motivated?” so it doesn’t become boring, you have got to keep it interesting.

On obstacles that can get in the way of growth Giles replied, “fear” and to overcome that fear we did what we wanted to do, worked hard and were more innovative than our competitors and that has lead us to success.

Giles said he has made so many mistakes over the past seven years but he has learnt from them and they have enabled him to expand Brandwatch into North America. He believes that in order to succeed with growth it is vital that you look at the background of your employees and the attitudes within your team.

Giles cites that one of the hardest things to do is to find new individuals to expand and help grow a business but he offers persist with the things you believe in and most of all business must be fun, you must enjoy it despite the challenges it may bring.

To close, Gerry asked, “do you have any other kind of learning points?” Giles replied, “Yes, try not to p*ss people off along the way!”

Written by Lucy Charlotte Brand, Online Marketing Coach,

You can watch a video of the interview by clicking here.


Brighton Summit