So What Are We To Make Of Poppy Rose Cleere…?

Social Media Superstar of the Week, 2013 – Week 4 = POPPY ROSE CLEERE!!! Twitterly name, aptly @Poppy_Powers. 


Yep this lady nailed it. She stood up for the little people, and stuffed the `suits`. The cheeky Social Media Coordinator at HMV as good as live-tweeted the financial circumstances-led removal of 150+ people at HMV last week, and became a cult hero – and with the added amusement that she still had access to the @HMVtweets Twitter account. Clumsy HMV, clever Poppy. 


So “she used the power of Social Media” say commentators. “She showed them a thing” say others. Apparently her sister said that she has been offered jobs galore since. 

So I recruit Social Media people – and instantly the thought is, this girl will be hot property. 

But then we have to step back, and consider the bigger picture. It’s not as clean cut as that. If Poppy’s CV landed on your desk, would you really be thrilled? If you consider the matter of compliance on social channels by your average employer, then Poppy broke all those rules. If you are looking for a beacon of professionalism, acceptable face and brand advocacy through thick and thin – then Poppy broke those rules too. It could be construed that she probably even broke the terms of her contract too. Not employee of the month substance, exactly. 

Ok, she was understandably angry. The circumstances were not good. But this is a company she has represented since August 2010. The company that introduced her social media career with an internship opportunity and progressed her through the marketing ranks. It’s been a setback what has happened to HMV in the past fortnight – but if brand loyalty was ever someone’s to cling onto, it’s was Poppy’s surely? – given the opportunity they gave her? Ideal employee…? We cannot be so sure. 

We can go further to assess skills, we look at the HMV twitter feed she managed, and search for spectacular – and you don’t find it. It’s a feed of news, articles and announcements – but no customer interaction. Maybe they were the rules – but when we look for proof and characteristic of work in assessing capabilities, we have to look at this stuff in relation to the hiring company. It must be said that Poppy is not the only Social Media Coordinator at HMV, but it’s important we as recruiters get a feel for her thoughts and feelings of achievement on the profiles they have managed.

What one person regards as a major success, may be paltry success in others eyes. It’s important to understand the context of a social media role for the organisation being represented, and what merits a successful company profile in these channels.

Sometimes on the face of things, a Social Media professional is assumed to be a star and a prized catch. Often, it isn’t necessarily the case. It’s important to understand the depth of someone’s experience and it’s relevance to specific roles.

Just because a Social Media Manager ran a big name account, it doesn’t mean they are as good as the brand. A brilliant comment from a client of mine who was presented by a recruiter, with the CV of her direct competitor’s Head of Social Media was “Why would I want THEIR Head of Social Media? Their social media presence isn’t very good! Could the recruiter not see that, compared with ours??!!”. 

The recruiter didn’t ask the right questions, and didn’t do the right research. And didn’t understand social media roles. (surprise, surprise!)

Now this is not designed as a dig at Poppy at all. I’d love to meet Poppy and talk about this stuff. It’s my job to understand this stuff, and make pre-assessment on the basis of existing roles and her suitability. It would be wrong of me to write her off. However, the knee-jerk support and suggestions of job offers, seemed very premature – and seemed to come from notoriety over responsibility. I bet recruiters swamped her with attention, without understanding the irresponsibility of her actions, and the consideration of the points I have made in this piece. 

Good luck to Poppy Rose Cleere. She has herioc qualitys that I admire, and maverick tendencies that win me over 100%. I would employ someone like that. But then that’s me all over. 

But just because I like her, it doesn’t mean my clients would. it may be less easy, or right, for Poppy to get 100% credibility running social media for a corporate presence.  

In a world where people don’t stay in jobs more than 12 months on average, consideration in hiring, of all the factors relating to career development and opportunity, is essential. Knee-jerk hiring is bad for all concerned.  Meet people properly, ask the right questions – THEN make a decent decision. 

Poppy is 21 years old, with an undoubtedly great potential career in front of her. I hope someone hires Poppy responsibly. For her own good. 



8 thoughts on “So What Are We To Make Of Poppy Rose Cleere…?

  1. Tried to leave a comment on your blog, but it won’t allow me too! In essence, I struggle to understand the mass of hysteria around this girl. Yes, she clearly UNDERSTANDS the power of social media and used it to create quite a stir. But how on EARTH does this qualify her as ‘socially savvy’? How does this qualify her for a role working in social media? Does it demonstrate the ability to create and execute a commercially-strategic content calendar? Does it demonstrate an ability to understand and leverage analytics of followers? IMHO, all it demonstrates is that she had access to a large corporate account and decided to ‘hit back at the man’. How people can then rush to employ her as a ‘social media expert’ is beyond me. But then, I believe THAT is ultimately the problem with social media jobs – people seem to have a misguided opinion that if you ‘understand’ how to use a Twitter account, and get some publicity doing so, then this automatically qualifies you as a commercially-orientated, strategic and experienced marketer. And if you, as an employer, make those assumptions off the back of this PR stunt, then I believe that you’re as misguided as HMV.

  2. I completely agree with Callum. While her sense of timing and sense of irony are evident, this wasn’t exactly a revolutionary act or a completely fresh way of thinking. She was just in the right place in the right time. She deserves another job for sure, but only as much as all the others who were made redundant. And as I doubt she’ll get an employer reference now, she might have a much harder fight than they will.

  3. I completely agree with Callum Saunders.

    Whilst I was thinking ‘Good for you Poppy! you tell those bullies where to stick it!” when the news first broke out I can’t help but think that she has shot herself in the foot.

    As a community manager for some pretty big names myself, I break into a mad panic when I notice that I’d written ‘Sneak peak’ instead of ‘Sneak Peek’ in my clients Facebook update. Whilst this is a minor mistake to the average Joe, I know that the fans of the page would blame the brand and my client (the brand) will go nuts at my mistake.

    A community managers job is to be the ‘voice’ of a brand. Looking at the way Poppy reacted to this mass firing, I would be weary to hire her as a community manager as I would fear that she would get too confident and let slip my clients most private information when under pressure.

    Whilst I don’t agree on HMV’s mass cull of it’s staff, I still feel that Poppy should have kept her professional head on. Most community managers know that you should never write anything down on social media channels (or emails) unless you would be happy to see it written in the sky 5 years later. This could be a mistake she lives to regret

    In situations like this, whilst it is a bitter pill to take, you just have to take it as part of the job and keep moving.


  4. Sharon’s point about ‘community managers’ adds an interesting element to this debate. From my agency perspective, I’d now be highly wary of Poppy. My agency manages social communities for some of the world’s biggest brands – big, blue-chip players – and with that, comes a huge responsibility. Poppy’s actions, whilst not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, instantly make me, as an agency man, fearful that she could do this again. If I headed up the marketing at a client-side organisation and Poppy did this again, then I would have to accept that and act appropriately to fix that. But would an agency now employ her? When a series of rogue tweets like that could lose an account, a client and thousands upon thousands of revenue? I would imagine that agencies would steer clear of her. Whereas, to reference Steve’s comments on Facebook, many client-side businesses may still not truly ‘grasp’ what social media marketing is. They may be prepared to take a risk, but I highly doubt that agencies would look at Poppy because of her actions.

  5. Thanks for the comments guys (and sorry for the earlier hitch – the twitter OAuth thing is having issues with Posterous).

    From where I stand, I think the reality is, there will always be a place for Poppy – somewhere. There always is. She divides opinion – but I know a client who are recruiting, that would probably love to pounce on her now – as her notoriety would go down well with their brand style and market-position. Again, it’s my job to recognise this – and so as a recruiter, I have to take the cross-market view and see where the fit IS, and accept where the fit ISN’T.

    I agree with Callum & Sharon, that few agencies, with the weight and responsibility of client contracts on their shoulders, would risk recruiting Poppy – but with better management, and direction – and let’s be fair, Poppy is only 21 and with commercial acumen yet to be truly in her repertoire – she could just be a potential hit somewhere.

  6. I agree with your comments Steve. I understand that she’s 21, very junior in her career and could show potential. But I still have difficulty in understanding just why people are falling over themselves to recruit her. In essence, she took control of a corporate account and used it to tweet her own personal views to thousands of people. I don’t understand why anyone would deem this as ‘good’ knowledge of social media. All it shows is that she hijacked a work account. But I guess that reinforces your earlier comment that many organisations are terribly misguided in their perception of who they are looking to recruit and what is actually required in a social role.

  7. It’s funny: people I know that don’t work in social media but that know a little about it were talking the other day about Poppy being a great catch. But, while she obviously knows the power of it, I don’t think she is, actually. I’m not sure I would hire her and that is partly because of her tweets and partly because of the blandness of the HMV Twitter feed in general. I thought the tweets she did when they were getting sacked were surprisingly calm and collected but I’m still not sure she’s employable. However, I totally hope to be proven wrong. Go out there and get an amazing job, Poppy!

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