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All Change at BIMA: NMK Meets New Head

By: NMK Created on: June 2nd, 2009
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The British Interactive Media Association appointed a new chair and vice-chair in May to take the group forward. New Media Knowledge caught up with the group’s new head to see what direction he plans to take it.

The British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) has a new chair, Justin Cooke, and vice-chair in David Hart following the departure of respective incumbents Paul Walsh and Julie Lane at the group’s recent annual general meeting. Founded in 1985, BIMA represents the interests of the UK’s interactive industries, from large software houses to up-and-coming developers, and describes its key goal as “exchanging information and advice on the technology, application and business of new media, and to promote the use of interactive technology to business and the public.”

Justin Cooke started at BBC Films before forming Web design agency Fortune Cookie in 1997. At the time of going to press, Cooke is in the early stages of a 100-day plan to transform BIMA and NMK caught up with him to see what direction it would take.


What demonstrable impact has BIMA had in the 24 years since its inception?

We have some of the biggest industry names as members, many of whom contribute to BIMA initiatives such as our awards, which have taken place annually since BIMA’s inception.

In addition, our Schools Digital Challenge, which we kicked-off last year, has been a huge success for us. The challenge was for teams within UK schools and colleges to come up with a 'Digital' solution that provides a practical benefit for their community - a deliberately broad brief to encourage as much creativity as possible. The results have been phenomenal and we’re set to announce our winners in an award ceremony in July.

Despite these successes, it’s important for us to keep track of the impact that BIMA has had on the industry previously and what we can do to improve it further. Although we have a large membership, there are still many brands who don't know what BIMA is and many agencies struggle to justify their membership fee. The plan here is to clearly define the role of the executive committee and introduce measures of success which will help us to ultimately raise the profile of BIMA and its members internationally.

What will your key objectives and approaches be as chairman of BIMA?

Part of our 100-day plan involves refining our strategy which will be complete by the end of June. Our approach is the same I take to creating world-class websites. It’s about engaging with our members and the industry as a whole to determine their needs, defining what tools and services we can provide to meet these and creating clear, measurable objectives.

My personal view is that the digital economy is the future of the UK and I want to put BIMA at the heart of this future, engaging with government, brands and other bodies, showcasing our world-class interactive skills as well as nurture the talent of the future.

How will this differ from the previous approach of the BIMA chair and vice-chair?

We are going through a seismic shift in the world and to realise the massive opportunity of this we must change.

We will build and strengthen the successes of the past but in order to make BIMA a world-class association we also need to re-engage with agencies, brands, vendors and government at the very highest level. I will draw from how I run my company with clear sense of ownership and goals for all of the members of the executive.

What events has BIMA got lined up and who should come?

We will be running events that inspire, educate and connect our industry. This will be at every level from managing director, CEO and creative director level to those just starting out. We are engaging with industry leaders like Dr Jakob Nielsen, Ogilvy Vice-Chair Rory Sutherland as well as some of the brightest stars such as Thomas Gensemer, creator of

Our next dinner event is set to take place on 23 July at Tamarind in Mayfair. Rory Sutherland, vice-chair of Ogilvy Group and president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, will be our guest of honour and will be sharing stories about industry legends as well as his thoughts on the massive changes and challenges that are going on in the advertising sector.

What will BIMA look like in a year’s time?

I believe that BIMA will look, feel and behave radically different. Engage with us and watch this space.


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