In 2008, Twitter started to take off in the UK. As a journalist, I'd learned to work at 100 miles a minute. Joining this family business, I felt the pace was a lot slower than I was used to. I found that I got jobs done relatively quickly and had the capacity to look at other things.

I started exploring Twitter really before it caught on. And I found an awful lot of people talking about tea generally, but particularly about YorkshireTea. Back then, Twitter appeared to be dominated by people on the west coast of America. My guess is there were quite a few British expats. 

Imagine the scene: a talented designer from Sheffield, gets the job of a lifetime working in California. But every now and then he misses home. Next they start talking to another British ex-pat on Twitter about how they miss tea. That's the kind of conversation I discovered.

Back then, I had a very trusting boss who let me set up Yorkshire Tea on Twitter. Yorkshire Tea has now been active on Twitter for 15 years. I know there's a lot more to Yorkshire Tea’s marketing success than just Twitter: but I think Twitter was where we learned how we were being talked about, where we practised getting involved in the conversation, and where I think we started to develop a tone of voice for Yorkshire Tea, which is now the tone of voice for the brand. 

Parallel to that, I was employed as the in-house copywriter and social media was expanding and rapidly becoming a core component of digital marketing. We quickly discovered that actually if we're trying to stimulate conversation on social media… we could feed in PR, events, and experiences. So my remit grew. 

Gradually, I got more involved in all forms of communications, including the advertising. We were learning how to combine our tone of voice from our ‘above the line’ campaigns and the tone of voice we had developed on social media, and how to align the kind of strategic thinking behind our advertising and our social media presence. 

Read the full interview here where he also covers his backstory, unpacks the origins of the Yorkshire Tea call to arms “Let’s have a proper brew” and explains how social media helped his brands find their unique voice.

‘Little Grey Cells In Depth’ is Tim Healey’s profile interview platform where leading marketers share their valuable insights and experience, presented by Worth Your While.

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