Ex-Ask Jeeves European Operations Director joins Brandwatch as COO

[UK] Bryan Tookey has joined social media monitoring startup Brandwatch as its new COO. He joins the Brighton-based company from search engine Ask Jeeves (Ask.com) where he was the European Operations Director. Prior to Ask, Tookey was Google’s head of Sales Finance for European Partnerships and before that, a Senior Engagement Manager at management consultancy McKinsey.

Commenting on his new role at Brandwatch, where he’ll be charged with managing the startup’s growth, Tookey says: “I can’t think of a more exciting role than helping organisations and individuals figure out and react to what people are saying about them in social media.”

Of course, brand management in the age of the real-time web can be a tricky business – it’s a forever moving target where even the most established brands are being caught out. It’s also likely to be an area of continued growth as consumers increasingly become savvy with the likes of Twitter, Facebook and other newer social web tools – think Foursquare etc. – and realise their power to damage (and enhance) a company or product’s reputation.

There’s also the thorny issue that mainstream media loves a good-old-fashioned story about technology giving power to the underdog. The quicker you put out the fire where it originates, the less chance of it spreading elsewhere.