We’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them.
Justin Taylor has long been a leading force in the digital industry, where he’s worked since 1999. He joined global media platform Teads in 2015 from his position as MD at MEC Digital.
Who is your digital hero?
It was great to read Ferns’ My Digital Hero the other week calling out the wide range of heroes we work with. It was definitely a challenge to pick just one as I have been privileged to work for and alongside some true pioneers in this industry.
However, for me when looking back who has made an impact to me personally I wanted to put forward Jason Dormieux, Global Chief Transformation Officer at Wavemaker).
What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?
The mid 2000s were a pioneering period in digital’s history. The promise of the web and the ‘shiny next thing’ was becoming a reality. Social media was embryonic, mobile was in its infancy and rich media was super intrusive! Many clients and businesses were sceptical about the benefits of new media to say the least.
Jason understood the benefits of digital from both a performance and branding point of view and was one of the first digital leaders to promote plain English when presenting to clients (very hard when you love an acronym like me).
He was pivotal in the growth of the specialist units within MEC Interaction (and backing me personally with the creation of some of these!) at a time when you really didn’t know exactly what to put a bet on.
I truly believe that MEC Interaction was a digital pioneer and so successful in this period because of Jason’s vision and belief in his teams.
How has their heroism helped drive digital?
New media was the last line on an Excel plan or the last slide in a deck. The budgets we saw were dwarfed by national press, magazines, OOH and TV.
With the clients MEC had and leaders like Jason, the innovation, creativity and digital effectiveness we delivered has helped write part of the UK digital media story (huge shout outs to Tom George, Steve Hatch and Jeff Hyams at MEC during this period too.)
What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
The biggest challenge we face in digital now is understanding HOW we should use today’s technology. In a world where we are always on and always connected, we have a conundrum about the purpose of what we do.
Is it by nefarious UX design or is the consumer in control? Is the data I give up on a daily basis of benefit to me or being used without my knowledge?
We are in a no-man’s land of advancement, likely to last up to a decade while we learn to believe in the power of this hyper-technological advancement. We need to build trust with data and technology and use it to help advance the human race.
After speaking at a school event last month, it struck me that for an industry that has such low trust of the public, digital advertising is one of the greatest industries to work in.
We are helping to shape core pillars of the future — from clever uses of data, free access to content, free entertainment, free utilities and a World Wide Web that we all cannot live without – all broadly funded by advertising.
My next hero will come out of a school, college or university to find ways to use the myriad digital (and non-digital) touch points available today in a way we have not even considered.
I cannot wait to see what’s next!
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
I am proud to have been involved with digital for close to 20 years.
Each period has its highlights, lowlights and heroic moments — often you had to fight for digital to be heard.
But I am now privileged to lead an amazing team at Teads at the intersection of all the aspects that make digital great.
We get to work with amazing brands, agencies and publishers to deliver experiences that are consumer centric and outcome orientated. I am looking forward to continuing championing advertising experiences that deliver positive growth for our industry and benefits for the consumers we serve.