Sara Patel, Director of Fundraising at NABS, picked Bradley Hill, Managing Partner at the Dentsu Aegis Network as her digital hero. Now he passes on the honour by choosing his.
Who is your digital hero?
My Digital hero is Alex Newman, President of Adylic.
What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?
Alex founded OMD Mobile when mobile adtech was in its infancy, and in only a few years developed a best-in-class group capability that I was lucky to be brought into by him.
He gave me my digital break; taking me under his wing and sharing with me a progressive vision to help clients win within an emerging mobile economy. Owing to this break I was exposed early in my career to emerging technologies such as AR, HTML5, geo-targeting, programmatic buying and IOT tech, that most people in our industry would only read about in trend articles.
Alex also introduced me to a network of entrepreneurial and influential figures within the industry, showed me how to be a self-starter and gave me the confidence to be creative with what was in front of me.
He gave Omnicom a mobile X-Factor which afforded its clients a first-mover advantage in the space, and I gained invaluable experience by being part of that ride. Like me, I’m sure many others will say similar – that he has either accelerated their business digitally and/or been an influential figure in their career trajectory.
How has his heroism helped drive digital?
Alex has a special grasp of the digitisation of the world and our industry, and through his drive, charisma and insight, he has shown countless businesses a path towards being both cutting-edge and effective in a fast changing landscape.
Alex’s hustle and passion have been his greatest assets in driving digital forwards. It felt like in no time our mobile product within Omnicom went from a two person OMD UK team (Alex and myself), to a globally-spanning edge for the group which was down to Alex’s tireless networking and the results being produced when the operating model Alex devised was put into practice.
He was also a major proponent of Omnicom’s acquisition of Mobile-5 in 2014 which rounded off our capabilities at the time to include creative, web, app and mobile first ad-tech expertise to work alongside existing mobile-first media capabilities.
Several years later and I can safely say that hundreds of brands have experienced a digital leap or several due to Alex’s influence; be it mobile or DCO-related.
What is the biggest challenge in digital we need another hero to solve?
Close to my heart as a parent of a 3 year old and new born is the challenge of ensuring we have a healthy digital economy, which positively stimulates future generations.
Sadly, there are a number of technologies which can negatively affect the wellbeing of young people across the world physically and mentally. While the effects of digital are net positive on the whole, we need heroes within our industry to tirelessly push anyone who is capable of bringing digital transformation to our world to be cognisant of how it might be exploited, and to make every effort to make it safe, ethical and a powerful force for good.
It is so important to have heroes devoted to these endeavours because this type of change is incredibly difficult to effect – and yet, we see transformational change in our digital economy on a daily basis. Lets try and make more of these in the interest of betterment for society and our children.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
I’m most proud of the role I played in merging Amplifi’s Digital and Print teams together to form the One Display team in 2017.
The intention here was to help our clients realise the benefits of connecting marketing experiences across both Printed and Digital media in-line with the publishing industry’s growing number of access points across digital platforms, and defragmenting our proposition for clients.
We would have One Display team to help brands engage their customers across platforms within different guises – interactive, static, audio-visual, data driven, etc. The formation of One Display involved bringing digital specialists and offline specialists teams together to realise our vision; redesigning processes, upskilling just under 100 people in their new online/offline accountabilities, changing account team structures… and this can be a very difficult thing to achieve.
When all was said and done I am very happy to say that the integration we achieved in forming One Display continues to work incredibly well, and the long hours then and now in steering our One Display specialists continues to be well worth it!