Dan O’Gorman is Chief Commercial Officer of growth marketing agency Monumental. Prior to joining Monumental in January 2024, Dan was the EMEA Brand Partnerships Director for Bazaarvoice. Before, he was the Commercial Director at Gay Times Group, Commercial Director of Pride in London and Head of Sponsorship at KidZania.
Who is your digital hero?
Karen Blackett OBE, President of WPP UK, NED Diageo and Creative UK and Former Country Manager for WPP and GroupM UK CEO.
What has she done to win hero status in your eyes?
Where does one start with the incomparable Karen Blackett. Karen is a force of nature, not only in her remarkable leadership of the behemoth that is WPP, moreover as powerhouse advocate and trailblazer of social change.
Her steadfast and unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and visible representation for women in leadership and in her promotion of the integral and vital need for diversity within medialand and in the creative content and the digital assets its agencies produce are extraordinary.
It is a mission and necessity that I absolutely believe in.
The inordinate amount of data, workplace culture analysis and social proof in the advancements that society and business can make in adopting, delivering on and sustaining what Karen so ardently stands by is incontrovertible, and I admire her immensely for continuing to keep this on the agenda of the businesses and organisations that she leads and supports.
How has her heroism helped drive digital?
A consumer trust and advertising authenticity revolution. We all know the shift in how consumers engage with content. Brands and their budgets can no longer solely rely on branded content to communicate effectively what their brand message is, why their products or services are the right ones for that consumer and what sets them apart from the thousands of other competitor brands out there.
Why? Because there is a long-standing lack of trust between consumers, brands and the organisations that work on brands’ behalf. User-generated-content is here to stay and remains a huge asset to the digital marketing landscape in accelerating the voice of the consumer and putting it at the forefront of high impact digital content to drive brand growth. It is by no means successful in its own right, it must form a strategic part of a wider media marketing mix, but for the remainder of that mix to build back and retain its trust from consumers, its ethics need to shift.
Karen has driven change throughout the WPP ecosystem and inspired many other leaders and agencies to adopt her belief in digital media ethics. Revisiting how to keep consumers safe, and holding WPP-family agencies and their clients to account with the launch of the Responsible Investment Framework. Shaping the future of digital media.
Karen has been clear on her commitment to authentic societal representation and the impact that it can have in shaping the future of digital media.
I also absolutely believe, like Karen does, in the power and positive impact of the digital universe but also the huge and contentious responsibility that it has to those who engage directly with it and crucially, the broader impact that it has on socio-cultural developments around the world. This is exactly why I joined Monumental, to accelerate growth for brands that want to innovate and support the communities they aim to engage at the same time.
What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
For me this is fixing the internal battle that many amazing trailblazers face within their businesses in making the economic case for investment, energy and non-tokenistic support for LGBTQ+ community platforming year round.
There remains a huge disparity between business ERG’s and their endless striving to deliver work that platforms their colleagues and customers, and the senior stakeholders within those businesses seeing the commercial and future growth value of that work as part of their consumer-facing brand marketing.
The economic case for commercial activism as part of day-to-day B2C marcomms is undeniable, but we really do need a collective of digital business leaders to recognise this and make a significant step-change in this direction.
Seasonal support has long been shown to be detrimental to brands’ consumer trust, particularly when there is limited cultural understanding and a lack of authentic engagement with the communities that this work supports, with best intentions, it is trying to highlight.
Responsible storytelling is at the heart of this, and digital leaders see the value in that in the long term organisational development and growth of their brand(s) is where we need to see a revolution.
This is something that I have been campaigning within the industry for for years, it’s at the heart of what we do at Monumental and I hope that we’ll see many more digital hero’s making waves in this space this year.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have worked with so many tenacious and passionate people across so many digital rollercoasters. I’m sure that if you ask me again in 6 months time I’ll have a different experience with my amazing team at Monumental that I’ll be singing about.
But for now, I think it really comes down to some of the transformational work delivered at Bazaarvoice. Working with global brands, turning over billions of dollars and re-educating them on the enormous changes they need to make to stay relevant and retain market share by moving from an owned digital media approach to an earned and leveraging user-generated-content to do so.
Demonstrating the huge, cost efficient approach to integrating consumer created content at the heart of their digital marketing and ecommerce strategies in brands like Charlotte Tilbury, Intersnack, Pukka, Tangle Teezer, Liberty’s and so many others and really seeing that lightbulb moment take effect and the results speak for themselves has been so incredibly rewarding.
For me, the pride that comes from identifying a real opportunity for clients that trust you, leveraging data to bring them on that journey with you and then delivering them activity that could bring truly transformational change to their business operations – Digital Magic!
As I look forward to 2024, I’m so excited to be surrounded by so many digital magicians at Monumental!