Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Danny Blackburn, Chief Strategy Officer, Kinesso

Danny Blackburn is Chief Strategy Officer, Kinesso. We asked who his digital hero is.

Who is your digital hero?

Jed Hallam, Founder & Managing Director at CultureLab, a cultural intelligence platform, former Chief Strategy Officer at Initiative UK and Global Head of Strategy for Arcadia at Snap.

What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?

I first worked with Jed on a IPG Mediabrands pitch many moons ago when I was making my first tentative steps from a plucky northern independent agency into the incredibly daunting world of the big networks.

I was immediately blown away by his generosity, collaboration and enthusiasm – Jed’s one of those people whose first thought is to bring people in and build them up. So it came as no surprise when he co-founded Common People (, a network for people from working-class backgrounds in the creative industries.

As an industry, we need to do much more to bring people in from these communities, to serve our clients better, do more effective work, and also to help boost representation from other under-represented groups too.

How has his heroism helped drive digital?

As an industry it feels like we’re finally starting to make improvements when it comes to DEI – especially at KINESSO – but class remains something of an unspoken blind spot. Through Common People, Jed is shining a light into this dark corner, raising awareness and giving people from working-class backgrounds a bunch of practical assistance to help them navigate what can sometimes feel like an alien world.

There’s so much talent to be tapped into here – particularly outside of London.
What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve? I’d love someone to swoop in and fix the agency world’s commercial model overnight, Wonder Woman style. It’s something KINESSO’s awesome CEO Chloe Hawking is working hard on and we’re seeing some amazing win/win results from our early explorations here with forward-thinking clients who are up for the challenge of working with pure performance-based remuneration models.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

Ahh, shucks, I’m no hero… But I right now I’m really proud of the way my team is collaborating with our IPG Mediabrands agency partners at Initiative, UM and Mediahub to embed tech-driven, digital performance thinking into wider marketing strategies.

It’s really about making sure we’re setting our clients up for success in an increasingly automated, AI-driven world by optimising digital experience, creative and content as well as pulling levers in paid media.