Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Fern Miller

We’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them.

Fern, Acting Chief Strategy Officer at The Community, is one of our industry’s leading strategists. Prior to The Community she was Chief Strategy Officer at DigitasLBi and worked at agencies including DLKW and Karmarama.

In line with recent diversions from the solo My Digital Hero concept, Fern has chosen an entire group of heroes, the “ambitious motherfuckers of invention”.

Who is your digital hero

I’m just going to call it the LBi Class of 2011.

 It includes Ewen Sturgeon, Luke Taylor, Lorenzo Wood, Chris Clarke, Anil Pillai, Himani Kipadia, Bettina Sherain, Simon Gill, Pipa Unsworth, Laurent Ezekiel, Alan Davies, Marcus Mustafa and Mike Islip, and loads more besides.

Like any good band, it’s all about the group, not the soloists.

 What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?

When I arrived at LBi, fresh from the creative agency (advertising) world, pretty sure that I knew it all, I was extremely lucky to have a crowd of heroically patient people around me to soften the landing and tactfully explain stuff like what CRM was and that “abandoned shopping carts” weren’t in fact the canal litter of nearby Asda stores.

I soon discovered that this collection of oddballs, misfits and inventors weren’t just generous with their time and knowledge but also unusually enthusiastic about what they were up to.

They seemed to really give a shit that we made stuff that hadn’t been done before and was better than anything else available. And yes, occasionally they quoted Spiderman in business presentations or got a bit overexcited about metatagging.

But for someone hard boiled in the cynical world of advertising,  this level of belief in the project was as refreshing as it was occasionally reckless… and it meant all of them soon became my heroes.  

How has their heroism helped drive digital?

They created a home for ambitious motherfuckers of invention, with audacious moves like taking over the Truman Brewery for head office or inviting the entire industry in for a very messy free rave.

More soberly, they constantly reinvented how we worked and what we did, and they demanded we did a lot more of it.

The upshot was that hundreds of alumni are now working with higher expectations for what teams should be able to do together.

What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

Helping our creative and media cousins fall in love with the potential of digital the way we did.

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

I am proud of the multidisciplined Strategy and Insight team I created for Lbi, then DigitasLBi, then Digitas, which was a pretty fearsome bunch of brilliant minds, across loads of connected disciplines, designed to blend together to do the work of their careers. 

Hopefully for most of them we didn’t succeed, and the best is yet to come.