Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Naren Patel, CEO Co-Founder at Geoprove Limited and Founder of Media For All

Shez Iqbal, Director of Publisher Partnerships, Criteo picked Naren Patel, CEO Co-Founder at Geoprove Limited and Founder of Media For All,  as his Digital Hero. Now he passes on the honour by choosing his.

Who is your digital hero? 

Tim Bleakley, CEO, Ocean Outdoor.

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

The out of home industry has been rapidly evolving into a digital medium and Tim has been at the forefront of the change.

According to the latest numbers from Outsmart, digital accounted for 64% of the revenue on Out of Home and Tim and the team at Ocean Outdoor have been relentless promoters of Digital Out of Home.

In my opinion digital out of home is the only reason that the Out of Home industry has maintained market share and prospered since the launch of Google and Facebook. Tim has been a formidable competitor for over a decade during my time in Out of Home and what he has created with Ocean has been incredible.

How has his heroism helped drive digital?

Tim has three qualities that makes him heroic

Firstly, a single minded focus on the benefits that digital out of home can bring to the advertising ecosystem. A good example of this is the launch the Ocean Digital creative competition, which encourages and rewards great creative work on OOH. Now in its 13th year it has become synonymous with the digital out of home industry

Second – an investment in research and development in the sector and the creation of Ocean Labs. The latest campaigns that are using DeepScreen technology are a good example of getting incredible campaigns on digital out of home which then get shared on millions of devices and promotes the sector

Third – An incredible commitment to marketing and promotion.  The Ocean brand has become one of the most recognised brands in media. The creation of the Art of Outdoor, The Grid and Full Motion are wonderful examples of this. Tim leads from the front; he is an incredible promoter of the Ocean brand and is a regular on the conference scene in his broad “Manc” accent banging the drum about the beauty and the benefits of digital out of home

Finally, Tim  is also a fellow Manchester united supporters and has amazing seats at the ground …..

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

I believe that digital out of home needs to become a real part of the digital ecosystem and not something that sits in a silo.

Over the last few years, the industry has spent a lot of time and money connecting the screens, but we still need a change in mindset from clients and agencies to really make digital out of home a channel that sits alongside other channels

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

The launch of the digital phone boxes with BT was the most difficult challenge that I personally undertook.

Replacing old phone boxes with new digital infrastructure totems that offered free calls and one gig wi-fi was incredibly challenging. However, the BT portfolio gave us access to some amazing locations and although the product had some growing pains in its early stage it has become one of the most successful digital out of home products in the market today.

Seeing one on the streets of London always makes me smile particularly given the negative feedback from the naysayers about the product.