Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Harmony Murphy, Global Head of Digital & Programmatic at The Telegraph

Harmony Murphy is The Telegraph’s Global Head of Digital & Programmatic. She started her career in digital at Groupon in 2008 and worked at IPG Media and Time Inc before joining The Telegraph in 2017, rising to her current role in February 2019.

Who is your digital hero?

My digital Hero is Phoebe Hugh. Phoebe is the CEO & Founder of Brolly the UK insurance app that lets you keep track of various policies so you are correctly & competitively covered.

This personal insurance app encapsulates an AI policy management tool that handily scans your emails and brings together all your different policies into once place such as travel, phone, home, car etc.

With Brolly you are able to insure up to a staggering £40k worth of belongings plus no fees for updates to your cover which I find remarkable! Especially given Brolly is such an insightful and necessary product. Brolly offers a comprehensive yet simplified user experience making insurance accessible, affordable and easy to understand to the masses.  

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

The concept of Brolly is the brainchild of Phoebe, she noticed demand and a gap in the market and was innovative, courageous and precise to drive a successful solution. Phoebe has a real entrepreneurial flair and noticed that the only real innovation in 30 years has been the price comparison sites. However, what was really needed was expertise, reputability and talent within this space to ensure consumers are getting a watertight service.

Phoebe really has captured this through her market leading bespoke product and gained consumer trust within the UK. Phoebe hasn’t just stopped there though; she has continued to evolve and modify Brolly to meet further demand within the market. Brolly Content is the startup’s very own insurance policy. In all she demonstrates prolonged ambition — a really inspirational vision and work ethic.  

How has their heroism helped drive digital?

Phoebe has appeared in Forbes under 30, The Telegraph, The FT, The Times and TechCrunch to name a few publications; she continues to engage, and inspire those in the start-up, app and insurance industry.

As a woman in her prime, Phoebe has taken on insurance giants and proved that insurance can be simplified, user friendly and accessible all under one umbrella, hence ‘Brolly’.

Her app is positively disruptive. A driving force within the UK not just for the industry but also for her loyal customers. Because when it comes to life decisions like insurance the consumer wants to be in control.  

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

This isn’t just for one hero but a collaboration across the industry. Right now, there is a lot of uncertainty within the UK market within digital. On top of the continuing unpredictability of Brexit and uneasiness with brands’ marketing and media plans heading in to Q1 2020, brands are looking for more impact for less spend over shorter time periods. But this is where data and understanding your data becomes key. 

Also there is a knock on effect when it comes to consumer’s confidence when it comes to purchase trends be that overseas travel or property investments. 

Even though there are many questions within the UK market at present, digital continues to attract more of the overall budget and programmatic is still continuing to gain traction and bigger budgets year on year. Brands are investing in building a tech stack that future proofs them for a more data-driven, addressable media landscape.

There are so many questions we need to address. What brands do themselves and what they outsource. Are they accurately tying back activity to the overall business results? How they future plan for the likes of TV and OOH increasingly being bought leveraging data and moving to programmatic? How they evolve their strategy to synergize with cookies’ future or without third-party data? Is there substantial enough scale within a subscription model to execute effectively?

Media outlets need to be controlling what they’re exposing users to, while end-users should be in control of how they are tracked.  Leading into 2020 these are all big challenges that we need many heroes to solve.

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

Outside of my current role it would be becoming a digital mentor for Generation Success, an inclusive community that supports people with ambition to realise their potential through mentoring, coaching and access to industry.

Formed as a result of underrepresentation of diverse and non-traditional talent within employment and enterprise, James Adeleke started the organisation to provide a solution to under-representation by removing barriers and connecting business and people of diversity. Their fundamental belief is that your career should not be defined by your birth.

They are a not for profit organisation, an inspiring network that advances social mobility by empowering people to achieve their career aspirations.

I joined Generation Success as a mentor in 2019 and recently took part in a panel at Amazon HQ. I touched on my journey, belief and aspirations – it was great to have feedback on how well received it was. A few weeks later I was walking around near where I live and a lovely lady came up to me and said “I am not sure if you remember me, I was at your session at Amazon, and after listening I felt so inspired I went out with more confidence to find a job, I managed to get back into digital”.  

This for me truly was a significant moment, as digital is driven by the amazing people that work within it who are able to inspire and empower others to become future heroes.