Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Steve Wheen, Founder at content studio Distillery

Steve Wheen is Founder at content studio Distillery, and a board member at Outvertising. Previously he worked at companies including Google Creative Lab.

Who is your digital hero?

Neema Okal, Google Customer Reference Lead, APAC. 

Before her current role in APAC, she worked with VMware and AWS across North America.

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

Neema has redefined marketing across APAC over the last 3+ years, by building and scaling a customer-centric marketing programme that’s incredibly nuanced, meeting the needs of diverse stakeholders and markets within the region.

She’s the ultimate customer whisperer, tailoring her approach to create holistic stories, built from the ground up – not just localising content, but creating local content for specific audiences.

How has her heroism helped drive digital?

Neema has taken B2B marketing to a whole new level, putting customer stories at the heart of her marketing strategies across content and digital. She’s successfully built multi-platform story driven amplification strategies, using an impressive array of innovative techniques, formats and strategies. She’s works with a whole range of different types of businesses across different sectors, bridging the gap between the old and the new.

While driving both customer and executive engagement, she’s also a passionate advocate for inclusion and diversity – including through her roles on the Black Google Network and Women@Google – all the while contending with the additional challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has brought about, adopting new ways of working to navigate this terrain.  

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

One of the biggest challenges we face is the sheer amount of content that organisations create, both internally and externally. Audiences are becoming ever-more discerning and often quickly dismiss content that seems formulaic or disconnected from their interests.

We need more digital heroes – people within organisations that may create less content, but ensure that what they deliver connects with intended audiences at a deeper level. 

This can be particularly tricky when aligning cultural expectations with the needs of businesses operating within the constraints of a particular country. But digital heroes know the right relationships to build and can identify the touchpoints they need to use to address these concerns and take everyone on the same journey. 

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

I’m really proud of growing distillery, my Content Studio, from a one-man-band operating out of my garden shed to an international business that covers three continents. I’m also proud to have been able to do this without compromising my principles, and ensuring that the values I believe in are hard wired into the DNA of of the business, including through our Diversity Type project. 

Outside of my day job, my proudest achievement is my role on the board of Outvertising, the UK’s advocacy group for LGBTQ+ inclusive advertising and marketing. We’re helping to educate the industry on these subjects, to create more inclusive organisations and incluive work places for the LGBTQ+ community.

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