Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Emil Bielski, Managing Director, Croud

Emil Bielski is Managing Director at Croud has over 15-years experience in the digital industry. Prior to Croud, he held roles at companies including iProspect, MEC and Maxus. We asked who his digital hero is.

Who is your digital hero?

Nick Baughan, Director of Agencies Facebook. UK & I.

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

Nick brings a combination of intelligence, respect and loyalty to digital, he is the Burford Brown of media, a good egg.

He always challenged me when we worked together at Maxus; “Emil, you need to elevate this” was a common phrase used, and unlike telling a graphic designer “Can you make this pop?”I actually knew what he meant. More importantly, when we had quite a challenging time at Maxus (during its merger with MEC) Nick really led from the front; constantly communicating with the agency and embodying the “empathetic leadership” touted by so many Linkedin Posts.

Finally, Nick has always been there to support my career post Maxus; giving advice, presenting at talks I have hosted and helping connect me to people across the industry. After only a year and a half of working together, that’s loyalty.

How has his heroism helped drive digital?

Nick came from a classic communications planning background, but has always pushed himself to connect the old and new worlds together. Staying on top of an ever changing digital landscape, whilst being deeply involved in effectiveness via the Effies.

When he was at the helm of Maxus, it was the most disruptive agency in Group M, and under his stewardship it doubled in size. Now running agency relationships at Facebook via a stint at Essence, he has really brought those great communication skills to the fore, steering a challenging digital environment (for everyone) with deftness of touch, empathy and clarity. 

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

There are probably a hundred huge challenges that we need to tackle, but I will focus on one, which is quite pressing for us all: talent.

We need a raft of digital heroes that can communicate beyond the confines of our industry, spreading the word of the great careers that can be had in digital – lets get some more diverse people and thinking into our world. Luckily we have some great founders at Croud in Luke & Ben, who spread the gospel, along with their peers at the other Indies, yet we can always do with more!

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

It has to be winning the Compare the Market digital account with Croud at the back end of last year.

It was one of the biggest media pitches of the past few years and one of the biggest ever wins for an Independent agency. Yet, this was far from a personal achievement; everyone played such a key role; from the two founders of Croud, through to the project management, data, planning and activation teams.

Everyone came together and enjoyed the process in a way that I had never seen before in the 100 or so pitches I have done in my career.