Continuing our series of interviews with the Dadi Awards judges, Virgin Media director of digital Rhona Bradshaw tells us about the media giant's journey to becoming digital first.
Digital may be a relatively new industry, but it still comes as a surprise to hear that Virgin Media's digital department has only existed in its current form since December 2013.
Before that, Rhona Bradshaw explains, digital was seen as "another channel to drive our marketing and sales agenda through, as opposed to it being a way of thinking".
Steadily, that mindset is changing. "Digital is part of pretty much all of the conversations [now]," says Bradshaw. "We’re hugely more mature than we were 18 months ago but we’re still on a journey of where we can be and we’ve got a five to six year plan that ultimately should see us have digital as being the number one commercial channel, where it’s the number one point of entry for customer care or sales."
Virgin Media's move to become a more digital-orientated organisation is a simple response to consumer demand, according to Bradshaw. "Digital allows us to be much more customer-centric and probably truly customer-centric because we know over 80 per cent of decisions and sales journeys begin online."
But satisfying customer demands – whenever, and wherever, they have them – is not without its challenges. "The minute you tell your customer you have a digital option they do assume it’s 24/7. So your management of their expectations becomes probably the most important thing that ultimately makes a great strategy. We’re certainly not a 24/7 company as of yet but that’s certainly the vision."
Bradshaw will join counterparts from Visa Europe, Bacardi and Sky Sports in judging the Dadi Awards in association with Workfront this year. So what is she hoping to see from the entrants?
"I’m hoping to see innovation in their ways of thinking, how they’re approaching problems, how they solve them. I’m looking forward to seeing how they take quite generic user behaviour and customer behaviour and translate it into how it’s appropriate for their world.
"I think I’m trying to see how other companies are approaching the digital-first agenda, and that 'customer-centricity' kind of role because it’s pretty much the buzzword of the moment and the way in which people are moving, but I think few companies have been able to make it work within their space."
The Dadis (The Drum awards for the digital industries), celebrates digital excellence, and are open for entries to agencies and clients throughout the UK until 5 June. See this year's judging panel in full.
For more details about the Dadi Awards in association with Workfront and sponsored by Shazam, and to enter, visit dadiawards.com.