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We are already in a mobile-first world in India: Bianca Best

Bianca Best, Global Managing Director of Blink & Strategic Partnerships, Mediacom, is responsible for growing Blink, Mediacom’s emerging technology division, and refining Mediacom’s media partnership strategy to provide vision and leadership during a period of exponential growth. On the Strategic Partnership side, Best’s role entails defining and refining Mediacom’s media partnership strategy. This includes converting strategy into client and team action plans with key media partners to deliver value to clients. 

Blink was launched in 2016 to help Mediacom’s clients harness the power of new technologies and partner with innovative start-ups to solve business problems. Engagements range from establishing dedicated corporate innovation programmes to executing pilot projects and scaling solutions for a variety of problems. These include delivery solutions, quality assurance for store compliance and couponing. 

In conversation with Adgully, Bianca Best talks about Blink’s growth across markets, brands transitioning from digital marketing to technology-enabled marketing and more. 

In the beginning of 2019 you had predicted that brands would embrace the acceleration with more aggressive trials. Have you seen this happening during the year?
I have certainly seen more and more clients asking us to help them understand how to sell core business challenges in ways that are inebriated. So, clients aren’t just coming to us to solve their marketing problems, they’re asking us to look at the operational side of their business and infrastructure. How can we bringing new technology that helps them run their overall business more efficiently – we get asked to advice on things like that. We run a test in one market with one partner; if it works, we scale it. 

What do brands need to do to transition from digital marketing to technology-enabled marketing?
First, stop looking at innovation as a PR stunt. It is to not build an act that sits apart from the main HQ. This is what the brands do they build an innovation brand. They don’t have long term business impact because they are not aligned for business goals and such problems. They are just stunts. This is a very short term approach and does not help the business to scale up. So, it’s partnering with agencies like Mediacom, where we understand the consumer, landscape, technology, future. Allow us to consult in such a way where we can connect your product, your marketing, your data and it all comes together. Then together we start and define where the opportunities are and scale the business. 

Do you see the shift happening to a mobile-only agenda?
With the impact of globalisation and connected communities, I think the power of mobile in enabling connections and creation of new value chain has never been more personal or liberating. We are already in a mobile-first world in India. 

How can marketers build successful relationships with AI?
AI is simply about employing computers to do the thinking that we don’t need to do. What actually happens is that automation frees up our time and brings in humanism. It starts emphasising on human skills where, EQ or the emotional intelligence side and strategic thinking become really core. So, when I think about the workforce of tomorrow, I want to be empowering children; getting people who work in our agency to really connect with our human skills more than ever. This is essential for the future. Hence, I don’t feel threatened by it, I feel excited. AI is liberating. 

How do you develop this emotional quotient in AI?
We step into emphasising our human skills, where the functional tasks can be delivered into computers and get the results. In a function like media delivery, AI can process the data and provide the analysis. The emotional quotient here is about unleashing the wonderful brain power that starts enabling people to have more fun strategically. 

Could you tell us about how Mediacom Blink been working with its clients?
Blink’s core premise is around encouraging brands to step into a place of experimentation. CMOs know that to accelerate and to survive in an era of economic decline they need to be brave, curious and require specialised partners to step into new territories. What we do is bring in a repository of the world’s tech start-ups and partner with big global brands in a way where we establish that this technology is going to drive growth for them and is potentially scalable. It need not necessarily be media or martech, it could be any tech. For instance, we connect a drone company with Mars ice-cream to start delivering ice-creams continuously on the beach. We could start doing something that’s disruptive and step outside traditional media realms. We are now rolling out our product globally in every office of Mediacom around the world. 

How have you been growing Blink across markets?
We design as per what the proposition is and what the product models are, then we establish that product line in the market and then bring on board a Chief Strategy Officer, who will be responsible for breeding this new consultative model that will sit alongside the traditional media model. 

As clients are stepping into innovation, they are increasingly asking for trusted advisors and thought leadership. So, we establish the model in the market, we establish who the ambassadors are, and I host the client, where the client leaders sit with me and connect with the London team and together we start building up the local market framework.

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