Innovation. Disruption. Game changers. These are among the most overused words bantered about to describe the new, the interesting, the cool. In the Holmes Report’s first listing of innovators we looked for those who outdo – and in some cases, challenged – these clichés, with the body of work to show for it. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, for instance, it’s limited to North America. We’re recognizing individuals who have, in some way, contributed the great ideas that set the bar for innovation in our industry.
This year’s innovators overwhelmingly (67%) believe the PR industry is lagging when it comes to innovation, only 10% say it’s highly-innovative. Twenty-five percent say innovation in PR is most closely related to content, while research/analytics and social each fared about 20%. Forty-eight percent (both in-house and agency) report into the CEO of their organizations and nearly one-in-five aren’t part of a reporting structure. While nearly 33% report into their organization’s CMO, 43% say the CMO has the most influence over how innovative an organization’s PR/marketing is.
Innovation isn’t necessarily a product of youth. Most are far along in their careers with 70% having more than 20 years experience, 21% have between 12 and 20 years experience. They are spread across the country: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Atlanta and Maine, among them. Yet most point to San Francisco and New York as spots where innovation thrives, with Austin, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai, Sao Paulo and London also recognized. They’re not just PR people. Our list includes innovators across many sectors that have impacted PR, among them: publishing/editorial, digital marketing, analytics, venture capital, technology and retail.
And now, In2’s innovators 25.
The 25 innovators profiled in this list have evolved the practice, and appreciation, of PR. In compiling this list, the Holmes Report relied on external nominations, along with its own editorial research. Accordingly, the innovators were selected based on their:
- Challenging the industry’s boundaries and definitions of PR;
- Wittingly or otherwise elevating the role of PR within their organizations or the industry at large;
- Pushing PR into broader realms beyond media relations;
- Only one person could be selected from a particular company or agency.