Adrianna Bevilaqua | The Innovator 25
Charting the future of public relations
AG_BeliviquaThe Innovator 25:

Adrianna Bevilaqua

Chief Creative Officer 
M Booth
New York

Creative Services

Recognized for pushing boundaries and making smart connections between ideas and contemporary culture, including reaching out to the 'non-mom' demographic of adult women with 'Shades of Otherhood.'


Where does the PR industry need to innovate the most?
Media innovation. The heart of public relations lies in an intimate understanding of media. First it began as traditional media, understanding editors, the news cycles and ensuring we gave clients the right context to insert ourselves into the days next conversation. Then social media blew up and the industry quickly adjusted to the idea that we do not need to rely solely on third party media to tell stories, we could use platforms to talk to consumers directly.   

Next up is emerging media and technology. The internet of things is enabling new ways for brands to improve the life of consumers. Data is creating hyper-personalized media, transforming digital media from displays and targeted ads (i.e. spam) into predictive content that can provide delight and utility to the user.  

This is the next big wave and the companies that can innovate how they think and create around the media of today and tomorrow will win by attracting forward looking talent and clients.

How innovative do you think the PR industry currently is? 
More innovative than other marketing disciplines. Since our practice began in the space of earned media we have historically been the discipline that listens most to consumers, and understands sentiment in context. We've used those insights to inform, create and excite audiences through dynamic content, partnerships, events, experiences, ambassadors, spokespeople, culture-jacking...the list goes on. In general we have been able to do more with less (resources) compared to our counterparts.  

I chuckle at integrated agency meetings when advertising agencies talk about native content like its a new idea. It's a new idea to them. PR has been placing brands, client and ideas into editorial content for almost 100 years. The thing we could probably learn most from advertising is not around innovation, it's about how to sell what we are doing.

What is most important for the PR industry to do to foster more innovation?
Make things. Smart companies will invest in people and resources that can make things that are worth sharing with the world. Today that is content. Tomorrow it will be technology, new products, and things we have not even imagined yet.

In your opinion, the most innovative PR/communications campaign in the last 12 months.
The communication around the show GIRLS nails it for me. It's unapologetically on brand and draws from amazing cultural insights for this audience and then uses those insights to inspire ideas for new media channels and content.  

From launching a hilarious snap chat channel to casting Hannah as a branded content editor instead of her true passion, to be a journalist, they've merged the world of GIRLS with how real girls are living today.

Tell us which brands or agencies are most innovative in their approach to communications
Well I wouldn't be working at M Booth if I didn't believe it was a place with unbelievable vision and innovation.  Before working here I had a major intellectual crush on the agency and now my love has grown after working with the team for almost 9 months.  The people are the brightest in the business and at the core is an entrepreneurial spirit that blends intellect and imagination with fun and laughs. That is the true north. Most days Margi or Dale will pop into our offices and ask if we are having fun.  

We are not building a culture that gives you balance between work and life but instead building one that makes you want to marry the two together. Now that is thinking out of the box and it also happens to be really good business.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be 'innovative.'
Innovation to me is not about thinking outside of a box it's about creating a new shape all together.  One of my favorite things I ever did was launch Shades of Otherhood a research project and white paper around marketing to the non-mom demographic. This work was done in collaboration with some awesome former colleagues and a woman named Melanie Notkin who wrote a memoir about her experience as part of the Otherhood. 

If you can believe it almost half of adult women in the U.S. do not have kids although the majority of marketing talks to all adult women like we are moms. It was a provocative piece that helped bust myths around women and adulthood, painting this tribe with nuance and truth and proving we are so much more than Carrie Bradshaw. 

How do you inspire innovation within yourself or to your team? 
My biggest source of inspiration is culture. I'm always fascinated by the people, words and ideas taking up space on the planet.  How can you go further if you don't have a good understanding of where we are right now?  Whenever anyone asks for advice around how to stay inspired I always say the simplest thing you can do is read everything you can. I happily go between high brown and low brow. Right now I have Between the World and Me lying next to Star magazine on my bedside table. 

What’s the most innovative place in the world
The place for me that has the most forward looking ideas is MOMA, in Manhattan. I was an art history major in college and am always fascinated by the innovation and ideas in contemporary and conceptual art.   The works now can be mostly appreciated for their aesthetic value but if you put the pieces in the context of the time they were painted they will completely blow you away. Henri Matisse's iconic "the Dance," for example, was painted before women could even vote.

What's your favorite time of day?
I am a major morning person. At least I became this way in my thirties.   I think the calm and purpose you find in the morning can set a rhythm for your entire day. This year I changed one habit which has been a huge source of inspiration. I replaced my TODAY show hour with a daily podcast from NPR's Fresh Air. It works great because with my headphones in I can blow dry my hair simultaneously.