Gur Tsabar | The Innovator 25
Charting the future of public relations
Gur_TsabarThe Innovator 25:

Gur Tsabar

SVP, Social Issues, Digital Strategy & Innovations, Ketchum
Los Angeles


For developing Voice Machine that is – despite the name — grounded in the humanity of online engagement. And for Consumer Rules 2.0 that helps brands 'seek permission' before jumping into conversations.  

Where does the PR industry need to innovate the most?
Uncovering human-centered insights. We struggle, almost systemically, to get at the core human truths that underlie the conversations that matter to our clients the most; and I think that’s because we still overwhelmingly default to viewing the world from our clients’ biased perspectives first.

How innovative do you think the PR industry currently is?
About the same as other marketing disciplines. The day we become a little less ‘bright shiny object’ and a little more ‘rooted heartfelt connection’ is the day we’re likely to break away from the pack.

What is most important for the PR industry to do to foster more innovation? 
Change the industry culture. The industry's ability to innovate more and iterate faster will largely depend on how quickly and efficiently it can close the gap between the two, still very distinct sides of the house: between those who have long excelled at communicating with reporters and editors in the media and those who excel at weaving in and out of online conversations with just about any person on the planet. Two tremendously different skillsets, two tremendously different mindsets, one huge operational gap.

The most innovative PR/communications campaign in the last 12 months
McDonald’s Our Food. Your Questions. would certainly be one of them because it’s not actually a campaign, but rather a sustained, behavior changing and business transforming initiative. From my POV, efforts like these – that ultimately require companies to operationalize around the communications function – come closest to expressing our industry's fullest potential.

Brands or agency with the most innovative approach to communications
Love 'em or hate 'em, Uber would have to be up there for having just shrewdly and successfully mobilized NYC residents against Mayor de Blasio's proposed congestion plan, a move that would have immediately capped the company's growth.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be 'innovative.'
A decade ago, while working at the New York City Council, I launched an anonymous political blog that – for the first time ever – gave NYC residents a front row seat to the back room political machinations that give birth to a new City Council Speaker every few years.

How do you inspire innovation within yourself or to your team? 
By focusing intensely on that one core thing I really do best; and by effectively encouraging each person on my team to do the same.

In your opinion, what's the most innovative place in the world?
#1: Each of our guts and minds. #2: Spain, a country whose citizenry has in many ways cracked the code on what it means to live life to the fullest…

What's your favorite time of day and why?
Book time with my lil’ man every night before he goes to bed. Nothing rejuvenates the spirit more than the adorably whacked-out shenanigans of an eight year old...