Tom Bick | The Innovator 25
Charting the future of public relations
TomBickThe Innovator 25:

Tom Bick

Sr. Director Integrated Marketing and Advertising, 
Madison WI

Paid Media & Marketing

Recognized for conceptualizing breakthrough integrated marketing campaigns, like 'Wake Up and Smell the Bacon' for Oscar Mayer, in addition to innovative work (that drives sales) for Dunkin’ Donuts, Miller Lite and Miller High Life. 
Where does the PR industry need to innovate the most?

Creative storytelling & Content creation. Content is king.  Without great content, it matters not how great your media plan is, how smart your PR plan is or how advanced your measurement plan.  The industry is falling in love with the technology and the hype around the ever changing marketing landscape and moreover obsessed about being a first mover to take advantage of this changing landscape;  but sadly, many of these efforts are small minded flat footed and devoid of brilliant creativity.  Always start with the brilliant idea.  

How innovative do you think the PR industry currently is?
About the same as other marketing disciplines. My experience is that no industry is more innovative than the next in this space.  Innovation happens more at the granular level.  It starts with a few individuals who are both willing to challenge the conventions but at the same time understand the conventions they are challenging.  Break the right rules, not all the rules.  Those who understand this create new space and ideas that work and aren't just a flash in the pan.

What is most important for the PR industry to do to foster more innovation?
Disrupt the agency business model.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be 'innovative.'

The last four years in particular have been the height of my career.  Traditional creative big idea thinking got the needed boost by being able to fully exploit the full potential of an idea by harnessing the almost limitless power of digital.  It's like we were painting in black and white in the past, now we have color.  

In part it is due to the convergence of two factors:  smart phones popularity and technology leaped forward at a tremendous pace while simultaneously agency creative talent that was raised in a media agnostic way (truly facile in both traditional and digital) matured and honed their creative talents. I was just fortunate enough to be able to bring the creative big idea thinking together with the digital experience.