Alex Thompson | The Innovator 25 2016
Charting the future of public relations
alex-thompsonThe Innovator 25:

Alex Thompson 

VP of communications/public affairs


REI

"We broke the mold for retail." 


For his involvement in REI's #OptOutside campaign — the brave initiative that saw the outdoor retailer close all of its 143 US stores on Black Friday (the busiest shopping day of the year) and pay its 12,000 employees to take the day off instead of spending it indoors (which also emerged as the most awarded PR campaign in the world according to the the Holmes Report’s 2016 Global Creative Index).

Give us a title/description that best describes what you do.
Brand Engagement and Stewardship

Where are you from/hometown?
London

Where are you based now?
Seattle

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Creative storytelling and content because  cuts across the other categories and increasingly knows no disciplinary boundaries.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry's level of innovation?
More innovative then other marketing disciplines. Other marketing disciplines have more limitations - of budget, of measurement, of historic expectations. PR grew up scrappy, imaginative, resourceful.

What is most important for the PR industry to do to foster more innovation?
Change the industry culture 

How do you define innovation?
Altering the acceptable.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you've seen in the last 12 months?
McWhopper.

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
Patagonia. Edelman.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
The inception and creation of OptOutside. We broke the mold for retail.

Something — not PR/marketing related — that is innovative.
Tesla

Please give our readers an idea of something that can inspire innovation — this can be a book/movie/podcast/activity/article.
Watch the first color movies made

Least favorite time of day?
2.37pm

Most innovative place in the world? This could be a city, a venue, a neighborhood, etc.
Copenhagen