Sean Corcoran | The Innovator 25 2016
Charting the future of public relations
Sean CorcoranThe Innovator 25:

Sean Corcoran   

Executive director of digital media & innovation 

MullenLowe/MediaHub 

 
"The marketing industry has built tremendous technology for finding and reaching audiences but is woefully behind in bringing that same level of innovation to actually telling engaging and relevant stories."

 

For tripling the size of MullenLowe's US Mediahub in three years — including setting a standard for the firm's integrated work for brands like JetBlue, Netflix, Lenovo and others. And for understanding how to use content in a way that makes sense and matters. For instance, using SXSW concert videos as content marketing for Bose, repurposing historical news stories from 1865 as content marketing for the National Geographic's channel's "Killing Lincoln" and launching one of the first social media sponsorships of the NFL Draft with ESPN.

Describe what you do.
A little of everything but ultimately my role is to make sure Mediahub, the media arm of MullenLowe, is at the forefront of new media.

Where are you from/hometown?
Marlborough, MA

Where are you based now?
Boston, MA

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Planning &Measurement. Right now the marketing industry has built tremendous technology for finding and reaching audiences but it is woefully behind in bringing that same level of innovation to actually telling engaging and relevant stories in a human way that people actually want.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry's level of innovation?
Lagging the others. Social media really pushed comms/PR back into the marketing mix in the past five or so years but the industry doesn't leverage technology and data as well as other areas of marketing.

What is most important for the PR industry to do to foster more innovation?
New hiring practices/criteria

How do you define innovation?
It's all about finding the unorthodox yet effective solution to a problem whether it be a brand new tool/technology or even using an old medium in new ways.

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
Brands like LEGO do a great job just by making a great product and energizing its super fans while brands like SpaceX and Uber do a great job by disrupting the world. Burberry does a great job committing to social media and brands like Shinola and TOMS shoes do a great job by promoting their missions. And Converse has done an amazing job building a culturally relevant brand without much of an ad budget.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
In 2006 I was on a media team that took a chance at creating a Myspace profile for the Motorola Q smartphone. It was one of the first ever branded social profiles and my job has never been the same since.

Something — not PR/marketing related — that is innovative.
Tesla - because they're re-thinking what a car can be and then executing the hell of it.

Please give our readers an idea of something that can inspire innovation — this can be a book/movie/podcast/activity/article.
For me it's always about stepping outside of your every day world and looking for inspiration in other places. For instance I really enjoy a few history podcasts as they can transport you to stories from another time and place.

Least favorite time of day?
Dusk. I don't know why. I've just always hated it.

Most innovative place in the world? This could be a city, a venue, a neighborhood, etc.
Any stage. I find performing/speaking in front of crowds brings out the best in people.

 #FirstSevenJobs
1 - Dishwasher at the Marlborough Country Club
2 - Clerk at CVS
3 - Assistant at a packaging/boxing store
4 - Fundraiser at Umass Annual Fund
5 - Newspaper deliverer at Umass Amherst
6 - Painter/landscaper
7 - Intern at a political campaign