David Ketchum | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2017
Charting the future of public relations

2017 Innovator 25 AP - David Ketchum The Innovator 25:

David Ketchum

Founder and CEO

Current Asia 
Hong Kong

“Incremental ideas that point the way forward are the most welcome”

After several years at senior in-house and agency PR roles, David Ketchum tapped into the first dotcom boom to launch technology specialist Upstream Asia, eventually selling the firm to Bite. As CEO of Bite Asia-Pacific, he then oversaw and ambitious transformation of the firm’s digital capacities, moving swiftly into such areas as SEO, ecommerce and content marketing. After all that, though, Ketchum still appears to just be getting started, launching Current Asia in 2014 to focus on the burgeoning integration of marketing technology, automation, personalisation and content. 

How do you define innovation?
Translating ideas into processes, products or services with evolutionary or transformational business benefits.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
Share a Coke — including get your own ad jingle — digital tech used to personalise a mature lifestyle product. And Coke got rid of the CMO position and replaced it with the chief growth officer role.

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
Brands: Xiaomi, Ant Financial. 
Agency: SapientRazorfish

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
The idea of adapting successful consumer digital marketing and lead generation strategies for use in the B2B and financial services sectors has sparked off lots of valuable campaigns

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Social media & online marketing.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry’s level of innovation?
About the same as other marketing disciplines.

Where do you see the greatest opportunity for marketing & PR to become more innovative?
Digital & ecommerce platforms.

Who most influences how innovative a brand’s marketing/PR is?
CMO

Who is your mentor and why?
I learn so much from senior VC and private equity executives who focus on what makes a business valuable.

How do you find inspiration?
MIT Technology Review, Silicon Valley, and bike rides

What is your advice for people seeking to bring new ideas and ways of doing things to their organizations?
Test and learn because change is hard and large scale changes is even more challenging. Incremental ideas that point the way forward are the most welcome.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world?
MIT Media Lab, Cambridge MA.

What’s your favorite time of day and why?
7:50am — coffee's kicking in, it's still quiet, and the innovative thoughts flow.