Drew Benvie | The Innovator 25 EMEA 2017
Charting the future of public relations

Innovator 25 EMEA - Drew BenvieThe Innovator 25:

Drew Benvie

Founder & MD

Battenhall
London

“Look to other industries, such as the technology sector, for ideas on marketing and communications innovation”

Social media industry veteran Drew Benvie launched Battenhall in 2013, with the goal of disrupting London’s highly-competitive agency scene. The results so far indicate that Benvie’s efforts have paid off in droves, identifying a gap in the market and developing a business that has won numerous awards. In particular, Benvie has brought an innnovative model to the agency model, not just via his passion for technology but also for a focus on culture. Before he launched Battenhall, Benvie spent several years honing his skills at Hotwire.

How do you define innovation?
For me, true innovation is about pushing the boundaries of how great work is done in communications, as well as the innovation in the campaign itself. As social media disrupts traditional working models, information consumption and society, innovation in all aspects of communications is critical to the evolution of our industry. 

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
My recent favourite was #MarmiteGene campaign, for fusing social, mainstream, science and humour in a flawless way.

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
Since the beginning, it has to be the technology industry. They are still streets ahead.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
Back in 2006 I started using social media in my communications consultancy work, so decided to write the page on social media on Wikipedia. It didn't exist before then. Many still see social media communications work as innovative now, but I would say back then it really was far out (so much so, most of my colleagues just thought I was crazy).

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Planning & analytics.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry’s level of innovation?
More innovative than other marketing disciplines.

Where do you see the greatest opportunity for marketing & PR to become more innovative?
Planning & analytics.

Who most influences how innovative a brand’s marketing/PR is?
Usually a mixture of the above (CEO, CMO, agency).

Who is your mentor and why?
I look to the science and technology sector's leaders for inspiration, such as Demis Hassabis and Elon Musk.

How do you find inspiration?
Technology news.

What is your advice for people seeking to bring new ideas, ways of doing things to their organizations?
Look to other industries, such as the technology sector, for ideas on marketing and communications innovation.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world?
London has to be right up there.

What’s your favourite time of day and why?
The crack of dawn. I'm an early bird. 
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