Marcus Dyer | The Innovator 25 EMEA 2017
Charting the future of public relations

Innovator 25 EMEA - Marcus DyerThe Innovator 25:

Marcus Dyer

MD, Mobile

Weber Shandwick
London

“Hire people with some fire. Put in place a culture that rewards ambition. The rest will do itself”

Mobile specialist and digital leader Marcus Dyer emerged as one of the leading lights in London’s nascent digital marketing revolution when he launched Spook Media before selling the firm to Edelman in 2008. Dyer then spent five years leading Edelman’s powerhouse digital team in London before leaving to launch mobile-focused shop Flipside. Proving that lightning can indeed strike twice, Dyer sold Flipside to Weber Shandwick in 2016, solidifying his reputation as one a digital specialist who not only understands how the technology works, but how to bring the biggest of clients along for the ride.

How do you define innovation?
Innovation is never staying still. Something that is innovative now becomes stale pretty quickly — today’s innovation is tomorrow’s status quo. So to my mind, innovation is the process of moving forward. Changing things so that they are little bit better, a little bit faster, a little bit more fun than when you found them.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
I think the most innovative campaigns stopped being marketing in the traditional sense a while ago. The ‘campaigns’ I find most innovative are the ones where the product or service is the marketing. Without looking it up I can’t tell you what a Tesla ad looks like; the innovation inherent in the product told the story and stoked the conversation.

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
There’s a whole load out there to be envious of but I’ve been enjoying some of the stuff Sonos has been doing. A little back they had a really innovative ad that just said…’Google Sonos reviews. Tada!’ Absolutely simple genius. Innovative because it just got rid of the fluff and cut to the heart of the communication, just using the bare naked quality of the product to BECOME the communication.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
The best piece of innovation I think I have achieved is to be able to pass on the spirit to the team around me. When you work with a group of people all interested and empowered to deliver something new, then that changes innovation from occasional moments to something embedded in the everyday. Also I once had to rescue a colleague from a locked toilet with a pice of string. So, there’s that.

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Digital & ecommerce platforms. Mobile.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry’s level of innovation?
About the same as other 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 think innovation is something that you need to teach yourself. If you’re taking innovation from someone else then…well…I’m not sure that’s innovation.

How do you find inspiration?
There’s an old aphorism that ‘creativity is just hiding your sources’. I think innovation is the same. It’s taking two things that worked before and combining them. Or taking an innovation from one space and applying it to another. So read everything. And watch everything. Find the ideas that are your raw materials then stick them together and make something new.

What is your advice for people seeking to bring new ideas, ways of doing things to their organizations?
You can’t just embed innovation itself. You have to embed the seeds that lead to innovation. So teach hunger. Teach passion. Hire people with some fire. Put in place a culture that rewards ambition. The rest will do itself.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world?
I’m not sure any individual or place has a monopoly on innovation. Although if I had to choose a space, I’d have to say healthcare. Some of the mobile and AI innovation in this space offers a glimpse of an exciting future.

What’s your favourite time of day and why?
7 ’til 8. Both of them. The first one is when you get a days work done. The second is when you get business done.
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