Brad MacAfee | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 NA Brad Macafee

Brad MacAfee 

CEO   

Porter Novelli  
New York   

“Make diversity and inclusion an embedded way of life and philosophy in your organization and you will drive innovation.”
For an industry that has grappled with diversity for several decades, some cynicism around its slow progress has set in. That’s why Brad MacAfee’s humble and urgent perspective on the topic is so refreshing. He was one of a handful of CEOs to address employees in the aftermath of the 2017 white supremacy rallies in Charlottesville. “Let me be clear: The white supremacist ideology we witnessed this weekend is abhorrent and contrary to our values as people and as an organization,” he said to employees. MacAfee champions D&I as both a moral and business imperative.

In what area(s) does the PR need to innovate the most? 
Analytics and Measurement 

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

Where is the PR industry's greatest opportunity for taking the lead on innovation? 
Industry diversity and equal pay  

Who most influences how innovative a brand's engagement is? 
CMO 

How do you define innovation? 
True innovation is the breakthrough idea that fundamentally redefines an entire industry or category.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
P&G - My Black is Beautiful. And, P&G's The Talk. This is not just innovative, but brave.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing? 
Amazon. One example is how they have approached HQ2. Hundreds of cities are doing everything possible to position to be considered and awarded.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.' 
For me, the shift for Porter Novelli moving from a PR agency to a global purpose communications agency has been monumental. We took the time to refresh our true north and redefine how we do business on behalf of our people and our clients in a way that is core to who we are – a purpose driven company.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?  
Frans Johansson. The approach he takes is a deeply rooted believe that diversity drives innovation.

How do you get out of a creativity rut? 
By stepping outside of my comfort zone. Whether through outside experiences, interacting with people from different backgrounds, listening to unique or controversial opinions, or adding new perspectives and voices to my daily mix – that’s my recipe for getting outside of a creative rut.
What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation? 
Make diversity and inclusion an embedded way of life and philosophy in your organization and you will drive innovation.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Running a non-profit organization focused on promoting and facilitating child adoption

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not directly related to PR/marketing/business? 
Good Will Hunting