Patrice Molnar | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 NA Patrice Molnar

Patrice Molnar

Director of Corporate Communications  

American Greetings  
Cleveland, Ohio  

“As advocates for our company and brands we represent, we have the responsibility to bring our creativity and best thinking to every project.”
American Greetings has consistently shown remarkable innovation and storytelling over the last few years as it seeks to remain relevant in an increasingly digital world. This year, its “American Greetings Give Meaning” was an Innovation SABRE Award Best in Show contender and was also selected as a Global SABRE Award winner. Much of the credit for this goes to Patrice Molnar, who has been at the helm of external communications for the American Greetings brand, and has been a key driver for American Greeting’s collaboration with MullenLowe to produce award-winning work since 2013.

In what area(s) does the PR need to innovate the most?
Integration, media relations 

Where is the PR industry's greatest opportunity for taking the lead on innovation?
Integrated marketing 

Who most influences how innovative a brand's engagement is? 
For us, it's a combination of our CMO, marketing team and agency partnerships.

How do you define innovation? 
Smart risk-taking

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
I love when a brand joins the conversation in an authentic way — IKEA responding to Game of Thrones using its rugs as props comes to mind. Smart.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing? 
I like the disrupters who make me think and behave differently as a consumer like Airbnb, Warby Parker, Netflix, Cotopaxi and one of my favorite campaigns and movements: REI #OptOutside. 

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.' 
The day our Mother's Day video "World's Toughest Job" took off and started going viral. There is no way to plan for that volume of interest and attention so you lock arms as a team and ride the wave.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?  
Can I name two? Gary Vaynerchuk presented at the ANA Masters of Marketing two years and I've been a fan since. And Kristen Cavallo, the new CEO of Martin Agency is going to make things happen there!

How do you get out of a creativity rut? 
I need to step away and be in nature...hiking, climbing, camping or simply working outside in the beautiful courtyard at our headquarters. Fresh air and sunshine work best for me.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation? 
Embrace and adapt. We work in an amazing industry that challenges our thinking daily. As advocates for our company and brands we represent, we have the responsibility to bring our creativity and best thinking to every project. I'm so lucky to work with incredibly creative and talented marketers so I remain open to learning something new every day.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job? 
I'd be a college professor teaching issues management or other marketing courses. I love what I do!

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business? 
The Harry Potter series. Always. I read all seven books out loud to my boys and those are my favorite memories with them.