David Norris | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 AP David Norris

David Norris

Head of Internal Communications, Asia

Manulife
Hong Kong

“Hire more young people into meaningful roles. They’re frighteningly good”

Internal communications is not often viewed as the sexy end of the communications spectrum, but David Norris’ commitment to reinventing employee engagement has driven tangible results at Manulife. That approach has included a total overhaul of the company’s internal comms process, towards a more transparent policy that has helped to reorient Manulife’s entire engagement mindset. Norris also leads CEO communications for Manulife, successfully steering the agendas of four business leaders so far, after previously serving in various policy advisory roles for the UK Government. 

How do you define innovation?
Enhanced plagiarism

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Wendy’s Twitter account (eg. Their rap ‘Frosty’ response: https://twitter.com/wendys/status/1033822887524925440?s=21).

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
Momentum (the grassroots political activists in the UK), eg their 2017 ‘middle class’ video, which got 2 million views in 24hrs.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Simplifying a piece of statutory guidance from the UK government from 50 pages to one page.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
Bob Dylan

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Stop trying.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Hire more young people into meaningful roles. They’re frighteningly good.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Rock star.

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
Movie: Harvey (starring Jimmy Stewart)
Book: The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, by Julian Jaynes
Podcast: WorkLife with Adam Grant

What's your favourite time of day and why?
6am. Comes with the hope of an hour’s peace before the children stir.