Karun Budhraja | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 AP Karun Budhraja

Karun Budhraja

VP, Corporate Marketing & Communications, Asia Pacific

Amadeus
Bangkok

“I like to recruit and hire individuals who are diametrically opposite to me”

Amadeus VP Karun Budhraja has spent much of his career understanding the nuances that drive travel marketing in Asia-Pacific, culminating in the Journey of Me research study that provided compelling insight into the diversity that underpins Asia-Pacific traveller attitudes. That focus on diversity, meanwhile, forms a core principle in Budhraja’s own approach to marketing, during a career that included a decade at Air France before developing a strong focus on travel technology.

How do you define innovation?
I'd define innovation in two ways which are intertwined. First, innovation is nothing but a 'change that adds value' and, second, innovation is all about doing things differently which produce different results.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Using robotic technology in comms where the focus is on the emotional quotient rather than the rational one. Could be a game changer.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
Tesla

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
I guess the way I recruit. I tend to take an innovative approach - not comfortable at all but it's gotten me good results. I like to recruit and hire individuals who are diametrically opposite to me. I am a firm believer in diversity. Diversity breeds success, often shows better results and is the bedrock of innovation. I like to surround myself with people who do not think like me, act like me or behave like me. Because if I don't then I will continue to have the same blind spots and the same pitfalls. I guess this could be termed as an 'innovative' approach to recruitment.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
Elon Musk - without a doubt!

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
That's a tough one! For me it's all about celebrating one's failures which funnily give you the strength to shake, rattle and battle (Shake the status quo, rattle things up and battle the mindset to shed off one's preconceived notions).

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Don't just embrace it but make it an inherent part of your work ethos. It should be second skin. Once we have this mindset, creativity and innovation will flow.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
I would definitely be on Broadway.

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
Too many but of late, one of my favorite books has been 'The Culture Map' by Erin Meyer. It was a fascinating read.

What's your favourite time of day and why?
Sundown(er). Need I explain further?