Vuki Vujasinovic | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 AP Vuki Vujasinovic

Vuki Vujasinovic

CEO

Sling & Stone
Sydney & LA

“The hard part is walking the walk. For us that means making the difficult decisions to say no to the wrong opportunities, so we can retain our focus, passion, and be able to say yes to the right ones”

Like many entrepreneurs, Vuki Vujasinovic launched Sling & Stone to provide a different kind of agency experience in Australia’s crowded marketplace. But Vujasinovic differs from many of his rivals by following through on that promise to remarkable effect, helping Sling & Stone win consecutive accolades as Best Agency to Work For in Asia-Pacific. Much of that approach stems from Vujasinovic himself, who has overseen the development of a unique agency model and culture that prioritises disruptive clients, ideas and campaigns. Sling & Stone has since established itself as a fast-growing tech agency with teams in Sydney, LA and Wellington, testimony to Vujasinovic’s vision and hard work.

How do you define innovation?
We look specifically at disruptive innovation, which by Clay Christensen's definition means an innovation that creates a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leaders. It's working with these types of disrupters that gets us excited to come to work everyday. For us this means partnering with the sorts of clients that are having a real impact on the future of how we live, work, and play.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
I loved Nike's Breaking2 event/film/launch/world record/campaign.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
I think Nintendo is doing a tremendous job blending nostalgia, innovation, and fun — in its products and marketing.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
The most memorable moment was when we truly figured out what we stood for as an agency. We did this by going deep on what types of clients we enjoyed working with at Sling & Stone to tell their stories to the world. We thought long and hard about what we're good at, what gets us out of bed in the morning, and what helps us do the best work of our careers. It could've been many things, from how we run the business, to certain niche sectors, like technology. I think our approach was innovative, which was to focus exclusively on a certain type of brand: the world's most ambitious challengers, disrupters, and entrepreneurs. It's easy to have that kind of moment, but have it lead nowhere or become diluted over time. The hard part is walking the walk. For us that means making the difficult decisions to say no to the wrong opportunities, so we can retain our focus, passion, and be able to say yes to the right ones.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
Ruslan Kogan and his team. He has an incredible knack for creating innovations that make commercial sense, and are a huge win for their customers.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Get some fresh air, go for a walk, a run, anything to get into a more meditative state and clear my mind. There's a reason so many people have 'brainwaves' in the shower.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Invest in it, both time and resources. You're not going to create a culture of innovation by simply demanding it, by creating a nice timeline for it, or expecting people to simply become creative in their spare time, while trying to juggle complex campaigns. Build an environment, culture, and resourcing that provides the foundation for creativity and innovation. And don't forget the execution bit. 

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

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
99% Invisible

What's your favourite time of day and why?
Very early morning, as the sun is rising. Especially if you're outside, without a smartphone, and exploring while your city or surrounds are slowly waking up.