Ali Gee | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 EMEA Ali Gee

Ali Gee

Deputy CEO & senior partner

FleishmanHillard Fishburn
London

“The most important thing this industry needs to do is figure out how to fund innovation. The whole industry needs innovation. Top to bottom”

As CEO of UK agency Fishburn, Ali Gee drove the merger with Omnicom sister network FleishmanHillard in London two years ago. Her ambition was to create an “agency for change”, where the work was about campaigns that change behaviour, change share prices, change reputations and change the world. Post-merger, Gee has transformed the agency in every way, re-thinking and re-inventing in areas from planning and insight, to measurement, to talent recruitment and retention. She was a founding committee member of Omniwomen – Omnicom’s initiative to promote leadership opportunities for women – and has launched myriad innovative initiatives within the agency, from uncovering new technology in The Lab to IP on authentic brands and Gen Z.

How do you define innovation?
Something that drives a step-change in performance.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Omnicom's SHAPE: crowd-sourced creativity to tackle new briefs with new thinking.

Which brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
Ikea, adidas and P&G's influencer drive

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Working for free at an ad agency while on gardening leave to polish my planning skills.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Take off the pressure, change the approach, inject some different thinking, change the channel. And perhaps lastly, check the insight. If it's a compelling and true insight, creativity flows.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
The most important thing this industry needs to do is figure out how to fund innovation. The whole industry needs innovation. Top to bottom. And one of the first priorities must be to develop new and better ways of measuring the impact of what we do: proving the work works.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
A counsellor. Busman's holiday, probably.

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
Desert Island Discs. One day they’re going to invite me. One day...