Annick Boyen | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 EMEA Annick Boyen

Annick Boyen 

VP sustainable business, communications and external affairs, EU

Unilever
Brussels

“What advice would I give to the PR industry around embracing innovation? To quote my favourite Elvis song: a little less conversation, a little more action”

Annick Boyen leads a team of seasoned advocacy, media, issues, sustainability and external affairs experts who drive Unilever’s purpose of “Making sustainable living commonplace.” Often praised for her vision, she advises Unilever’s European leadership on issues management and thought leadership, working with the divisions to build brand equity and growth via purpose, advocacy, partnerships and sustainable innovation. Boyen was previously Benelux CEO at Weber Shandwick, producing award-winning work for clients including Unilever, before going in-house in 2017 after 22 years with the agency.

How do you define innovation?
The clever solution that intuitively feels right and solves a frustration or adds something to your life that you did not have before.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Waze

Which brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
Social entrepreneurs – they are crystal clear on their core, what drives them and how they want to create impact.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation? 
Everyone who pulls up their socks after a set-back and keeps on searching.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Have a good chat, whether the commuter sitting next to you, the grocer around the corner, your kids’ teacher: never lose touch with reality.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
To quote my favourite Elvis song: a little less conversation, a little more action.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
A good alternative would be a well-endowed impact investor: combining my love of data with making measurable (social) impact.

Favourite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
“Factfullness” by Hans Rosling. You will feel better about the world and put data through the relevant context lens. You will also stop whining about first world problems.