Lorenzo Petracco | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 EMEA Lorenzo Petracco

Lorenzo Petracco  

Head of Digital Innovation Group, Southern Europe

BCW 
Milan

“Start by building the pre-conditions, the culture, the processes for innovation. Don’t start by assigning a job title or hiring the latest guru”

In 2009, Lorenzo Petracco was tasked with leading the digital transformation of Cohn & Wolfe’s Milan office into a pioneering model of a modern integrated communications agency. Such was the success of this project, he was transferred to Spain to do the same for the Madrid business. Petracco has planned and managed national and international integrated campaigns for global brands across sectors including automotive, technology, sport, food & beverage, pharma, the public sector, finance and not-for-profit. As a senior member of the new BCW Digital Innovation Group, Petracco leads a digital team across Italy and Spain and contributes to BCW’s ongoing digital transformation at an international level.

How do you define innovation?
In our field, I define it as the ongoing ability to stay relevant.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
I personally loved the Spotify “2018 Goals” because they used an asset they had: in-house data. They connected data with creative in a very smart way. They combined both traditional and digital activations and media. Earned media mindset: it was designed around the audience, using the language of the audience, that’s why it was so shared by the audience. It was a clear demonstration of how innovation in communications and marketing is not necessarily the latest spectacular technological solution, but it is the ability to adapt thinking and syntax to changing cultures and languages, made possible by new technologies.

Which brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
I’m particularly proud of the work my team has been delivering in recent years for Maserati to make a brand with more than 100 years of history one of the most powerful in social media. Netflix for its agility and ability to think and deliver integrated programs.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Today, the moment I look at my team and I realize that their skills did not exist in any PR agency five years ago.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation? 
I can easily name our chief innovation officer at BCW, Chad Latz. I had the opportunity to work under Chad’s mentorship for almost a decade and appreciate how his approach to innovation is open to multiple influences extending way beyond the marcomms world and how innovation itself is seen more like a constantly evolving process rather than a single revolutionary act.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
By pressing the “pause” button and getting offline. I’m lucky enough to have at least 40 minutes per day of total disconnection, when I ride my Vespa (I know it sounds very Italian) from home to work and back home. This is the moment the brain blinks!

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Start by building the pre-conditions, the culture, the processes for innovation. Don’t start by assigning a job title or hiring the latest guru.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
I’ve always been in love with journalism.

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
Book: “Blindness”, José Saramago. Movie: 8 ½, Federico Fellini.