Joshua Reynolds | The Innovator 25 2014 | Holmes Report
Charting the future of public relations

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The Innovator 25: Joshua Reynolds

CEO Blanc & Otus since 2013

San Francisco, CA

Influence & Engagement, 12 to 20 years

"The prevalence of ‘leader’ as a buzzword has an unfortunate side effect: the bastardization of leadership as a concept. Market leadership, thought leadership, and technology leadership need to mean something in order for the tech sector to thrive. The dilution of their meaning ultimately hinders growth and perpetuates a view of PR as less strategic, less valuable and less honest than it really is."

For bringing the industry more depth and understanding around the hugely influential role that analysts play in the technology buying cycle. For creating a brand storytelling arc that parallels Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, making brands focus more on sharing a narrative, less on pushing a message. And for calling out the ‘bastardization of leadership’ in tech PR that has eroded and devalued true leadership within the sector.

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Social media & online marketing

How would you describe the communications/PR industry’s level of innovation?
More innovative than other marketing disciplines

Where do you see the greatest opportunity for marketing & PR to become more innovative?
Content creation & creative copy

Who most influences how innovative a brand’s marketing/PR is?
CEO

How do you define innovation?
Innovation is the creative development and deployment of new tools and techniques to solve a challenge. Ingenuity, in contrast, is the creative recombinations of EXISTING tools and resources to solve the same problem. PR needs both ingenuity and innovation to continue thriving.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
Hard to pick one

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
LinkedIn, Coca Cola and Samsung

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
Writing the “Talent Economy” thought leadership narrative for LinkedIn.

The biggest mistake is people think about [communications channels] as disconnected silos.While your audience does not recognize the artificial silos that you do — they do recognize one message, one voice, one impact. You have to carefully integrate PR, AR and social media into a connected program.

Who is your mentor and why?
Tom Hoog at H+K Strategies, because he has taught me more about leadership and mentoring. PR is ultimately about people, and Tom is the master at bringing the best out of people. That’s what he’s taught me.

How do you get inspired?
Be seeing what’s possible for my clients and team members. I am humbled by the caliber of people I get to work with daily.

Advice for people seeking to bring new ideas, ways of doing things to their organizations?
When you encounter resistance, get curious. People are nervous for good reasons. Explore those, and engineer solutions to their concerns. Take a Michelangelo approach to innovation: carve away all the obstacles to your idea one chunk at a time until all that’s left is your new idea.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world? This could be a city, a venue, a neighborhood, etc.
For me? Behind the wheel of a car on a long drive, around the dinner table, or next to a friend at a bar. Wherever we are most relaxed and least plugged in to technology. That’s where inspiration lives–away from a screen.

What’s your favorite time of day and why?
Moonrise. Watching the moon rise and shift through its phases reminds me everything in life is a cycle, and all the ups and downs serve a purpose.