Anne Villemoes | The Innovator 25

Anne Villemoes

The Innovator 25: Anne Villemoes

VP group communications, Danish Crown

Aarhus, Denmark

Influence & Engagement

"Don't tell it — show it. Nobody wants change when asked. Give it to them — let them see and feel the value of new ideas — and then implement them fully afterwards"
Villemoes has demonstrated an unparalleled ability to shake up the normally staid world of corporate communications, turning a slaughterhouse (Danish Crown) into a shining example of progressive public relations. The former journalist’s penchant for clear thinking and plain speaking has worked wonders for her company, and wowed conference crowds from Brussels to Miami.

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?
Lagging other industries.

Where do you see the greatest opportunity for marketing & PR to become more innovative?
Content & creativity.

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

How do you define innovation?
The courageto dare explore the boundaries of already known areas of products. And to expand them...

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
Coming up with the idea to do a three week bacon-voyage from Denmark to London during the 2012 Olympics (Olympigs) in order to celebrate 125 years of food history and Danish bacon exports.

Who is your mentor and why?
Not one specific person. I take great inspiration from a broad range of conversation with as many different people. Litterature plays a part too.

How do you get inspired?
People, books, music, being present, thinking, feeling.

Advice for people seeking to bring new ideas, ways of doing things to their organizations?
Have your mandate in place. Make sure there is a very clear understanding of mandate and responsibility.   Make sure your are meassured by your own successes and failures — not by other peoples'. Don't tell it — show it. Nobody wants change when asked. Give it to them — let them see and feel the value of new ideas — and then implement them fully afterwards. Be prepared to fight for what you know is right. And to realize that if they don't want your ideas, they don't want you. And...make sure with yourself that you are cut out to be the kind of person who brings new ideas to the table. It is never a popular spot.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world?
Probably somewhere I haven't yet been to. Right now Williamsburg, New York seems interesting. But overall it would have to be China.

What’s your favorite time of day and why?
Although being an ultra late-nighter. it would be sunrise/dawn. The promise of a new start. A day that still has every chance to stand out. The quiet and the light that slowly pushes the darkness away. Preferably at an ocean somewhere.