Preben Carlsen | The Innovator 25

Preben Carlsen

The Innovator 25: Preben Carlsen

Managing director, Trigger AS


Influence & Engagement

"The most efficient way to create real values are by engaging the target group directly through encouraging direct involvement in the marketing and development of a business or a brand"
Sweden was once considered the bastion of Nordic PR creativity, before Preben Carlsen’s Norwegian outfit Trigger came along and upturned the natural order of things. No independent firm in Europe garnered more SABRE Award nominations this year than Norway’s Trigger and the variety of work, is made all the more impressive by the fact that Trigger is still less than five years old. Carlsen's youth (he is 33) belies his experience, which includes time at leading local independent PR-operatørene and as communication manager at IKEA Norway. In challenging a local industry that still revolved around traditional media relations, he has demonstrated that a focus on engagement rather than coverage can lead to great work and healthy growth.

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?
Planning & analytics.

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

How do you define innovation?
Innovation is the process of translating an idea or invention into a product or service that creates value for the company. I like to divide innovation in  two categories - both are equally important for a company today. First — evolutionary innovations; continuous innovation and improvements in everyday business life. Second — revolutionary innovations; disruptive and new innovations resulting in groundbreaking new products, services or working methods.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
Intermarchés' 'The Inglorious fruits and vegetables' takes communications to a new level by creating a new market for food waste. It´s a brilliant solution for the brand, the business, the consumer and last, but not least,  for the planet. The communication alone is pretty straightforward, so the innovative part is all about how they have used insight to define a new business area with a great communication potential to go with it. 

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
Chipotle, Dove and the Swedish ad agency Forsman&Bodenfors.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
The most important innovation I´ve been a part of was when we developed The Trigger Method, the philosophy and working method of Trigger, the agency I founded five years ago. The method was developed on the basis of a thorough analysis of success cases from my former career in the PR industry, revealing that the most efficient way to create real values are by engaging the target group directly through encouraging direct involvement in the marketing and development of a business or a brand.

How do you get inspired?
I get most of my inspiration in everyday discussions with my amazing colleagues and clients. It's through them I learn new and inspiring stuff about a wide range of different industries and the profession I love. Personally I would choose a good discussion at the office before an expensive seminar any day.

Advice for people seeking to bring new ideas, ways of doing things to their organizations?
It´s impossible to change an organization by yourself, so get the key people onboard with the idea on an early stage.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world?

What’s your favorite time of day and why?
In the shower in the morning. I don´t know why, but many of my best ideas comes to mind when i´m in the shower - trying to wake up and get ready for a new day.