Vikki Chowney | The Innovator 25

Vikki Chowney

The Innovator 25: Vikki Chowney

Director of content & publishing strategies, H+K Strategies


Planning & Analytics


"Don't try and do everything. Focus on the things you can realistically have an impact on, and get them done"
In an industry that is more than happy to talk the talk, Chowney has proved that she can walk the walk where social media is concerned, developing and delivering campaigns for Unilever, Intel and Activision, after spending time chronicling the industry’s growth for New Media Age. All of this, furthermore, has happened before the age of 30, indicating that Chowney takes as serious an approach to her career as she does to her client work. Scooped up by H+K Strategies last year, Chowney is now a key part of the London operation’s plans to reinvent its offering around a more progressive model, which fuses creativity, insight and storytelling for such clients as Adidas, Intel and Ford.

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Content & creativity.

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 pursuit of breaking pattern recognition. If we continue to do the same things in the same way, you continue to get the same result. And with consumer expectations changing, it's simply not good enough for us not to respond to that and change the way we think, respond to briefs and work with our clients.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
The Lego Ad Takeover was pretty phenomenal. Getting so many brands to agree to take part in such a mammoth project is logistically mind-boggling, but the output was phenomenally creative - and the seeding strategy ensured that the full video of the break got 700k organic views in just four days. Impressive by anyone's standards.

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
Adidas, Nando's, Ford, Instagram, Virgin America.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
In my first week at H+K, we pitched a multi-million pound content programme to a client that focused purely on co-creation (working with partners to build content together, rather than just commissioning them to produce something on our behalf). The approach we created to actually making that content has integrated them into the heart of the planning process, and has completely changed the way the client views the potential of content marketing. It's been an exciting thing to watch develop.

Who is your mentor and why?
I don't have just one mentor, but I have a handful of trusted advisors who I'm able to call on when I need help with a specific problem. I think that's important; you need the variety of different viewpoints, not from too many places - but from people who are true subject experts. I'm very lucky.

How do you get inspired?
I put myself in situations that I wouldn't normally be in. I think 'surprising' your brain helps you to view things in a different way. Museums, events, speakers, libraries, other agencies - they're all perfect for giving you a bit of a perspective.

Advice for people seeking to bring new ideas, ways of doing things to their organizations?
Don't try and do everything. Focus on the things you can realistically have an impact on, and get them done.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world? This could be a city, a venue, a neighborhood, etc.
Tokyo, without a doubt. They've managed to integrate practical, useful technology into the city in a way that's usable - and seem to have reached a wonderful midpoint between being true to the heritage of the area, and be forward thinking.

What’s your favorite time of day and why?
Early morning. I prefer to get up super early and get things done, than work late into the night. I tend to be more active, more awake, and generally more capable first thing. But it's different for everyone :)