Sonya Madeira | The Innovator 25 2016
Sonya MadeiraThe Innovator 25:

Sonya Madeira

Managing partner

Rice Communications

"Take baby steps, partner with experts, try new ideas, make mistakes, learn, try again"



After making a name for herself at Text 100, Madeira struck out on her own in 2009, launching Rice Communications during the Global Financial Crisis. It might not have been the most auspicious timing, but Madeira's ability to see things differently has resulted in Rice's emergence as one of the region's first credible boutique firms, in a market where clients have typically chosen between size or price. Rice's focus on workplace culture gives it a competitive edge over many of its larger peers, and Madeira's international focus has also ensured that the firm now handles plenty of multi-market work.

How do you define innovation?
Doing things differently, to great results. It means different things to different clients depending on where they are on the communications maturity curve.

Most innovative comms/marketing campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?

Brooke Bond tea's transgender band campaign in India to encourage a more inclusive society, over a cup of tea.

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?

With the number of Lions being given back, hard to say...

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’

Setting up Rice as a single window partner for clients in communications or marketing, across multiple markets.

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

How would you describe the communications/PR industry’s level of innovation?

About the same as other marketing disciplines

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?
Less by a particular title, more down to the individuals who fill these roles and make up the team.

Who is your mentor and why?

I don't have a mentor, but bounce ideas and look to both my husband Rahul Welde and business partner James Brasher for inspiration and guidance.

How do you find inspiration?

Read, watch, listen, think of ways to solve a problem or challenge.

Advice for people seeking to bring new ideas, ways of doing things to their organizations?

Take baby steps, partner with experts, try new ideas, make mistakes, learn, try again.

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

Innovation can happen anywhere, a great idea can come from anyone. Where do you find the environment, and opportunity to see it through...

What’s your favorite time of day and why?
Twilight, as the bustle of the day ends and the quite of the night begins, a reminder of constant change and the ability to get some work done.

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