Candace Kuss | The Innovator 25 2016
Candace KussThe Innovator 25:

Candace Kuss

Director of social media

Hill+Knowlton Strategies

"Be super honest with yourself and your organisation in terms of where you are now and where you want to go"


A genuine social media pioneer, Kuss has been at the forefront of digital communications evolution for the better part of two decades. That experience as included creative leadership roles at Ogilvy Interactive and Modem Media in the US, before joining H+K Strategies London in 2008. An avowed early adopter, Kuss' recent efforts have seen a particular focus on the importance of visual influencers, at a time when platforms such as Youtube and Instagram are redrawing the engagement landscape.

How do you define innovation?

Doing something that hasn't been done before (or that you haven't done)

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
Lockheed Martin: 'The Field Trip To Mars'

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
I have been really impressed by Airbnb. Especially the way all their different campaigns and tactics ladder back up to the brand purpose

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
In 2009, I got Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, to be our guest speaker at the H+K Cannes Lions seminar. It was the very first year PR was part of the Festival and we were the first big PR network to be on the main Palais stage. This was well before Twitter even had any ad products. But we knew that Twitter would be a critical platform for brand communication and brand reputation.

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?

In some aspects PR is ahead. In others, it's lagging.

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

Who most influences how innovative a brand’s marketing/PR is?
All of the above: CEO, CMO, CCO, agency.

Who is your mentor and why?
I don't have a mentor but I have been blessed to have several sponsors in my career. A sponsor is defined more by action than advice — they recommend you for a job, a project, an opportunity. They open a door.

How do you find inspiration?
I go mudlarking.

Advice for people seeking to bring new ideas, ways of doing things to their organizations?
Be super honest with yourself and your organisation in terms of where you are now and where you want to go. Draw up a list of barriers to getting there and then work on how to remove them. Bring in outside help if you need to.

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

With deep respect for London and my current home in the UK, I have to say California. It retains its pioneer spirit and the urge to keep moving.

What’s your favorite time of day and why?
Magic hour. Best time to remember what a beautiful world we live in. And best time to Instagram ;-)