Chris Perry | The Innovator 25 2016

Chris Perry

The Innovator 25:

Chris Perry  

Chief digital officer    

Weber Shandwick  

"Real innovation is accelerating at the intersection of social, content and commerce."


This year, Paul Holmes called out Weber Shandwick as "the most complete public relations firm" because of the firm's remarkable business performance, diverse talent, award-winning creative work and its overall ecosystem of brands. For the creative work piece, a notable amount of credit should go to Chris Perry. Under his watch, Weber Shandwick's work has included — and excelled — at the gamut of modern public relations — analytics, creative, strategy, production, integrated media execution. 

Describe what you do.
Help guide transformation of Weber Shandwick's business model. And consult with top clients to use digital means to deliver business value.

Where are you from/hometown?
Maplewood, New Jersey

Where are you based now?
New York City

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Social Media & Community Management. Real innovation is accelerating at the intersection of social, content and commerce. The mobile platforms where it's taking place represents what early TV might have looked like in the 1950s. A transformational medium that requires new conventions to reach, engage and get people behind what you have to offer.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry's level of innovation?
Not sure. All marketing disciplines, regardless of past precedent are converging on the same space. The best agencies, regardless of discipline flags they've historically flown, are on equal footing to gain share by being materially inventive.

What is most important for the PR industry to do to foster more innovation?
New hiring practices/criteria

How do you define innovation?
Inventing new ways to solve business or societal problems.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you've seen in the last 12 months?
The House of Clicks from Hemnet/Prime. Used inventive campaign approach to invent a new business line. Shows the business potential of innovation

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York remains a good reference.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Creating Mediaco as a change management discipline for clients moving into content. One that required new language, approach and means to deliver impact. It helped many of our top clients and is now central to marketing discussions industry wide.

Something — not PR/marketing related — that is innovative.
Amazon. Deeply embedded in their DNA, everything they do.

Please give our readers an idea of something that can inspire innovation — this can be a book/movie/podcast/activity/article.
Read Jason Hirschhorn's newsletter -- MediaREDEF. And go for a run every day too.

Least favorite time of day?
When I'm sleeping, which varies greatly.

Most innovative place in the world? This could be a city, a venue, a neighborhood, etc.
WeChat phenomenon in China. A massive trend ready to go global

construction worker 
architect's apprentice
graphic art shop intern
commercial art salesman
start-up marketer