Cathy Planchard | The Innovator 25 Americas 2017

2017 Innovator 25 Americas - Cathy PlanchardThe Innovator 25:

Cathy Planchard

Partner and President
All Told (Allison + Partners) 
Phoenix, AZ

“Improve the status quo and add value for a target audience.”

In 2017, Allison + Partners underwent a creative growth spurt (11 Innovation SABRE nominations and a Digital Agency of the Year win in North America) that coincided with the expansion of its All Told digital storytelling department that Cathy Planchard established and has continued to grow. All Told formalizes a four-part methodology designed to inspire strategy that unfolds through innovative storytelling and is ultimately measured by results. 

How do you define innovation?
Innovation is continually rethinking approaches to improve the status quo and add value for a target audience.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
The Delta Dating Wall in partnership with Tinder. It was a very creative campaign inspired by insights that showed the prevalence of travel photos in dating profile pics, and that people seek partners that share their passion for travel.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
There are so many diverse examples. But I admire how Stitch Fix dramatically increased its customers by using Pinterest as part of the sign up process to flag favorite fashion looks with your stylist (and easily share unboxings and spread brand love). Influencer identification is increasingly difficult and companies like HYPR are making it easier to understand and evaluate. And campaigns centered around humanizing data points, like Spotify's global "It's been weird" campaign are always compelling to me.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
We created a data-driven influencer campaign for The Economist that compared their editorial calendar with the most sought after search topics each week. A targeted blogger engagement strategy then focused on garnering placements in mid-tier blogs with highly engaged audiences, driving substantial referral traffic.  Not only did we increase subscriptions, the effort allowed The Economist to surpass their closest competitor in online share of voice. It was an early and successful effort to marry search strategies and PR.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation? 
Jeff Bezos

How do you get out of a creativity or productivity rut? 
Often if I stop fixating on the problem and let it 'percolate', the solution will come to me more easily and with better creativity.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Get more context by thinking through the motivators of your audience - what they love, where they work and play, how they spend their time. Use those insights to tell a compelling multi-channel story. That means getting more comfortable with content development, paid integrations and interesting technology delivery methods to stay relevant.

In your opinion, what's the most innovative place in the world?
I love the creativity of San Francisco and Austin and am impressed by the work ethic I've witnessed in China and Japan.

What's your favorite hobby that's not work-related? 
Cooking, mostly Cajun dishes