Simon Ruparelia | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2017

2017 Innovator 25 AP - Simon RupareliaThe Innovator 25:

Simon Ruparelia

Head of Digital


“Without relevance, ‘innovative’ campaigns are just superficial quick wins”

As Golin’s Asia-Pacific head of digital, Simon Ruparelia brings a decade of global digital marketing experience across Unilever’s portfolio of FMCG brands. Ruparelia was core to this shift at the consumer goods giant, establishing a media lab to help support marketing transformation in every category. Soon, he was auditing Asian markets on digital activation and social media agencies, while also developing processes and tools for Unilever’s global digital agencies. Unsurprisingly, Ruparelia has overseen a dramatic shift in Golin’s work since joining the firm, overseeing its integrated work and running innovation projects for the likes of Porsche and several other key clients. He has grown Golin’s digital team to more than 20 people and launched the firm’s collective ideation methodology, along with its realtime engagement centres in key markets. 

How do you define innovation?
A state of mind.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
Blippar has brought scale to AR through a paid media product which clients can buy. That is a tidy way to get industry adoption and ultimately bring AR to the masses.

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
Those which fundamentally focus on relevance to the target audience. Without relevance, ‘innovative’ campaigns are just superficial quick wins.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
The ability to travel early in my career and reference my work in different cultures has shaped how I approach marketing.

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Influencer relations.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry’s level of innovation?
More innovative than other marketing disciplines.

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

Who most influences how innovative a brand’s marketing/PR is?

Who is your mentor and why?
I’m lucky to have a father who I can debate international relations with and who guides me to think of the bigger picture.

How do you find inspiration?
Over a coffee with someone I barely know.

What is your advice for people seeking to bring new ideas and ways of doing things to their organizations?
During every change there are ‘shapers’ and ‘victims’. Allow the shapers to build on your ideas but allow a graceful fall back position for the victims.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world?
There must be a reason why marketers hang out in coffee shops. 

What’s your favorite time of day and why?
I’m the most content in the ‘wee’ hours when the world is sleeping. A daily respite from emails and texts to crystallise my thoughts.