Keri-Ann Stanton | The Innovator 25 EMEA 2017

Innovator 25 EMEA - Keri-Ann StantonThe Innovator 25:

Keri-Ann Stanton

Head of PR & Group Comms Director

Avatar 360 / M&N Brands


“It's all in the timing. And the tone. Doing it quietly reverberates louder than a big, brash presentation”

Recently appointed head of PR at the Avatar 360 Group, and group communications director of M&N Brands, Keri-Ann Stanton has built a name in South Africa for innovative and creative PR campaigns that deliver on bottomline results. Previously with Joe Public United, where she built up an award-winning hotshop, Engage Joe Public in four short years, Stanton is now taking on a dual role in her new position, as the custodian for Group communications and to build up PR competencies from within, including launching Avatar PR. The move cames off a spate of wins from Stanton’s team, across disciplines and sectors including Apex, Loeries, Prism, Africa Excellence and Sabre EMEA awards. 

How do you define innovation?
Innovation is about new and fresh approaches to age old problems and challenges. It's about courage and vision.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
I loved the Sadia #ShopLess campaign from Impact BBDO Dubai and the Ol Pejeta Conservancy "The world's most eligible bachelor" from Ogilvy & Mather Kenya. 

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
The smaller brands and hotshops are who I watch — big budget can buy you space but not necessarily the engagement or influence you need. There is some very clever things happening on Instagram at the moment.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
Everytime I have taken a blind leap of faith in pitching a wild creative idea (with pages of thinking and logic behind it) or everytime I have taken a blind leap of faith to start up something new and build something beautiful.

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?
More innovative than other 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?
More than likely whoever or whatever I am reading at that moment. I learn from everything and everyone.

How do you find inspiration?
I read. Voraciously. Books, newspapers, twitter, Instagram, blogs, sugar sachets, brand stories on bottles, everything ...

What is your advice for people seeking to bring new ideas, ways of doing things to their organizations?
It's all in the timing. And the tone. Doing it quietly reverberates louder than a big, brash presentation. And once you have sown the seeds, don't try to own it, let it go and take form.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world?
Johannesburg or Johustleburg as I often call it. A city of entrepreneurs. Glamorous, dirty, political, poor, wealthy, struggling, flourishing ... it is the heartbeat we often need to escape but just as willingly return to.

What’s your favourite time of day and why?
Dusk. Because in the PR and comms world it often means the crisis has passed, you can take a breath, and of course, sundowners! And if the crisis is just starting to take root, at least you have the quiet of the night to guide you.