Alex Pearmain | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Innovator 25 EMEA Alex Pearmain

Alex Pearmain


OneFifty and Rogue Ponies

“New isn't necessarily innovative, but better always involves innovation”

Alex Pearmain is co-founder – along with Katie Buckett – of digital consultancy OneFifty, and Rogue Ponies, the platform for socially-created brand content they launched this year. He was one of the early pioneers of digital and social communications in the UK, as head of digital at Fishburn Hedges. Pearmain also set up O2’s social media team, where he demonstrated that it was possible – and desirable – for companies to use social media at scale across customer services, sales, retention, brand and communications activity, blazing a trail for other brands.

How do you define innovation?
Doing things better. New isn't necessarily innovative, but better always involves innovation. People get these the wrong way round. To improve is to change, to change is to innovate.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
#toolatergram from WWF. Or most Pornhub campaigns, for those not easily offended.

Which brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
SunGod sunglasses. Quietly changing the game through a social media revenue-driving, influencer-led approach.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Developing approaches to identifying "bad actors" who are driving not just fake news but concerted agendas within online conversations, blending data and reputation management seamlessly to equip mitigation strategies.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Talk about something else while working on it. Getting your brain working on two levels simultaneously. Also known as annoying people who are trying to do their own work.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
You get to where you are because of the things you did before. You get to the next role because you did something different. More of the same doesn't advance your career, or your organisation's objectives. Enlightened self-interest pays for all, when it comes to innovation.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Sleeping more.

Favourite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
I return to Thomas Hardy again and again. "Return of the Native" if forced to narrow the selection.