Adam Clyne | The Innovator 25 EMEA 2019

Adam Clyne

CEO & Founder


“We still lack diversity in every sense of the word, and it limits creative thinking and genuine insight into all types of communities”

After leading Weber Shandwick’s EMEA digital function and then helping to scale the Lad Bible as COO, in 2017, Clyne went it alone to found Coolr as a new kind of digital and social agency “that transforms water cooler moments for the digital age”. In just two years, the energetic Clyne and his fast-growing team have established relationships with global brands including Unilever, Burger King, Twinings and Telefonica and produced global award-winning work, notably Burger King’s Cannes Lions-winning “Explains a lot” tweet in response to Kanye West declaring his favourite restaurant was McDonald’s: three words that became the most-liked brand tweet of all time. He’s also making internal comms a bit sexier by working with Facebook’s Workplace as its first official partner, launching the collaborative comms platform into businesses around the world, including Savills, Regatta and Fremantle. Clyne is second-to-none in combining big agency thinking with the speed and agility of a social publisher to help brands connect to popular culture. He regularly speaks and blogs about the world of digital and social, including the rise of the social CEO and transforming employee engagement.

In what way(s) does PR/communications need to innovate the most?
PR & comms needs more innovation around where the next generation of talent is coming from. We still lack diversity in every sense of the word, and it limits creative thinking and genuine insight into all types of communities.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry's level of innovation compared to other marketing disciplines?
Lagging behind others.

Where is the PR industry's greatest opportunity for taking the lead on innovation?
Creative ideas. The beauty about innovation is that it isn't limited to one area or category or specific opportunity.

How do you define innovation?
I wish I’d thought of that.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Whopper Detour by our client Burger King. I love the brave, creative thinking combined with clever geo-located tech; the results were incredible.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
Burger King: consistent innovation and creativity that connects the brands to popular culture.

Most underrated trait in a PR person? 
Thinking on their feet.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
If I'm struggling with a brief I prefer to pause and come back to it. I'm comfortable telling a client we need more time to get it right rather than presenting something I'm not happy with.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Stop being formulaic.

What are you thinking about most these days? 

What one movie, book, TV show or podcast do you recommend to rent, read or stream tonight?
I'd recommend spending an hour scrolling through TikTok. It's the next big thing, the content on there is super-creative and most brands aren't on it yet...