Frederik Tautz | The Innovator 25 EMEA 2019

Frederik Tautz

Executive Director, Data & Analytics


“PR needs to demonstrate how in a hyper-connected world communication is not a 'necessary cost' but an actual value driver for any organisation.”

As executive director of digital and analytics, Ketchum partner Frederik Tautz oversees a team of more than 100 specialists across the agency’s German offices, leading innovative thinking in how to use technology to educate people on complex matters in the simplest way. Tautz started his career when the first wave of digital transformation began in the mid-90s, and has encouraged the agency, its clients and industry colleagues to evolve their cultures to adapt to the digital world, including embracing employees and consumers who are digital natives. But his passion is in supporting legacy employees – with various backgrounds and different levels of openness to digital transformation – into the digital future by making the journey fun rather than scary, and "waking up the explorer" in them. At one event, for instance, Tautz led the Joint Change Bot Experiment, which brought together 80 professionals with barely any coding skills to build a change management bot, showing them how easy it could be to embrace technology. He also developed Ketchum Germany’s “Age Of Machines” program, an introduction to digital transformation for colleagues and clients, as well as the agency’s #RoboWeek.

In what way(s) does PR/communications need to innovate the most?
Demonstrate how in a hyper-connected world communication is not a “necessary cost” but an actual value driver for any organisation.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry's level of innovation compared to other marketing disciplines?
About the same as other marketing disciplines.

Where is the PR industry's greatest opportunity for taking the lead on innovation?
Integrated marketing.

How do you define innovation?
Going to where no one has gone before.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Wendy’s “Keeping Fortnite Fresh," a Cannes winner. For embracing the pop culture of the decade, combined with smart execution. Not just sponsoring a game or team or league, not being some passive “ingredient” in a game, but actively participating in the game as a brand and playing true to the brand’s character. (I am a bit biased due to a wider client relationship.)

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
Wendy’s is currently very high on my list.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider innovative.
That moment, when during one of our workshops, about 80 attendees from PR and HR backgrounds, who hardly had any exposure to coding or similar before, formed an impromptu coding team and successfully created a fully functional conversational bot within a few hours. Seeing how they lost their reservations and changed their perception from not being able to master technology to a “can-do” discovery mode. Seeing how they experienced – on a broader scale – they can easily become “innovators” themselves by just being open to playing.

Most underrated trait in a PR person? 
A general ability to embrace change. And the ability to continually challenge one’s perspectives to better understand a target audience’s needs, desires and thinking.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Take a walk. Ideally, next to some open water. If not available, speed-watch title themes of random movies and TV series on Netflix.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Just do it: Fail fast, learn faster.

What are you thinking about most these days? 
Did our generation open Pandora’s box by being the internet’s first superfans? Or one less dystopic: How will the communications industry transform when our current human target audiences fully transfer more and more of their everyday decision making to personalised algorithms and personal AI-systems, from booking travels to shopping groceries to customising news? Will B2B and B2C be extended to A2A – algorithm-to-algorithm – marketing?

What one movie, book, TV show or podcast do you recommend to rent, read or stream tonight?
As the internet just turned 50: “Lo and Behold. Reveries of the Connected World” – a documentary on the rise of the internet by iconic German director Werner Herzog.