Lena Heden | The Innovator 25 EMEA 2019

Lena Heden

Content & Comms Manager

Axis Communications

“The most underrated trait in a PR person is commercial thinking ability. PR isn't only about brand.”

Lena Heden has managed PR, communications and content marketing for B2B tech company Axis Communications, which makes network cameras for video security and surveillance industry, for nearly a decade. Her role at the firm’s HQ in Lund includes looking after Axis’ global media channels and developing content around a wide range of related topics, including spearheading an award-winning corporate blog. She empowers her agencies by giving them freedom to carry out their ideas for content,  as long as they're aligned with the organisation's objectives and the audience, such as whether a dog is a better security solution than a surveillance camera. She has carefully stretched Axis into creating content and thought leadership on subjects that it might otherwise shy away from, such as ethics and trust, and its annual Technology Trends blog post is now hotly anticipated in the industry.

In what way(s) does PR/communications need to innovate the most?
In how we measure the results from PR and comms activities. To showcase/prove the need and its place in the customer and stakeholder buying journey. What activities are needed and most effective along the journey, making it part of the organisation puzzle and marketing mix, not standing alone. Daring to do specific content for few but targeted people, rather than general to the masses.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry's level of innovation compared to other marketing disciplines?
In one way, as PR is about relations, I think the step to content marketing was shorter for many PR professionals to take than maybe other marketing disciplines.

Where is the PR industry's greatest opportunity for taking the lead on innovation?
Integrated marketing. Keeping the red thread, as the journey often starts with PR and comms. And the timing on when to go to market, as PR professionals are used to media listening.

How do you define innovation?
Something completely new, that no-one has done before, but also an adaptation of something existing in a new context. Innovation isn’t the same as being effective/showing results, so innovation isn't a success criterion in itself. 

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Communications around Oatly’s go-to-market strategy, on milk vs oats.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
Agency: Orbit Media. Brand: Oatly.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider innovative.
Creating a coffee table magazine for the Brazilian market when launching a new packaging machine for coffee milk packages. It was completely new in that organisation and market. Setting up content marketing and an editorial flow/team/process in a global company, aligning and implementing it across departments, including building editorial channels, and turning popular PR pieces like trend features into content marketing (blog posts, films, illustrations, infographics) for those channels.

Most underrated trait in a PR person? 
Commercial thinking ability. PR isn't only about brand.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Dare to try. Why are you embracing innovation? Focus on the goal and being innovative on the way. Listen to other people and other industries and see how that can be reworked. Integrate with business, HR, sales and marketing disciplines.

What are you thinking about most these days? 
How to balance my life with work, family, myself.

What one movie, book, TV show or podcast do you recommend to rent, read or stream tonight?
Read “Digital Darwinism” by Tom Goodwin.