Allyson Hugley | The Innovator 25 North America 2020

Allyson Hugley

VP, Head of Research and Analytics - Global Communications

Prudential Financial
Newark, New Jersey

“The events of 2020 left me with a deeper appreciation for inclusive innovation. How are we innovating to better hear and serve communities often left on the margin."

In the two years since joining Prudential, Allyson Hugley has had an impact throughout the company, credited with bettering not just the communications function but the organization as a whole. Quick, sharp, and with a keen ability to finding meaning in data, Hugley has cemented her role as a leader in deciphering and harnessing media and social intelligence in ways that enable Prudential to better engage their audiences and stakeholders. Hugley still puts a premium on the real-life human side of the story.

Where is the most urgent need for innovation within the PR/communications industry? 
Media audience intelligence, segmentation and performance analytics

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

How have the events of 2020 impacted the the industry's innovation?
More innovative — with respect to the pace of change and the need to work differently to deliver better intelligence and performance outcomes.

Where is the PR industry's greatest opportunity for taking the lead on innovation?
Analytics and measurement

What is the ideal working scenario for innovation?
Agile minds adapt and perform well in either scenario. COVID was a forcing function and broader adoption of enterprise social networking platforms has accelerated acceptance of an expanded definition of "office collaboration" that functions outside the confines of physically shared offices, pods and conference rooms.

Has 2020 changed the way you define/approach innovation? How?
The events of 2020 left me with a deeper appreciation for inclusive innovation. How are we innovating to better hear and serve communities often left on the margin.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen this year?
Perhaps due to the fog of COVID, there isn’t much I remember about 2020 campaigns. All the initiatives I recalled for being innovative are from 2019 or 2018.

What is the most important lesson you've learned this year?
Innovation is what happens when you chase down a bigger problem.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider innovative.
Even when I’ve developed new solutions and methods, I don’t think of the work as innovative. I’m just solving problems and enjoying the pursuit of a better answer or outcome.

Any habit/activity that you have added to your life during Covid-19 that you hope to carry with you when the pandemic subsides? 
Regular rotation of check-ins with immediate and extended family.

How can the PR industry make real progress in diversity, inclusion and equity? What is the biggest roadblock standing in the way?
Require action and accountability, rather than settling for acknowledgement of the issue by industry leaders. The statistics are available. The talent is available. We all know what needs to be done. What is lacking is the will.

What are you thinking about most these days? 
2030 — and what 2020 is signaling (and has signaled) about the challenges we can expect to face in the coming decade.

Bold prediction for 2021. 
It won't be as bad as we think – and, even if it is, we'll adapt.