Peewee Bauman | The Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific 2020

Peewee Bauman

VP Global Innovations & New Business Development



“Nothing in the playbook I am using today is from past experience & every innovation and solution is outside inspired”

A brand, innovation and marketing specialist, Peewee Bauman joined Dole last year, and has played a key role in the produce company’s ambitious promise to increase access to sustainable nutrition, decrease food waste, plastics in packaging and carbon emissions and grow value for the company's stakeholders, including farmers and shareholders. Prior to Dole, Bauman spent almost five years as Shiseido’s regional personal care marketing director, after cutting her teeth during a decade long stint with Unilever. Despite that track record in consumer marketing, Bauman notes that Dole’s attempts to transform from CPG to health and wellness calls for outside inspiration rather than anything she has learned at her previous stops.  

How do you define innovation?
Innovation is a new way of solving old problems, or solving new problems but allowing for scale in adoption. If no one is using it, then that is an invention not an innovation.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Most of the meaningful communication and marketing activities the past few months are brands and companies that have created material in light of Covid - the Nike initiative to make face shields made from repurposed shoes was a good one, among many brands that have done the same (LVMH, Unilever and Shiseido creating new lines in their factory to make hand sanitizers not perfumes), Lego's US campaign to encourage kids to stay at home in the US & even the light hearted ones which aim to entertain and bring joy during these times like Guinness' St Patricks Day message.  It's however not only brands but organisations that have innovative comms during these times - the 'wear a mask' campaign, 30 seconds of Calm of CNN in particular I find relevant and very consumer focused.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
Hard to pick, lots of guys big and small making a mark there. The ones doing well though are the ones who push the boundaries on creative yet ground themselves on real human and cultural insight.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Moving from a world of beauty and traditional big CPG companies to a company that wants to transform into a health and wellness company is one of my most 'innovative' moves. Nothing in the playbook (well almost) I am using today is from past experience & every innovation and solution is outside inspired.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
The oldies. I have to say I read about Edison and although the guy seemed utterly difficult to work with, he was the one who brought 'light' to light. There were several inventors before him but he was the only one who perfected it to scale.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
I stop working on it. If there's a wall, there's a reason for the wall and it likely is because you are on a hamster wheel. The best way is to stop, smell the roses, do something different, read something unrelated and tackle the issue differently.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Take inspiration from inside & outside the industry - when we look to our neighbors we see more of the same & do things better. When we look outside, we see a path to something different - other industries may inspire you to do something different.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
I would be a full time artist, I paint on the side during my free-time.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through this year or provided inspiration?
Too many to mention - but my new find is Allan Watts. I listen to all his old recordings and he is giving me a new perspective on life.

What's your favourite time of day and why?
I don't have a favorite time, but I do have a favorite moment. It's when I am either spending time with the dogs & my husband or I'm learning.