Jennifer Dohm | The Innovator 25 North America 2021

Jennifer Dohm

Global Director of Brand Marketing Communications


Hometown: Green Bay, WI

“We should also consider the value we can bring of our 'earned lens' to the entire marketing ecosystem."

Since taking over PR for in 2018, Jennifer Dohm has transformed the brand into an "act not ad" case study. Her efforts have earned her many industry accolades — including a handfuls of Innovation SABRE Award trophies for campaigns that include carb-themed hotel suites and getting people to namedrop in their wedding vows. But her obsessive focus on the intersection of brands and culture paid off most handsomely during the pandemic as travel screeched to a halt. This included having Captain Obvious become "Chaplain Obvious" to officiate Zoom wedding ceremonies and renting out accommodations "under a rock" in a remote New Mexico during election week.

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

If you define innovation a nimble and constant evolution, then I'd say more innovative in many respects, as I think this discipline must adapt and innovate to match the speed of news and culture.

Where is the PR industry's greatest opportunity for innovation? 
Expanding the scope/meaning of public relations. While reputation management and media relations are hallmark skillsets that value PR pros bring to their orgs, we should also consider the value we can bring of our "earned lens" to the entire marketing ecosystem. In some instances, our work may be better labeled as "earned marketing." The earned filter applied to a variety of marketing tactics and levers can exponentially add ROI. Only seeing this work as "PR" can be limiting.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of? 
If you ask my second-grade self, she’d absolutely say: “The Lisa Frank Flat!” In 2019, I got to live out my childhood dreams when brought Lisa Frank to life through a bookable stay at a property in LA. It was the brand’s most successful PR campaign to-date and a perfect example of bringing into culture and conversation that inspired many of our millennial travelers.

We're at a pivotal moment on the future of the office and how we work. How would you like to see 'office/work culture' evolve?
It’s certainly a long-overdue moment, however, many people started their current roles in office environments. They knew their teammates and already had camaraderie, so they could sustain relationships into remote work. Beginning a role completely remote is challenging and, long term, I question the sustainability and engagement of an entirely remote workforce. I’m a people person. I think people need people and that includes being in a physical space together. Overall, there is a ton of room for flexibility (being based in different locations and working remote for long periods at a time, for example) as long as we still make time for the in-person moments regularly.

How can the PR industry make real progress in diversity, inclusion and equity?
We must continue to move away from this as a “check the box” exercise, or from thinking visual diversity or representation is enough. In marketing, real inclusion and diversity starts at the very beginning and the very core of an idea, campaign or message must be viewed through this lens.

What makes you most excited or proud to be part of the PR industry? 
I am obsessed with the intersection of brands and culture. Its compelling to help drive a business and brand forward with thoughtful connections to moments, trends or topics people care about. Coming up with a campaign or idea that makes someone smile or share is super motivating.

What are your fears/concerns for our industry?
I don’t like the word fear. Fears drive worry and I try not to waste energy worrying too much. I think our greatest opportunity in the industry is to eliminate silos from the different marketing disciplines. Keeping ourselves within the boxes of advertising, paid media, PR and social don't really do us much good. Consumers just see a single brand - not disciplines. Let's all understand each other’s expertise a bit better so we can work more cohesively.

What inspires you? This could be a person, place, activity, etc.
Newness inspires me. Trying something new. Seeing something new. Meeting someone new. I think that's why I love travel so much - it affords me the opportunity to break from routine and force new perspectives. It may be a cliché, but I often say I live to travel and I travel to live.

What are you thinking about most these days?
How we can spend less time “connecting” via apps, websites, phones, etc. and get back to real facetime and human interaction.

What is your idea of happiness?
Rio de Janeiro. Copacabana Palace Hotel. Poolside with a refreshing beverage and sunshine. Cannot be beat.