Steve Bent | The Innovator 25 North America 2021

Steve Bent

SVP, Executive Director, Analytics 


Dallas, TX    

Hometown: Mishawaka, IN

“When most people grab their phones for a distraction, I close my eyes and think about problems that I can solve."

Steve Bent is expert at transforming vast amounts of valuable information into actionable intelligence for brands. In the last year, he was instrumental in helping Lego capitalize on the millions of data points gleaned from increased activity during the pandemic to create a narrative that pushed the brand further. He used data and analytics to help Purina’s teams’ show the power of PR through every step of the customer journey, and Verizon focus its 5G communications. His accomplishments are tied to the unprecedented growth experienced by Golin’s Dallas analytics hub. Bent’s team has doubled in size in the past year while growing revenues more than 100%.

Do you think the global pandemic has made the industry more innovative? If you would like, please elaborate on your response.
More innovative. With so much business-related uncertainty, brands are asking more of industry pros to find new and more insightful solutions to their communications problems.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of? 
Some people are most proud of awards or big campaigns they worked on. Not me. I'm most proud of the "lightbulb moments." Every time we write an insight/action so convincingly clear that "words people" (PR pros) can understand the numbers and choose to act on our recommendations in a way that helps them win.

We're at a pivotal moment on the future of the office and how we work. How would like to see 'office/work culture' evolve?
Golin has thrived with 100% online teams. I think most in the industry like the freedom of working from home. But culture is key. Moving forward, it will be more important than ever to make sure teams carve-out intentional time to connect, collaborate, and celebrate each other.

How can the PR industry make real progress in diversity, inclusion and equity?
We have more work to do, but I think we are doing it. I'm encouraged to see hiring and retention efforts focused on more diverse offices, particularly diverse perspectives.

What makes you most excited or proud to be part of the PR industry? 
The industry is always changing, adapting and innovating. Every day is a new opportunity to create something new.

What are your fears/concerns for our industry? 
The PR industry is built on the idea that people trust third party sources (news media and social media experts). Hyper-political partisanship is threatening that trust in new and possibly irreversible ways.

What inspires you? This could be a person, place, activity, etc.
I'm inspired by contrarians. People who do things differently than most. It's easy to follow. It's harder to lead. I like to look for the "different" and then understand the "why" behind it. That's my source for innovative thinking.

What are you thinking about most these days? 
How to solve problems. Big problems. Small problems. Work problems. Community problems. When most people grab their phones for a distraction, I close my eyes and think about problems that I can solve.

What is your idea of happiness?
Spending time outside in the Texas sun with my family and friends.