Linda Lim | The Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific 2021

Linda Lim

Business Communications Director


"If people don’t value what we do, we remain 'an ingredient' versus 'an important part' of making things happen"

Linda Lim is as quick to challenge the status quo today as she was when she joined Dow 16 years ago. A big believer in doing things differently, Lim uses communications with fortitude to drive Dow’s business results, as well as support and engage employees and other stakeholders. A proponent of the power of communications, Lim is the creator of a methodology that articulates how communications help drive brand preferences in ways that other channels cannot. 

How do you define innovation?
A fresh approach that meaningfully contributes to expanding the way we think about or do things.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
It is how companies have rapidly evolved the way they engage employees and stakeholders to become even more effective than before the Covid-19 pandemic. I’ve seen new hire onboarding campaigns that make day one and the subsequent orientation very special.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
Any brand/agency that behaves within context — ie responding to their role in society, competition, what's current, and what's important to people at a point in time – are often refreshing and innovative in how messages are delivered. Whether it’s KFC's FCK campaign during its great chicken shortage of 2018 in the UK, Samsung's current "You can do better" Galaxy Z Flip3 5G ad, and Dow’s own “Human Element” and “Science of Sport” campaigns, they all inspire different perspectives.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Coming up with a measurement framework to articulate the business impact of communications was a moment of innovation. Back in 2016, a front-page feature article garnered over 30 million in global impressions across multiple channels but the business leader I worked with wasn’t impressed. That led me to creating a methodology to articulate how communications help drive brand preference in the customer journey and measure cost-benefit across different channels in a way that non-communications colleagues can relate.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
Jeff Bezos for seeing past the transaction to the experience of transacting…and an entrepreneur friend who never stops being fascinating in the way he spots gaps. Once, to get to a business prospect ahead of his competitors who were waiting in the airport’s arrival lounge, he bought a cheap ticket to enter the restricted boarding area in order to welcome this business prospect as soon as he disembarked. This move is no longer legal.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Read or watch random things completely unrelated to what I'm working on, or sketch and paint. This process helps me come back to the problem with expanded ways of thinking.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Question what we value. For an industry that helps to communicate better and influence, we have a lot of jargon and domain knowledge that is not easily relatable. If people don’t value what we do, we remain “an ingredient” versus “an important part” of making things happen.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
I’d run a pottery studio where hobby potters can rent a space of their own and share kilns. It's a great way to make a time and space consuming hobby sustainable.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through this year or provided inspiration?
A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger. The skill of asking questions is extremely underrated. It’s a book I re-read every now and then to help me remain agile in the way I frame and reframe topics.

What's your favourite time of day and why?
7am in the morning after my dog and I return from our walk. He would want to curl up next to me and rest on my arm, making it hard for me to do anything but be in the moment and enjoy his company.