Shayoni Lynn | Innovator 25 EMEA 2022

Shayoni Lynn



“Our practice is changing at speed and we cannot progress ourselves or our practice if we don’t embrace innovation. This is not just about creative thinking, it's about solution-finding.” 

Lynn founder Shayoni Lynn has nurtured an authentic point of difference in the crowded UK PR agency market for her three-year-old agency by placing her passion for behavioural science at its core: her vision was to put data, science and experimentation at the heart of creative communications and to deliver campaigns that tangibly improve and save lives by creating positive change at scale. Last year, Lynn launched The Misinformation Cell, the UK’s first dedicated anti-disinformation service for PR and communications, which is now working with the Ukraine Communications Support Network and providing cutting-edge intelligence to fight Russian disinformation. In May this year, Lynn added three new dedicated practice areas focusing on health, climate change and business transformation. Lynn’s talent, charisma and conviction has pulled some big agency veterans into her orbit: to focus on managing growth as she builds the business, she has built an advisory board including David Gallagher (ex-Omnicom), Stephen Waddington (ex-Ketchum), and Andy West (ex-Hotwire). As well as achieving results for clients that go well beyond the usual comms metrics, her approach has led to Lynn and her agency winning multiple awards – not least PRovoke Media’s EMEA digital consultancy of the year – and being the fastest-growing PR agency in the world last year in our global revenue rankings.  
How do you define innovation?
For us at Lynn, innovation is forecasting future behaviours to create the right, most purposeful products and solutions today.

What is the most innovative PR or marketing initiative you've seen over the past 12 months?
In my opinion, the person who has made the most impact in a purposeful way is Marcus Rashford and his Free School Meals campaign. He demonstrated how to truly connect with audiences, build momentum in communities, to affect change at the top.

In your opinion, which brands and/or agencies are most innovative in their approach to PR and marketing?
We've seen some creative, innovative work from several brands over the past few months. Most recently, RSPB's campaign to protect nature is bold, innovative and created to affect change. They are tackling an important issue during a time of turbulence and holding true to their mission and values.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be innovative.
Setting up Lynn just a few months before the pandemic was truly a memorable experience. Our consultancy is rooted in behavioural science, providing some of today's most innovative solutions in creating positive behaviour change that improves and saves lives in the UK and globally. Certainly, founding The Misinformation Cell in 2021 - as the UK's first dedicated anti mis/disinformation service for PR and Communications - was a further testament to our innovation. The Misinformation Cell is fighting disinformation for clients globally, helping organisations and brands better connect with their audiences in today's world of information overload and false narratives. The pro-bono work we did to support war efforts in Ukraine earlier this year, analysing and interpreting disinformation, was a moment in my career that I not only consider innovative but truly purposeful.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
At Lynn, we embrace the counterintuitive! With that in mind, I would have to say Rory Sutherland who has proven time and time again that the opposite of a good idea can also be a good idea!

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
The biggest thing I've learnt when in a creativity rut is not to fight it. We can't be switched on all the time. I think when I'm stuck, that's my brain telling me I need to slow down and I need to listen to that. I take time to disconnect and then I'll look to connect with colleagues to collaboratively tackle the problem.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Do it! Our practice is changing at speed and we cannot progress ourselves or our practice if we don't embrace innovation. This is not just about creative thinking, it's about solution-finding. To stand out from the crowd, we need to demonstrate what we're bringing to the table.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Ideally travelling the world either as a war correspondent or a food blogger.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has provided inspiration over the past year?
I'm personally a big fan of Katy Milkman's Choiceology podcast!

How would you like to see work culture, and the role of the office, evolve?
Home/remote working provides excellent opportunities to maximise creativity and innovation. Lynn was set up as a remote business prior to the pandemic - this has allowed us to attract, recruit and retain the best talent without barriers placed on us such as geography. We also hire non-traditional expertise within the business which gives us diversity of thought, cultivating a truly purposeful culture.

How can the PR and communications industry harness innovation to make more progress on diversity, equity and inclusion?
I think we need to look beyond traditional expertise to truly create a progressive, diverse industry. PR and communications have so many component parts and we need to embrace those with specialist skills in data, behaviour change, economics, sociology, anthropology to create the teams of the future.