Lisa Rosenberg | The Innovator 25 North America 2022

Lisa Rosenberg

Partner+President, Consumer

New York

“Whatever form innovation takes, I believe it’s inexorably linked to the creation of new value.”

Lisa Rosenberg has long been a champion of cultural relevance being part of brands’ DNA. But when she realized there was no clear way of measuring it, Rosenberg set out to create a product that would do just that. The result: the 2022 launch of BGIQ, an AI-powered tool to measure the real-time cultural relevance of brands built leveraging Allison’s tech and creative expertise – and Rosenberg’s commitment to delivering on her vision.  “Innovation doesn’t have to be a big, scary concept or something that is only achievable by others,” Rosenberg says. “Curiosity drives innovation and if we allow ourselves to step outside our comfort zones, innovation is something we are all capable of.” 

How do you define innovation?
Innovation doesn’t need to be a big scary concept or something that is only achievable by others. Curiosity drives innovation and if we allow ourselves to step outside of our comfort zones, innovation is something we are all capable of. Innovation can come in many different forms – it can be an improvement on what already exists, the creation of something new, or something truly disruptive that makes the old way of doing things obsolete. Whatever form innovation takes, I believe it’s inexorably linked to the creation of new value.

What is the most innovative PR or marketing initiative you've seen over the past 12 months?
I think the Barbie marketing campaign was brilliant. With more than 100 brand partnerships, they did a great job making the brand relevant to new audiences. I also really liked the campaign World Cup Delivery, from food delivery app PedidosYa around Argentina’s World Cup win. It was an innovative application of AI and a brilliant and cost-efficient way to tap into the country’s passion for football.

In your opinion, which brands and/or agencies are most innovative in their approach to PR and marketing?
From the moment it took the Super Bowl by storm, Liquid Death has challenged the way the world views bottled water and they’ve continued to disrupt the marketing industry. With a strategy of finding funny ways to comment on the state of commercial culture, the brand effectively uses humor to forge an emotional connection with consumers. On the agency front, I’m continuously impressed by Wieden+Kennedy and their innovative work for brands like Nike and Budweiser, and this year’s award-winning campaign for Clash of Clans, where they created 30 years of history in celebration of the brand’s actual 10 years of existence.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be innovative.
I’ve long been a champion of the importance of cultural relevance within a brand’s DNA, even helping to define Allison’s agency positioning around it. While industry conversations often center around the importance of cultural relevance, I realized that no one had a clear way of measuring it. So, my team and I set out on a journey to create a breakthrough product that could do just that. By combining my team’s consumer brand prowess with Allison’s best-in-class performance and intelligence chops, I championed the full lifecycle of this new product, from concepting the details of how BGIQ would work and what it would measure, to how to price the product and bring it to market. The result is a dynamic and industry-disrupting offering that has positioned Allison at the epicenter of the notion of culture as a true driver of brand success.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
I’ve long admired my former colleague and mentor, Marian Salzman. Her unique ability to track trends before they become mainstream and anticipate the future is second to none.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
I usually go in one of two directions. I either look for inspiration from the world around me – people-watching, art, culture, social media – or I let my mind wander while doing a puzzle, baking or something as routine as folding laundry.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Don’t make perfection the goal. Be bold. Take risks. And most importantly, don’t be intimidated by the word innovation. We all have the ability to innovate.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
I always wanted to design and build a collection of luxury hotels in far off places.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has provided inspiration over the past year?
I like to look at the work winning awards at the Clios and Cannes. I can get lost for hours watching the case videos on the Lions’ Love the Work site. I also really enjoy a good television binge – if I can watch multiple episodes in a row, I find I can really get immersed in someone else’s world. I really enjoyed Succession and The Morning Show for a glimpse behind the scenes of the media business and Ted Lasso for inspiration and laughter.
How can the PR and communications industry harness innovation to make more progress on diversity, equity and inclusion?
I think we need to continue to challenge convention. Ask the hard questions. When looking for talent we need to prioritize additive perspective vs. cultural fit. Only then will we be able to normalize inclusion. At Allison, we believe diversity isn’t just to be acknowledged, it’s to be celebrated – inclusion is at the very core of both our culture and our policies. We also emphasize allyship and advocacy as part of our efforts to build a more equitable world for all. But it’s got to be about more than just internal ways of working and policies.
True innovation for progress on DEI must also be reflected in the work we are doing for clients. One piece of work that I’m particularly proud of is the Kimpton Stay Human Creator Collective which was developed in response to a global consumer survey that uncovered a large discrepancy between current travel social media content and the true desires of consumers. The survey found that 85% of travelers want brand social media content to be more inclusive and 84% think travel brands could do more to support a diverse set of travel creators. In response to the survey and informed by input from the Stay Human Creator Collective, Kimpton introduced an industry leading pledge to transform travel content. The commitments pledge to have at least 75% of the brand’s creators diverse in race, ethnicity, religion, language, size, age and/or disability, address current gaps in travel content on social media, incorporate the diverse perspectives of the Creator Collective on an ongoing basis and throw away the traditional brand-issued “creator content brief.” This is a great example of a brand walking the walk and demonstrating real progress on the DEI front.