Stephen Davis | The Innovator 25 EMEA 2023

Stephen Davis

EMEA Marketing Director
Roland DG



“All-agency briefing meetings bring the best creative minds together. Alongside the in-house team, this is a great way to generate new ideas.” 

Stephen Davis has transformed the image of global printer manufacturer Roland DG in the EMEA market since his appointment in December 2019. He is the force behind the unification of the brand’s marketing units into one central EMEA marketing organisation, and is the brains behind its state-of-the-art virtual showrooms, which helped customers to discover Roland products remotely, especially during the pandemic. A former B2C marketer at brands such as American Airlines and Expedia, Davis passionately believes in raising the creative bar in B2B. Recent notable promotional campaigns that he led include the promotional campaign of the Texart XT640S-F, dubbed the ‘dress release’, and the ‘Fifty Shades of Ginger’ campaign to celebrate redheads across the world and promote the depth of colour in the company’s TrueVis printer range. This year he has also pushed the brand to new heights by delivering a major launch event for its TrueVis range, a first-of-its kind for Roland DG. The event in Barcelona brought execs, dealers and media together and showed Roland DG’s products in action by wrapping a BWT Alpine F1 car and skateboards for two famous Spanish boarders.

How do you define innovation?
Bringing new initiatives and change to the business by way of comms/ marketing activity that adds real value.

What is the most innovative PR or marketing initiative you've seen over the past 12 months?
The integrated activity created by Cinch. I like the way they have taken their messaging across advertising, PR, sports sponsorship and then the exclusive deal with the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio. Incredible message cut-through and endorsement.

In your opinion, which brands and/or agencies are most innovative in their approach to PR and marketing?
I see quite a bit of innovation in the travel category. Uber, Airbnb, Virgin and BA are all working hard to gain a point of difference and achieve recall. It's also interesting to see the rise of successful B2B marketing campaigns from businesses including, Shopify, Drift, Hubsot, and in the UK Sage and Xero.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be innovative.
Leading business transformation and change at Roland DG. Particularly during the pandemic, I guided my teams to pivot to digital solutions for our customers.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation? 
Jeff Bezos. To scale up a business from selling books out of a garage to a multinational retailer and entertainment studio is true innovation.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
I hold all-agency briefing meetings to bring the best creative minds together. Alongside the in-house team, this is a great way to generate new ideas.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Look to other industries and marketing disciplines for ideas, think more broadly and empathise with your clients.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Sailing around the world!

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has provided inspiration over the past year?
Top Gun – extending the franchise was genius! Economist podcast, BBC Americast, Shirley Robertson's sailing podcast.

How can the PR and communications industry harness innovation to make more progress on diversity, equity and inclusion?
Hire people with a range of different skillsets and backgrounds. That will naturally lead to an increase in EDI.