60 seconds with Dan Innes
Dan Innes, founder and managing director of Innesco on his passion for real estate PR, why he has always admired the risk takers, and why – with a background in rowing – an afternoon with his colleagues at Henley Regetta is the perfect way for them to celebrate the consultancy’s 4th anniversary.
If you weren’t in PR, what would you be doing?
I originally trained as a town planner, having been steered away from architecture before university years – but design and graphics were always an interest. In a perfect world I’d be behind the lens directing films, possibly even having a cameo role.
What tips do you have for people climbing the career ladder?
Perseverance and learning from one’s mistakes are the best tips in my mind. If you can put your hand on your heart and say you’ve never made the same mistake twice, then you’ll go places.
How has PR changed since you first started out?
Where do you want to start? At my first agency in the early 90’s we originally felt that being master of all channels was a potential weakness – that we were viewed as masters of none – but this unwitting approach to marcomms became the best training for the multi-faceted real-time media landscape we operate in today.
What’s your favourite part of PR?
The journey. Identifying the story or opportunity that nobody else sees and taking it from nothing to a headline campaign that adds to a client’s bottom line. This is especially rewarding on integrated accounts where we can pull all sorts of new media platforms together creating noise and a real point of difference.
Who has inspired you in your career so far?
I’ve always admired the risk takers and in many ways I am one too. I do not believe in gambling though, it does nothing for me. Instead I take inspiration from the people who make their own luck basing judgment on foresight, the people who truly believe in their own ideas like Branson, Jobs …and members of my team!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Probably “Act in haste, repent at leisure”. I’ll give you the worst advice too, an old colleague used to tell me to drop my ideas because it “wasn’t the nature of the PR business” – that just made me work harder and taught me to believe in myself.
How do you relax at weekends?
I used to row to a national level, and enjoy getting out on the Thames even today with old Cambridge, Imperial and Newcastle friends. When truly relaxing, I do enjoy doing justice to each and every last section of the Saturday and Sunday papers – but that’s a rare treat.
Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
The ambition is to grow the business abroad, opening other offices in major cities, so ultimately I’d like to be living in Zurich, travelling extensively around the world. Other colleagues want New York, Paris or Stockholm, but Zurich is a big pull for me. We continue to grow organically and close to a permanent Stockholm office opening, but I wouldn’t be afraid of undertaking an acquisition to enter new markets – it’s high on the strategic agenda.
What’s your favourite piece of business advice?
“If it feels right, do it”. I have never been scared of change, and so every day I am looking at ways to improve aspects of the way we do business. I find that fascinating. The beauty of running the business is the ability to make decisions quickly and implement them the next day – getting to see the improvements then and there.
It’s Innesco’s 4th Anniversary this week – what major milestones mark the firm’s progress since launching?
Without a doubt the biggest milestone was being appointed by Westfield to provide B2B comms expertise, and being at the heart of the action at Westfield Stratford City – through its construction to post Olympics and the corporate comms role thereafter across Westfield’s UK and Europe portfolio. Following that it was our work for IKEA in Russia and then launching Golden Square for Squarestone in Sao Paulo. In 2013, we’re active across the whole of EMEA with current projects in France, Sweden, Poland and Abu Dhabi.
Are you doing anything special to mark this 4th Anniversary?
Funnily enough you ask, following my background in rowing the Innesco team is currently standing in the Stewards Enclosure at Henley with 40 clients from the world of global real estate including VIP’s from the UK, Africa, France and Scandinavia – it’s Innesco’s mini MIPIM. We’re onto Leander for sundowners later with my rather demanding rowing partner Alex Partridge.
Henley Regatta? There’s industry rumour is you once rowed the Atlantic, you must really be into your rowing?
The Atlantic was a while ago now, but yes, rowing is a great sport and I have a close community of rowing mates. It has honestly helped me to focus my career, and the trans-Atlantic experience gave a new balance to my life especially when making the tough decisions. There is a high level of skill, discipline and dedication in the sport, but also camaraderie – very much like the way we operate at Innesco!
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