Michael Manuel | The Innovator 25
Charting the future of public relations
Mike_ManuelThe Innovator 25:

Michael Manuel

Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Social Media, LinkedIn
Mountain View, Calif

Content marketing

Recognized for not only creating compelling content but also accomplishing this against a set a benchmarks and expectations that ultimately provide the elusive 'ROI.'

Where does the PR industry need to innovate the most?
Creative storytelling & Content creation. Attention spans are finite. I think in order for marketers to earn attention, they have to work a lot harder to develop stories that appeal to the disparate needs and tastes of the modern media consumer, while balancing the ever-shifting standards and requirements of the distribution platforms they rely on.

How innovative do you think the PR industry currently is?
About the same as other marketing disciplines. I think the PR industry has been (fairly) quick to adopt and apply new practices like influencer marketing, social media marketing and to some extent, content marketing to the overall professional skillset.

What is most important for the PR industry to do to foster more innovation?
Different hiring practices. Innovative cultures, services and new business models all seem to cascade down from talent acquisition and talent development practices.

The most innovative PR/communications campaign in the last 12 months?
I think NASA's use of social media, particularly Instagram has reignited the world's interest in space exploration. 

Brand or agency with the most innovative approach to communications.
Marriott, Airbnb, GoPro, and Google/ABC all come to mind...

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be 'innovative.'
I think some of my work with brands like Yahoo, PlayStation and eBay (in the early 2005-2007 timeframe) stands out. At this time, these companies was hungry to break ground and evolve their communications strategies online. I worked with each of them to develop new platforms like company blogs and social media profiles, as well as new models of operation, like social listening and community management.

How do you inspire innovation within yourself or to your team? 
I think the ingredients for innovation are different for everyone. For me, I try to be a good observer of how companies are marketing, particularly the content they produce. I talk regularly with my peers about the work they're doing. And I listen to and follow influential voices and thinkers — some in my industry, a lot outside of it.

What’s the most innovative place in the world?
I'm biased, I live and work here, but I feel pretty strongly that the SF Bay Area remains one of the biggest.

What's your favorite time of day?
Early morning (5AM - 8AM). It's the only distraction-free moment of my day.