Motoko Kunita | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2017
Charting the future of public relations

2017 Innovator 25 AP - Mokoko KunitaThe Innovator 25:

Motoko Kunita

Executive Division Director

Dentsu Public Relations 
Tokyo

“I would encourage organizations to incorporate the perspectives of outsiders, young people, and those slightly out of the mainstream”

Motoko Kunita was recently promoted from a senior director to executive division director of Dentsu PR’s information design division, making her the only female division head at the dominant Japanese PR firm, and one of the few females to crack the glass ceiling in Japan’s male-dominated PR industry. As head of the division, Kunita oversees Dentsu PR’s digital communications work, which has resulted in a string of impressive external accolades, including several SABRE Awards. That success owes much to Kunita’s innovative spirit, which includes building networks of largely female online influencers to reach younger consumers for her Japanese clients. Kunita has also used Dentsu PR’s online platform to raise visibility of para-sports and has played a pivotal role in Dentsu PR’s adoption of digital PR content and tools, and its development of a bespoke crisis management support system. 

How do you define innovation?
I see innovation as realizing that which has not previously existed. An idea alone is insufficient; one must create something real to call it innovation.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
KFC Canada’s summer campaign temporarily renaming KFC to K'ehFC to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary: video on the name change, with content rivaling America’s Fourth of July celebrations, introduced Canada’s splendor, becoming topical largely through Facebook, with over 45 million unique views. A single private company succeeded in capturing the hearts of its target audience, on a national scale, through a wonderful execution plan, in terms of content design and social media marketing.

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
Digital marketing agency 360i. They are always pushing the boundaries of digital, social, and insights.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
The time we developed and released the ePR Navigator public information support system in 2001: At the time, I think the idea of harnessing new cloud systems to deliver public relations services was gaining traction worldwide. Unfortunately, it did not sell as well as I thought.

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Social media & online marketing.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry’s level of innovation?
About the same as other marketing disciplines.

Where do you see the greatest opportunity for marketing & PR to become more innovative?
Social media & online marketing.

Who most influences how innovative a brand’s marketing/PR is?
CEO

Who is your mentor and why?
Cats: watching cats calms my mind and lends perspective when dealing with problems.

How do you find inspiration?
Talk with your colleagues as much as possible instead of thinking to yourself: such conversations often inspire inspiration.

What is your advice for people seeking to bring new ideas and ways of doing things to their organizations?
Consult with an excellent PR company, like Dentsu Public Relations. In Japan, it is said that outsiders, young people and fools are the agents of change. I would encourage organizations to incorporate the perspectives of outsiders, young people, and those slightly out of the mainstream. 

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world?
The new Amazon headquarters building in Seattle.

What’s your favorite time of day and why?
Night: I enjoy reading mysteries in bed to clear my thoughts before going to sleep.