Michael Rinaman | The Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific 2023

Michael Rinaman

MD, True Global Intelligence, Asia-Pacific

Hong Kong

It seems simple, but we need to be more open to listen to voices from all industries, all geographies, and all walks of life.”

Michael Rinaman oversees the Asia-Pacific operations and global analytics for FleishmanHillard’s True Global Intelligence research arm, which has steered groundbreaking research into authenticity and DEI, to name just two areas. From developing new solutions in market, to integrating regional perspective into global strategy, Rinaman’s focus on integrated measurement across earned, paid, owned and shared media has driven award winning campaigns and reputation work for such clients as AB InBev, Bose, Corning, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Puerto Rico Tourism, Samsung, and Singapore Tourism.

How do you define innovation?
At its core, innovation is about reconceptualizing the world - through new frames of thinking, new processes, or new understanding - and taking meaningful action. Innovation is not always pretty, and almost never direct, but it is always new.

What is the most innovative PR or marketing initiative you've seen over the past 12 months?
This is at the tail end of the last twelve months, but Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard's decision to give the company - and its profits - to a charitable trust was truly groundbreaking. While purpose driven communications have been long established, this big, bold action reverberates well beyond some other technology driven headlines making news. Committing to, and communicating on shared value in new ways will always be innovative.

In your opinion, which brands and/or agencies are most innovative in their approach to PR and marketing?
At FleishmanHillard and Omnicom we're seeing new innovation every day. From our industry leading data broker platform Omni to our groundbreaking MOSAIC diversity, equity and inclusion practice, to the new products consistently being brought forward by TRUE Global Intelligence, we're leading the way for our clients and for the industry.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be innovative.
For a long time, communicators have been looking for ways to be more precise with storytelling. We also sit on a mountain of data about the publishers we target and the audiences who read them. In 2018 I brought this concept together to engage clients with a new analytics tool around precision PR. It truly moved clients forward. This has since evolved into Story Science by another innovator, Jared Carneson, but the concept is truly pivotal in changing the way clients think.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
I like to look to mass culture when thinking about innovation. Jean Luc Godard is one of my favorites. From his very first film until his recent death, he constantly challenged convention and the visual language that we use to understand the world. There is a lot to be said for his approach to embracing change, leveraging new technology, and finding new ways to communicate that we can learn from in the industry.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
I get moving. I go for a run. I go to the gym. My thought process is often quite logical which can lead it to being too linear if I'm not careful. By moving, and shifting my focus, it helps me recenter and bring my best ideas forward.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Take risks. When things get easy, we get complacent. We always need to challenge ourselves with bigger obstacles, rapid change, and questioning the status quo. This is advice that guides my career, is always included in my mentorship of colleagues across the world, and should be front and center in discussions of the industry with fellow leaders.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
I would be teaching. I've always had an interest in academia and in another world would love the opportunity to achieve a PhD.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has provided inspiration over the past year?
Ari Aster's "Beau Is Afraid" stuck with me for a while. It was a totally fresh look at anxiety and mental illness at a time when the world needs new thinking on how we can best talk about mental health.

How can the PR and communications industry harness innovation to make more progress on diversity, equity and inclusion?
It seems simple, but we need to be more open to listen to voices from all industries, all geographies, and all walks of life. This helps us to challenge our existing frameworks and frames of reference, meaning that we'll have an easier time to being more diverse as an industry. More inclusive. And more equitable.