Richa Goswami | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Innovator 25 AP Richa Goswami

Richa Goswami

Global Head, Content, Creative Excellence & Digital Platforms

Johnson & Johnson

“Innovate or become irrelevant. The choice is yours to make as the consumer has already made theirs.”

An accomplished marketer with a digital transformation success track record at several blue-chip companies, Richa Goswami recently took on a new global role overseeing content, creative excellence and digital platforms for Johnson & Johnson. Prior to that elevation, she served as chief digital officer at J&J Asia-Pacific for consumer healthcare brands, encompassing iconic names like Johnson’s Baby, Neutrogena, Band-Aid, Listerine, Clean & Clear and Aveeno. As an early adopter of digital and social media, Goswami has brought a disruptive mindset to much of her work, which also includes senior marketing roles at HSBC and Standard Chartered, reflecting her ability to deliver change at complex organizations.

How do you define innovation?
Innovation is about disrupting the status quo. It can be a revolution and/or an evolution. But it’s about moving ahead and being a change for good. 

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
I am biased and think our win at Cannes for project free period where we look to change the lives of commercial sex workers for a brand that’s leading in India in the femcare industry was groundbreaking. To put two taboo subjects in the context of India, periods and sex workers, was astounding.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
I don't think there is one. I follow startups that I feel are defining this pace and being super disruptive. I think all the big names are trying to figure it out and prevent from becoming extinct.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
There are numerous that come to mind but one I am incredibly proud of was when I designed the next generation banking proposition for Standard Chartered. It was co-created by millennials, for millennials before the industry even woke up to the disruption millennials were going to create in banking. We were ahead of our times and the experiences and products we designed then were extremely innovative and ahead of their times. Things like crowdsourced savings accounts, credit cards personalised with Facebook pictures, debit cards with AR and gamification…think Pokemon gaming way back in China in 2009. Fun times.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
As cliche as it is, it’s Steve Jobs. He defined and designed experiences like no one had ever fathomed before. There is a reason it’s a trillion dollar company today.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
I travel and on that vacation I learn something new. whether I do a photography tour, or I learn pottery, or I do a cooking class. I make sure I keep those creative juices engaged.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Innovate or become irrelevant. The choice is yours to make as the consumer has already made theirs.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Aah…so many things. A lawyer at the UN fighting for atrocities against humanity. A rockstar like Bono. A chef like Antoine Beauvilliers as I love cooking and travelling. Or the owner of a global chain of boutique hotels.

Favourite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
My favourite book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. 

What's your favourite time of day and why?
I love sunsets. It’s that magical time between day and night when time feels suspended and is celebrated amongst a burst of orange and lavender hues. I just find nature at its most magnificent then and it’s a reminder of how small we humans are in front of the universe and yet we run around with a presumptuous sense of self.