Helena Gouveia | Innovator 25 EMEA 2022

Helena Gouveia

Country Marketing Manager 
IKEA Sweden 


“Innovation is the ability to do, share or create something that feels new and creates curiosity in consumers."

After some 13 years at the Swedish furniture giant, mostly in her native Portugal, Helena Gouviera became the first non-Swedish director of the marketing function of the brand in its native market. Whilst heading up marketing for IKEA in Portugal, she created communications projects that have been held up as benchmarks around the world, leading to her promotion as country marketing manager for Sweden.  

Since her appointment in 2021, she’s been responsible for a successful commercial relaunch of the brand in its core market – no mean feat. Her work repositioning the brand involved emphasising new competitive advantages and targeting a younger audience using research, planning and creative excellence, according to impressed colleagues. Her rise through the company has been notable, moving up through the ranks from social and environmental manager and product public relations, to her current role where she also has responsibility for communicating Ikea’s positioning across parts of Europe, including Portugal, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Belgium.  

How do you define innovation?
The ability to do/share/create something that feels new and that creates curiosity to consumers.

What is the most innovative PR or marketing initiative you've seen over the past 12 months?
Hard to identify one right now

In your opinion, which brands and/or agencies are most innovative in their approach to PR and marketing?

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be innovative.
Creating an online home furnishing school for consumers that do not know how to decorate their home.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Step outside routine and get some fresh air in the forest or sea.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Explore what is the next step of PR, how can it evolve?

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has provided inspiration over the past year?
Gary Vaynerchuk in any channel :)

How would you like to see work culture, and the role of the office, evolve?
Integrated also in the home office. A kind of company culture metaverse.

How can the PR and communications industry harness innovation to make more progress on diversity, equity and inclusion?
Highlighting and showcasing the real stories of the population across the world, and reinforcing that we are still far from equality, diversity and inclusion in many mature markets (where you would feel that is not a problem).