Akanksha Goel | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 EMEA Akanksha Goel

Akanksha Goel

Founder

Socialize
Dubai

“Our industry is changing every day. To continue staying in the lead we need to be able to change our tyres, while we’re racing”

A digital marketing pioneer, Akanksha Goel is the founder of Socialize, the Middle East’s first specialist social media agency. The agency now has a team of over 50 people and has grown to become one of the region’s largest independents, ranked amongst Dubai’s top 100 SMEs. The Harvard Business School executive graduate started her career as the youngest editor-in-chief of Stuff Magazine. She then worked across India and Singapore, where she was at the forefront of the "Web 2.0" revolution and helped organise Asia's first-ever pod-camp. In 2010 she moved to Dubai to launch Socialize, with the aim of harnessing the untapped business potential of then-emerging social networks. In her current role as MD, she drives business growth, leads team development and oversees strategy across a client roster that includes Sony, General Mills, GEMS Education and Clorox.

How do you define innovation?
Something new, that makes something old better. Ideas, processes or products that create value or capture value in a new way.

Which brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
We Are Social, AKQA, R/GA

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Setting up Socialize back in 2010: a time when social media was still called "Web 2.0" and social networks were not seen as marketing channels.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation? 
Sir Richard Branson. He said that if someone asks you to do something and you don’t know how to do it, say yes and then figure it out. He challenged BA and American Airlines’ monopoly of the Atlantic, among many other achievements.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Spend time with brilliant people. From brainstorms with the team to meeting industry colleagues, a good conversation always does the trick.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Advice for leadership teams: create a culture that supports change. Our industry is changing every day and to continue staying in the lead we need to be able to change our tyres, while we’re racing. As agencies grow, we need to maintain our agility by encouraging teams to think on their feet and make decisions quickly. Invest time in understanding emerging technologies, network and keep a look-out for tech start-ups. The future will only get more challenging and hiring the right people for the journey will be critical.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Spending more time with friends and family.