If Noora Raj Brown wasn’t the SVP of Communications at Goop, she’d own a home décor and antique store. (If her stylized Instagram shots are any indication, I have full confidence it would be a success. But I digress.)
Brown, who is based in Los Angeles, is responsible for managing and elevating Goop’s public image, across brand, corporate, content, and commerce.
Since 2008, Gwyneth Paltrow’s brainchild, Goop, has stemmed from a newsletter into a web destination for advice, guides, and features about beauty, style, and wellness (and more). Its place in pop culture has extended itself beyond a dot com, with a podcast, brick and mortar locations, pop-ups, and events — not to mention a Netflix docuseries that premiered in January — and social media platforms that reach millions of followers daily.
Brown joined the company five years ago and day-by-day, her position encompasses a variety of roles. “Sometimes that means conceptualizing new initiatives and tentpoles with the team, other times that means taking an incredible beauty product and figuring out how to market it,” said the Palo Alto, Calif., native. “We utilize many different levers, including press, social, influencers, talent, thought leadership, [and more], to create and amplify the stories we want to tell.”
Speaking of stories, Brown studied Literature/Writing and Italian Literature at The University of California, San Diego. She initially wanted to be a writer and moved to New York right after graduation for a role at Conde Nast. “I sort of fell into public relationships because I got offered a job through a friend’s sister.”
Before goop, Brown held titles at Time Inc, Alison Brod Marketing & Communications, Thomson Hotels and BWR Public Relations where work experiences taught her a variety of skills that ultimately led her to one of the most coveted jobs in communications (more on that soon).
Read on to find out how Brown’s professional background, the evolution of social media, and time away from the office all influence her current role. And, if you’re looking for a new job, she offers insight about what she looks for when hiring goop team members.
On her first job
I worked on the talent side [of public relations], so my role was to assist two celebrity publicists with press schedules, junkets, stylists, and glam booking and pitching editors. I was always interested in writing, but I learned so much about the other side of how magazines got made: talent booking and negotiation, what goes into creating a cover/fashion spread and being on set, seeing the pieces come together. It probably wasn’t until 10 years later that I fully capitalized on a lot of that training.
Especially at early jobs, when you’re still trying to find your path, it’s still important to learn things that don’t immediately interest you. Those skills will often be useful down the line.
On the evolution of communication
The overarching mission is the same: find the most impactful way to tell your story and give it distribution to the right audiences. The execution is completely different because the landscape is so fragmented. You can still secure a placement in a print magazine – and we do plenty of that – but that can only be one part of the strategy.
And, when you do that, you need to understand how that print content is disseminated: will it also be on Instagram, and will it be shoppable, is it also going to be on the Apple news app, is that publisher part of your affiliate network, is there a way to track conversion?
On how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected her work
Due to COVID, we had to reimagine our marquee event: the In goop Health (IGH) summit, which is usually high touch and experiential and [in real life]. We launched a very ad hoc version, called IGH: The Sessions, which was a weekly conversation or class rooted in wellness, on YouTube, and the response was overwhelming.
As a result, we’re introducing a day-long summit that people can do from their homes. The content will be similar to a typical IGH, examining issues related to mind, body, and soul, but in a new format. Tickets start at $5, and the most expensive ticket includes a very lavish assortment of products that viewers can use in workshops and enjoy at home.
On the best career advice she’s ever received
Be nice. I grew up in a world of glamorous, glossy magazines and it was part of the culture to be a little maniacal. In many cases, the more maniacal a creative was, the more they were respected. People loved big personalities. But that type of culture led to a dramatic and necessary, reckoning. One of my first bosses told me that being nice gets you much farther and I’m grateful that I listened. You can still say no to people and be direct while being nice… most of the time anyway.
On following in her footsteps
Cultivate strong relationships, over-prepare for every meeting and then go with the flow, volunteer to do things that may be out of your job description but need to be done. Prepare smart questions and do your best to truly listen. It’s incredible how much people are telling you about their expectations and needs and how little we pick up on.
On her biggest cheerleaders
Our CEO at Goop has always put trust in me, even when we were in the middle of very tough situations that I didn’t honestly know if I could handle. But it’s a lesson that I’ve adopted in my own management style. Give people the space to rise up to your expectations.
On the qualities she looks for when hiring team members
Organization and enthusiasm, in that order. A true understanding of the brand, and knowledge of what the role entails. Someone who comes to the interview with new ideas. I don’t even really care if the ideas would work for Goop, as long as they are thought-through and I can see there is a clear intention behind them.
On advice for scoring a job at goop
This is true for anywhere you want to work but familiarize yourself with how company executives talk about the brand and use that language to demonstrate your connection to the brand and passion for working there.
I’ve interviewed so many people who say they like goop because they are into wellness, but our point of view on wellness is specific, so speak to that. Goop is a lean, high growth startup, so that means we work quickly. We look for people who have valuable experience but are also willing to learn new skills on the job, even if it feels daunting. It’s the kind of place where every day is different, so we want people who are fueled by that.
I’m very open to candidates that if they’re looking for a traditional workplace with tons of structure and process, this is not it. But there are perks to that too – for example, every August, we have a mandatory two-week break where people are asked to stay off email and mentally reset. I don’t know many traditional companies that do that.
Speaking of a reset: on what she’s doing outside of work
Hot yoga, vintage fashion, scouring galleries for new artists, and reading.
On the biggest misconception about working in communications
That it’s glamorous. It can be, at times, but that’s not the reason to go into the field.