J&J's Manoj Raghunandanan On Becoming A 'Digital First' Consumer Health Company
“We want to make sure digital is embedded into every aspect of our business, from R&D and supply chain, to marketing and finance,” says Johnson & Johnson's president of global self-care and consumer experience organization Manoj Raghunandanan in this exclusive interview.
Johnson & Johnson’s consumer health business will next year follow companies like Haleon, Perrigo and Bausch + Lomb Inc down the path of becoming a pure self-care company.
Under the brand name Kenvue – a combination of the word “ken,” which means knowledge in Scottish, and “vue,” implying sight – the consumer business is expected to be spun off from J&J in 2023. (Also see "Branding For J&J’s Kenvue Cements Consumer Division Separation" - HBW Insight, 7 Oct, 2022.)
According to J&J, Kenvue will continue to be committed to “advancing the standard of care through innovation and technology.”
In this exclusive interview with HBW Insight, J&J’s president of global self-care and consumer experience organization (CxO) Manoj Raghunandanan expands on what this could mean for the standalone company, drawing on current product examples such as Nicorette QuickMist SmartTrack and Tylenol SmartCheck. (Also see "J&J’s Nicorette QuickMist SmartTrack – Getting Inside One Of 2020’s Biggest UK Launches" - HBW Insight, 24 Feb, 2021.)
For Raghunandanan, technology is not something to be bolted on to consumer health, but rather something that must be placed at the very center of pure self-care firms like Kenvue.
Technology is key for consumers in meeting rapidly evolving healthcare needs, he notes, and for resolving “friction points” in everyday self-care experience.
In terms of innovation, even Rx-to-OTC switch, which Raghunandanan notes built the very foundations of the OTC industry, must be supported and supplemented by innovative technologies.
The other part of our consumer experience organisation is more like the traditional market research department. These are the folks that are working on human insights, data analytics, data sciences in a commercial sense, in order to help elevate our understanding of what consumers need, so we can be aware of new trends. Having the best content is also critically important. Making sure we're using platforms to the best of their ability, making sure that we have experiences for our brands. It’s really all about driving the value of the consumer experience, understanding the friction points and hopefully solving them and sharing that and building those capabilities globally for our company.
Another example is our Nicorette SmartTrack product. You know, quitting smoking is one of the hardest things to do. People stop and start again anywhere between six to nine times a year. It's very difficult. One of the friction points for people giving up is predicting when that next craving will come and pre-empt it. The beauty of SmartTrack is that you tap your phone when you use the QuickMist spray, and then your phone works out when your next craving might be and sends you a reminder. Again, we are just trying to help people on their quitting journey to make it more successful. We never want to use technology for technology's sake. We want our digital first mindset to always be centered around delivering better outcomes for our consumers.
We just talked a lot about technology. Is there a future world in which technology makes more candidates available for switch? Maybe. But while Rx-to-OTC switches will always be the lifeblood of the OTC industry, as a company, we recognize there are now other avenues for growth. Consumers have widened their aperture of what self-care is. Now we're moving into prevention and post relief. So as this broadens, we're always going to pursue these new avenues for innovation, whether that be digital or naturals or sustainable products. But I think it would be fair to say that if there was a really meaningful molecule that was differentiated that can be safely switched over to OTC, we'd all be very interested in that as well.