Category: Blog

Jens Vinggaard on embracing an uncertain future

JENS VINGGAARD ON EMBRACING AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE

Author: Sophie Moore


Webamp spoke to Jens Vinggaard, Project Manager at Benny Box about the power of word of mouth and the importance of creating a workplace people don’t want to leave behind. 

Jens arrived in Copenhagen several years ago, fresh faced and ready to “make it” as an actor. Life, as it so often does, had other plans for him which included enrolling in the Media Production and Management course at the Danish School of Media and Journalism, seeing him graduate in 2017. During his time there his visions for the future shifted and changed away from the idea of working as a production manager in a theatre towards a certainty he would end up in some kind of creative bureau. Skip forwards to 2018 to his Masters studies in Design Management at the SDU and Design School Kolding which ultimately led to his having to decide between a life and a job in the city he loved and furthering his education and moving to put an end to the lengthy commute. Work won out in the end and he has been a fixture in the Benny Box office ever since. 

“I might not always have been sure of what I wanted to do, but looking back at the last 10 years, it makes sense that I ended up where I am today.”

Sometimes life takes you on a journey you could never have predicted, surprising you with twists and turns that obscure the final destination but ultimately lead you to exactly where you are destined to be, surrounded by the people you are supposed to be with. The people in your life have a huge impact on your experience and so creating communities that welcome and nurture are of the utmost importance. Company culture is evolving to reflect this, to create workplaces that bring employees together no matter the size of the organisation. There is no formula to creating a successful culture,however at Benny Box they seem to have found one that works. 

“At Benny Box, we have a very relaxed culture. Even though we work with some big clients, we are still a relatively small agency, where we all work together to achieve our goals.”

In any company, each individual is just as important as the collective. Each individual has needs and goals of their own and the culture should encourage this. Jens’ boss and Benny Box founder Esben Fisker would rather create a culture where employees want to stay for many years rather than constantly seeking happiness elsewhere. A culture where the team (usually) goes home at 5 pm, and therefore has energy and surplus for the next day. The rest and recuperation is just as important as the work that is done, after all, you can’t pour from an empty glass. 

Unique is a very big word but every company has something they do in a way only they can. What makes Benny Box unique is their care for their craft, each project is different and so the results must be too. The thread that weaves each project together is the focus on storytelling, it  is at the core of every animation, illustration and title sequence that they produce from the very beginning of the process. The power of storytelling does more than inform their craft, however, it also brings work through the door. Almost all of the assignments that come Benny Box’s way are  fuelled by word of mouth, recommendations reaching new clients from the praise of previous ones. 

“I’m pretty convinced it’s because of the quality of our work. You can definitely find other studios who are cheaper, but to be honest you get what you pay for here at Benny Box.”

With quality comes hard work, something which can bring about a huge sense of satisfaction when you look back over what you’ve achieved. This feeling of achievement is what keeps Jens showing up to work every day, the burst of pride of having spent several months on a project and then finally seeing it unfold. Whether it’s a title sequence for Netflix, a whole new universe for DR or a facade illustration for the local clothing store, the feeling is the same. In fact the things that pull Jens into the office each day are the feelings his job evokes in him. The freedom he has been given by his boss, the trust and responsibility placed upon his shoulders, and the atmosphere of camaraderie and togetherness the culture at Benny Box has created between him and his colleagues. There’s a lot to be said for the bonding opportunities a round of MarioKart and a crate of beers provides. This year has proved to us all how much we need those around us in times of uncertainty. We have never needed strong company cultures more than we do now, you never know what is just around the corner. We need each other more than ever, to stand by one another to navigate whatever life throws our way and be rooted in the knowledge that we are all in this together. 

We’d like to give a huge thank you to Jens for sharing his journey with us and stressing the importance of a positive working environment. To see more of the work he does, visit the Benny Box website, find them on instagram or connect with him on linkedin

If you enjoyed hearing about company culture, read more posts on the topic on the blog. You can also find Nicolai Vittrup on Linkedin. For all things SEO, PPC and web related, visit Webamp.



Let’s talk!



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Unique is a very big word but every company has something they do in a way only they can. What makes Benny Box unique is their care for their craft, each project is different and so the results must be too. The thread that weaves each project together is the focus on storytelling, it\u00a0 is at the core of every animation, illustration and title sequence that they produce from the very beginning of the process. The power of storytelling does more than inform their craft, however, it also brings work through the door. Almost all of the assignments that come Benny Box\u2019s way are\u00a0 fuelled by word of mouth, recommendations reaching new clients from the praise of previous ones.\u00a0<\/span><\/p>\n

\u201cI’m pretty convinced it\u2019s because of the quality of our work. You can definitely find other studios who are cheaper, but to be honest you get what you pay for here at Benny Box.\u201d<\/i><\/b><\/p>\n

With quality comes hard work, something which can bring about a huge sense of satisfaction when you look back over what you\u2019ve achieved. This feeling of achievement is what keeps Jens showing up to work every day, the burst of pride of having spent several months on a project and then finally seeing it unfold. Whether it’s a title sequence for Netflix, a whole new universe for DR or a facade illustration for the local clothing store, the feeling is the same. In fact the things that pull Jens into the office each day are the feelings his job evokes in him. The freedom he has been given by his boss, the trust and responsibility placed upon his shoulders, and the atmosphere of camaraderie and togetherness the culture at Benny Box has created between him and his colleagues. There’s a lot to be said for the bonding opportunities a round of MarioKart and a crate of beers provides. This year has proved to us all how much we need those around us in times of uncertainty. We have never needed strong company cultures more than we do now, you never know what is just around the corner. We need each other more than ever, to stand by one another to navigate whatever life throws our way and be rooted in the knowledge that we are all in this together.\u00a0<\/span><\/p>\n

We\u2019d like to give a huge thank you to Jens for sharing his journey with us and stressing the importance of a positive working environment. To see more of the work he does, visit the <\/span><\/i>Benny Box website<\/span><\/i><\/a><\/span>, find them on instagram or connect with him on <\/span><\/i>linkedin<\/span><\/span><\/i><\/a>.\u00a0<\/span><\/i><\/p>\n

If you enjoyed hearing about company culture, read more posts on the topic on the <\/span><\/i>blog<\/span><\/span><\/i><\/a>. You can also find Nicolai Vittrup on <\/span><\/i>Linkedin<\/span><\/i><\/a><\/span>. For all things SEO, PPC and web related, visit <\/span><\/i>Webamp<\/span><\/i><\/a><\/span>.<\/span><\/i><\/p>\n



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Let’s talk!<\/h3>\n
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Louise Bencard on entrepreneurship: Be honest when things are flying AND falling

LOUISE BENCARD ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP: BE HONEST WHEN THINGS ARE FLYING AND FALLING

Author: Gabriella Anesio


Webamp spoke with Louise Bencard: an entrepreneur, a force to be reckoned with, and the CEO and co-founder of BeautyBoosters. The interview was centred around both the glamorous and not so glamorous aspects of being an entrepreneur, the ups and the downs, and the hesitations and motivations. 

BeautyBoosters, founded by Louise Bencard and Maria Engberg Refsgaard in 2019, is a company dedicated to making beauty convenient for everyone. It’s about removing the stigma of beauty being something inconvenient you have to go out and get, sit uncomfortably through, and make time for in your busy calendar. Instead, BeautyBoosters wants to make beauty treatments accessible and associated with utter luxury and ease; they do this by bringing the beauty to their customers in their own homes, tailored to their customers’ own schedules – showing up with a drink in hand to make sure clients have a smile on their face, before, during, and after their treatments. 

Opposites attract 

The idiom ‘opposites attract’ exists for a reason – but it’s all the more interesting to see it implemented in practicality, in the form of two people founding and running a business together. 

“When I randomly met Maria, my partner in BeautyBoosters, in Los Angeles in 2017, things just immediately clicked. We were so obviously different and had such complementary skills, so when Maria pitched her initial thoughts on what we would later call BeautyBoosters, it seemed foolish not to try. So we did two years later, and I couldn’t be happier.”

The secret ingredient to making two opposites attract for longer than a split second – creating a sustainable relation – is exactly what Louise touches upon here: though her and Maria are totally different, their competences come together to create a skillset with razor sharp edges.  

There’s another secret ingredient, an ingredient that you must possess in order to thrive as an entrepreneur. In Louise’s opinion, it’s pivotal that an entrepreneur can find the comfortability and confidence to appreciate their own successes, without others reassuring them that they’re doing the right thing. If you can find it within yourself to say ‘hey, what I’m doing is so badass’, being an entrepreneur might be right up your alley. 

“I find it extremely rewarding that I finally have a “job”, where I feel intrinsically motivated to work hard every single day for a long-term goal, without getting immediate reward or acknowledgement, like you do with a regular job. It’s also one of the hard things, knowing that if you don’t do it, no one else will. When part of a startup, you have to find a different motivation for working up to 16 hours a day without getting paid at all. I have worked my butt off for 1,5 years without getting a penny – but I’m more motivated than ever, because we have a common goal and big ambitions for BeautyBoosters.”

In school you get an A+ for hard work, at work you get a promotion, as an entrepreneur you get neither, but the reward is ten times better because you know that all the hours you put in is contributing to your pride and joy – your company. It’s like planting a seed and watering it, watching it go from the seed, to a bud, to a flower…eventually into a whole damn forest. 

The moments when a company goes from a bud to a flower, and progresses from there on out: that’s the founder’s A+, their promotion, just not in the conventional way. And to be a good, or at least happy, entrepreneur, you have to clock onto that before you even enter the game. 

“The biggest reward is to wake up every day and do something that directly has an impact on the path of our company. We decide the pace of growth, our daily tasks and we are in command on every aspect of the business. It makes me extremely happy everyday to be a part of something I have built with Maria from scratch, with a team of 16 “Boosters” (beauticians) and a lot of customers who truly value something we have built. That’s what motivates me.”

That’s another thing. Most of the time, founders are surrounded by a team of troopers. Well, in this case, boosters. This means your accomplishments are shared with everyone – you do well, everyone does well. They do well, you do well.  

Communication, direction and shared passion 

Choosing to become an entrepreneur can be equated to possessing an acquired taste – such as liking coriander (a heated discussion to be saved for another time). This means you need to acquire the right skills to become a successful entrepreneur, leader, and visionary. Louise shared her top three:

“Communication, direction and shared passion are definitely the key. We have a team of 16 girls, who are all different in so many ways – but we all share the same passion and goal. Find common ground, don’t point fingers, say “we” instead of “I” and find a good way to deliver bad news. We keep our journey very transparent and share all the ups and downs with our team, because it’s their journey as well.”

Sharing both ups and downs. This is absolutely paramount. When you decide to be a part of the team, you consciously make the decision to be there for both the ugly and the beautiful (unless you prefer flight over fight, in which case: *never* join a startup team). If the only thing shared with you from your boss, especially in a startup, is how green the grass is and never how it needs more watering, or that there’s actually a dead patch that needs to be removed to make room for more grass to grow…then that leader needs to take a lesson or two in pragmatism. A pragmatic leader is one that deals with all situations, good and bad, and, in the process, communicates all of the above with their team. 

Wakeup call: the grass isn’t always green, the sun isn’t always shining, and your team most certainly shouldn’t expect either all the time. 

There are some personal attributes and personality traits that are more conducive to creating hardwired entrepreneurs. For Louise, there are three personal qualities she views as having been integral to helping her get to where she is today:

“I’d say my impatience, my work moral and my do’er approach. I’m up for any task and if I don’t know how it’s done, I’ll figure it out. I’m too stubborn to quit and often too impatient to wait for someone else to do it.”

That’s right, impatience, you read correctly. There’s lots of stigma surrounding impatience, with most viewing it as a scapegoat for screaming at people for no reason. But that really doesn’t have to be the case, as Louise discusses. Impatience may especially be “acceptable” when you’re an entrepreneur. Granted, if you’re the most impatient person to walk planet Earth, maybe your full-time job shouldn’t involve extensive caring for the elderly, but as a founder and someone running their own business…wanting to get things done pronto can’t come as a surprise. 

The hesitations and the motivations

As touched upon earlier, an ingredient to becoming a successful entrepreneur is relying on your own judgement as to whether things are going good or not with the company – there won’t necessarily be anyone telling you that you’re on the right track (unless you hire someone to do this). For Louise, this also ties into her biggest challenge – when you’re your own biggest critic, the temptation is higher than ever to work around the clock to find the answer, the solution, the fix to it all. But you have to know when to say enough, or at least learn to recognise when your body needs it Zzzzs. 

“The biggest struggle has to be the uncertainty. You never know when you’ll succeed. As an entrepreneur, your life becomes your work and vice versa – and it’s really hard not to let one affect the other. The biggest challenge is to let go. It’s challenging, because knowing that only you can elevate your business and decide the pace of your growth, you want to work 24/7. It’s like getting a notification saying: “Do you want success?” and then have to force yourself to press “Postpone” or “Snooze.”

Nobody’s going to do your work for you, but you simply can’t work 24/7 – even though you want to. It’s a scary and extremely exciting journey.”

Forcing yourself, as an entrepreneur, to pause something you genuinely enjoy doing, and know will bring you success, is like telling a toddler to only eat three pieces of candy on a Saturday; it’s gruelling in the beginning, they don’t listen to you, but with some tears and slip-ups along the way, eventually they learn a key skill of discipline

Teaching yourself discipline isn’t the only useful tool all entrepreneurs should be familiar with. I asked Louise what she wished others had told her before entering the world of entrepreneurship, to which she responded the following:

“That it takes time, and that you can’t expect to be able to do everything yourself. You do need help, and it’s okay to ask for it. Don’t use Wix to build your platform (I can’t stress this enough). Monday is going to be your new favorite day. Talk to your friends and partners about your frustrations, so it doesn’t stack up. Get advisors or mentors, you can call when you are at a crossroads. Be proactive. Prepare to pivot. Get ready to sacrifice a lot, both monetary and socially. Be honest when things are flying, be honest when things are falling. But most importantly, when something comes to life, something else might die. For me, it cost me my relationship and the life of my best plants. Remember to take time off and nourish the things you care about. It’s ok to prioritize your business baby, but don’t forget the other things that matter to you.”

Self-sacrifice – it’s tempting to believe you have to give up everything to realise your entrepreneurial dream. But the best visions are those that are created with some sacrifice, but not complete self-destruction. To be able to love what you have built in the end, you can’t hate the process. 

“There’s nothing more powerful than a woman oozing confidence”

Everyone is always told to dream big. But what does dreaming big actually look like? I asked Louise what Maria and her would do if they had an unlimited pot of money to grow their business.

“Then we would be worldwide by now, have an app and spend a lot of money on crazy marketing stunts. We have a lot of ideas! We would be hiring new talents to excel in every area of the business and would be testing new markets all over the world. We would have customized and pink electrical bikes for all our Boosters, so we could be CO2-neutral. And maybe pay ourselves some sort of salary, so we could take our parents out for dinner. In ten years, I hope we are the no. 1 beauty service provider globally. Whether you are in Dubai, LA, Moscow or Milan – you’ll always know where to get your beauty on demand, without having to compromise. Furthermore, we’ll have our own line of exclusive cruelty-free beauty products. Now, wouldn’t that be great?”

As an entrepreneur fighting every day to keep their business alive, it can, very understandably, become hard to dream big every day. When you have to live day by day and deal with the most seemingly trivial things to simply maintain your company (let alone grow it), envisioning such a bright and successful future may just be the furthest thing from your mind. But keeping these things at the forefront are imperative to make the sometimes mundane everyday startup grind worthwhile, worth all the sweat and tears. It’s like the carrot and stick metaphor – the carrot is the cruelty-free products, the pink bikes, the international markets, and the stick is the five hours of sleep, the fact you can’t afford to take your parents for dinner, and the parties you had to miss to count the bills. Worth it, though. 

“We’re the only ones in Europe offering beauty on demand, but we want to be much more than just a regular beauty provider. I think our universe is very unique, empowering and inspirational. We want to provide confidence, inspiration and encourage curiosity of the beauty universe. Everyone can use a boost – and there’s nothing more powerful than a woman oozing confidence.”

We’d like to extend a big thank you to Louise Bencard for sharing her entrepreneurial journey with us. To keep up with their work, you can find Louise, Maria, and BeautyBoosters on LinkedIn (or browse their services on their website). 

If you find the topic of entrepreneurship interesting, you can find similar posts about others and their journeys on this blog here. You can also find Nicolai Vittrup on LinkedIn, or use the contact form on this website to leave any comments. To learn about everything SEO, PPC, and web, explore the content produced by Webamp

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Mark Scala on Leadership: Art is a social practice. Art is an engagement with the world.

MARK SCALA ON LEADERSHIP: ART IS A SOCIAL PRACTICE. ART IS ENGAGEMENT WITH THE WORLD

Author: Emily Hunt

Rina Banerjee media preview: Courtesy of Frist Art Museum. Photo by Emily Beard.

Webamp recently had the opportunity to speak with Mark Scala, chief curator for the Frist Art Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Before becoming a curator, Mark Scala shares he started out as a painter back in the 80’s. 

His first job out of graduate school was to run a university art gallery in conjunction with teaching painting classes. Scala recalls that he found he enjoyed running the gallery more than he liked teaching. Thus, he decided to go back to school to get a degree in art history with a museum studies emphasis so he could focus on curation. He has been a curator ever since. Scala shares,

“For me, having been trained as an artist is beneficial because I do a lot of studio visits where I meet with artists and talk to them. It helps give me the insight into their practice that comes with anyone who has tried to create things. You know where the frustrations lie. You know where the desires lie. And where the successes come.”  

Scala emphasizes that he loves working with artists who genuinely get to know subjects such as sociology, politics, physics, and so on through research or collaboration with specialists in those fields. He enjoys seeing how artists can sometimes find the real grist for their mill in disciplines outside of art. Scala remarks, 

“Art is a social practice. Art is an engagement with the world.”

Leadership & Exhibitions

Mark Scala unpacked what it means to be a leader when organizing an exhibition by sharing his creative process for the 2018 thematic exhibition Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century. In this exhibition, Scala brought together the works of painters from around the world to communicate how painting is a poignant medium for communicating contemporary conceptions of the sublime. Scala recalls,

“I had this notion that painting is a really apt medium for conveying the sense of fragmentation and disequilibrium that people seem to be feeling all over the place. Painting has done that for a really long time, and it is still really good at it even though painting is an archaic medium compared to film or augmented reality. For me, there is a paradox there. That is, the oldest way of making art is also a way that conveys the most recent feelings of the social imaginary.”

That, to Scala, is an interesting phenomenon he thought would interest both the art lover and casual viewer because we are all feeling the same things. We are all feeling that things are falling apart. Scala explains if an artist is addressing issues of disillusion and fragmentation, then when she makes them into a painting she is reconfiguring them. The artist is postulating the capacity of the world to be reconfigured. That, for Scala, is a really interesting thing. He wanted it to be a global exhibition, not just an American or European one in order to convey that these feelings are universally affecting everyone in similar but different ways. Thus, Scala organized an exhibition embodying this notion of a fluid language through art.  

Chaos and Awe media preview: Courtesy of Frist Art Museum. Photo by Ramona Whitworth.

Art can have a powerful impact on individual lives 

Scala shares his greatest pleasure is to work with artists who are not just passionate about what they do, but are able to articulate and share the excitement of what they create with a wider audience. He is drawn to artists who don’t simply think of art as an activity or opportunity to make something attractive and interesting, but actually see art as a life changing force. For Scala, this is really inspiring. As a leader in curation he strives to make art accessible to both the art lover and the novice viewer. Scala states, 

“For me, it is always about helping a visitor understand Why is this here? Why am I asked to look at this? Why is it important? How does it fit not just within this artist’s work, but how does it fit in the world? You know, that is a really important question.”  

Scala told Webamp one of his favorite things as a curator is to work really hard on an exhibition and then go into the gallery after it opens and see a lot of people there. Due to the impact of COVID-19, Scala admits it is a little hard not to see that right now. He stresses the need for museum attendance. In order to survive, museums need to demonstrate that they are having an impact. 

If you would like to stay up to date on everything Mark Scala is doing, connect with him on LinkedIn. Scala has been featured on NPR, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Art Daily. Additionally, for more information on the Frist Art Museum visit their website.

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Neil McConnon on Culture & Curation: Expanding and Welcoming New Audiences

NEIL MCCONNON ON CULTURE & CURATION: EXPANDING AND WELCOMING NEW AUDIENCES 

Author: Emily Hunt

Neil McConnon. Image courtesy of Linda Nyland.

Webamp recently had the opportunity to speak with Neil McConnon, Director of International Partnerships at Tate Modern. 

Neil McConnon shares with Webamp there are certain guiding principles, such as caring about art, creating a space where a broad range of voices and ideas can flourish, questions can be explored with rigour and breadth that make up a good curator. For McConnon, a good leader amongst many other things, provides the right environment for this to happen.  For him, the other part of the equation is of course the balancing of creative, administrative, financial and commercial imperatives.

McConnon shared with Webamp that he started out studying art and design, fine art and textiles. Later, he got a masters degree in curating.  He states,

“I have never had a career plan and in truth I have always gravitated towards areas and projects of interest, regardless of opportunities or prescribed routes. I suspect that if you’re fascinated by a subject, enough to want to understand and interrogate it, you may well end up doing it well, hopefully taking it in new and interesting directions.”  

McConnon shares he did all the usual things to finance himself, such as  working weekends in bookshops and museum retail to support his studies and ‘buy’ time to think.  Which, he believes, provided him with a very valuable, creative mix of often like-minded artists, designers, academics. They were all trying to find their place in the world – working in jobs that paid the rent, the studio, and  the courses.  

Through his studies in art, he became interested in Chinese painting. McConnon recalls that interest drew him to China, where he lived on and off for some time. Later, he continued visiting whenever he could, immersing himself in as much Chinese culture as possible. Living and working in China afforded McConnon a unique insight into local arts communities, studios and galleries and it was this that led him to curating. He initially worked  with Chinese artists to stage small exhibitions of artists whose work he felt warranted a wider audience. McConnon emphasizes,

“I have always believed that the best way to influence different societies is to engage, where possible – and that this should be reciprocal, again wherever possible.”  

This led McConnon to a position working at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Here, he worked on a  larger project in Asia as well as a series of digital projects and commissions in association with that organization. McConnon recalls it as being an exciting and exhilarating time because China was just beginning to open up to the outside world resulting in energy and passion for art that was palpable and infectious.   

Culture & Collaboration

After a time at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, McConnon worked as a freelance curator. Then, he continued his journey in east London by working at Barbican Center. McConnon explains he was fortunate to start working at Barbican when it was not particularly hip or fashionable. That is, before the gentrification of the east of London. In some ways, McConnon believes he shared in the Barbican’s journey, from a rather neglected outpost for culture, more known for its classical music program and distinctive Brutalist architecture, to a world class arts center. McConnon further unravels his story saying,

“My first role at Barbican was as exhibition manager, then as curator and head of department, developing exhibitions in London and internationally. Again, there was no plan, just a desire to explore the boundaries of what might be possible with all the support (and restrictions) that come with working as part of a large organization. I collaborated with major film studios (Pixar, EON productions and Lucasfilm), with animation and special effects companies, with video game developers and leading arts and science research centers internationally. ”

McConnon emphasizes that expanding and welcoming new audiences and reaching out to international audiences has always been central to his thinking. He believes this is something he was very fortunate to be able to put into practice at Barbican. McConnon explained to Webamp that international work and partnerships are a significant motivating factor, creating new shows for the UK and international audiences and staging those shows globally. He shares, 

“I have always loved collaboration, deal-making, co-producing, finding new ways to consider and resolve issues, creating and sharing a vision from a nascent seed of an idea through to a conclusion and realization.”

Art & Leadership 

McConnon tells Webamp his notions of art and artists are rather complex and personal, but in essence he believes we are all artists. At least when we are thinking and working creatively, interrogating aspects of our world and our existence. He hopes his experience of making art has given him greater empathy with the process and the challenges involved, which is something McConnon is constantly aware of in his dealings with artists and exhibitions. McConnon reflects that although this is certainly not a prerequisite to working in the arts, but it has helped in his personal work.

Moreover, McConnon holds that oftentimes notions of art (ist) can be too prescribed. Instead, he would suggest that some of the most creative practitioners currently working, move between areas such as film, performance and moving image, science and technology, video-games, animation – not content to fit into often limiting and narrow art-world definitions . For McConnon, that’s a healthy development and one he hopes will continue to find traction in the museum sector. He states, 

 “Tate Modern is inspiring. It’s wonderful to work with people who are passionate leaders in their field and I find myself constantly astonished by the openness, generosity and expertise of my colleagues at Tate. ”

McConnon explains that all large cultural organizations have their particular politics and challenges. However, the important and reassuring thing is that the vision is a shared one, that everyone can align with and strive towards. McConnon recognizes that from the outside it sounds obvious and simple, but in his own experience it’s actually the result of enormous hard work and commitment. He applauds Tate for having a shared vision and feels lucky to be part of the culture.

Museums & COVID-19

McConnon notes the challenges of COVID-19 are ongoing, not just to his role, but to the way the world, including the art world, operates. Although the negative often take the spotlight because they are so easy to see, McConnon acknowledges the opportunity for genuine self-reflection and a re-set as being exciting. He states,

“In parallel to Covid, events in the US and Europe have exposed racism and prejudice throughout many of our institutions. Re-thinking how we engage our audiences and involving our audiences in that conversation has to be a positive take-away… serious examination of the under-representation of women and BAME artists and professionals in our institutions, issues of transnationalism, de-colonization and reframing art histories – are all subjects of research and action within museums currently and that is very positive thing indeed. ”.

Additionally, ways of working more flexibly, harmoniously, sustainably are emerging in light of the pandemic. McConnon emphasizes the importance of conceiving the museum in reality as a space without walls, that is more pervious to public interaction, more democratic, and aware of the need to change to better reflect its audiences globally. He shares that digital possibilities are expanding exponentially within museum practice, and it now makes sense to stage major exhibitions with partners globally, without sending teams of experts to install and de-install. Platforms such as Zoom continue to show us fresh ways of working, which whilst not ideal do have wider positive repercussions, according to McConnon. He also acknowledged that international cultural tourism is no longer sustainable. For him, that is both quite the realization and a step forward towards an environmentally responsible mode of operating that we all need to urgently embrace. McConnon emphasizes,

“Most of all I think we all need to have hope – to be positive and seize opportunities for change, so that we can continue to find creative ways forward – to create bold and empowering working practices that build on what went before.”

If you would like to stay up to date on everything Neil McConnon is doing, connect with him on LinkedIn. Additionally, for more information on Tate Modern visit their website.

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Patrik Drobny on Entrepreneurship: Creative Collaboration & Sustainability

PATRIK DROBNY ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP: CREATIVE COLLABORATION & SUSTAINABILITY

Author: Emily Hunt

Patrik Drobny, CEO at The Syrup Company, recently spoke with Webamp about what it means to be an innovative, sustainable, and collaborative entrepreneur in the syrup industry. 

Patrik Drobny started The Syrup Company after an import company he had didn’t work out and he found a job in-between. He recalls one of his friends, whom he also considers his mentor, wanting to invest in the import company Drobny no longer had. So instead, they came up with a new plan and The Syrup Company was born. Drobny started The Syrup Company with only 2 co-founders and 4 angel investors.

However, for Drobny, the syrup has a deeper root. That is, he was a semi-professional swimmer and athlete throughout his highschool and university career. Drobny spent a lot of time around sports drinks during these years, which is where he became acquainted with the syrup mixing process. He shares the way one prepares a sports drink is by using syrup. Additionally, Drobny’s family has a long tradition in winemaking.  He shares,

“Both of my grandfathers had vineyards, and large gardens where they grew about 50% of all we ate. With all of this home-grown food we also preserved a lot of it, so we can enjoy it in cold months, therefore we made a lot of fruit and herbal infusions: syrups.” 

For Drobny, syrup making has a deeply personal root. Now he is continuing that journey by creating organic, handcrafted syrups in Copenhagen with The Syrup Company.

Creative Collaboration

Drobny says that The Syrup Company’s ingredients travel with seasons around the World. For example lemons, limes and grapefruits are from Israel, Spain, Italy, and Peru. Ginger is sourced year round from Peru, Passionfruit is from Vietnam, Peru, or Uganda. When it comes to turning these fresh ingredients into syrups, Drobny shares how his team likes to keep things creative by collaborating with customers. He says,

“We create all our flavors in collaboration with our customers. They tell us what their customers buy, and then we take that idea and make it unique. And this way we introduce familiar flavors with unexpected twists. Also, it is a part of a longer strategy of educating consumers so they are prepared for the moment when we release a very unique product.”

Drobny shares what it really means to source organic ingredients. Drobny explains sustainability is embedded in the way producers grow their produce. This means, not using GMO seeds for their plants, not using pesticides, and herbicides. This way farmers do not distort the natural surroundings of the plants they grow. These farmers also have only one season per harvest which is also not exhausting the plants. Drobny emphasizes that organic for his products also means sustainably grown. 

Maintaining Innovation at The Syrup Company 

Drobny shares the key strategy is to innovate collaboratively with The Syrup Company’s key partners. He describes this process as a new-age flavor innovation lab that uses raw ingredients to create new beverage experiences.

Going forward, Drobny hopes to continue providing the highest value  for all of his customers by providing them with what he believes are outstanding products. Drobny believes it is important to create not only great tasting products, but syrups that are produced with the utmost care and sustainability in mind. 

If you would like to stay up to date on everything Patrik Drobny is doing, connect with him on LinkedIn here. Additionally, for more information on The Syrup Company you can follow them or visit their website

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Improvement is a constant process: behind the scenes of a Strategy and Operations Manager

IMPROVEMENT IS A CONSTANT PROCESS: BEHIND THE SCENES OF A STRATEGY AND OPERATIONS MANAGER

Author: Gabriella Anesio


Webamp interviewed Morten Graversen, Strategy and Operations Manager at Christopher Cloos, about the technicalities of what it actually means to run operations on a daily basis, the challenges that come with this, and the methods of optimising processes throughout

Christopher Cloos, founded in 2017, is an eyewear company that is Danish by blood, but with a French twist – the idea for the company being born in the South of France. Now, based in Copenhagen, Christopher Cloos ships its eyewear all over the world, with over half a thousand retailers in key locations across the globe. The company prides itself on combining Danish minimalism with the infamous French flair for style and elegance to create unique and beautiful eyewear.

Breaking down the logistics of logistics 

Morten Greversen is a young, yet ambitious, person, who is now in charge of running the logistics at Christopher Cloos. As Strategy and Operations manager, his tasks and responsibilities are almost endless, but he attempted to summarise the duties he face on the daily:

“E-commerce is 90 % logistics, so I ensure all orders worldwide reach the customers, and I am in daily contact with our warehouse staff, FedEx, UPS, other international carriers etc. I negotiate contracts, deals and prices for shipments. I do the same with our own supplier. I ensure everything runs smoothly. As for marketing, I am in constant contact with our Google and Facebook agency to ensure they deliver good results. I produce content and make paid ads myself, and also come with suggestions for them to improve theirs. I try to motivate the other employees and ensure we deliver good results while having fun. I also do retail sales, where we have around 500 global retailers. Sometimes I travel to London to stay there 4-5 days to really get in touch with all our retailers there. The same in France.”

To summarise the multitude of tasks listed, Morten does all of the following: takes care of orders, deals with contracts, ensures marketing runs smoothly (using both in-house marketing and agencies), runs an entire team of people in the process, and travels to key retail locations to ensure ops are running smoothly not just in Copenhagen. 

Essentially, the role of a Strategy and Operations Manager is to be the one in charge of keeping the ball rolling, all day, every day. As abstract as the job role may sound, it is in fact one of the most practical jobs, because it’s all about dealing with the day-to-day chores.

Professional weapon of choice: your calendar 

Dealing with all logistics comes with its fair share of struggles, and there’s rarely a moment of peace where absolutely everything is running absolutely perfectly. That’s why Morten has made sure he has a way to deal with all the multi-tasking and stress of ensuring smooth operations.

“Make a daily to-do list, and live through your calendar. Your calendar is your samurai sword!”

As obvious as it may sound to create a to-do list, it’s really not something that’s easy to maintain past the first day of trying it out. It’s like when you create a New Year’s resolution – sure, maybe the first day you don’t eat that steak and stick to chickpeas and spinach, but, often, by day eight you’re slipping into old habits, aka medium-rare filet mignon, and you forget all about the promise you vowed to keep the week before. 

Same goes with creating organisation in your life; it’s easy enough to bullet point the things you have to deal with on day number one, but as the list grows, the tasks become more complex, and the pen runs out of ink, the temptation to give up on your to-do list increases. Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve (really) tried it. 

Ok so that’s how to deal with challenges, but what are the challenges themselves of a Strategy and Operations Manager? This was Morten’s two cents on the topic:

“When it comes to logistics, every day is a new challenge. There are constant new issues, dilemmas and challenges. For example, Donald Trump only wants products that are produced within the US, so we’ve had a lot of issues with our Danish-made products, as their country has increased tariffs and made it more difficult for European companies to enter the US. Also, in E-commerce, sales are always fluctuating. You never know the revenue of tomorrow. But we have to analyze the data to find patterns to ensure steady revenue day in and day out, hopefully with an increase in revenue while also looking at how to improve our profit margin.”

Mr Nice Guy vs. Mr Too Nice Guy

The stereotypical representation of the top dogs in any firm being soul-sucking dementors who trample on everyone below them has been widely discredited for a while now, as it’s been shown repeatedly that being a nice leader leads to a nice working environment, which leads to better…everything. 

However, a line has to be drawn between Mr Nice Guy and Mr Too Nice Guy. It’s hard to imagine how anyone could be too nice – but it’s up to every leader to decide where that line is. This line may be the difference between being flexible with the time your employees have to enter the office and saying you don’t care about office hours or whether employees even come into the office or not, as long as they get the work done. 

The former is an example of Mr Nice Guy, and the latter could be an example of Mr Too Nice Guy – but there’s no formula, it depends on the industry you’re in, the style of leadership you’re trying to espouse, and how good your relationship is with your employees. 

“I can sometimes be too much of a nice guy. I really trust the employees and try to empower them. I believe in everyone wanting to do their best. However, that has hit me a couple of times by employees trying to take advantage. But our CEO and I complement each other a lot, as he is much more direct.”

The whole good cop, bad cop duo clearly doesn’t only make an appearance in the police world. As Morten says, the fact that the CEO’s style of leadership is more conducive to a disciplinary nature is perfect because it balances out Morten’s own susceptibility to being too nice, from time to time.

Though the Strategy and Operations Manager admits he’s maybe sometimes a tad too cordial, he always reminds himself of one thing, and gives this as a piece of advice to others out there when put in a similar, tricky, situation:

“Trust your employees, but trust your own gut feeling even more.”

This is, clearly, by no means an attempt at belittling the voices of others; it’s simply a gentle reminder that if you adamantly believe in something that contradicts the opinions of someone else, you have to sometimes choose to believe in yourself – but also face the repercussions by making sure to hold yourself accountable. 

Making the logistics machine shiny 

Evidently, the job of a Strategy and Operations Manager is hard in itself, as is the actual leadership element. But one of the toughest aspects is actively seeking out room for improvement, whilst not going bankrupt in the process – how to reduce cost, whilst maintaining quality.

“I do this by removing middle links. Finding cheaper ways to ship, such as sea shipping compared to plane shipping. Only doing performance marketing, where you can measure the direct impact on sales rather than more abstract marketing strategies. Always focus on the bottom line profit and not just ROAS.”

And with regard to actually pushing the company further and sharpening its edges, this is is how Morten finds gaps and attempts to fix them:

“I look at former work routines and my own personal projects, podcasts, books, etc. I use many different ways to learn, such as looking at other case studies, and then trying to implement these at Christopher Cloos. Companies that do not seek inspiration from other companies will never succeed. We do not copy, but we learn from others every single day. Improvement is a constant process, especially regarding marketing, where experimenting is the best idea.”

Despite the universe of marketing being filled with a million ideas, assumptions, and suggestions, the one thing that marketeers tend to agree on is exactly that touched upon by Morten – 1) everything is always changing, and 2) experimentation is often the sharpest bow in your marketing quiver. 

Another fair remark made is that comparison is not synonymous with copying – a company can legitimately look for inspiration from other companies without losing any uniqueness or originality in the process.

Thank you to Morten Graversen for his comments on what it’s like to be a Strategy and Operations Manager. You can find him on LinkedIn, as well as Christopher Cloos (or on their website). 

If you want to read more about entrepreneurship, company culture, leadership, or marketing, see Nicolai Vittrup’s blog or reach out to Nicolai Vittrup himself on LinkedIn. To learn about everything SEO-, PPC-, and web-related, see Webamp

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The importance of understanding each other : a glimpse into the world of Behavioural Economics.

THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING EACH OTHER: A GLIMPSE INTO THE WORLD OF BEHAVIOURAL ECONOMICS

Author: Sophie Moore


Webamp spoke with Christina Gravert, professor in behavioural economics at the University of Copenhagen and Co Founder of Impactually, about how she stumbled upon the world beyond classic economics and the importance of admitting you will never know it all.

Christina began her journey towards becoming a behavioural economist with no idea that was where she would end up. Upon completing a Bachelors in Economics and going on to do her Masters degree in International Economic Consulting, she envisioned herself going along the route of public policy and consulting work. And yet despite having a wealth of education under her belt, she had an inkling that she still had more to learn. This inkling would prove to change the direction of which she was headed towards where she is today. A position opened up as a PhD student at Aarhus University where she became fully immersed in the world of behavioral science. Something that had previously been a side interest, explored only through reading books in her spare time suddenly became her main focus. Having previously believed that behavioural science was “too fun” to be the basis for a PhD in economics, Christina began to join the dots between the two, realising the ways in which they were much closer than she thought as a student. Following her interests is something that has served her well, identifying and asking questions about the way things are done and the way we move through our daily lives. This curiosity has seen Christina move from strength to strength over the years, completing a PostDoc in Gothenburg, landing a tenure-track assistant professorship in Copenhagen and even starting her own business.

“After finishing my PhD I thought it would be nice to be able to do more direct consulting work and to inform people about how behavioural science is used outside of academia and outside of research. That’s when I started Impactually with Nurit Nobel who has a psychology background so we brought economics and psychology together to bridge the gap between science and practice.”

But what exactly is the difference between economics and behavioural economics? Well, classic economics tends to look at people as being fully rational, like perfect computers. It would assume for example that if someone wanted to lose weight, they would identify that they need to eat less calories and go to the gym more often, and then as long as they were physically able, they would do it. But behavioural economics would look at why a lot of the time people don’t do the things they know they need to do to achieve their goals. It looks at the fact that a person is able to afford a gym membership and healthy food and yet they still don’t go to the gym and they’re not eating well. It is concerned with looking at these human deviations from rational thinking. 

“Behavioral economics helps us to design better, more human centric policies. For example, we want to understand why some students who could take student loans or apply for scholarships to get them through university don’t make use of these offers. Traditional economics often does not have an answers. We need to add the psychological factors in as well.”

It makes a lot of sense to try and understand the factors that don’t fit in with expectations, to try to prepare for the unexpected and make sense of the complexity of human beings. This can be applied to every area of life, these deviations from rational thinking crop up everywhere and so being able to understand them and even attempt to predict them can allow policies and frameworks to be drawn up to accomodate for them. It’s so important for a business to be able to truly understand its customers and even its employees to allow for better communication for everyone. It allows people to do their jobs better. Christina’s research and constant curiosity has helped many companies and individuals better understand themselves and the people around them. One of the areas that her research has led her to dive deeper into is the relationships between reminders and changes in behaviour. A reminder triggers attention, it makes you think of a particular thing and are reminded to take some kind of action. The more reminders you get about something, the more likely you are to rank it as being important. But reminders can pile up, they can become overwhelming and yet somehow there are instances where we still don’t take action on the thing we’re being reminded to do. The longer we put it off, the guiltier we feel. And yet despite knowing there is a quick fix to the mounting sense of guilt we feel- just getting on with it and doing it- we still put it off. Christina’s research aims to find out why.  

“Say you get reminded that you wanted to call your grandmother and you’ve been putting it off for a week so then you feel bad about it. We’re trying to look into how reminders affect people’s behaviour and if they for example make people feel guilty but don’t get them to change behaviour, like you feel bad for not having called your grandmother but then you still don’t call her.”

The insights this research brings can bridge the gap between these deviations and possible solutions. They can help us do smarter business, understand our target markets better and turn potential customers into paying ones. It’s about getting a balance between giving someone a subtle reminder and bombarding them. Too much and you’ll turn people away, too little and they’ll drop off the radar forever. 

“It’s relevant for things like online marketing, you don’t want to send people too many reminders. But then if you don’t send someone an email they probably won’t do anything. We don’t have to remind people to eat something because they’ll eventually get hungry, it’s not the same with things that are not part of our habits or that are biological desires.” 

The key is to design policies in such a way that these reminders don’t come across as irritating, to gently nudge in the right direction instead of pushing. Nudging can be used in many different contexts, from design and policy making to having whole government units dedicated to it in all areas of running a country. 

“The way you design stairs, where you put them in the building can determine how people use them. You can nudge them to take the stairs over the elevator if you place them more prominently. From a design perspective, how you design the choice environment can nudge certain behaviours. And it doesn’t just have to be the design of a building, it could be the design of a website or the design of interactions within the working environment. An example I often give is when you put these reusable cups next to the coffee machine instead of plastic ones, people just take them because they’re not really paying attention. But if you only have paper or plastic cups there instead people will take them.” 

It’s funny to think about how much of our behaviours are subconscious, how much of our lives we live in autopilot. It can seem scary at first to think that it is possible for businesses and organisations to nudge us into certain behaviours but ultimately it means we have to work less ourselves. If we are reminded to take action on things instead of having to remind ourselves, it’s more convenient to us. We can give an element of control to an entity outside of ourselves without losing complete autonomy over our lives. By being nudged to use reusable cups instead of single use ones we do our part to save the planet. By being nudged to use the stairs instead of the elevator we maintain our fitness levels and build up our strength. 

The trajectory of Christina’s career has seen her make discoveries about the way the world works, about how we find our places in the world as individuals and how we react in certain situations. It has to be noted that she has found success for herself in an industry that rarely sees women at the top. It has allowed her to seek answers for why this is and work out how it can be changed.

“You are usually in the minority in this field, economics is very male dominated. Usually it’s about 70% men. It’s an interesting personal experience that has also inspired part of my research. For instance in one project we looked at how women react to negative feedback compared to men. If you tell somebody they’re not good enough, if you’re talking about ability, it has a very negative effect on women whereas for men it seems to be the opposite. If you tell a man they’re not good enough they try to prove you wrong. They try harder, they compete harder, while for women this kind of feedback leads them to give up quicker. If you change your tact and tell a woman that it was just down to luck or that maybe they didn’t try hard enough then it’s more likely that they will continue to compete as well. So this gives us some insights into how to design feedback mechanisms in a way to help women, especially in very highly competitive areas where there is a high risk that women could become discouraged.” 

Information like this is invaluable to pretty much everyone that works within an organisation of some kind, it allows you to approach situations in the way that is going to benefit all parties in the most effective way. It will ensure everyone communicates efficiently and clearly without misinterpretation or emotions being triggered by certain approaches to feedback. 

In her consulting work, Christina’s aim is to understand the mechanisms and provide others with the information they need to prepare them for bumps along the road in certain situations. It’s about looking at the bigger picture and understanding the many reasons why something may play out in a way that isn’t logical or rational or expected. 

“We can see that in many competitive industries there’s few women at the top and it cannot be explained by them having lower skills then men, by outright discrimination or by their preferences for having kids and staying at home. Part of the low share of women at the top might come from women selecting themselves out of the career because of imposter syndrome – they do not feel competent enough. In our research, we carefully keep everything identical about a competitive situation except the type of feedback our participants get when they lose. That allows us to say, with everything else being equal that it matters most for women if they get feedback that they are not good enough, rather than being told they are unlucky or did not try hard enough.”

By looking at problems such as these within the modern workplace we can see what needs to be done to challenge them. We can give people the support they need to reach their full potential and no longer be held back from who they are destined to be, men and women alike. It’s so incredibly important that this kind of research is done, for the world we will live in tomorrow and for years to come. If we are able to design the way we work in a way that encourages each and every one of us to stop playing small and pushes us to be the best we can truly be, the future will be an incredible place. And we have to give a lot of thanks to people such as Christina who are putting in the effort to understand us all better and give us the information we need to move towards working in ways that encourage us to play as big as we dream we could be. There’s an importance in having a thirst for knowledge, a drive to learn more and to never cease asking questions. We must remind ourselves that we will never know it all, there is always more to learn, about the world, about ourselves and about each other. 

A huge thank you to Christina for these valuable insights into the world of behavioural economics. See more of the incredible work she does at Impactually, connect on LinkedIn and find her on Twitter.

If the world of leadership and marketing sparked your interest, read more at NicolaiVittrup.com, or connect on LinkedIn. For any SEO, PPC or web related needs head over to Webamp.

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Christopher Kjærulff on Marketing: The Value of a Shared Vision

Christopher Kjærulff on Marketing: The Value of a  Shared Vision 

Author: Emily Hunt


Christopher Kjærulff is a marketing and communications professional who specialises in all-things digital content. Throughout his career, he has focused on creating engaging and relevant content for social media that takes the buyer’s journey and audience into account. He believes the intersection between platform, content and buyer’s journey is where the key to engaging with an audience in a meaningful way lies. 

Christopher believes creating one hero asset and sitting back doesn’t cut it when it comes to marketing. Instead, he thinks marketers need to be clever while producing content and then curate that content into smaller pieces that make sense for each platform and step in the buyer’s journey. He shares,

“Personally, I feel that marketing works best when it understands the individuals it’s trying to attract. We need to be relevant for our audiences at all stages of their buyer’s journey and know when and where to say what. That also means a completely different take to the assets we produce. We have to be more agile and create set-ups that allow for speed, for learning as we go.” 

However, he believes there is a need to look at marketing holistically. He says, marketing and its different sub genres often work very independently. The social media team does their thing. The art directors do their thing. The event marketing team does their thing. Instead,  Christopher is calling for marketing teams to actually act as a team. This means working more cross-disciplinary to really take advantage of our skills and competencies. He believes the more you bring people together with different experiences, backgrounds and ways of looking at the world, the more opportunity you have to be innovative and make something that truly works. Diversity is key.

Creative Solutions to Covid-19

According to Christopher,  we have to find different ways of being creative together. Those sparks of creativity that happen in a shared office space have for better and worse disappeared. Still, he believes we need to maintain them to some degree to stay ahead. He states,

“I don’t think Covid-19 necessarily changed marketing, but it has definitely accelerated trends we were already starting to get on to. There’s more ways to look at this. There’s how marketing departments collaborate, develop content, etc. But this applies more to ‘the way we work’ where adopting digital tools that help make our work easier has definitely accelerated: Slack, MS teams, tools like Monday have all exploded in popularity.” 

Christopher admits he doesn’t have all of the answers yet. However, he does have questions which he believes are what is important in a world where we don’t know if or when we will ever return to the office.

Marketing on a Budget

When it comes to marketing on a budget, Christopher believes it is important to think carefully about how a particular platform can generate more content without additional financial cost. Noting, there is no way around acknowledging time as the most valuable resource. He shares how at Dynaudio, his team created a concept called “Ask the Expert” in which the fan-base asks Dynaudio experts questions within pre-defined topics. As a result, the platform enabled his team to produce a video that could be broken up into smaller bits and pieces. For example, the audio could be used as a podcast, to write articles based on the video, and to  create content for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. He shares that initial investment in creating one video meant that we could produce content for ages. Christopher states,

“There’s obviously no advice that applies to all industries here, but for brands with a dedicated audience; brand that tap into a culture with a medium-to-high involvement product, I’d look at documenting rather than producing the expensive hero videos that look great but often fall flat on YouTube, websites and social.”

Christopher shares it is important to find your limitations. There is a power in doing less things, but doing them really well. He advises, if you’re low on budget and resources, don’t think you need to do everything. Instead, identify the most impactful activities and focus intently on those. You don’t need to be on every social media platform if it means doing all of them poorly, he says. Instead, find the most impactful activities and focus on them, but also keep an overview outlining the next activities to focus on. He believes this is a great way to unlock more budget and/or resources. 

The Value of a  Shared Vision

Christopher says he always focuses on creating communicative platforms to tell stories. That is, some are more concrete while others more abstract. For him, telling stories that engage with the audience on their terms has always been a priority. 

First, it has always been central for him to attempt  to understand the audience and their pain points while creating new platforms. From there on, he says, it’s very much about understanding how they engage with “us” and our products. Do they use YouTube to learn more about their hobby? Do they follow influencers to find out what’s the next “in” product to get? What role does the website play in that process? Where do reviews come into play? And then, thinking long and hard about how to organize the most impactful buyer’s journey, when and how to present the right piece of content and how to produce that piece of content to a particular platform. Christopher states,

“At Dynaudio, we had fantastic results with this approach: Dynaudio’s Ask the Expert became a fan favourite with hundred-of-thousands of views and an average view time well over 15 minutes. Dynaudio Unheard – our most ambitious project – travelled across Europe and to the US with millions of views and hundreds of talented artists coming through the studio. And it earned us an industry-award as the most impactful brand activation in arts and culture (SPOT:ON activation award in arts and culture).”

Christopher notes this wasn’t just his way of working with marketing. Instead,  it was a shared vision. He recalls his colleagues creating fantastic platforms that achieved industry-fame for their understanding of culture. “Just take our work with the beat boxing community as an example,” he says, “that brought home several awards.”

Currently, Christopher is working on a project called Gentænkt, or Rethought in English, which he describes as a humble attempt to look at how the news cycles within culture, marketing, media, and tech. Christopher says Gentænkt is a collaborative project with Andrew Thomas Davidson and Christian Bennike in which they have shaped their own unique lens shaped by more than two decades of collaborative experience working within digital storytelling and tech. Christopher shares they discuss a range of topics varying from social media’s impact on society to the subscription economy and how Spotify’s acquisition of the Joe Rogan Experience will shape podcasting in the future.

If you would like to stay up to date on everything Christopher is doing, connect with him on LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. For more information about Gentænkt check them out on Facebook and Youtube.

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Mr. Goodvertising vs. Don Draper: Why the former would win every round in the advertising ring

MR. GOODVERTISING VS. DON DRAPER: WHY THE FORMER WOULD WIN EVERY ROUND IN THE ADVERTISING RING

Author: Gabriella Anesio


In this interview, Thomas Kolster, aka Mr. Goodvertising, made a clear point of the fact that good advertising is hard. But necessary. He speaks about everything from over-politicisation of brands to what would happen if he were stood face-to-face with Don Draper. One thing made explicit is the abundant need for corporate accountability and responsibility in the scheme of it all, as it’s only this way that companies can be pushed to do amazing things. 

Thomas Kolster is the founder of Goodvertising Agency and the author of two seminal books on the Goodvertising movement. The first thing to clarify, before mentioning anything else, is what Goodvertising actually is. To put it short and sweet, it’s a movement premised on sustainable advertising, with the intention of ensuring companies become part of the solution to (instead of being the cause of) the ever-growing social and environmental challenges we face today. 

It all started in 2009 with the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Expectations were high, adrenaline was rushing – Thomas expected great things, but, ultimately, felt like the outcome was a bunch of empty promises, which he felt especially from the corporate sector. It was time for a change, which is why Thomas quit his old advertising agency, wrote his first book, and started his new agency focused on actual change for the good (*mic drop*). 

From democracy to corporatocracy?

Corporations can adopt a political voice. Fact. Corporations can push a certain political agenda. Fact. You can vote corporations into the White House…Definitely not a fact, but an increasingly realistic scenario way down the line (#voteLEGO). 

The debate can be whittled down to the question of the extent to which corporations should be able to push their political manifestos on consumers. The Goodvertising movement obviously stands by making great social and environmental change, and that is inevitably to become political. But to what extent should plights of justice be screamed in your face, as opposed to actual progress being shown to customers? This is Thomas’s two cents on the matter:

“Brand activism, exemplified by brands like Nike and Patagonia, has become a movement in itself today, meaning brands are becoming extremely politically charged. My opinion has changed on this topic. I don’t think over-politicisation is a good thing. We already live in a polarised world, and I don’t think I need a f*cking soap brand telling me that I’m right or wrong. The risk of brands being so outspoken, politically, is that people are beginning to distrust them and feel that they are overstepping the role of society. I obviously applaud every time a brand talks about the environment and social change, but there’s a fine line, and brands can easily fall into the Hero Trap* if they play too much into it.”

*The Hero Trap: a concept based on the misconception that flashing massive, and most likely unattainable, promises makes you superman. What does make you the superman of the corporate world is helping your customers transform into the version of themselves they’re working towards every day. 

Something appreciated now more than ever is that no one can shove their own agenda, or ambition, or mindset in the face of a massive group of people. That assumes that the group of people, consumers in this context, are homogenous. In reality, everyone has their own visions for what they want to achieve in life, and a massive branding miscalculation is assuming a superficial sentiment will resonate with *everyone*. That’s where Mr. Goodvertising steps is:

“I started acknowledging how difficult it was to create change in my own life. I then took that as the starting point for the bigger narrative of societal change. If you want to change the world, you have to start with yourself – I think this is something that we can all relate to. I think that’s also why we might today be seeing the failure of mass political parties that have a hard time gathering people around their ideals and manifesto. Today, I want to be spoken to as an individual with my own dreams, my own visions, and my own ambitions. I don’t want someone who’s screaming idealist mantras at me. We need to be much more human-centric going forward.”

Essentially, corporations need to stop assuming people are made from the same cookie cutter, and start embracing that, even though everyone may have different ideals and purposes, the red thread is being human and wanting to see positive change in oneself and society (at least that’s the hope, otherwise humanity may be in serious danger). 

Hate can be great! 

When discussing the topic of leadership, it occurred to me that there are two features that can either make or break a leader: being provocative and being brave. Thomas agreed and gave his interpretation on the matter:

“I love smart provocations, that’s part of my brand. What comedy and provocation can do when done right is amazing because it makes you reflect on yourself and your own values. That’s great communication. So I do think we need a bit of provocation, but in this day and age it’s become a screaming contest – so it needs to be done intelligently. And you can’t work in the creative or marketing industry without bravery. Every little idea you’ll ever come up with has some form of risk attached to it, and if there’s no risk, then you’re a lousy creator.”

So, if you can check off the witty provocation and bravery boxes, you’re on the right track to becoming a great leader, whether that’s the president of Nike or the United States of America (reminder needed here: provocation is meant to be intelligent, not mindless). 

The topic of provocation led to discussion on another, related, subject: hate (and love, but that’s less interesting). Most of us are taught from a very young age never to use the word hate because “it isn’t nice”. But when you work in the world of marketing and advertising, especially if you want to change the way things are done, playing nice doesn’t always cut it. That stands for both those in leadership positions and first-time customers. 

“When dealing with entrepreneurs from around the world, this is what I have witnessed: creativity can come from hate or love. Either they hate something so much they need to change it, or they love something so much they want to preserve it, or have more of it. Those are the two strongest forces in our lives for creating change. We need to talk more about love and hate in business. I think hate can be a tremendously powerful tool for change. The opening line in my first book is ‘I hate 99% of advertising’. I hated it so much I felt I had to change it, so I think hate is great. Hate is not about bigotry, hate is not about racism – that’s just ignorance.”

In this context, clearly, hate is something positive – ironically so. And that’s also why it’s so important to understand the difference between hate and ignorance, as Thomas points out. One is about using hate as a gaslight for positive change, the other is about using hate as a gaslight for being an assh*le. Same fuel, very different intentions and outcomes. 

Ignorance can come down to many things, but spotting ignorance isn’t always that easy, especially in an advertising landscape where people are bombarded with marketing ploys left, right, and centre (and above, on a billboard, and in front, on your phone). 

“The thing that provokes me the most is ignorance. I get pissed off when brands don’t respect people. Today it’s increasingly hard to discern the difference between an influencer paid to promote a product and actual advertisement. Those blurred lines are dangerous for the industry, as it delegitimises what advertising is. It’s like signing your artwork. When brands advertise something, they’re essentially signing their name on it. That comes with responsibility. For me, the digital space is starting to ruin the idea of accountability. We need a more clever way of advertising in an accountable way.”

Accountability is another way to compare politics with corporations. Just like the Prime Minister needs to hold themselves accountable, as do companies that claim XYZ, but end up doing ABC.

As Thomas remarks, the digital age has really challenged this notion of accountability, because almost everything we come across on our phones or laptops is, in some shape or form, propaganda for something or someone. To be able to understand the difference between genuine advertisement and mindless propaganda is yet another mountain to climb. 

How to climb the mountain 

It’s been established there is more than one mountain to climb before advertising and the corporate world can truly be proclaimed as sustainable. Mr. Goodvertising believes that this responsibility lies not just in the hands of corporations, but also the people that devote chunks of their disposable income to them. It’s a joint responsibility between people and companies to realise that spending money, in some way, needs to be more mindful, and a little less mindless. 

“There are two ways you can look at advertising: as a mirror to society, or as a shaper of society. I personally believe that advertising is such a powerful shaper, and not just a mirror. With that comes responsibility, and with that comes responsibility to choose to serve wants or serve needs. I think selling should be about bringing people from A to B, and not just mindlessly selling products for the purpose of selling.” 

It’s not about telling companies not to sell, or not to be political, or not to make claims. It’s about making sure that it’s all done in moderation, and with the sole purpose of bringing positive change not just to consumers, but to society – that should be the goal, at least. 

But, obviously, stomping into the stereotyped greedy corporate world with a bag of granola and a mission to be “more mindful” to people and mother nature…can be challenging. But, according to Thomas, it’s most certainly not impossible to make change for the better.

“There’s what I call the two-headed purpose monster: it’s a dilemma inside every company where one head says purpose (save the sea turtles etc.), and the other one says money, money, money. It’s built into the corporate structure that you have shareholders who demand ROI, so it’s clearly not an easy system to fix. That’s why we need to reinvent the system to not just serve shareholders, but all stakeholders.”

Ultimately, there has to be a fundamental shift in the way things are done, the way things are perceived, and the way we want to go about making meaningful change. 

Finale: Don Draper vs. Mr. Goodvertising

Most people are familiar with the infamous fictional Don Draper from the show Mad Men. He’s an alcoholic, nicotine addicted, burly man, who happens to be amazing at selling. But definitely not in a way aligned to the sustainable mission of the Goodvertising movement. So I asked Thomas: in a hypothetical world where you were stood face-to-face with Don Draper, the OG advertising “dude”, what would you say to him, and what do you think he would say to you?

“I would ask him to think about his children because, god damn it, advertising is not just about what’s happening right now, the outcome is actually something we pass onto the next generation. What Don would tell me…uuuh…I don’t think I’d even be invited to the headquarters, let alone be able to speak to him. I would have a sip of his whiskey though, if I had the chance.”

1-0 in favour of Mr. Goodvertising – ding, ding, ding!

A very big thank you is in order to Thomas Kolster, aka Mr. Goodvertising, for taking the time to participate in this interview. To keep up with the Goodvertising journey, find Thomas and his agency on LinkedIn, or find more information on his website

If the topic of marketing piques your interest, you can find other posts on Nicolai Vittrup’s blog, or reach out to him on LinkedIn with any questions you may have. For more information on SEO, PPC, and everything web-related, check out Webamp

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An interview with a CMO about being a CMO: What good marketing actually looks like

AN INTERVIEW WITH A CMO ABOUT BEING A CMO: WHAT GOOD MARKETING ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE

Author: Gabriella Anesio


Webamp spoke with Alexander Kragh, Chief Marketing Officer at Ofir. Matters covered in this interview include top lessons for all CMOs out there, the main challenges CMOs face, and what it really means to be good at marketing (using examples of great ad campaigns and explaining what made them have such long-lasting impact).

Ofir, founded already back in 1996, is an immense job portal designed in a way to make searching for jobs more streamlined and efficient. To give job listings even more visibility, Ofir ads reach prospects not only through its own job portal, but also through the most used social medias – Facebook and LinkedIn. As CMO at Ofir, Alexander has the responsibility of growing the Ofir brand and ensuring all marketing activities are implemented in a way to aid this brand development. 

A CMO’s top tips

With the experience of having co-founded his own startup, Statum, and now as CMO at Ofir, Alexander is a seasoned entrepreneur with strong marketing skills. This means he’s the perfect candidate to ask for key pieces of advice when it comes to marketing. 

Thus, when asking Alexander to share some guidance gained through his years of experience, he gave one invaluable tip and one piece of information he wishes someone had told him before entering the realm of business and marketing. Let’s start with the top tip. 

“I hear a lot of marketeers focusing on performance marketing. I’m not saying this is bad, in fact I practice a lot of it, but the people that solely preach it are also downplaying the role of branding. A key lesson that I learnt is the importance of focusing on branding – it gives you better results under performance marketing; the two, performance marketing and branding, actually go hand-in-hand because when you have a strong brand, your ads will run better; it will give you better CPC, CPA, and CPM.”

Linked to this, as will be elaborated on further down, a struggle faced by many is finding the balance between things. Whether that’s a balance between working and relaxing, tea and coffee, or performance marketing and branding. 

As made clear by Alexander, it is tempting to completely tilt the balance in favour of performance marketing because it’s something seemingly more quantifiable than branding. But that’s not the case: you can measure the success of branding through performance marketing. The better the branding, the better the measurable outcomes. 

Also important to keep in mind is that branding is just an umbrella term for a multitude of different kinds of branding, each with different elements of success. 

“Right now, I think personal branding is a huge driver in building a brand or a company, because we are in an age where people want to connect with people, not companies – which is also why we have seen such a huge boom in influencer marketing. Employees, essentially, have the capacity to act as influencers for the companies they work for. This power is under-utilised.”

Now onto the piece of information Alexander wishes someone had screamed and shoved in his face before starting his own company. 

“At my old company, we were initially reluctant to hire senior people because we didn’t think that someone who was twice as expensive would bring in twice as much value. But once we did, we learnt it brought in TEN TIMES the value, because there is something invaluable about lessons learnt and experiences gained. We didn’t know what the f*ck we were doing – those with experience did, and it showed.” 

There’s been a surge of content and debate, recently, on the topic of hiring people for experience vs. potential. What Alexander discusses here, is an exception for two reasons. Firstly, we’re discussing the world of startups; if there’s ever a time to hire someone for experience, it’s in this situation where you’ve never needed more guidance. 

Secondly, the candidate concerns a managerial/senior position. Seems to make sense, thus, to hire someone senior to fill this spot, especially considering the first point mentioned. Experiences and lessons learnt from previous positions are, in the end, invaluable for thoughtful and sound navigation from the startup world to the world of established and thriving companies. 

A CMO’s top challenges 

The world of marketing can sometimes seem to be a nondescript grey blur because everything is moving so fast, with new methods, concepts, approaches, and indicators shooting past every single day from one million different sources – be it academic or your friendly neighbour who thinks they’re now a marketing expert after reading their first ever Neil Patel blog post. 

Alexander has managed to whittle down the main challenges he has to face on a daily basis as CMO, the last one concerning what was just mentioned about the incomprehensibly fast pace one must keep up with in the marketing universe. 

“For me, there are three main challenges. Firstly, finding the balance between testing new, shiny, things and focusing on the things I already know work. Secondly, finding the balance between investing in something that will profit us today and investing in something that will profit us in a year. The third challenge is the struggle of keeping up with the sphere of marketing in general. Things are moving so fast. If you don’t take the time to educate yourself outside of work, if you don’t listen to podcasts, if you don’t read blogs, if you don’t participate in meet-ups, you will quickly fall behind the others, and suddenly all the young marketeers are smarter than you because they know all the new trends.”

Experimenting, investing, and keeping your head above water: a blunt summary of the challenges addressed by Alexander. 

Sometimes seen as an oxymoron, but, in reality, an example of symbiosis, is marketing and innovation. With regard to finding the middle ground between experimenting and using an evidence-based marketing approach, I asked Alexander what role he thought innovation played in marketing. He responded that, though the two aren’t synonymous, they’re certainly co-dependent in the sense that you can’t do good marketing without thinking outside the box.

So even though you need to make sure your decisions have soundness to them (in the form of some kind of evidence), you also need to consistently push yourself to play with techniques and approaches, making you stand out from the crowd. This links to the next point made by the CMO:

“In my opinion you can set yourself apart from your competition in two ways. One is about differentiating every aspect of your company from the competition, whether that’s quality of service, the product itself, the brand, the tone etc. The other way is what many big companies are doing: they find a good USP and pump money into this to convince customers of it. So it’s not something practical they’re promoting, it’s an idea, a fictional world, that they’re trying to sell to the audience. Take Coca Cola: they’re trying to sell a magical atmosphere premised on happiness and friends, when in reality it’s just a sugar drink that’s really bad for you.”

So, good marketing is innovative marketing – and this is bound to set you apart from your competitors.

Emotions, humour, and storytelling 

Everyone will, at some point, come across an ad that they’ll never quite be able to forget. But what made the ad so unforgettable? Deducing why something made such a big impact on you is crucial for anyone in the same industry as Alexander, so I asked him for his top three ad campaigns, and why they resonated so strongly with him.  

“There are three campaigns that stand out to me for three different reasons. The first is TV2’s “All that we share”. It hit everyone in the feels, it was incredibly emotional. The second is Bomea’s ad – it was so wonderfully sarcastic in a Danish way that it was like watching a sketch. Lastly, DSB’s old, and longest-running, campaign following two characters riding on a train. It was story-telling over such a long period you couldn’t help but be captivated. The three elements from these three campaigns speaks volumes to me with regard to marketing: emotions, humour, and storytelling. This is powerful marketing.”

Emotions, humour, and storytelling: you’re bound to respond to at least one of those tactics, if not all three, when you come across an ad, whether you watch it on TV or read it on your phone whilst scrolling through Instagram.

This just proves that it isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, all about mindless marketing. Thought is (should be) put into all marketing activities, specifically: emotions, humour, and a dash of storytelling.

Alexander left us with one final piece of advice in order to hone in on the human element and experience of marketing. 

“A mistake that I see many marketeers make is holding onto the assumption that marketing ends when leads walk through the door of your company. I see customer service as a really integral part of marketing. The feeling they have after they’ve bought your product matters, too. If you treat your leads just 5% better than they expected, it creates a whole new channel of lead possibilities in the form of word-of-mouth. You don’t just want your customers to be satisfied, you want them to be impressed.”

It’s not just about reeling customers in, it’s about reeling them in, then wowing them with what you have to sell, and, finally, ensuring you impressed them enough for them to keep you at the back of their minds, and not just disregard you once the purchase has been made. As made clear, it’s integral to put the human into marketing. 

A big thank you goes to Alexander Kragh for his 101 on being a CMO and the marketing tips he shared. You can find him and Ofir on LinkedIn (or check the company, and job listings, out on their website). 

If the topic of marketing and entrepreneurship interests you, you can find other posts on this blog here. You can also reach out to Nicolai Vittrup on LinkedIn, or use the contact form on this website to leave any comments or questions. To learn about everything SEO, PPC, and web-related, explore the content produced by Webamp

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