How such a small country is leading in digital, design, fashion and advertising
My Chinese adventure ended last year in 2016. But for a change, I posted a blog online about my Danish experience in Copenhagen. Somehow being in Denmark intrigued me. Because of the holidays I didn’t have much time to write so I post this as soon as possible in 2017.
The 3rd time visit the Danish capital
This is the 3rd time I’ll have visited Copenhagen in 2016. The first two times were just for leisure, as it was my vacation in between semesters in China. But somehow this city attracts me. Six years ago I started my first long life journey through Europe and Copenhagen was the very first city I encountered. Even after visiting the Scandinavian/Nordic countries, Copenhagen holds a special place in my heart. I even left China in November because one of my Danish friends invited me to come over for a Christmas dinner. And because my time in China was finished, I was investigating the possibility of continuing my career in Copenhagen, besides doing a research about the Danish agency culture. My findings showed that theDanish culture (and also the other Nordic countries) has a good reputation for digital, design, fashion and advertising.
Visit the agencies
I knew my period in China had come to an end and I was busy emailing a lot of people in Denmark. First using my own network and then using the other social websites to get in touch with creative people from Denmark and especially from the Copenhagen region. Fortunately, I knew some people online before returning to Europe. A few days before leaving for Denmark I sent all my contacts a reminder I’m heading to the Danish capital. After a terrific weekend with my Danish friends I stayed a while longer and got in touch with the Danish creative scene. The result was visiting four agencies and meetings in three days! That is quite a lot if you can imagine during my round the world trip it took me a day to meet someone at a creative agency. With that,I decided to change my strategy a bit as mentioned above. And I succeeded. The agencies were Wunderman (digital agency), Thank You Studio (creative concept and design studio), Boye and Spellerberg (advertising agency) and Makers with Agenda’s (industrial design agency).
Difference and similarities between Dutch and Danish agencies
In general the Dutch agencies are not much different from the Danish agencies or the European agencies. They are open and welcoming with plenty of curiosity. The differences are the policies and how they branded themselves. A creative concept agency, a digital agency, an industrial design agency. So I’ve been in a wide perspective of creativity. As I told you I’m an Art Director for 10 years now and the typical creative advertising agencies made me who I am today. My vision of creativity and concept are very similar. But there is a difference of branches within. For example at the most Dutch agencies you have to be a concept creative but also well skilled in the execution such as graphic or digital design on the computer. Some big agencies in The Netherlands have a strict line between concept creative and creative skilled in execution. In Denmark however the line is even bigger. An Art Director can do both, like me, is very rare. The senior creatives notice that students coming from different educations are more targeted to create beautiful stuff and win as much awards if possible. While we were wondering if you have passion for your expertise you’re only satisfied to win awards? Also the international vibe you can feel it everywhere in the city but also in the agency. In the first place the international clients each agency have, the openness and of course the language: English or the other Scandinavian and German languages. Well… those languages are a lot easier than Chinese! I’ve met 4 different nationalities on the other side of the table during my meetings. Danish, Italian-Colombian, English and Belgian.
Great conceptual design and innovation
What I noticed during these few days and also visiting an exhibition about Danish design; it was clear somehow the Danish have a talent do some inspiration and substitute to their own unique style. In any variety such as Architecture, Industrial design, graphic design, digital and advertising. The landscape of design or creativity changes rapidly. Somehow the Danish are good to adapt to the change in the market and become a leading country. That is impressive for a small country with only 5.5 million people. Their ability to look for the edges of creativity and make it into a business model is amazing. I’ve taken a brief look into such agencies and I’m happy to be with such people. Also bragging is not typical Danish, Dutch however it is. So maybe that is way I like the way they do. Also push yourself to the limit even when you are there for an introduction meeting. It is typical Nordic culture for the people to not express themselves so you have push yourself to the max to impress. And maybe that is why the Danish are so successful. You have to put a lot of effort in something to persuade your own people. If you succeed in Denmark, you can conquer the world.
Glenn, Alejandro, Glenn and Wouter thanks for welcoming me to your agencies and give me a brief insight of the Danish agency culture.