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The past week has been hectic, Magnus Westerberg and Tim Hearn from St Luke's in Stockholm have been buried under a pile of email and now Magnus takes some time out to answer a sea of questions.
Dabitch: Why Stockholm? Why now? Who are you guys?
Magnus: Andy Law from St Luke's in London has said " I consider Stockholm to be one of the most exiting places in the world right now." so as Magnus replies "Why not Stockholm?".
Dabitch:Why is St.Luke's expanding abroad?
Magnus:The big idea at the heart of St Luke's is to be an ongoing creative experiment. This has proved to be a powerful idea, providing co-workers and clients alike with a high level of reward. But to stay powerful, the experiment has to constantly evolve. And it's now time to expand, to get a bigger canvas.
That's why we're opening shop in Stockholm. We want to develop a global and truly multicultural offering, which learns and adds creative value from diverse sources. The two offices will be "inter-cultural" and will share people and resources. We now consider St Luke's as a whole, Anglo-Swedish.
The Swedish office marks the first stage in a long term plan to establish the agency in a variety of different markets and diverse culture. And present clients with a global creative offering unlike that which exists at present.
Magnus: Why not? Sweden has a lot to teach us, particularly in the area of problem solving and lateral thinking. Many of the world's most creative companies (e.g. IKEA, Ericsson, Skanska, Volvo) spring from Sweden. And Sweden has a unique tone of voice in a lot of the artistic work it produces. Sweden is culturally diverse, and there is a lot of cutting edge thinking on society, learning and identity. It's an open society compared to many others, and it is philosophically in tune.
Also, there is a hot buzz about Stockholm at the moment. It's a world centrefor design, film, technology, music and the wireless Internet . This summer,
Wired Magazine named Stockholm the second hottest spot in the world after Silicon Valley. And Sweden is now the world's third largest exporter of music.
As if this isn't reason enough, Stockholm is also a very beautiful city!
Dabitch: What is St.Luke's Stockholm's proposition?
Magnus: We now live in a world where business no longer can evolve just by being x% better at something than the competition. We now live in a world where new ideas, big ideas, is the most valuable currency. Ideas can now change a marketplace over night.
But most businesses are not organised to facilitate constant innovation. On the contrary, a lot business practises stifles creativity and progress.
That is why St Luke's is set up as a constantly evolving creative experiment.
And by setting up in Stockholm we give Swedish clients the opportunity to tap into the same resource as the English. And our English clients will have the benefit of a new cultural and creative input. Because we are not building an 'advertising network', putting flags on different regions. We are expanding the experiment, building a multicultural, multipoint offer.
So now Swedish companies can have access to the same level of creativity St Luke's offers in London.
Dabitch: What do you believe in?
We believe in the power of creativity to solve any problem
Businesses that recognise the ability of human potential are always the most successful. Successfully harnessed, business that believe in their people always perform beyond their expectations and beyond their profit targets
Individuals always produce more exciting, creative thinking when they are part of a team. At St Luke's we collaborate both internally and with our clients to produce our work, in the belief that this act produces better results.
Everything we do has to be fun and enjoyable. That's when people are the most creative and confident and therefore the growground for the best ideas.
We are in every situation an agent for change. We challenge the accepted and the normal in order to shift perspectives and see new solutions.
Dabitch: What are your objectives/goals in Stockholm?
Magnus:To make the rest of the world envious of Swedish companies, of Stockholm and of us.
Dabitch: Why do you think St.Luke's can contribute towards making Stockholm more creative?
Magnus:Obviously, we can add a London perspective to Swedish problems and challenges. But more importantly, we want to celebrate creativity in every form. It's not only music, art, fashion or advertising for that matter that can be creative. We want to introduce creative thinking everywhere, in to the heart of business. It's when creative thinking is at the heart of a business that the business becomes fascinating to all its' stakeholders (consumers,employees, potential recruits, shareholders, media, etc.)
Creativity is not something reserved for "creatives". Everyone has the potential of being creative. That's what we want to encourage.
Dabitch:What will you offer clients that brand-consultants and advertising-agencies don't offer in Sweden today?
Magnus:Our focus is on ideas. We are not the suppliers from whom you order an advertising campaign. We are partners with our clients whom we push to reassess the acceptable. We always aim to open minds and to get people to think differently.
Our purpose is to spread the joy or invention/creativity. To make our clients and partners realise their potential and the benefits of putting creativity at the heart of their business.
Dabitch:What is your strategy for growth/your ambitions in Stockholm?
Magnus:We won't measure our success in numbers of employees/co-owners or the amount of business we win. For us success lies in the quality of the work we produce and the number of fascinating people who want to work with us.
We employ a similar strategy to London in that we will work with clients whom we like and who have an interesting problem for us to tackle. So far, this strategy has worked pretty well.
Dabitch:Where do you start from?
Magnus:St Luke's in Stockholm is headed by Tim Hearn; creative director from London, Magnus Westerberg; previously at same position at K-World, and Annika Carstedt previously planner at St.Luke's in London.
Dabitch:What is your timing?
Magnus:We are opening our doors for business in November. Until then, we are looking for interesting people, looking for space and learning about Sweden and Swedish culture and creativity. We are planning to launch with a conference where we will explore business and creativity from interesting perspectives, but we can't tell you about that at the moment.
Dabitch:What is St.Luke's history?
Magnus:St Luke's set up in London in October 1995 as the global advertising industry's first ever co-owned agency. It has grown from a staff of 37 to 116, and handles such major accounts as Sky Television, HSBC, IKEA UK, The Body Shop and various government accounts. The agency was awarded Campaign Magazine's prestigious Agency of the Year Award in 1997. It was the most profitable agency in the UK 1999.
We were born as a breakaway from the merger between Chiat/Day and TBWA.
We operate on the fundamental principles of
- embracing change
- personal transformation
Our vision is to Open Minds
And we describe what we do as creating fascination for our clients, our co-owners and people we meet.
For more, Visit St Luke's page and keep an eye out for them. 2nd of November is D-day. Best of luck guys.