Sweden houses some of the world’s most creative ad agencies, and is by many considered to be in the forefront of the creative development. ‘Guldagget’ (The Golden Egg Award) is Sweden’s oldest and most prestigious competition for the creative advertising industry. Soon, however, this competition, and the Swedish ad agency market, will be totally dominated by tech consultancy companies.
HiQ is today one of the leading tech companies in the Nordic countries. I dare predict that, within the next few years, HiQ will have evolved to also take its place among the leading ad agencies – maybe even as the industry leader. Already a significant number of the assignments we carry out are pure advertising and marketing projects. Together with our clients, we are building strong Nordic brands.
We will, however, be much more than merely an ad agency. We won’t even be calling ourselves an ad agency. And how people choose to categorise us makes little difference. What I mean by saying that we will become one of the leading ad agencies, is that we will work together with our clients’ marketing directors to build their brands. We are already doing this by continuously improving their products and services – but also by increasing brand awareness and associating their brands with positive feelings.
So, how will we become one of the communication industry’s leading agencies? And why is marketing important to us? Well, it all boils down to two things. Speed and strategy.
We are frustrated. The mechanisms that make society tick all seem to be moving in slow motion. Everybody says that digitalisation is a rapid process. Everybody! They often claim that progress is being made at breakneck speed. But that’s simply not true. Things are moving at a snail’s pace.
Take the medical sector, for example. I’ve learned that more than 20 people die every day in Sweden as a result of blood poisoning (that is of a population of 9 million, similar to New York). For anyone afflicted with blood poisoning, speed is the most important (and the only) course of action. To take the necessary action as quickly as it is needed, doctors and nurses must be made aware without delay that something unpleasant is about to happen. That means collating information about body temperature, blood counts and other key indicators that are today dealt with by different people, who often lack direct contact with one another. Yet all of this can be solved by technology. Quite simply, in fact, and at no great cost. In much the same way as computers monitor conditions for a server in an underground facility in Kiruna, in the far north of Sweden – detecting fluctuations, triggering the appropriate responses and maximising uptime. Imagine if it were possible to do the same thing with people …
Another example is retail. Today the most convenient option available to you when you want to prune a big branch from your apple tree is to buy a new chain saw. Why isn’t there a simple solution for sharing a saw with other people, instead? Well, in fact, there already is just such solutions. We have designed one together with Husqvarna and others. The problem is simply that there are too few people who know that it exists. The service works flawlessly, but if it is genuinely going to change people’s behaviour, the marketing strategies needs to be developed in parallel with the product strategies.
That brings us to the second reason why HiQ, as a tech company, is needed in the ad industry. The strategies are under-developed. Ad agencies are not good enough at taking a stand to make sure that their clients’ marketing actually works, or to enquire what purpose it serves. Instead they start to build technical solutions. It’s the same with the media agencies. Technology consultants, management consultants and now accountants, too, are all telling their clients that service design will drive sales, create loyal customers and fuel expansion.
They’re wrong. The development of new products and services is dependent on the right marketing strategies being in place from the very start of the process, so that everyone knows the job that marketing must do. As things stand today, the distance between business developers and their marketing departments – and by extension – the ad agencies, too, is simply too great.
The conclusion is that it is much simpler to develop innovative technical solutions than it is to change people’s behaviour. Advertising has never had a more important role in society than it has today. That’s why we need to use marketing to drive development. That’s the reason why more and more marketing directors are turning to HiQ to create strong ties between business development and marketing. And that’s also the reason why, within the next few years, HiQ will become one of the leading ad agencies in the Nordic region.