Why do you think the center of excellence ended up in the Nordics?
For one, excellent creative productions together with a very strong team and strong creative agency. The Nordic marketing team has really succeeded in creating a communication concept that stands out and they have done a really good job translating the productions into all relevant channels. And if you look at the ability to be ahead in terms of trends, the Nordics seem to be just that, a lot of the time. What we see here is going to happen in three or four years in the other markets.
Last year, Friederike participated in a charity race, driving around the Baltic Sea-states in a twenty-year-old car, up to twelve hours a day. 8700km in 16 days, no GPS or highways allowed. The money collected went to the Handicap Kickers Hannover e.V., Sage Hospital in Senegal and Die Arche e.V. – all non-profit organizations trying to make the world a better place. Friederike is also an avid kite surfer and has lived in Boston as well as in Seattle, making her move to Stockholm her third time moving to another country.
I like adventures. But I also like having something to come back to, some kind of base. But sure, adventures are fantastic. Moving to Sweden is an adventure.
Before moving here, I thought to myself – this will be an easy one, because I’ve moved abroad before and the Swedish culture is similar to the German one. The other day I found myself in the Ica Maxi looking at laundry detergents for ten minutes like: hmm.. I wonder which one is for delicate clothes. It’s the little things that make you realize that it might not be as easy as you thought.
What do you hope to gain from this experience?
Right now, I’m learning about a new culture and a new language. I’m currently watching the Swedish TV-show Bonusfamiljen, which is about how to get family life together when family constellations change. It’s fantastic because I get to learn about Swedish contemporary culture and Swedish language at the same time.
In the end, I want to have fun and make friends for life. That’s what it’s all about.
What do you think that your new colleagues can learn from you?
I’m here to build connections. Successfully sharing cross markets. So that. And hopefully, how to really succeed with the Center of Excellence and to take it forward.
What other brands inspire you?
There is a lot of brands that we can learn from when it comes to things like consistency. Apple of course. But other brands as well, where the brands use their heritage in smart ways. One example is IKEA, that has a strong Swedish heritage and they use that successfully in other markets. When you listen to an IKEA radio spot in Germany – the man in the voice over has a Swedish accent. Also brands that create great content for social media. I mean everyone remembers the Volvo Truck Split.
What’s good leadership?
I was lucky to participate in TUI’s global high potential leadership programme “Perspectives“ this year and can highly recommend it to learn more about strong leadership in a digital age. In one of the webinars, our Nordic MD Alex, presented the Nordic model on leadership that consists of trust, transparency, togetherness and testing & learning. I can just agree with him on all of those. In addition to that, I think that to be a good leader is to be a good listener.
During the last year, Friederike has made one significant change. She has started to ask herself the simple question “have I really listened to people today?”. It might not sound like much, but we all know that to implement a new behavior in life, takes a lot. In a world that is increasingly noisy, listening might be more powerful than speaking.
I have learned to listen and to reflect. I keep reflecting on my listening. That’s something that’s especially important working across markets. Only if you truly understand the challenges you can find the right solutions.
Where do you think you will be in five years?
To be honest, I have no idea where I will be in five years. But that’s OK because if someone had asked me five years ago where I would be today, I would have never guessed that I would be sitting in a café in Stockholm doing this interview with you.
Five last questions:
Meatballs or Bratwurst
Zara Larsson or Lena Meyer-Landrut
Business or Casual
Stockholm or Hannover
Mountains or Ocean