[Podcast] The Future of Brands with Anneli Hansson

[Podcast] The Future of Brands with Anneli Hansson

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Anneli Hansson is a brand strategist, coach & speaker based out of Stockholm, Sweden.

Many will know Anneli as the resident strategist over at TheFutur with Chris Do who we interviewed back on Episode 13.

sponsored message

Adobe Creative Cloud Discount

Anneli just launched an incredible 6-figure course over at The Futur called Brand Strategy Fundamentals.

What people may not know, is that Anneli has a background in building sustainable brands (long before it was a trend) and has recently pivoted into helping creatives transform into strategic thinkers.

With this background, it’s no wonder we have invited Anneli here on to JUST Branding!

In this episode we discuss “The Future of Brands” and all that entails. This is not to be missed!

Listen to The Future of Brands

Love the show? Please review us on Apple or Stitcher.

sponsored message


Play Now

Watch on Youtube

Show Notes

Learn Brand Strategy

Best Brand Strategy Course Online

Brand Master Secrets helps you become a brand strategist and earn specialist fees. And in my opinion, this is the most comprehensive brand strategy course on the market.

The course gave me all the techniques and processes and more importantly… all the systems and tools I needed to build brand strategies for my clients.

sponsored message

This is the consolidated “fast-track” version to becoming a brand strategist.

I wholeheartedly endorse this course for any designer who wants to become a brand strategist and earn specialist fees.

Check out the 15-minute video about the course, which lays out exactly what you get in the Brand Master Secrets.

Transcript (Auto Generated)

Hello, and welcome to JUST Branding, the only podcast dedicated to helping designers and entrepreneurs grow brands. Here are your hosts, Jacob Cass and Matt Davies.

Today, we have Anneli Hansson on the show, who’s a brand strategist, coach and speaker based out of Stockholm, Sweden. So many of our listeners will know Anneli as the resident strategist over at TheFutur with Chris Do. And we actually interviewed him back on episode 13.

So Anneli just launched an incredible six-figure course over at TheFutur called Brand Strategy Fundamentals. So what people may not know is that Anneli has a background in building sustainable brands. So this was long before it was a trend and has recently pivoted into helping creators transform into strategic thinkers.

With this background, it’s no wonder we have invited Anneli here onto JUST Branding. So today we’re gonna be talking about TheFutur of Brands. I’m sure you can see what we did there and all that entails.

But before we do, welcome to the show, Anneli.

Thank you so much. I’m really, really excited to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

Welcome, Anneli. And I should actually say, all right, you are listeners, very fortunate that this is even taking place because we have had so many challenges before us. I think Jacob’s leg was nearly severed off or something at one point.

And I forgot to tune in on one session and it’s just been pure chaos. This is not normal for the JUST Branding Podcast, but we finally got round to it and then we just sat down to do it and Anneli, all Anneli’s tech’s gone crazy. So, but we’re here, we’re here and we’re raring to go.

So thank you so much for carving out the time. Excited to have this conversation with you.

Oh, thank you so much. You know, when you, when, when the universe want you to meet people, you just figure it out, right? So even if we don’t have the perfect tech, we’re here together and we will have the conversation.

So I’m happy to be here.

Well, thank you. We made it. We’d love to hear a little bit about your story.

Like who are you? Perhaps you can just share how you got to where you are today.

Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of an amazing story because, you know, I’m not 25, as you can see, I’m 47 and I’m based out of Stockholm, like outside Stockholm, actually nearby here in the sea. And I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years, but I didn’t even dream about doing something for an international market.

That was not even in my, you know, fantasy. I was here in Sweden. We have about 10 million people living in Sweden.

And I thought that it was a great market for me, you know? And then I met TheFutur and Chris Do. And he was like, why not do it for, you know, go international?

You’re crazy. I can’t do that. I can’t even speak English, you know?

sponsored message

So two and a half years ago, I didn’t even want to speak English in front of people.

You’re speaking Swedish now.

Yeah, exactly. Yesterday, I had this like six hour workshop live with TheFutur. And it just takes the crease after.

I’m like, I’m so incredible happy because just the fact that I’m doing this for six hours without a script in English, that is freaking amazing. So even if I have this long experience over 20 years working in this industry, you know, I think a lot of people can, you know, understand how it feels when you don’t really know the language and, you know, it’s a new world for you. So I’m just, I’m so excited that I got this opportunity.

So that’s how it started. It started in the pro group as one of the members. I just happened to be very active and engaged.

And then, and here I am doing the course and just totally changed my life and my career and everything is kind of because I met this guy, Chris Do.

I’d love to learn more, like the back, more of the backstory, if we can dive in there, because it’s super important. You can’t just like become the resident brand strategist, you know, for the future. How did you like, how did that happen?

Like what were you doing beforehand that, you know, got Chris’ attention?

You know, I’ve been, I started my first branding agency in 2005. So I’ve been doing this for almost like, you know, on my own since 2005, but I started my first like job at an agency at 1998 or 1997, something like that. So, you know, I’ve been here.

I’ve been in the industry for a while, even like pre-internet, which is like ridiculous right now. But so I’ve been working, you know, for PR agency, advertising agency, long before social media, you know, when we actually could control brand a little bit more. And now it’s a totally different world.

So that’s my background, like advertising and marketing strategy. But I also have this education in like design strategy and innovation strategy. So I have like two parts.

sponsored message

And then like long story short, I had this branding agency. I worked with the graphic designer, so I have a lot of experience working with designers. And we had this super team of like doing brand strategy and brand identity, which is a perfect mix to do offer together.

But then I felt like, you know, I think I need to have this experience from the client perspective as well, because you work with those big clients and you just complain a lot about like, you know, they can never make any decisions. So I felt like, what if I tried to be on that side? So I actually started to work for a multi-billion dollar company in Sweden called Landmännen, which is like the Northern Europe’s biggest company when it comes to agriculture and machine energy and food.

So I started to work for them as a chief brand officer and then chief marketing officer later. And I was supposed to be there for a really short amount of time, but I ended up almost five years. So I got to see that side when having a really big budget, worked with like six agencies at the same time and also with a really focused on sustainability.

So that’s kind of my background. I’ve been working with like on the agency side, but also on the client side, branding, marketing, business development.

So you have time to do a lot of things in 20, 25 years.

That’s amazing. I’m so pleased you did choose to speak English for us on the JUST Branding podcast, because if we tried to do this in Swedish, it would be really bad.

I actually lived in Sweden for a year when I was 19. I picked up some Swedish. For a whole year.

It was my gap year.

My favorite word in Swedish is tillsammans. You know that word? It’s like more together.

I like the word together. We can talk about that later. How you work together.

That’s my favorite word in Swedish, tillsammans.

All I can remember is hey and hurma du. It’s like, hey, how are you? It’s been a long time.

Fantastic. You obviously work for the future right now, Anneli. You mentioned a workshop yesterday.

What do you do for the future group and how do you help people at the moment?

I actually don’t work for the future because I’m an independent brand strategist and educator and speaker. That’s what I do, but I work with them. The future is a platform, as you know, an educational platform, but they’re also publishers.

They’re really good at… When they have people like me who want to be an author and launch a course, it’s an amazing opportunity to work for myself and very independently in a way. I create my things, but they publish it, which is amazing.

So I do work with them when it comes to the Future Pro group. So I’m doing their office hours and I have a cohort. I created JUST Brand strategy and a learning path, and I do workshops for them and the course.

But then I have my own things as well, when I do public speaking and coaching and different things. So I do both, which is like the perfect mix of two words, words, not words.

Amazing. All right.

Well, I think there’s a lot to talk about in the world of brand and strategy. And I know your specialty is in sustainability. And now you’ve just released a new course on the fundamentals.

So maybe we start there with a lens on strategy, sustainability. How do you make a sustainable brand? Or how do you create a brand that’s more sustainable?

Yeah, you know what? I do think that there’s so many people who’s… I mean, Sweden is kind of obviously, you know, we’re good at sustainability.

And we’re not just Greta Thunberg. We’re actually having a lot of companies who are really good at sustainability. So I think, first of all, I’m just really keen on that companies take responsibility and not just do greenwashing or I also call it purpose washing.

Like there’s so many people just today that want to talk about it. And they have all their like communication and things around sustainability, but you actually need to do things first and then you can talk about it. So for me, it’s really important to not just, I call it like put lipstick on a pig.

I don’t put lipsticks on pigs because I don’t think you can just put makeup on and that makes you a good brand. You really need to make a difference. And in order to make a difference, you need to know what kind of negative impact you have on the world, you know.

Otherwise you can’t really do it in a responsible way. So that’s important for me when I start working with someone. I want to know, do you really want to make that, if you call it transformation, or do you want to make this journey?

Then we need to start from the beginning to see what is your negative impact. You know, you have the sustainable development goals as well, and you can connect your development to the goals if you want to and see like what are the goals that are most connected to us and our business. So for me, that is important.

Like start doing something and then you tell people about it. So you really live your brand.

I often find that, and amazing to hear you talk like that, but I often find one of the challenges is tracking and measuring stuff because I think a lot of people, you know, a lot of brands want to authentically, you know, leave the world in a better place than when they found it for sure. But sometimes it’s tricky to measure things. I just wondered if you had any thoughts on that because you say like the first step is to just kind of take stock of the negative things that are happening right now.

Well, how do you gather that information?

I mean, first of all, I think it’s really important. It’s like when I tell people, when I teach, that you don’t have to be the expert on all your clients’ businesses. A lot of creators are so nervous that, but I don’t have that business background.

I don’t know everything about business, but it’s okay because if you have just the basic knowledge, the foundation, read some books, do some research, you’re actually there because you’re an expert how to build brands. You’re an expert in asking the right questions. And this is exactly the same thing.

I’ve been working for this company for so many years, but you had a manager for sustainability and a whole department just working with that. And I’m not that expert and I’m still not after doing it 10 years. So I lean in to my curiosity, which is one of my skills to be like a curious kid.

And I just ask a lot of questions. I’m like, okay, who knows this? So I ask them questions about their expertise.

And then we need to align the goals with the business goals, because you can’t have separate goals just for the brand that is not connected to the business goals. So everything needs to be integrated. And this is one of the biggest challenge for a lot of companies is to integrate the sustainability like development of the sustainable business with the brand development and everything else you do, because it can’t be like silos where everyone is doing their own thing.

So it’s communication, talking to each other and see how can we integrate all those goals and measure them together. So it’s not like a rocket science. It’s actually about more ambition to work together and talk to each other.

What would the process look like if you were to make a company more sustainable? That’s actually not just purpose washing or green washing, but to truly make them sustainable.

Yeah, you know what? I think, first of all, like I said, I think, you know, you have the whole supply chain and you need to be just aware of what kind of industry you’re in. And for example, if you’re in the food industry, we know that the part with agriculture, which I also have a background in, is having a big negative impact on the environment.

At the same time, we all need food. But if a food company starts to talk just about like how they, you know, distribution or how they transport their things, like things that are actually not making that big of a negative impact, it feels for me a little bit like greenwashing because I want to know what they really do to make a difference. So if you sell food, you need to connect that to the challenges with agriculture, because that is where the real negative impact is.

So people, you know, I think all companies needs to be real about looking at their footprint and see what they’re doing in the whole supply chain and value chain and see where they can make a big difference. So they’re not like using it to, you know, just connect with their customers or using it for employee branding to hire the best talented people. You really need to start.

And then you need to work with people who, you know, who really knows what they’re talking about when it comes to sustainability. For example, for environmental sustainability, you need experts to talk to. So that’s why it’s so important.

Like my department, when I worked with developing the brand, we were sitting exactly next to each other with the Department for Sustainability. We worked together all the time. So it’s about how you can innovate new products, services.

Everything is so connected. So do the real work.

So that’s sort of like a larger company where you have your own department and you can work together to achieve those goals, sustainable development goals. But if you’re a smaller company, one man show, how would you integrate or how would you become more sustainable?

I think you just need to think about what different small things you do every day in your life. Maybe not. If you really think about it from your, okay, this is what I do in my company.

This is what I do as just my private self. I think you’re probably, it would do a bigger difference if you think about yourself just as a person, because what we can really do to make a change, for example, is when it comes to food. We actually need to eat less meat, for example, and we need to stop throw away food.

Because just here in Sweden, people are very aware here in Sweden, but I know from a lot of surveys and stuff that we throw away 25% of the food. So we buy food and we throw away food.

It’s crazy. And there’s countries in Africa and so on where the populations are in desperate need for food. It’s just really strange, isn’t it?

Here in Europe, at least, and probably in Australia as well, where Jacob is, in the West, I suppose you call it, we are so blessed to have so much abundance.

Exactly. And you know what? I’m actually going to show you.

I just remember when we talked about it. This is actually a book when we’re talking about this, from where I used to work. And it’s in Swedish.

You can’t read it, but it’s like, take care of the food, something like that. And it’s actually recipes for one day. And for the day, the following day, it’s like, how can you?

What’s it called when you have leftovers? What can you do with the leftovers? So you have a recipe for one day, and then you have for the leftovers.

And that was a typical good example, how you actually make a difference. Because we did that book, but we actually shipped it for free to a lot of schools in Sweden. So every school, because they also have a problem with food waste.

So they could inspire themselves to not throw away so much food, but they could also give this to teachers and students to make a difference back in their families. So this is like an example when you actually do something that will make a difference for real, instead of just doing that.

So Anneli, I’ve got a question for you just about the process of things, right? Because it’s really interesting to hear you say, you went in, you were sat with the teams, and so on and so forth as a strategist. Because I think what I see in the industry, and I don’t know if you’d agree with this, is a lot of people looking at designers, graphic designers, looking at strategy and thinking, yes, we want to see at the table, we want to make changes and really have an impact in sustainability, it might be anything, and in real impact for businesses.

And then what they try and do in my, from what I see, a lot of people try and do is they say, okay, well, this is our process, like we do for a creative project, like churning out some graphics. And they try and fit strategy into a stage gate process like that, where basically we’re gonna do this, and then we’re gonna do this, and then we’re gonna do that, and then you get this output at the end, which is that. And I suspect that this kind of work, well, I know this kind of work doesn’t work like that.

And I just wondered what your thoughts were on how, as designers might move into strategy, how they might think about their model in order to cater for some of the nuances that you’re talking about, which is if you’re going to talk to people, you might find problems that you never even knew were a problem at the start of the project. So how do you sort of set that up for success, I guess, is my question.

I love that question. I just need to process how to answer it.

Sorry, it’s a long question.

No, it’s amazing because I love it. I think this is so important. And actually, when you said it, I think this is exactly why I like to work with TheFutur and with Chris because I knew, now when you say it, it’s so obvious that the most important thing that I feel for especially creatives is to be able to have a language, how to talk with business people.

Because you need to step up from that, just create, I’m not saying just creative work, but I’m saying that the creative is always the solution, like a visual identity or something visual. It’s not because what I’m doing is more about actually taking, when we talk about brand strategy, really knowing where the brand is right now and setting goals, like where do we want to go? And those goals are really connected to the business goals.

And for me, that is strategy, like to be able to guide someone from where they are today to where they want to go, that is the strategy in it. So a lot of people talk about like the more brand platforms maybe or foundation, some other things that are more like just the brand personality and the storytelling and everything, but this is actually development. This is like how you develop the brand from where it is to where it’s going to go.

So it’s about like defining purpose, vision, mission, talk about like the values and then company culture. Everything starts within the company. So they need to be aligned with that.

And then, really understand how do people perceive the brand today? Like how do they feel about the brand today compared to other competitors? And if people, everyone like bites into that Martin Neumeyers, although a brand is what they say it is.

And I think it’s so interesting that people say that, but then they don’t know how to do research. So if I ask them, but what do people actually say about you? They don’t know.

So the thing is that that is what I help them with and that is what I teach. So if you know how you want to be perceived, you clear about that and you’re presenting. You also need to make sure that you actually understand how people perceive you today.

And you can’t control the brand. That’s like 20 years ago, but you can actually try to shake the brand perception. That is what we can do.

So we can manage it, we can inspire, we can shake the perception. But before we can even do that, we need to know what people think about us and feel about us as a brand. So I think that is like the difference when you talk with people like that, because business owners and CEOs and CMOs and whatever you will mention, they understand that they need to connect with people in order to thrive their business.

And it’s about business development this. So when you know that and you know how to do it, you know how to connect with people on an emotional level. And that’s where you level up from not have to talk about price.

Then you can talk about values and building the brand. So that’s the conversation. And that could end up in like business development, like a new product, a new service.

Doesn’t have to be brand identity or a website or something. So then I have a conversation with them on a much higher level, which is actually how to grow your business and leading with brands. So I think that is, if we want to talk and be invited to that table with SeedSweets, we need to know how to talk about business goals, how to align the brand goals with that, how to talk about how branding can actually be kind of the whole, it’s not just about marketing as an engine, it’s branding.

And the branding change the perception people have about the company and that makes people want to work with you. The best talented people want to work with you. So branding is the core of the whole business.

So that’s what I wanted to teach creatives. Like don’t just focus on a solution right away because then you will be treated as an order taker. I want you to help, the science is about solving a problem.

So that’s how I see it.

No, 100%. So just going back to, can I prod you on just one other thing and then I’ll, I know Jacob’s got some questions and I’ve just completely stomped all over him, but I’m just super interested in the process side of things, right? Because I mentioned like creatives, you know, those of us that have come from that background, we tend to have like a mood board phase and then once we’ve selected the mood board, we’ll go into the design development phase and you get three rounds of amends and then at the end you get, you know, which is obviously the classic way of doing things.

But when you come to strategy, how do you set up your process so that clients can understand, you know, how it works and that you’ve got, given yourself some space in case a new thing comes up that nobody’s ever considered at the start?

I mean, first of all, I’m super transparent with my clients, how the process looks like. It’s almost always the same process. It’s just that sometimes the clients are really big and sometimes the clients are really small, but I still keep to the same process and I’m transparent.

And I do work with my clients, not for my clients. And I think that is a big difference. When back in the days, the advertising days, we were like, we took a brief, we went home, got a little creative and then came back and did that presentation.

That’s not how I do it. I have workshops together with my clients and I invite them to be part of this process and they love it. You know, so it’s so, you work so close together.

So you have these workshops and sessions where you talk about really deep about the purpose and the vision and the mission and why they even exist. And people open up and they often start crying actually because it’s emotional, because it’s something else beyond money. So when you have, when you start off a relationship like that, you become really close, you know?

And then I just guide them through the whole process, mainly by asking really good questions because they have, like we talked about with sustainability, they have all the answers within them. So I just need to help them. And then I help them how to do the research, you know?

And that takes time, of course, to do research. Sometimes I do it on my own, if it’s more behaviors studies and interviews. And sometimes I hire a team to do it, if it’s a bigger client, of course.

And yeah, what was the question? The process.

That was the process. That kind of leads into where I was going to ask, what I was going to ask was, you know, have an example to kind of put all of that theory into how you actually did that for a real company.

Oh my God, I’ve been doing this for so, so, so many years. So, I mean, it’s so difficult to have, like, what example do you want? I have a company right now I’m doing it for.

I’m actually not doing client work anymore, but I made it, I did it because I go beside, and this is what I do a little bit now. I go beside someone learning. So it’s a graphic designer turning into a brand strategist.

And if you’re really super shy and introvert and you feel like maybe you need that support from start, I just help out a little bit with the facilitations of the workshops and stuff, because it’s easier to go beside someone and see how they do it. And hopefully you can do it yourself the next time just by following a framework. So we have this management consultant company that we work for right now together.

And we just follow, which is interesting for me because I created a course from my own framework, helping people do what I do. And now I got to use exactly my own framework in this client work. Like, you know, I basically take everything from the course and I just use it, which is kind of interesting for me to do.

So I just, I went through all the steps with them and we just had our third session together. So it’s just basically start with, like I said, do you want to like go through like the different steps in the process just to see what I do? Yeah, okay.

So basically just to keep it short, I always think it’s so important to start from the inside because it’s different if you develop a product. We talk about like the users first, but I do think you need to start from the inside with who you are as a brand. So the soul of the brand for me is more purpose vision, mission, and the values.

And that’s just facilitation. I don’t know that about them. I don’t even want to do too much research and just want to lean into my curiosity and ask a lot of questions.

So I help them with that because that will lead into later on really good stories to tell and stories that will connect us emotionally, people to each other.

Could I interrupt and ask some of your go-to questions? Because we’re always told to ask deeper questions or more questions or like, what are those questions?

Yeah, I think this is a really good thing because yesterday we actually talked about this in my workshop and a lot of people start to just ask a question like, what makes you feel really excited beyond your work or like, how do you feel like you want to make a big difference in the world you know, there’s so many questions that can open up things or when it’s Sunday and you’re going to work tomorrow, what if you don’t even get paid for your work? Would you still do it? And what really motivates you to continue to work?

You know, what difference do you want to make in the world? There’s so many questions that are beyond money. But the thing is, it doesn’t just matter to ask one question and then go on.

You need to see where something sparks in their eyes or they have some kind of emotional reaction. And when they have that, you need to see it because then you need to stop yourself and have a follow-up question and be like, oh, I noticed that. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

That’s how I do it. Like, so I noticed you said this thing. Can you tell me more about that, please?

So, or can you go a little bit deeper in that? Because then people start to open up more. Oh, that’s so interesting.

Can you tell a little bit more? So that, can you tell me more? It’s a really good opening up question to follow up.

So that’s the most common mistake people do is that they see it as an interview. They just jump questions instead of like, that was interesting. I need to be present and to go deep when I see that something interesting appears.

Because you want to find that real story, that purpose behind. So I think that’s the best. I mean, there’s often, of course, a lot of really good questions, but just prepare a few questions that will lead into the conversation.

And then you stay open and present and just go deeper and let people have their time to process and yeah, talk.

That’s some good tips. Coming back to the topic of this is the future of brands. And before we’re talking about how you could control brands 20 years ago when social media wasn’t a thing, what’s your opinion on the future of brands?

And then we can get back into your process. I was just curious on that.

Yeah, I do think the future of brands, first of all, sustainability needs to be integrated as part of the development of a brand. This is something that I’m going to talk much more about. I just knew when I started out international two years ago that people was not ready because I’ve been doing this for over 10 years, with sustainability.

But I realized that I could hear how people talk that this is going to be a very difficult journey for me if people are not ready to talk about it yet.

So why do you think it’s gonna be so important? Like, let’s ask some simple questions. You say lean into it and be curious.

Why? Why do brands need to think about it?

Because the thing is that we’re about to totally destroy our planet. And we have about eight years to do something to change that. And that’s fact.

And I think that all companies need to take their responsibility because that’s just what we need to do if we want to save this planet for upcoming generations. So that’s one thing that we need to take responsibility because we’re about to blow everything up. But the other thing is that it’s actually also the only way they can be successful.

So even if you don’t even think about it, you don’t even care about the children, you don’t ever care about the future. Some people do care about revenue, right? And those people also need to do it because they’re not going to have a business going forward because they have consumers and they demand sustainable brands.

But you also have people you want to work for you and younger people today, especially younger people, we know that from so many surveys that they want to work with companies that actually take responsibility and have a very clear purpose and not just that. They actually demand that you do something for real, not just that greenwashing thing. So I think if you want to attract the best employees, if you want to have customers that really, really like your brand, you don’t have a choice.

And just other one follow up question, right? So if everybody is doing sustainability, because I agree with you, I think it’s gonna be on everybody’s agenda and it should be on everybody’s agenda. But then it kind of becomes a thing like we’re all doing it, right?

So suddenly it’s not such a newsworthy story because hey, everybody in the industry is doing it. What are your thoughts on that? And how would you navigate that from a brand perspective?

Because obviously one of the key things about brand is that you wanna stand out and say, communicate and try and manage those signals. But hey, if everybody else is saying the same stuff, it just becomes noisy. What are your thoughts on that?

I totally get that. But you know what? I think that first step is to do and everybody needs to do something first.

And I hope we will get there, that this is something that everyone just do, take responsibility. But then it’s actually, so you stand, you also stand up for something, but you also wanna stand out, as you said. And I think that I’m very much for, that everyone that is doing something should be very transparent in their communication.

So the brand should actually talk about their journey. They don’t have to be perfect, because the thing is, if you’re really transparent and you tell people about your journey and you tell, you know, we’re not perfect. Sometimes we mess up.

We know that, if you have that tone of voice, people will actually like it. If you pretend to be something that you’re not, people will start to question it right away. So it’s almost the same thing as personal brand.

So I think that’s the first step is actually to do, but then you can actually use it in your communication, but do it in a way that you stand out. So this is where you come to the next point in my journey, where you start with purpose, mission, mission, values, but then you come to brand personality and the brand personality is actually about also standing out, to have your own voice, to stand up for your things and to stand up that way. And a good example of that, for example, I think is Oatly, the Swedish brand, Oat Milk.

And because their communication really, really stand out and they’re kind of a rebel in their tone of voice, how they speak, which are really, really like, I think it’s so cool that they have this, they use traditional ads and stuff, even Superbowl commercial, they use that. And then the message in it is kind of almost making fun of themselves that they’re doing that, the copywriting about it. So I think it’s a really good example of how you can actually stand out, but you have a foundation of a sustainable business, but then you use it in your communication in a really good way.

So there’s a lot of different companies doing that. Otley’s one example, I think, I don’t know if you have innocent drinks, do you know who they are?

We have those in the UK.

Coca-Cola, what?

Smoothies, they’re famous for, right?

Yeah, that’s smoothies. Yeah, I don’t think they have it in the US, but they have it in Europe for sure. And…

Yeah, so, okay. So I know they actually started like back in 2003. So it’s a long time ago, you know?

They started this, the big meet, it’s like a challenge they have with H-UK, I think they call it an organization. So what they actually do is they have this like, they knit these small hats. Have you seen them?

The small hats they put on, yeah, the bottles. So this is a good example, I think, on sustainability as well, because it’s like, they raise money to go to older people in this organization. So they not just raise money for it, the people are actually part of actually creating those small hats when they’re knitting.

So it’s kind of a whole community building thing. So people have something to do. At the same time, they raise money for older people.

And I kind of think that’s beautiful because then we can go into co-creation, which is also like part of the future, how you build a brand, is we’re going to have so much more collaborations and co-creations with our audience. And I think this is a good example of that, how you can co-create something together. Instead of doing an ad, you actually do something that make a difference, that gets money back to the audience.

All right, so we have Sustainability, Co-Creating. Would you have anything else you’d add on to the list of The Future of Brands?

You know, I just think that having that mindset that brands emotionally wants to connect with people, and to do that, we’re really into telling stories. We’ve been doing that for, you know, back in history, we always been telling those stories. And I think that brands just needs to be more humanized, and we need to be able to be transparent and to come closer to the audience.

So I don’t believe so much in advertising anymore, because the thing is that we know that, and I think, you know, the Nielsen Institute, for they do surveys and everything, they have this, I think, I saw it yesterday, 93% of people believe more in recommendations they get from family and friends than an ad. So that’s word of mouth. And we’ve been talking about that for so many years, but I think this is going to be much more important, because when you create, when you kind of create a customer, a buyer, from going from awareness to actually have a true fan, you don’t want to just go from awareness to have a customer.

That’s like the old way of working. Then you need to put in so much advertising and time to find new customers all the time. But you want to go even further.

You want them to be loyal. And then you want them to be advocates because for really loyal fans, because when they start to marketing the brand for you, and this is what happens in social media now. So they will become your marketing department because they’re such a fan of yours.

So they start talking about you. And if they do that, and we know that 93% of people listen more to that than to ads, maybe advertising is dead.

I don’t know.

Boom, boom, boom.

Well, I just want to just… Oh, can I just start with it? Because I’m just so excited because I completely agree with the notion that, you know, we, you know, the whole idea of manipulation and just spewing information out into the world and that the small percentage of people that actually care will buy, you know, and it’s just dying.

And I’m so happy to see it. It’s carcass just being absolutely hammered by reality at the moment because it’s just awful, right? And really, I think this is where brands plays its part because we have an opportunity to say to businesses, look, you can’t manipulate it anymore, right?

You’ve got to do good, real stuff. Like you’ve been talking about with sustainability. You’ve got to create amazing experiences because if you don’t, frankly, you will die and your carcass will be alongside the carcass of those advertising practices of days gone by.

So yes, let’s do it, everybody. I’m just gonna pipe back down, but I just wanted to come in there and go, woo, yeah, boom.

And you know what? And this is also a reason, we get really pumped up about this because it’s so- But it’s like, this is the future because you can’t do it, but you need to start from, even if, you know, even if we talk about my process, we need to be able to be part of that business development discussions as well, because that’s part of how we build a brand.

So for example, if we look at a brand like Patagonia, for example, which a lot of people love and connect to sustainability, I don’t know if everyone knows that they’re like, their material is actually from recycled polyester and that’s made from used soda bottle. So they, everything they do is like from how they actually, you know, think about how to develop their new products. Everything is sustainable from start.

So that’s when you have a sustainable business model. And I’m thinking about like us as designers, when you know design thinking and you’re a strategic designer, we can actually design a business model. So what is that is also part of the future.

We go beyond brand strategy and we start as designers to design new business models where innovation and sustainability is kind of the motor in everything, the engine in everything. And that will really, you know, we will be a part of, you know, I can see that chief brand officer beside the chief design officer for the company, that is so far away from being an order taker. That’s what I want to see.

Me too.

And so does Jacob, I’m sure.

Yeah. I think what you’re describing there is basically the customer experience before, you know, before Matt chimed in, it was the experience is because that, you know, every experience that someone has with a brand is, you know, what’s going to help, what’s going to make them refer, you know, to a friend, right? If they’re having a positive experience, they’re going to recommend your service.

So you want to make the best customer experience possible, right? And how do you do that? You have to understand the motions behind, you know, how to connect with them, you know, what makes them turn.

So I think it’s a good way to turn them to advocates.

And yeah, you know, we can decide the whole brand experience. And that is something that business people understand too, that why do you waste a lot of money in advertising, for example, if you don’t make sure that you have a really, really good brand experience in all touch points first, you need to walk the talk. So, you know, so that’s what we can do too.

Like we can really make sure that all the touch points, and this is what a really good brand strategist need to know how to do. And even a brand designer, it’s not just about doing the visual part, it’s to be able to design a brand experience.

So I’ve been taking some notes, you know, to summarize the future of brands, and I’ll just list them out here for our listeners. I know we’re being very scattered all over the place, but to hear them in a list, right? So sustainability, co-creation, making a difference, having the mindset to emotionally connect with others, using storytelling, making your brands more human, being more transparent, having a closer connection with your customers, making the best customer experience possible to turn them into brand advocates, using brand as a business model and actually walking the talk.

So mic drop.

That sounds like what I like to do. I like the co-words like collaboration, co-creation. I think that will be the future because I don’t remember who wrote that.

I think it’s a book about Google, actually, but before we used to put like 30% in product development and 70% in advertising. And now it’s like the reverse. So we actually put so much more effort in developing products.

So I think it’s not just products, it’s developing brands and brand experiences. And when you do that really, really good. Yeah, it’s like, just look at Apple.

I mean, if you do it really good, you don’t have to do so much advertising.

Right, we’ll add on innovation to the list.

Yeah, innovation is really important.

All right. I think we’re getting to the end of our discussion, our time, Luna. I know we have to head off, but was there anything you’d like to leave with our audience?

I think the only thing that we didn’t, because we didn’t like to go through the whole process, but what I really kind of just want to say that I think is really important, and I want to encourage people to think about it, is how can we actually do research in a way when we provide value that is more beyond just what the marketing department is doing? Because they’re really good at data, and they’re good at numbers and everything, sales. But what we’re good at as creatives, it’s actually to understand people and how to connect with people.

So I think if we lead into more the behavioral side, so my research is much more, I’m very inspired by IDEO, for example, where I took also courses at WSDAT, to understand people on a deeper level, to do more like observational studies, listening with your eyes, study people in their natural environment, like habitat, to see how they behave and to do deeper interviews to really understand people, like not ask what do you want, because people don’t know what they want. They want the same as they have, but you need to understand their deeper like pain points and values and motivations and fears and dreams. And when you know how to do research like that, you will really understand them and that will help you how to shape that brand perception going forward, how to position your brand.

So I think that’s the only thing that I want to like say that I know I can do that a little bit different to other brand strategies, but for me, it’s really important to understand people because if you don’t understand them, how can you then shape that perception?

Boom, boom. And where can folks find you, Anneli? Like, you know, say someone’s on here and they want some coaching and they’re like, I need a bit of that.

I need a bit of that help and guidance and thoughts. Where can we find you? I’m here.

I’m here for you. You can find me. I’m really active on Instagram right now because I realized, and this is thanks to Chris again, that Instagram is a really good place to teach.

And I’m very keen of giving away as much as possible for free. So I teach in my carousels and I do that on Instagram. And I’m at the Anneli Hansson, A-N-N-E-L-I, Anneli Hansson.

And that’s where you can find me. And I really try to give, I hope I can give as much value as possible for people because my only wish right now is I want to teach this to the world. I want to make a difference because I can’t work with like 10, 20 people, like companies every year.

I want to teach the world so people can go out there and do this, make this change for companies. I think that could have an impact.

I just want to give away as much as I can for free and then I charge for things so I can pay my bills.

Well, you’ve certainly added loads of value for us today. As I’m glad Jacob’s here because he’s like the calm one and he’s just ordered that list out towards the end, which was super helpful. But I’ve enjoyed our conversation and it’s been all over the place, which is just how my brain works, which is great as well.

So I’ve had a great time. So thanks so much for coming on the show, Anneli. It’s been amazing to have you and we wish you all the best in teaching the world about brand strategy.

What an amazing ambition.

Yeah, thank you so much, guys. I’m very, very happy that you invited me. So thank you so much.

We made it happen, third time lucky.


All right, thank you so much.

Thank you.

Share This Post: