26. June, 2019

Hey Fin, greetings from Dublin - episode II

Your hometown seems amazing. I’m really looking forward to see how the Irish business world sees marketing. To me it is really interesting.
How have you been?

Lovely to hear about your culture comparison! I totally agree that there can be found much similarities spiced up with some little cultural seasoning from our nationalities that creates a unique taste to both of our agencies culture. What I’ve been really intrigued this last weeks is the fact that differentiates us the most - positioning. As you might guess, that is also today's posts topic.

My football coach used to say that only dumb players run hard on the pitch and tire themselves out before the final whistle. Wise players position themselves correctly all the time and win the game in the end. A lesson that I think applies here as well. 

One word that Thinkhouse unquestionably owns in this market is youth. With the research & strategy department called The Youth Lab, the agency clearly positions itself as experts in marketing targeted to the younger generations. Genius. I can easily picture the client picking up the phone, pressing speed dial number one,  and calling you guys whenever there is a marketing challenge that involves interacting with the youth.

It is not only just that you communicate it clearly to the world, but you guys do it in a way that can be sensed all-day-every-day at the office. The approach to whatever challenge clearly starts from the point that what would the youth want to be a part of, instead of what the client wants to shout to them. To me, that’s exactly the way to do it to be relevant to the future generations. You protect the youth from bad marketing - love it.

As in for Superson, we are the weird kid on the block. Seven years ago the founders dropped a bomb to the marketing world that introduced a whole new way of doing work. Having had the privilege to be onboard on that ride for five and a half years, our Superson way still raises a whole lot of questions. But that is exactly what we want. Because it stops the potential client to think (hopefully he/she is a thinker, we love ‘em), and hopefully leads to question that we are after - what would Superson do?

Sadly, thinking is to humans as swimming is to cats: they can do it but they prefer not to (thank you for the lovely quote Nobel Prize winning economist Mr.Kahneman). That being said, I feel we sometimes struggle with the fact that the marketing world is clinging to the old ways of working. Which is ridiculous. Wasn’t the marketing people supposed to be the ones who are innovative and ready to do things in a more clever way? 

But I guess changing the world isn’t supposed to be easy.

Peace.

- The Crazy Finn from Dublin

26. June, 2019

Miikka,

it’s week three and that time once again to hear from me… I hope you had a life-changing experience at Cannes this week, it looked incredible. While you were sunning it up in the south of France I was still here having my own little life changing experiences – largely due to the Finnish public holiday just passed, Juhannus or Midsummer. Which brings us nicely onto this week’s topic – Culture.

Culture; the beliefs and attitudes about something that people in a particular group or organization share.

What I’ve found fascinating is how intrinsically linked our two companies cultures are to the countries in which they were founded and the people who founded them. So many of the differentiating points between Thinkhouse & Superson are in-fact just derived from the same differences we share as Irish and Finnish people. Yet so many of the cultural points we share can be traced back to the similar personality traits in our two CEOs, Jane & Samppa.

The Thinkhouse way is unashamedly loud and proud, something which is undeniably true of the Ireland as nation. The Superson way is equally proud, yet perhaps lacks some of the loud that is so often associated (often humorously) to Finnish shyness. To draw a comparison to our respective nations sports teams, we are both exceedingly ambitious in spite our country’s relative size and are both well-equipped to celebrate our wins on an international stage. Yet Irish celebrations historically may just be a bit louder. I feel it’s important to note that this culture of vocal celebration is in no way indicative of ambition but perhaps more a reflection of how the ambition is vocalised externally.

However what’s arguably more intriguing are the shared commonalities within our company cultures. The emphasis placed on being different from the competition is inescapable and seems representative of the ideals and morals that our respective CEO’s espouse. The combination of quirky individuality with insatiable work-ethic make for a fierce mix and one that goes a long way to inspiring those that are fortunate enough to work in close proximity of it. This underlying ethos within each company also inherently helps inform the profile of the staff that we work with. Creative thinkers and problems solvers filled with passion, kindness and skill who have a unquestionable commitment to producing the best work possible. This warm, fuzzy feeling of positivity is compounded and reinforced by each company’s dedication to caring for its staff in ways such as upskilling, wellness programs among others.

However the most valuable facet of our shared cultures in my opinion is the inclusion of fun. Throughout so many companies in various industries you will find staff who are dissatisfied, restless and lacking motivation. I’ve seen statistics quoting numbers as high as 85% when referencing people who ‘dislike’ or even ‘hate’ their jobs. Factoids like this serve as a reminder of how fortunate we are to work within organisations that value our happiness. It is this happiness that keeps people showing up every day with a smile of their face and striving to make an impact. Whether in Helsinki, Singapore, London or Dublin it is this aspect of culture that should be valued and prioritized above all else.

It is with a heavy-heart I look to next week with the realisation that only one more of these blog posts remains and therefore marks the end of this little experiment, but for now let’s enjoy week four.

Until then, peace & love.

19. June, 2019

Miikka,
we’re half way through so here’s some thoughts I have to share with you..

The topic of this week’s thoughts? Ways of working. That’s right, all those delicious, juicy, work-related insights that exemplify what makes our respective companies the wondrous marketing machines that they are.

It’s important the preface the below by saying that it would be extremely naïve of me to think I have come to comprehend the intricacies of Superson having been here for a mere two weeks, especially whilst attempting to overcome a language barrier. With this in mind, here are my thoughts:

First things first, the inescapable divide between our two models – We both have specialists, ours are in-house and yours are outsourced. As is to be expected from two creative, independent agencies there is an abundance of similarities between us as ultimately we share the same goal, however the difference in models makes the path to this common goal vastly different.

At Thinkhouse we rely on the brilliance of each and every team within the company to inspire, support and elevate the work of those around them. This reliance is the bi-product of a shared commonality and sense of duty that comes with the energetic, youth-centric, orange glow that Thinkers are known for. Everyone I have ever been sad enough to see leave Thinkhouse has shared the same departing words with touching sincerity – “Remember, it’s the people that make this place”. It’s this sentiment that gives the work produced at Thinkhouse it’s unique stamp. The level of trust between employer and employee that fulfilling the brief at hand is simply not enough. That every time, each team involved is expected to leave a mark of Thinkhouse brilliance on any work that leaves the building. This may make our home on Fumbally Lane somewhat weird & wonderful at times, but then who could argue that creativity in its purest form isn't born out of the weird & wonderful? I think one thing I have come to realise over the two weeks is the importance of finding the sweet spot between regimented structure and free-flowing creativity and that neither is to be valued above the other as an abundance of one can hinder the other.

Meanwhile in Helsinki, what Superson may lack in collaborative chaos it makes up for in unrelenting, streamlined efficiency. The lean physique of Superson is comparable to that of an Olympic level sprinter or any other high performance athlete for that matter. Optimised for ruthless efficiency and speed, trimming any unnecessary fat that may slow it down in its pursuit for excellence and progression. The is perhaps just a more metaphorical way of describing exactly what the outsourced freelance model represents. Building teams based on the exact needs of each client and the briefs they put forth, Superson positions itself as an agile agency that can answer any call, big or small, devoid of its own ego or requirements that may hinder or delay it’s outputs. This obsession with providing exactly what the client needs is bolstered by all account directors having previously worked on the brand side of the fence, therefore having an empathetic understanding of the challenges that their colleagues turned clients face in their day-to-day roles. It imperative to mention that the above ways of working that Superson implement are made possible through an exceptional use of technology, relying on finely tuned software systems to track, measure and account for every facet of the business. These systems ensure that nothing slips through the cracks whilst dealing with so many moving parts, which in turn reduces the importance of a fixed office space and places value solely on the work itself.

Above all, these company nuances are underpinned by an insatiable desire to do the absolute best work possible for our clients and ensure that our endeavours leave a lasting and positive effect on the brand’s we represent.

So hopefully I haven’t lost you in my ramblings, my tendency to go off on a tangent is becoming increasingly clear when given full-poetic license. Nonetheless I hope you found this useful or at the very least, intriguing and I shall be back at it again next week to illuminate more unknowns in the world of the Network One work exchange.

Until then, peace & love,
Fin

11. June, 2019

Welcome to the Network One agency exchange blog, written by Fin O'Callaghan & Miikka Mannio. As part of a one month work exchange program a member of staff from each agency – Thinkhouse, Dublin and Superson, Helsinki – traveled over 2,000kms to experience agency life from a new perspective.
On a mission to garner new insights and bring fresh ideas, both Fin & Miikka write about their individual experiences. We hope you enjoy!

Hey Miikka!
Good to hear from you!

One week down since us two new Fin(n)s arrived in town.
As far as week’s go in my life I feel I’ll struggle to recall one as stimulating as the one just passed. From the things you take for granted like new surroundings, new people and new sounds to the more profound things that cause you to reflect and ponder - it’s certainly been an adventure so far.

As much as I love to write, I do find myself conflicted as to whether I stay true to the task at hand, focusing solely on documenting the endless amount of business’ insight that I’ve already learned, but doing so without mentioning the amazing personal experiences I’ve had so far would seem disingenuous. And besides, you know what they say about all work and no play.

Perhaps it’s the sun-tinted glasses that I’ve been fortunate enough to wear since my arrival but the city of Helsinki and those who inhabit it have an undeniable charm that is worryingly infectious. If the €4.50 americano to-go is the only trade-off for the elevated standard of living here then it’s one you would strongly consider making. The almost cliché efficiency combined with the at times, understated friendliness, make this a very easy city to become accustomed to.

But I digress…

It’s starling how two companies that share so much in their DNA and perspective can be so intrinsically similar whilst also being worlds apart in other aspects. Here’s a few points to show exactly what I mean:

Similarities:

A dedication to doing great work
A welcoming & wonderful staff
Valuing Culture with the company
The ambition the standout and make an impact through the work
Nespresso coffee & a lot of it, lol.

Differences:
The overall structure*
The approach to the work
The concept of ‘the office’

*I have written at length about this – approximately 2,000 words - but would like to share that upon reflection of this experience as a whole in a longer format.

Have a great week there and let's be in touch soon!

Cheers, 
Fin

11. June, 2019

Welcome to the Network One agency exchange blog, written by Fin O'Callaghan & Miikka Mannio. As part of a one month work exchange program a member of staff from each agency – Thinkhouse, Dublin and Superson, Helsinki – traveled over 2,000 kms to experience agency life from a new perspective.
On a mission to garner new insights and bring fresh ideas, both Fin & Miikka write about their individual experiences. We hope you enjoy!

Hey Fin, greetings from Dublin!

Your hometown seems amazing. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Irish business world sees marketing. To me it is really interesting. How have you been?

What really strikes a chord to me is that all the biggest companies of the world have their HQ’s stationed here. That is naturally due to the fact that they don’t pay taxes here to the government (something between 2,2%-4,5%). A rescue mission from the government surviving from the financial crisis of 2008. Which offers great business opportunities for an agency.

Naturally, they offer a huge amount of work to people around the world and Dublin seems to be a melting pot of different cultures and people, which feels highly welcoming. Huge amount of the work seems to be luring in younger generations to these tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. Seems cool.

But on an individual level, the effects are not that all shiny and full of glitter. Because of the loads of people these companies bring in to the country and the aftermath of the housing bubble there aren't homes for people. Like WTF!?! It’s really sad to see young people on the street asking for money or a place to stay.

I find myself thinking a lot of the fact that would, should and could these big corporations care about this fact? There is a huge opportunity to be taken, by leading the charge in change that would make them even bigger than governments. Just a thought from a Finn to Fin after a week in Dublin.

Peace.
Miikka