Louise Broberg is a digital and social strategist with strong copywriting roots. A native of Sweden, working in Norway and with experience with a Danish company, Louise understands what it means to work as a strategist across Scandinavia, with all the complexities and nuances of this region. She joins us from Oslo, Norway to discuss the role of the digital strategist in Scandinavia. You can hear our conversation in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud or below now.
Modernity. It’s a concept Louise comes back to time and again. The need to think in a modern way. To be modern. It is reflective of values that are often associated with the region; values that highlight progressive ideas and a focus on the future. Values that make this fertile ground for the work of the digital strategist. In contrast to what we heard in a previous episode about the challenges of working as a digital strategist in Italy, businesses in Scandinavia understand that 90% of the population have gone mobile and that the heavy lifting of convincing businesses that it is important to be present in digital is done. This is reflected in the way that Louise focuses not on the fundamentals of digital and strategy, but rather on its evolution to a person-centric activity.
This focus on people not as broad masses of humanity but as individuals with distinct personalities, desires and motivations comes through in everything she says, from how she defines her work as a digital strategist as ‘trying to understand your core target group, how they act online and how to reach them’, to how she uses social media platforms to identify in a forensic way very specific audiences and interact with them directly. To that end, she sees social media as the perfect platform ‘to identify behaviour and understand the human being behind it’.
A creative at heart, Louise graduated from advertising school in 2008 where she realized that there was a better way to understand people beyond the broad generalizations and groupings that traditional advertising is based on. This was the source of her initial attraction to digital and social media as a more ‘person-based form’ of communications.
This need for a personalized approach to marketing comes from the fact that Louise sees herself as somewhat of an iconoclast who defies traditional roles and definitions, and it is out of this tension that she recognized the inherent absurdity of grouping people together based on broad assumptions and definitions.
Louise has worked for a variety of organizations and companies including PR agencies, brands and digital agencies, but her common focus throughout her career has been making people understand that ‘their customers are individuals’. Her preference is to work for digital agencies for two reasons. The first is that you would be working with organizations that already understand the need to execute digital programs, meaning that the focus can be on the work itself as opposed to spending time convincing people that it is valuable. The second is that variety of work and industries means that you are able to get more creative with your work and borrow and apply ideas across industries.
In applying her work across Scandinavia, Louise is hesitant to draw distinctions between people in Norway, Denmark and Sweden, preferring to focus on them as individuals regardless of location. That said, she does see that certain direct communication vehicles that might work in the ‘relaxed’ Denmark may be problematic in Sweden based on differing local cultural perspectives on what is appropriate, particularly as it comes to messages based on traditional gender roles.
Of all the brand that understand and execute digital marketing well in Scandinavia based on this need for personalization, Louise points to the work being done by Ikea as exemplary. She sees Ikea building its online success based on both a willingness to ‘experiment’ and a ‘strong understanding of the customer journey’. This is particularly important given not only the competitive nature of the industry they work in, but also the fact that their the customer journey in their space is generally an extensive one conducted over a long period of time. This is where personalization of messaging is critical to achieve success.
Her advice to those starting out in a role in digital strategy in Scandinavia is to combine both creative and strategic thinking, all based on data. This combination of technology and creativity needs to be underpinned by a ‘hunger’ because it is a ‘job that is complicated in the way you have to teach people all the time and you need to realize that it’s changing every fifteen minutes…there’s going to be a lot of changes so you have to be really interested in what you’re doing and you have to be comfortable with this change’.
Next week on octopus, we will continue to explore the role of the digital strategist. Please be sure to comment below. I’d love to hear from you. Please subscribe for alerts about new episodes and content. Thank you for listening to octopus. I’m Nasser Sahlool.