Meet Anna Haraldsson, our happy intern!

Anna Haraldsson, intern at Ode Agency.

Hi Anna! What will you be doing at Ode?

– I’m proud to say that I’m Ode’s first intern – ever. So: I’ll be doing anything they’ll let me! Hopefully I’ll be able to contribute to the creation of lots of great content, developing strategies and plans for different projects as we go along.

What’s your background?

– I’m an amateur photographer who became a bouncer (yes!) but dreamt of studying. Luckily I ended up at Lund University studying Strategic Communications, now at my senior year.

What do you think is the main challenge for marketers today?

– Cutting through the loud noise of our time. I think that really reaching the right people, connecting with them and creating trust can be problematic if you don’t have the right tools or true understanding of your audience. Also, keeping up with and staying ahead of your competitors can be tough.

And the most common marketing or communication mistake that companies make?

– When you’re deeply involved and invested in a project it’s easy to become attached to it and lose objectivity. This means you have to critically analyse everything you communicate to your audience. If you overcomplicate things you won’t be able to reach people the way you want to.

What do you do at work, when you think that no one sees you?

– Dance to loud music, of course. Who doesn’t?

Where do you find inspiration?

– In other people. People with good energy and a great mindset, that want to do good things and to do things differently.

 

Meet Björn Ekdahl, CEO, who talks about what separates me-too brands from unique, winning brands. 

Björn Ekdahl, Ode Agency

Hi Björn! What do you do at Ode?

– I’m the CEO. That’s short for a combination of chief everything officer and a learn-it-all. I try to be involved in as many parts of the business and with as many people as possible, with the goal to learn and understand as much as possible. Together with my team I’m building the go-to agency for high-quality content marketing in Europe.

– I also make coffee.

What’s your background?

– I’m originally a publisher. I worked for a production, PR and sales company within the publishing industry before founding a publishing house myself. My company got many requests for communication, agency services and international representation, so I started another business focusing on marketing and communication (believe it or not, but the book market doesn’t know anything about storytelling). Words have always been the most important to me, so that was a natural next step.

– The agency had an outspoken sustainability approach, helping big brands in the fashion and lifestyle industries with their sustainability work and to communicate that process. High-end brands used to be either conscious or sexy. What the companies appreciated now was the possibility to combine this. Sustainability is definitely not only something you do to build your image – or to be conscious and environmentally friendly – it’s an integrated part of the business model in long-lasting businesses.

– Given this background, with me living in Paris and with experience of executive roles I was asked to be CSO of sustainable luxury agency 1.618 Paris. Last autumn I joined Ode Agency.

What do you think is the main challenge for marketers today? 

– I see many. One is the fact that marketers still seem to be talking about ’digital marketing’, like it was something new and separated from ’marketing’ per se, like if you could go by with analog marketing. Today that’s a tautology. 

– Another one is to be able to measure and prove the ROI of your marketing activities – to get real value for your investments. PR and advertising might give your brand a boost, your 15 minutes of fame, which is great when running a campaign or launching a product. But to build your brand every day, even while you’re asleep, it takes more, unless you have an unlimited budget. 

And the most common marketing or communication mistake that companies make?

– This goes all the way back to the (lack of) business strategy. Brands communicate and market themselves without knowing who they are, without knowing their raison d’être. They often haven’t even asked themselves ’If we stopped existing today, what would our clients miss tomorrow?’ They are me-too brands, or also-rans, without a unique purpose and position. Before marketing and communicating you have to have a bulletproof reason why people should turn to you instead of your competitors.

What do you do at work, when you think that no one sees you?

– I walk around in circles with a pen in my hand, it preferably resting on my lips. I’ve convinced myself that I think better when I do that, but maybe it’s just a wish to look like the tortured artist. 

Where do you find inspiration?

– In classical music. But most of all in the moment. By chance or a sudden impulse, by something someone says or does. Something I see or happen to hear (read: eavesdrop). Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it’s the task of the sculptor to discover it, if I may quote Michelangelo.

Meet copywriter and content manager Anna Sandahl, who explains why most companies still fail in social media.

anna sandahl

Hi Anna! What do you do at Ode?

– I’m the COO and manage the creative work. I founded the agency last year and spend about 50% of my time writing content for websites, newsletters, press releases and social media, and 50% managing projects and sales. A couple of times a month I give seminars, courses and workshops on writing for the web, both for businesses and as external lecturer in digital media at universities.

What’s your background?

– I like exploring new fields, so I got a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Linnaeus University, a good way to learn how to do quick research and turn complex things into something more sexy and interesting. I worked as a news reporter and freelance magazine editor for more or less 10 years, delivering content to publishers like Aller Media and Egmont Publishing. I am TV-trained by SVT (Swedish national television) and radio-trained by SR (Swedish national radio).

I also studied sustainable tourism at Linköping University, language philosophy and Spanish at Lund University and media activism at Södertörn University. I co-produced a documentary about Kilimanjaro in Kenya with Engineers Without Borders and co-founded the publishing house Grönegatan Förlag, websites/magazines Spring and Matkärlek (now part of TheDietDoctor.com). The last five years I’ve been working as a copywriter and content manager.

What do you think is the main challenge for marketers today? 

– To cut through the noise and to actually convert new customers. Companies tend to be present on Facebook, Instagram or communicating through websites and newsletters, but they don’t see any actual results. It’s because it’s not enough to just publish stuff, you need to produce something of high quality that’s useful and therefore will go viral and drive sales.

– I understand that it’s hard to stay up-to-date with social media algorithms and updates, they’re constantly changing – but good content is pretty much timeless and will live on.

And the most common marketing or communication mistake that companies make?

– They may have switched from print to digital channels, but I still see a lot of companies doing traditional advertising and PR, which simply doesn’t work. It’s also quite expensive. New channels require new ways of communicating. You don’t reach your customers anymore – you need to focus on making them find you. This is what needs to be the focus of every post, text, image or video.

What do you do at work, when you think that no one sees you?

– I take pathetic selfies where I try to look professional with my laptop. I always fail.

Where do you find inspiration?

– I’m inspired by businesses that have the courage to make fun of themselves. Parody and satire will be great for marketing campaigns and messages in 2017. Situation-based storytelling like the posts of Humans Of New York, or long blog posts that go viral because they use great formatting and narratives, headlines and tonalities like Wait But Why, inspire me.