The theme for 2012 is collaboration/coordination. What will that mean?
It means involving the receiver of the communication through dialog generating commitment, and also by involving the customer or receiver in the development of their product. Today, a very large number of campaigns employ communication through collaboration – it is no longer a matter of sender and receiver but of listening to what the target group really thinks. You also have to have an open attitude if you want to hear people’s opinions in return. You have to dare to set the ball rolling – to ask a question and to have the expectation and hope of getting something back from the audience. And being able to deal with it. To be able to collaborate, it is important to know how to deal with what you get back, how to respond and, with time, generate added value. Working with collaboration is just the first step in a spiral.
The coming year’s theme was not chosen in isolation, but rather represents a natural progression from the themes of the past two years, which were sustainability and courage (or fear of failure). The themes are interconnected and it is important to take this into account. We expect students to include both sustainability and courage alongside the current theme.
What type of customer is suited to the 2012 theme?
The customer or company should have a communication assignment – a particular problem that needs to be resolved. Key characteristics include curiosity about obtaining a view from a composite team; the courage to dare to challenge the existing brand or set of issues rather than sticking with a specific idea or predetermined format; a desire to find out more about the customers and the market and openness to collaboration between customers and receivers. An aptitude for innovation is also necessary, a desire to have fun and the time to participate at certain key moments during the process. The stronger and more concretely specific the challenge presented by the customer, the better the results and the solutions will be.
Can you provide any examples of your own experiences, as a customer, of collaboration?
In NK’s “Future Classics” project, we had customers look in their own closets and pick out garments they felt would become classics and to then bring their choices to NK and present them. Customers brought dresses, bags, suits and hats from the 1920s to the 1970s and we had vintage clothing experts from Bukowskis auction house to appraise them. A selection of customers participated with the stories behind their choices in an exhibition and in an advertising campaign. In the “Breach of Style” campaign we suggested that if you are aware of stylistic standards, you can also have the courage to breach them. We had street-style blogger of The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman, host a special blog for NK in the autumn where anyone who wanted to could submit their own style photos taken out on the street. The response was international.
What are your expectations on the final projects, as the newly appointed CEO of Berghs?
It’s going to be exciting to see the sum of the knowledge that the students have acquired from their training here and to see the evidence that we have really educated them well. I am looking forward to seeing the strategic analyses, as well as the collaboration within the groups and between the groups and the companies. And, of course, the ideas and proposed solutions. It’s going to be very interesting to witness the high level of commitment and concentration that emerges during a period like this.
The final projects kick off in March 2012 with the final presentation taking place in early May. May 26-27 is the highlight of Bergh’s calendar, with the school’s major exhibition, which is open to the public. We have an exciting spring ahead of us!