Leading the Change

May 17th, 2016

Our CEO Jonas Klit Nielsen recently had a chat with Danish Markedsforing about the Creator Culture and why we need to start changing the way we think about business.

We’ve translated the article into English below – but if you read Danish (or need to brush up on your language skills) you can read the original article (click to enlarge).



Changing Creative Culture

Disrupt! This is the battle cry surrounding us. Industries across the board are left in the dust of new thinking, structures and business models and it is predicted that the agency industry is no exception. At Danish agency Mindjumpers, they are not settling for prophesies – they are already in the midst of the next chapter of their own creative development.

By Susanne Ingemann

sit@markedsforing.dk

The eight-year-old Danish Social Media Management agency Mindjumpers really made a name for themselves in the international agency world a few years back, among other things, thanks to a global activation project for Skype and Microsoft, and with a comprehensive Social Media News Room activation connected to a global TV launch from Danish Bang & Olufsen.

Other mega-brands, such as Carlsberg Group, L´Oréal, Lebara, Danske Bank and Ben & Jerry´s, have also benefited from the creative minds at Mindjumpers. And the work for these clients must and will be strengthened further now that the Danish company is venturing into a new chapter of their lives.

Last year, Mindjumpers established their own office in London and this past week CEO and Founder Jonas Klit Nielsen announced that Sunshine, one of London’s hottest creative agencies, has bought a share of the Danish agency.

This is obviously not just because they like the Mindjumpers crew, but because the two creative companies share an understanding of where they are going and what they are going to create.

Purpose Culture

On their website, Sunshine explain that they “help brands find their purpose, place and voice in their audiences' lives through popular culture.”

They go on to say that they deliver transformative solutions for clients, regardless of whether this involves getting a festival concept off the ground, launching a new award, building a global editorial fashion platform or something completely different.

And according to Jonas Klit Nielsen, that fits perfectly with Mindjumpers’ own ambition to develop a creator culture:

“We’ve established the company CoCreators in order to inspire and challenge, and to create film content with and about people who are passionate about the things they do. We want to help these creators to create actual businesses in the form of niche companies where they can develop their talent or passion. This can be within football, gaming, music, fashion or something else entirely. Through CoCreators, we help them share their stories, their passion and their knowledge with the world.”

When Phillippe Met Rich

The first co-created niche company is already on its way – created in collaboration with a couple of talented, young freestyle footballers. And the first films about people with a special talent, a special background or a special story to share has also already been published.

One of them is about an American guitarist, Philippe Arman, who is the son of two New York sculptors and therefore raised in a very artistic environment. One day, Philippe’s guitar needed maintenance and he ended up in Richie’s Guitar Shop in the East Village of New York City.

Rich is a 74-year-old guitar builder and retired police officer with a history of cancer behind him, and he knows what he’s doing.

Philippe started visiting the store on a regular basis, he learned the craft and today he has his own guitar store, Henchmen Guitars, in New York City.  

“It’s all about passion and about living the life that makes you happy”, Jonas Klit Nielsen explains. 

“I’ve always been fascinated with passionate people. It doesn’t matter if the passion is about a craft, an art form, whether it’s entrepreneurs or a hobbyist. That fascination is one of the reasons we founded CoCreators.  A company we hope can become a global platform for creators, where they can network, collaborate and turn their passion into a business. Where they can build a life balancing the economical, while doing what they love.”

Creator Culture

But isn’t it also about becoming famous for your talent and making a lot of money?

- Not really. The passionate people I’ve met in my time – also as part of our CoCreators work – rarely care about fame and money. They care about working with what they are passionate about while, obviously, wanting to make a living. When I look around me, the world has already embarked on the Creator Culture.

Is the expression your own invention?

- No, we cannot take credit for that. I’m not even completely sure where the term originates from, but last year I read a fantastic essay, “Sparks Will Fly”, by Damien Walter, who’s also a columnist at The Guardian. In the essay, subtitled “Infatuated by celebrity, stuck in dreary work, addicted to consumerism. Only a creator culture can save us”, he shares some really interesting reflections about why the world is – and has to be – changing from a consumer culture to a creator culture.

And that is?

- A culture where creativity, imagination and emotions are essential components for people, in order to not only get by, but make a mark in a world that is rapidly entering the era of technology, robots and artificial intelligence.

Who’s winning? 

- Let’s look at our own industry as an example; an industry where we currently focus on technology and data. Those who understand collecting and processing data are in charge of the business decisions. But eventually, collected and processed data will be available to everyone. Technology platforms and AIs will make it possible for all types of agencies to work with data, and then we’re back to creativity and the ability to convert data into a platform creating value for the clients. There’s no doubt that we at Mindjumpers are focusing on technology and data, but in the long run I am putting my money on people and creativity. 

London Agency Buys Share of Mindjumpers. 

In autumn 2014, a couple of employees from the Danish Social Media Management agency Mindjumpers borrowed a few square feet and some office chairs at the London creative agency Sunshine.

Last spring, the Danish agency opened its own independent office in Islington, London, with 10 employees – and meantime, Sunshine has expanded their activities to include Los Angeles – but that has not prevented further collaboration. And now it has been taken to the next level.

The two parties have agreed to Sunshine buying a piece of Mindjumpers with the purpose of increasing the collaboration and utilizing each other’s skill sets.

Mindjumpers’ founder and CEO, Jonas Klit Nielsen, still owns 80+ percent of the agency. To him, it is a matter of developing Mindjumpers, an agency with offices in Copenhagen and London – and further ambitions.

- Sunshine is not “just” an agency, but a creative business that - in their own words - believe that brands who deliver “cultural impact” also deliver a better and larger commercial impact. They have a creator culture very similar to the Mindjumpers way of thinking.

Al MacCuis, founder and Chief Creative Officer at Sunshine adds:

- Mindjumpers are the first people we ’ve met with social expertise who talk about people, not platforms and channels. I always thought of them as anthropologists in a digital age - they are so obsessed with people; their differences, similarities, true motivations and behaviour. These guys are honest, smarter than they know and in every way world-class. They are a partner we turn to again and again. Long may it continue.

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