Granyon: pursuing the perfect team for the right digital experience
Copenhagen, October 17th, 2016
The first impression when talking to Mikkel Noe Westh, the CEO of Danish digital agency Granyon, is that perhaps he is an idealist in search of a chimera. However one soon realises that there is a very well thought trough structure and plan when it comes to setting up and agency that is able to inspire and delight its clients and their audiences.
Westh has an interesting history. He came to the realms of the digital world after taking a detour over some icy peaks.
“I was actually studying something completely different,” he says. “I studied geography and started out as a glacier-scientist, and even went to Greenland on a couple of expeditions, but a the same time I had a great passion for digital communication, the digital universe and design. So just before my final thesis, I jumped over to Copenhagen IT- University and there I outlived my other passion, which was within the digital world. I’ve been working with that passion ever since. After building and selling, what became the biggest online store for used books in Denmark, I went into the agency business. I love getting involved in a lot of different companies and helping them out through creative ideas, that provides them with value.”
His master plan for Granyon is to create a new kind of agency by focusing on working with the right people fostering creativity and delivering sound experience design.
Founded in February 2016, the company is not even a year old, but the saviness of its leaders, who have worked in some of the biggest agencies in Denmark, gives the team a clear path to follow.
“We could see that when it came down to it, it was all about money,” comments Westh. “Of course money has to be a part of it, but we want to build a business that is actually built for passionate, creative employees. Our mission is to develop a really great place for people. What our customers buy into is passionate teams that are engaged and want to understand the project at hand and design creating added value for the client and their customers. We don’t want to sell hours or products. We want to sell great teams and happy passionate people.”
Can you describe your agency in three words?
Trust, passion and awesome teams
In your opinion, what ingredients are key to create a successful digital campaign?
We don’t focus on getting awards. We are very much focussing on “does it work?” Does it actually support the brand and gives result to the business?
We strive to understand the client’s company and brand from both the business perspective and its marketing purposes.
We do workshops to connect with costumers through insights about their desires, dreams, hopes and the concrete business needs.
We see a great campaign as one that creates engaging connection between customer and brand. The campaigns are based on more than just creating awareness. We want to support the brand’s objectives and connect with their customers’ personal dreams and goals.
We keep focus on what the customer wants to accomplish. After we launch we measure and adjust, to create an even better ongoing value.
What is your personal definition of creativity?
For me, creativity is very much about being open, listening, being curious and see new connections or way of combining things.
That’s why Granyon are so engaged in Creative Mornings, because that is for us, a playground, where we can get to meet a lot of interesting, creative people. At these mornings, we try to show that creativity is not just designers. Creativity is solving problems, in new and better ways. And that is actually something everyone can do. Everyday all people are being creative.
The greatest creative ideas we come up with, are often by finding a completely different area, and putting it in to a new context. So being open for the world around you and see opportunities to combine it in a new setup is, for me, the very essence of creativity.
Are there online publications, professionals, industry leaders you follow?
I try to be open and very broad in who I follow. I am very fascinated by following the Danish engineer environment and observe what they work on, and come up with. It may not always be something that Granyon can use in a project, but it always sparks different ideas. Now that I am really involved in creative mornings, I also follow people from that global network.
How does your agency organise its Social Media?
We have four people working on our social media. From the start we knew that we had to first get put own social media as sharp as possible. We spent quite some time on defining our own purpose, our mission, and finding the right voice and tone for Granyon. We discovered that this is achieved by having a strong culture where everyone in the company has a clear view of what we want to accomplish as a company. We get a great opportunity to communicate our purpose clearly for our target group.
Can you tell us about a project you worked on and that was especially successful?
This year Granyon helped Velux, a windows manufacturer, to create user flows and design through an effective and highly innovative prototyping process. Based on business goals, and data insights, we started out a process that had the goal of leading customers through a great buying flow. In only five weeks we went from strategy to creative iteration, to online prototypes that could be tested ongoing through out the process.
Our designers presented their creative work directly online, on responsive prototypes. These were tested and by the data, heat maps and user behaviour we could adjust the decisions for the final design.
This type of approach is great because it brings value to our customers by creating design that we know resonate with their consumers.
How do you imagine the digital world will work in the near future?
Foreseeing the future for me could be done by looking at our children. If I look at my children, it’s interesting to see how social media now is a natural part of the way they live. The way they are communicating, the way that they are hanging out with their friend.
I’m sure we’ll see a higher degree of platforms and medias. They are less loyal to certain social services and ready to try new things and new medias or services. If their friends is there so will they. The experience of what we now define as on- and off line will also be more blurred. Not only because phones get more and more a natural part of us but also because tech is now in nearly everything we use from central cars, heating systems, wearables to body enhancing parts. Tech is no longer something we turn on and use like the TV or desktop computer it’s a thing that surrounds us all the time everywhere and so will our expectations to communication, shopping, sharing and so on.
Name a challenge your team is currently facing.
Right now, we are in the fortunate situation, that we have a lot of great projects on our hands. So our main goal is to stick to our mission and purpose to create great value for both employees and costumers. Great solutions takes time and it’s important to do things just right and not get temped to let in new potential projects just because we can. The challenge is to say no and stay true to our values.
Which cities outside where you live interest you creatively?
Berlin, New York and Barcelona are really interesting. I’ve been connected in the creative environment through Ted X and Creative Mornings.
Please list a few of your favourite digital brands:
I’m really interested in brands that do a great job now, but also brands who have the guts to change themselves from an old way of thinking to actually moving in to doing things a whole new and digital way.
I don’t have one brand that I am inspired by. But companies like Tesla and Red bull, because they do a really great job mixing the offline with the online, are great. They are also true to their purpose shown in all their communication or marketing activities.
What do you like doing in your free time?
I don’t have a lot of free time 😉 but when I do I spend time with my family and friends. Creative Mornings is another passion of mine that takes some time. The time I have left goes to reading books about creating passionate teams and great business culture. If possible I love to run or play basketball.
What piece of advice would you give a recent grad looking to work in digital marketing?
For me, off course having the skills to create great work, but also being open and curious. We want people that fit in our culture and like our mission to change the digital agency business for the better. Where customer can trust the agency to create true value by solutions that engage and brings smiles to everyone in both the project and the ones interacting with the final solution.
By Geny Caloisi.