Open was born in 2001 as the answer to a simple question: What would a modern communication agency look like in an increasingly smaller world? From day one, the focus was international and more than half of our clients today are based outside of Sweden. Our experienced multicultural team has worked for both leading agencies and clients in London, Stockholm, Tokyo, Montreal, Copenhagen and New York.
A global story – from day one. Open opened the doors in 2001 just after the dotcom bubble had burst. The founders – an American-Canadian copywriting duo – saw a need for top-end English copywriting services among Nordic agencies. As it turns out, there was a big need and we spent the early years working with top agencies and brands ranging from Adidas and Virgin to SCA, Absolut, Bentley and Ericsson.
Hand picked experienced team. Soon, a number of companies began to approach us directly. It also became painfully clear that writers can’t do everything. So we started hiring brand strategists, account managers, digital experts, designers and art directors. A new Swedish CEO with experience from New York and Australia entered the picture and began to hand pick a senior team. Many of the talents who joined us were disillusioned with the larger network agencies. They’d witnessed, first hand, how the network offices often work as separate islands – each taking a very local focus.
A different approach. Seeing a clear need for something different, we decided to create the next generation agency that could work with clients across borders. Our secret weapon? A small, nimble, international team that could solve complex problems faster – with fewer resources and using English as a base language. No complex networks. No big egos.
Using modern tools. As it happens, we are based in Stockholm, Sweden, a progressive hub of all things digital, mobile and social. We found that the latest technology could be applied directly to our international work and we utilize a network of trusted contacts around the world. Scandinavian culture is also very open, non-hierarchal and respectful of others – an approach we find travels well.
How can we help you? There is no typical project at Open. Each client has its own different needs. Some are larger and more of an ongoing nature; others are smaller. How could we support you?

Brand strategy development

Take a stand for your brand. Today, the value of a brand can easily be worth more than all the factories, patents and inventory combined. But it’s not just a matter of boosting shareholder value – a strong brand can fend off competitors, allow you to charge premium prices and facilitate the recruitment of top talent.
A well-known brand looks better on the resume than an unknown company. And when buying an expensive piece of equipment or a new technical system, you want to be sure it is from a supplier you can rely on. A recent McKinsey study actually showed that strong brands outperformed weak brands by a factor of 20% in the B2B sector – up from 13% the year before.

Proven methodology. At the start of any job, we agree on what input and information is necessary to have in order to move forward, and how to gather that information. Many of our customers already have a solid brand platform in which case we work with that one, while others may need everything or a revision of an old brand platform.

Reputation is everything. Sometimes referred to as “corporate reputation management”, a brand strategy project can involve everything from establishing your mission, vision and values to setting the specific strategy and positioning of a single product or service. The process can be large and complex but it can also be quick and nimble – it all depends on your needs and what is already in place. But it is always grounded in the business strategy and there to support it.

50 branding workshops. In our 15 years in business, we’ve held more than 50 branding workshops and done strategies for companies based in Sweden, but also Hong Kong, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, London and even Lugano.
Regardless of where you are in your brand development, whether you’re just beginning or have already done a lot of work, let’s talk.

Communication strategies

Your roadmap for leaving the competition behind. Engaging with the right customer, at the right time, with the right message can be challenging. You might wonder: What is the most effective way to reach them? As strange as it might sound, having a solid plan for achieving this is not as common as it should be.
“We have always done it that way” is all too often a frequent approach. “We want to be more digital” is the most common new request. The key here is to determine why? Is this really the best way to reach your target audience? Just because the competition does so doesn’t mean you should take the same approach. And if you are, you need to have a solid plan to get the most out of your efforts.

Strategic focus is key. We like to help clients sharpen their focus and strategy to reach their goals. The key here is working together. You know your business and target audiences the best. We can add experience from other similar businesses and a fresh perspective along with an outside-in viewpoint.

Creative concepts and ideas

Great ideas carry no passport. So you’ve got a solid brand platform. Great! This will help you avoid reinventing the wheel every nine months or so with a new message or look and feel. Yet even with a clear strategy, your next question is: how do we convey our message? How do we communicate and really engage with our customers instead of simply inform?
This is where the creative development work starts. And when it’s clear what to communicate and to whom, it’s much easier for our art directors, designers, digital team and writers to work their magic.

Unifying behind a strong concept. In this phase, we explore different ways of communicating the agreed messaging. Should we be more technical or human? Can we use humor? We generally present a couple of different directions that we narrow down and refine until we have one strong direction that everyone agrees upon.
Bringing down barriers. We also encourage our clients to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the creative process with us if they like. As we see it, the old barriers between “the agency” and “the client” are really dead and the best work comes from teamwork.

Creative execution and production

Great execution is the ultimate differentiator. No matter how brilliant an idea may be, it won’t help you achieve your goals if it’s poorly executed. The standards today are high. Customers are visually literate and used to seeing professional, well put-together film, websites, exhibition booths and more.
Whether you’re doing a photoshoot in Hong Kongarranging for hundreds of cakes to be baked and distributed for a client, finding a wig that looks like Einstein’s hair or preparing for a trade show in the US, we have the right people to help. Experience is the key differentiator here. Based on our international network, we know where to find the best people for all types of productions.

The right ambition level. But you also need to balance the right level of cost vs. quality and set your ambition level. You don’t have to use a Spielberg-like director for every single film. Sometimes a good one is enough. And you really don’t need a large content management system for your website if you are a new start-up with 8 employees. But when you’re airing a spot on the Superbowl, it had better be top-notch.

On time, on budget. In the end, delivering quality on time and on budget is what it is all about. Something that sounds so easy is actually one of the most difficult tasks when pretty much everything can change during a production. That is why we hired the most experienced account managers in the business.

Graphic Identities

What’s your look and feel? Creating a corporate graphic identity is like providing a company with a suit of clothes to wear. Are you Prada or Brooks Brothers? Retro or forward-looking? Is it time to update your look to reflect a new strategy or approach? More human, less technical?
We’ve noticed that every 5-7 years, to keep pace with the times and maintain a fresh look, most companies need to update their visual identities. As one Swiss company told us: “We’re a modern group of people and wanted to feel more contemporary in our visual expression.” Like other companies we’ve worked with, their guidelines were created during a different phase of development and felt dated.

Scaling the ambition level. Unless you’re doing a complete repositioning, a graphic update doesn’t have to be a major ordeal that requires many months. It could be a well-defined and targeted exercise to refine the logo, tweak layouts, add accent colors or modify the style of photography. It might even require a new image bank.

Nothing personal. The key thing is to avoid letting personal preferences (“I like orange” or “Helvetica is cool”) be the sole guide of your visual identity program. Admittedly, you’ve got to like it too, but your graphic look and feel should have strategic relevance. It should be true to your personality, feel relevant to customers and set you apart from the competition.