Creating a brand that differentiates your company, organization or place from others is equally an art form and a science. In order to succeed, you need a brand idea and a clear vision to work towards, you need to be bold in order to execute the brand in amazing ways and – just as importantly – you need to stick with it for the long haul. The people who hears and thinks the most about a brand are the ones who develop it. Before everyone else knows about it, you are trying to define and develop it. Then you may be talking and thinking about it day after day, and when your audience may only see and hear some of it, you see it all. When you feel it’s been going on for too long, you may actually only be at the very beginning of building brand awareness. That’s when you need patience – and the ability to hold on to the same essence and vision for your brand while developing new creative ways of unfolding and implementing the brand visually, in your communications and that everyday practice which can prove and deliver your brand promise through customer service, products and experiences.
Danske Bank and Stagis have been co-hosting two exciting brand innovation workshops during the past week. The events took place in the beautiful setting of Visit Carlsberg, the original art gallery of the founders of the Carlsberg Brewery. CEO Nikolaj Stagis talked about defining your authentic brand identity and utilizing the inner strengths of the company to drive innovation and brand development. The basic question at these two events was “how do you live your authentic brand?” – and the participants joined in by discussing what sources of inspiration were available to their organization and how those potentials can be used to create value in the future.
The LEGO Group announced its best annual financial results on February 25th at a press event in Billund, Denmark. An increase in sales by 15 percent in 2014 resulted in an operating profit of 9.7 billion DDK. A result so satisfactory, it was presented by the CEO in song: “Everything is awesome.”
The authentic company is about how some managers are able to create exceptional results by exploring the visible and invisible strengths in the organization and use these to create an authentic identity. Authentic companies are attractive, perform better than their competitors, have a clear purpose, high cohesion and low transaction costs.
Authentic identity is a new strategic leadership responsibility. In the future, managers at all levels must to be able to identify, analyze and manage the company's authenticity if they want to move the company from crisis to success or influence the market. Instead of mimicking the outside world, companies must look inward and believe in the organization's internal strengths as the basis for future development.
In The authentic company, Nikolaj Stagis has interviewed and challenged executives and owners. One example is René Redzepi from Noma, who talks about the quest for the Nordic food and the journey from being an outsider to becoming the world's best chef. We experience Alberto Alessi in his design museum, which is reserved for staff development meetings, and we discover how Jørgen Vig Knudstorp from LEGO and Jan Ryde from Hästens have created internal motivation and redeemed the company's potential by rediscovering and reconstructing the company's authentic identity.
The book is for leaders in all types of organizations, large and small, public and private, who wish to understand the company's authentic identity in order to find the organization's inner potentials for strategic development, organizational change, marketing and communication.
The book explains how the company's authentic identity can be developed through a process, which alternately provides construction of opinions and radical actions. In order to rediscover the company's identity there must on the one hand be "sense-making processes" involving employees, fans and leaders, and on the other hand, management must from time to time make radical choices to create empowerment and change the company.
"Regardless of methods and choices, it is imperative that authenticity unfolds throughout the municipality. If one proclaims to be a stronghold of creativity, it better trace back to primary schools, home care, urban planning and the city council's way of working."
"Sitting with The authentic company in your hand you get the experience of a quality product in every way. The book's graphic design is neat without being neither too much or boring. Readers are being led from page to page by a multitude of good examples and arguments, which are presented with an abundance of energy and commitment. The book offers a number of well-chosen case studies and if you are interested in delving into each of them you can easily navigate with an ingenious system."
"His strengths are his originality, sensitivity, high intelligence and that he constantly sees everything from a different angle. His difficulties arise in the meeting with the suits, because he is very little conformist. You have to be spacious to accommodate him without further ado. But I would encourage anyone who encounters him with some reservations, to give him half an hour, because he is very exciting and not one that goes 12 to the dozen. "
"How to create authenticity in companies is still in its infancy, but Nikolaj Stagis fills in many gaps with this insightful book. Pay special attention to what he writes: Find your company's authentic identity and help it to live out its inner strengths."
"How do we focus on developing our business by focusing on the internal strengths? In the book, Nikolaj Stagis provides an excellent example hereof ... The book's many tools for the journey is an absolute advantage, which can be used both by the organization's leaders, HR department, or marketing and communications department."
"There is no contradiction between thinking reflectively and be commercially oriented in ones actions. There is no contradiction between using the past actively and influencing the future. Much thinking in the management literature works with simplistic opposites. This book does the opposite. It demonstrates how many of the leading companies become authentic. "
"Stagis’ project is both inspiring and sympathetic. In noisy times, companies have every reason to look inwards for the fundamental values that can be justified historically or ethically - and which are actually not up for discussion. "
"The authentic company is an exciting piece that asks the manager to look inwards instead of spending time on market analysis and excel sheets."
"Authenticity may seem like a vague idea. However, as Nikolaj Stagis strongly demonstrates a company's ability to understand and express itself can have a significant impact on both employees and customers. Authenticity is the essential source of relevance and success."
"It is always essential to provide added value for the customer, when you want to grow your business. To create value and an authentic position in the market, you have to understand the company's authentic identity. This is the best book ever written about organizational authenticity."
"If large companies are to perform better both domestically and in export contexts, they have to focus on and use their past and inherent strengths much more aggressively as a basis for innovation. "
"Nikolaj Stagis’ book is a edifying, inspiring and undogmatic celebration of authenticity as a mantra for a company in its quest to (re)discover and activate its identity in a very confusing world. "
"An authentic book about the authentic company. This is a very special and relevant book about organisations in a hyper-real world."
After decades of increasing over consumption, staging and simulation, we are on the threshold of meaning society. The new sensibility for authenticity is growing in an ailing hyper-real world. The culture of authenticity places new demands on companies, who have received a new management responsibility - the organization's authentic identity.
In the future, the success of the company depends on the manager's ability to define the organization's authentic strengths and to offer present and transforming relationships.
All companies have an inherent potential, which is waiting to be discovered and released. Even those unfamiliar, the most boring and the organizations, who now find themselves in crisis, began with an idea or a task to be solved. This applies to associations, the private or public company, charities, a city and even the entire nation of Denmark.
They all contain a special meaning and a passion that sometimes is lost and must be rediscovered, defined and reconstructed. In times of crisis focus is put on the immediately visible and tangible symptoms such as finance and operations. But when the organization is troubled, the biggest problem is in fact that management and the entire organization fails to define what idea or problem, the skills and energy of the organization must be focused on. Companies lose themselves - and only then their finances.
"You have to have a story," says René Redzepi, one of the world's finest chefs, who founded the restaurant Noma together with food entrepreneur Claus Meyer. "We also see this in Copenhagen today, where there is strong competition. Those who survive have a strong history and a strong profile. Combined with a world-class kitchen and excellent service, of course. But you need to have a strong identity - more than just being a French kitchen. Otherwise it's just another good restaurant." When René Redzepi talks about "a history", it is not in the superficial sense that you must stage your services in order to market them. He speaks of the entire set of inherent strengths and capabilities that the company is composed of and which are connected in a system that can be described through a narrative.
Nikolaj Stagis advises on identity, strategy, organizational development and business development and is CEO of Stagis A/S, which he founded in 1997. He is designer MDD and has a Master of Management Development from Copenhagen Business School. Nikolaj is a member of the international branding think tank The Medinge Group.
A large number of Danish and international development projects form the basis for the book The authentic company, which Nikolaj researched and wrote in the period 2008 - 2011. He has interviewed and challenged executives and owners from companies such as LEGO, Noma, Novozymes, BMW, Alessi, Ducati, Hästens, Bøgedal and The Absolut Company. Particularly Jørgen Vig Knudstorp from LEGO, Federico Minoli from Ducati and Rene Redzepi were important figures in the book's genesis. The authentic company is Nikolaj Stagis' first book.
Nikolaj Stagis has lectured and supervised students about identity, branding, strategic communications, business development and authenticity at .e.g Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Roskilde University (RUC), University of Technology, Sydney ( UTS ) and the Danish School of Media and Journalism. Nikolaj is a member of the international branding think tank The Medinge Group and is author of numerous articles and reports.
Nikolaj Stagis (1976) studied philosophy at the University of Southern Denmark while he started Stagis A/S in 1997. Read more about Stagis' projects at www.stagis.dk. Here you will find a number of articles about Nikolaj, including a portrait in Djoefbladet.
You can network with Nikolaj Stagis here or on LinkedIn.
You will take home practical models and challenging questions after a talk or workshop with Nikolaj Stagis. During a talk, Nikolaj presents various practical tools, which you can use in your search for a company's authentic identity. A talk usually lasts between 40 min - 1.5 hours.
Workshops of 3-4 hours provide managers and employees with the opportunity to work with their authentic identity and to discover the organisation's potential for development. Examples in the talk and the book The authentic company are easily transferred to other companies, industries and sectors.
Nikolaj Stagis is a lecturer and has lectured on identity, branding, strategic communications and corporate authenticity at e.g. Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Roskilde University (RUC), University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and the Danish School of Media and Journalism. We can arrange special courses or full-day seminars for boards, managerial groups and City Councils who want to find and define the authentic identity of their company or city.
Nikolaj Stagis has also completed a number of talks, workshops, public meetings and inspirational days with a number of organizations, both private and public companies, NGOs and municipalities. Among others, these include the Confederation of Danish Industry, the Danish Chamber of Commerce, HP, Movia, Danish Cancer Society, Odense Municipality, Kolding Municipality, Odsherred Municipality and a number of leadership networks and VL groups.
Talks and workshops with Nikolaj Stagis can be arranged by appointment. For further information about talks, lectures, workshops and sales of book packages, write to [email protected]. To sign up for an event, see the calendar below.
If you are interested in customized courses for companies, organizations, municipalities and groups with Nikolaj Stagis and consultants from Stagis A/S see more information on www.stagis.dk.
Nikolaj Stagis has written and starred in numerous articles, television and radio programs and is happy to answer questions in relevant contexts. He is a business commentator and an expert in areas of authenticity, communication, identity, strategy, business development, branding and management. In connection with the book "The authentic company" Nikolaj Stagis has also studied and described the "meaning society", the culture of authenticity, the consumer demand for authenticity and companies that offer special meaning.
For further information and appointments for interviews, contact Nikolaj Stagis on phone +45 33 23 13 00 or e-mail [email protected] For urgent matters, Nikolaj Stagis can be contacted on his mobile +45 40 60 44 00.
All photographs and texts on this website can be used freely in association with the mentioning of Nikolaj Stagis and the book "The authentic company". Please apply the following byline on photographs: ”PhFoto: Per Morten Abrahamsen”. The photographs may not be used or reproduced in any other context without prior written agreement.
You can write to author Nikolaj Stagis on [email protected]
On LinkedIn you can also find a group about The Authentic Company.
If you would like to schedule a talk, purchase books for your company or events, or in case you have any other inquiries, write an email with your request to [email protected]. Please include a short description of the event, e.g. wishes, the desired date and duration.
Att. Nikolaj Stagis
Islands Brygge 11, 1. tv
2300 København S