Bak veggene: ANTI Bergen
Tom Morgan, Associate Strategic Director i ANTI Bergen, forteller om prosjekter som engasjerer, LEGO og verdien av design.
Tom Morgan, Associate Strategic Director, ANTI Bergen
Can you tell me about an exciting project you’re working on at the moment?
TM: We have several long running projects that I’m extremely excited about; life saving, life improving, behavioural changing, and at the very cutting edge of what’s possible. Alas I can’t say any more, but it’s a really big deal that things like this are happening from Bergen. Our ongoing work for Bergen Tidende is highly rewarding, the scope of innovation in the media is a very exciting
Something I can talk about is our work for Oleana, Hardanger Bestikk and Fitjar Islands; very special clients with superb products, and all produced on the West Coast. It’s very special, being in such a wealthy and developed society like Norway, to work as a designer so close to production.
What are you passionate about?
TM: A great deal… I’ll give you my top four (professional):
Firstly, it has to be the amazing people I work with, everyone in the team is unique and we all have more than one background — it’s an incredibly spacial place to be.
Secondly, now that I live in Bergen, it has to also be Bergen. But not as a naff tourist town, rather an international destination and renowned international city of innovation. It’s all here, I’m amazed by what’s happened in the short time I’ve lived in the city. Sure, ambitions need to be raised in some quarters, conservatism and protectionism needs to loosen up and ambitious people need to be celebrated more… but it’s happening and it’s super exciting!
My two other passions, that are on my desk at the moment, are Design Effectiveness and Behavioural Economics… keep reading.
What’s a recent project you’re especially proud of?
TM: We’ve just completed an intensive process researching the ‘Return on Design Investment’ and ‘Return on Design Objectives’ from our rebrand for Festspillene i Bergen. It has already resulted in two national awards; Kreativt Forum’s Creative Effectiveness award, Stella, and the Business Prisen awarded by Hegnar Media.
While the project was a huge international success in 2014, none of the awards showcase why the project was initiated, the purpose and most importantly the effect. We transformed a declining festival to – as one festival attendee put it – “moving from the bald and grey, towards the young and dynamic”.
According to a PwC report the brand identity filled staff with “pride & professionalism”. Since the brand was launched we’ve seen over double the audience numbers, as rise of 108% of total visitors. We generated 100% increase of first time visitors in the first year alone, 27% efficient use of public funds, 57% rise in ticket sales, 59% rise in sponsorship and private donations, and a 32% rise in bottom line income to date.
Since [Festspillene i Bergen’s] brand was launched we’ve seen over double the audience numbers, as rise of 108% of total visitors.
Following on from the previous question this is something that I’m very passionate about, and a subject that all of us in the Norwegian design sector needs to embrace. Its one of the things, that coming from the UK, I can see is a weakness when competing internationally. That’s why ANTI Bergen is investing in it. Its also about celebrating the relationship between agency and client — a really important process for improving and developing our service, and working at a more strategic level. I will be presenting the subject at the Design Management Conference in June and I’m talking with other design leaders at DesignArena and DOGA, so lets hope the future is Design Effectiveness smart.
In regards to other projects Fitjar Islands has been really exciting to work with. Our work hasn’t been fully rolled out yet, with no influence on their website, but the transformations for them are already being seen in the market — it’s inspiring to work with artisans like Fitjar Islands; their boldness to embrace new ways of working has allowed us to do really special things.
Another is SAM. a service created by Krisesenteret for Bergen. We worked on the full communication strategy; creating the name, visual identity to web design and film production with our Ad team in Oslo. All projects are cherished and we only work with products and services that we truly believe in, but working on social issues brings immense personal satisfaction to all of us.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
TM: I don’t know about mistakes, but I’ve been a fool too may times to remember. The first thing that comes to mind was back in the UK. The London-based Norwegian designer Kim Thome and I had a business together some years ago, it was a steep learning curve. A potential client called us for a meeting and we invested a lot of time and money in making the long journey from London up the country to meet him. When we got there he slammed us, destroyed our product and made us leave through the back door. We thought everyone was going to be fluffy and nice — that was our first taste of business.
Anyway, a week later we got Jamie Oliver as a client so the lesson was… know your numbers, have your answers ready, do your research and when you get shown the back door; dust yourself down because there’s a superstar client around the corner.
Who do you look up to?
TM: Other than my team… I’m greatly inspired by Rory Sutherland, Ogilvy’s VC. He’s a proper old-school AdMan but with incredible relevance for today’s challenges. I’m a big fan of behavioural economics and see that a great deal of our problems are merely psychological.
Though I admire the work of many designers, I don’t get much inspiration from within design. To me, truly profound inspiration comes from other worlds of thought, like philosophy, cooking, mathematics, childcare, neuroscience, everywhere – and always – my client’s businesses. Rory just about nails it every time for me.
Tell me about something in your workspace that’s important to you!
TM: LEGO! Firstly, it’s something I share with my son so it’s special to have it on my desk.
Secondly, I get to play with it at work. I’m a LEGO Serious Play facilitator, it’s a really powerful strategy tool for organisational development and creative strategy. I’ve used it in consulting all kinds of organisations from the Work Foundation UK Gov, to hospitals here in Bergen, on Executive programmes, and even as a consultant to LEGO in Billund. That was the coolest gig I’ve had to date, playing LEGO with LEGO in LEGOLand!
It’s important for us at ANTI that the client is part of the process. Using methods like LSP is just one of many tools in the box, but the fact that it’s been developed by applied psychologists really helps engage and support clients through a period of change and to get the best results fast. Although they are sometimes suspicious when I arrive with a huge box of toys.
What I haven’t taken a photo of, for several reasons, but is very important, is our ‘trophy cabinet’; awards from the USA, UK, Germany, and at home. They are important because they represent everyone at ANTI Bergen, all the (occasional) late nights and passion that goes into our work, and that creative energy that bonds the team.