Hey and thank you for tuning in.
My name is Joonas Kylliäinen, I’m a 35-year-old marketing and wellbeing entrepreneur from Eastern Finland, currently living in the Helsinki area with my wife and our daughter.
Helsinki is also home of the Norders, the creative Nordic community, agency and academy, who’s content you’re now consuming.
Now when writing this it’s August 2021 and Norders was launched in January 2021 and so much has happened already since.
2021 key figures
Since January we’ve worked with over 100 businesses helping them to achieve sustainable growth with lean marketing activities. We planned and held the Nordic Day 2021 online event which reached over 200 000 people globally. And today we’re starting our expansion to the USA, UK and Hong Kong to see if the Nordic value based sustainable growth models resonate and can create real impact not only in the Nordic countries but globally also.
So compared to there being no Norders this time last year, some solid traction and buzz has been seen.
FAQ: WTF is Norders?
Meanwhile we’ve been receiving quite a few questions about what this thing called Norders even is.
To be honest we like a bit of mystery. We surely believe that if a brand can raise some wonder, then a brand is interesting and memorable.
But nonetheless we thought to take this moment and your attention to tell a bit more about what the heck Norders actually is and what we’re doing here. In other words, why do we exist or what problem are we here to solve?
A very popular general marketing advice is never to talk about yourself and instead make your customer the hero and the center of the attention. This advice claims that as long as you guide your customer in solving their problem and helping them to achieve their goals, your communication is on the right track. Definitely nothing wrong with this approach and we stand behind it as well. But maybe, just maybe sometimes authentic personal stories are forgotten as a way to build connections and help customers on their journeys.
From Ränch to the Nordics
Norders was born as a digital marketing agency. Actually Norders was born on a farm in South-East Finland that we called Ränch - clever huh. That “we” were me and my step-brother Johannes who actually grew up on that ranch.
I knew something about sales, my to-be-wife knew something about designing websites and Johannes had a camera. This was in 2016 and so we decided to launch a website, videography and photography agency called Ränch.
You can actually see our very first video that we did for ourselves from here:
Long story short I guess we knew what we were doing since things started to take off and our little family boutique agency was steadily growing.
Values for marketing and the Nordics
Now looking back I really feel like it was due to our values that we really stood by. I’ll get back to what those values were and are in a bit but those values seemed to draw interesting people to work with us. Interesting people as in clients but also as in freelancers and other partners.
One of those people was a young entrepreneur from Helsinki, Ronny Eriksson who first bought a website from Ränch for one of his ventures, but eventually then ended up spending more and more time with us and eventually becoming a key member of the Ränch core team.
With Ronny onboard Ränch kept serving mostly Finnish small businesses but we also had some Swedish clients and we were constantly thinking and analyzing why we were growing and how we could perhaps one day grow exponentially.
I was passionate, and still am about the power of communication. How building your brand and telling your story with the support of modern tools and tactics can make, or break your business. I still believe that there lies a great responsibility in branding and storytelling since with a ton of concrete proof harmful and even straight up evil brands have been able to not only survive but also flourish basically forever. On the flip side now with globalization and digitalization in their current state even just an ordinary boy from South-East Finland can use the power of communication to provide value and make a positive impact technically wherever in the world.
Ronny on the other hand has always been increasingly passionate about the so-called Nordic model meaning why are the Nordic countries so famously, well, great. Is there a reason or even a framework for why our seemingly perfect balance between capitalism and welfare state has created more unicorns per capita than any other region in the world? How does this Nordic model explain why we apparently are the happiest people on the planet? And most importantly, if there is such a framework, can it be copied and used by any individual or organization anywhere in the world to achieve sustainable growth that not only benefits one person but entire communities and even countries.
The countdown for the Norders
In 2020 Ronny was running a non-profit organization Ambitious Africa with a goal to initiate and support Nordic and African youth-led large-scale grassroots projects with social impact in Africa.
I think this realisation of the strength and reputation of the Nordic brand globally was the last of it for Ronny when it came for him to really uncover the Nordic framework and to share it with everyone.
During the last months of 2020 me and Ronny started to look at this Nordic concept more closely also from a marketing and branding perspective. One thing that really tied Ränch the agency and the Nordic model together for us was when we noticed the official Nordic values, which are: openness, trust, innovation, sustainability, compassion and reach. By mere accident these were the exact same values that Ränch had been laying for itself and thus the values I strongly believed were behind Ränch’s modest but still strong success. I guess the Nordic model had gotten us without us even knowing it.
Ronny had been working on the Ambitious Africa initiative with a legendary Finnish entrepreneur and the godfather of the cult brand Angry Birds, Peter Vesterbacka, to whom we then pitched our napkin-scratch-of-an-idea about discovering the framework behind the Nordic model and combining it with modern marketing to build a set of simple tools for anyone to achieve sustainable growth and enable positive impact no matter who or where they were.
I guess Peter didn’t think our idea was completely terrible since he ended up scheduling a few more brainstorming sessions with us out of which the brand Norders born in January 2021 in Helsinki, Finland.
The rest is not history
The rest is definitely not history. Things are just starting for the Norders, but we most certainly feel good about the adventure we’re embarking on. It has also been great to hear that what we’re doing - uncovering the framework behind the Nordic model and building it into an agile marketing strategy for both individuals and communities around the world to achieve sustainable growth and to make a positive impact - really seems to resonate with people and organizations from various markets and backgrounds.
Today the Norders are focusing on building strong foundations for our three pillars.
For the agency to distribute the Nordic model framework with modern digital marketing for lean and sustainable growth for any brand anywhere in the world.
For the academy to help any individual or organization to quickly get the skills and inherent the Nordic values and then to showcase their learnings and knowledge in the modern marketplace.
And for the community to bring together North stars, who already have achieved lean and sustainable growth by leveraging the Nordic values and core strengths, together with the Rising stars, who are looking for the right network to make it reality for them as well.
Join us for the fight
We strongly believe that there is some unhidden magic in the Nordic model that doesn’t require every person today to build free healthcare and education systems to experience firsthand the possibilities of sustainable growth and making a positive impact - perhaps even up to a scale of eventually providing more nations with free healthcare and education.
Our current theory is that if we can bring the Nordic countries, organizations and individuals together, and even combine us with the strong international sustainability and growth community, we can together build and distribute the framework into a set of tools that anyone anywhere can effectively use.
So please, join us today and bring your expertise, knowledge and network to help us become better and bigger together, so that everyone wins more.
You can join the community today at https://www.norders.org/community