Our newest guest, Lennart Wittgen is the Managing Director at Kolle Rebbe GmbH. Tune in to learn about his career path, how Kolle Rebbe is integrating sustainability through KORECT, and the impact of diversity.
Career Wrap Up (5:20)
Having studied business economics, Lennart always thought the studies themselves would be quite boring. However, he liked the flexibility and openness that it gave him when deciding what he wanted to do afterward.
During this period, Lennart was working in a bar and a club. It was here that he realized advertising actually had a great impact on bringing people in. He immediately felt drawn to the creativity it allowed.
Lennart got his foot in the door when he began his first job in project management at Young & Rubicam.
A few years down the line, Lennart came to Kolle Rebbe where he worked as the unit lead. Here, he worked closely with the client, and gained more experience with running teams and building strategic foundations.
Four years ago, Lennart became a managing director at Kolle Rebbe. He believes that the good product of the agency is also the product of the people.
Kolle Rebbe strives on talking with its clients and forming their advertising campaigns around how they would hold real-life conversations with friends. Lennart feels that this way, the campaigns come across as more authentic.
Pushing Change with KORECT (10:26)
KORECT is the internal platform from Kolle Rebbe that pushes change, especially in the topics of sustainability and environmental thinking.
Using common-sense is something that we try to apply to everything that we do.Lennart Wittgen
‘Stop The Water While Using Me’ was an initiative started more than 10 years ago with the aim of showing the importance of being sustainable. As a result, there were more initiatives following, such as the involvement with EKN Footwear.
When realizing that the hands-on attitude and the experience in the field could actually do something for people, they had the idea of starting a consulting agency. However, the merger with Accenture Interactive placed the idea on ice.
Last year, Lennart took up the topic again. Realizing that talking about sustainability needed to be more than producing campaigns and that it could quickly lead to greenwashing — something to stay away from.
After asking around in Accenture, they were able to find people that can calculate the CO2 footprint, which is needed to really make an impact and change. With this, Kolle Rebbe set out to achieve an approach that is established through the know-how of the agency and an entrepreneurial collective.
As a result, Kolle Rebbe was able to create KORECT which goes beyond the classical creative agency work and provides a service that can change the way companies think and act.
The Acquisition by Accenture (36:22)
After Kolle Rebbe was acquired by Accenture, Lennart has stated that the change and influence are evident, especially in more junior positions.
One major change is the speed at which they receive feedback. This rapid feedback influences the short-term life of a project or campaign, essentially allowing to evolve them quicker.
Building a brand through these short-term projects is something that Lennart should have an eye on in order to avoid contradictions.
How Kolle Rebbe is Attracting Talent (41:30)
The employees at Kolle Rebbe place great value on the way the company thinks of the working world.
Kolle Rebbe has always had a reputation for doing great work and creating a work environment that is positive and motivating. Lennart believes that the work environment really attracts talent within the industry.
In addition, the competition for Kolle Rebbe has changed. This means that they are not only competing with other known agencies but also with social media platforms and startups.
The agency industry has to find a way by which they are making themselves attractive. Whether this is the salary or the working hours.
Lennart believes that the industry still has a lot of work cut out within the topics of diversity and inclusion.
Plans to Foster Diversity (44:53)
Last year, Kolle Rebbe decided to achieve a 50/50 gender distribution overall within two years and achieve a 50/50 on each level of each position 2 years later.
Within some departments, this has already been achieved.
Where will Kolle Rebbe be in 5 years? (52:26)
As the industry is in such a tremendous transformation and marketing is shifting to providing more of an experience, Lennart believes that Kolle Rebbe has the creative mind to always enable a relevant and sustainable change.
He believes that if they stay true to their creativity and continue to be an enabler, they will be able to increasingly provide great services to their clients. Not only in terms of fulfilling briefs but in actively contributing to socially important topics. This is something that would make Lennart very happy.
Listen to the full Episode
[3:03] Brief update of what Kolle Rebbe is doing
[3:40] Client relationship and awards
[5:19] Lennart’s career wrap up and agency work
[7:43] Helping people grow through a specific methodology and processes
[9:36] Pushing change in diversity and environmental thinking through ‘Stop the Water’
[14:26] Focusing KORECT on being a third party partner
[16:40] Entrepreneurial approach of Kolle Rebbe
[18:27] Key points to keep in mind when pitching ideas
[20:28] Industry change from long term views to pitching
[23:25] Judging the happiness of working with a client
[25:50] The shift and reshaping within the discounter market
[31:00] How the acquisition from Accenture and the death of Stefan Kolle have impacted Kolle Rebbe
[36:22] Touching on Accenture. How does this change affect more junior creatives?
[38:06] The innovative shift in campaigns
[41:28] Attracting talents based on the opportunities at Kolle Rebbe
[45:00] Plans to foster diversity at Kolle Rebbe
[48:16] The formal structure behind integrating diversity
[50:20] The recent change at Kolle Rebbe that Lennart Wittgen is most proud of
[52:26] A future outlook. Where will Kolle Rebbe be in 5 years? What can we expect?
Off the Record — Conversations on the Creative Landscape is brought to you by Cherrydeck and is hosted by Philipp Baumgaertel, today’s guest was Lennart Wittgen, and the music is provided by Era Beats.