• Transform magazine
  • June 22, 2024

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The Scoop with Christian Schroeder

Transform Q2 The Scoop

January 2024 marked Christian Schroder’s return to Landor after a 17-year spell away. The company’s global president sits down with Transform to discuss his new role, Landor’s rebrand and the brand agency’s future.

Transform: Congratulations on your recent appointment as global president. It’s been nearly 25 years since you first joined the company, how has it changed in that time?

Christian: I would say that it is unrecognisable on many levels. I think the company that I joined all those years ago was a design agency that was starting to become a branding agency. We still had very clear practices in terms of corporate clients and packaging clients, but now it's a globally-integrated, brand-led design and experience company, with a whole range of disciplines and offers that provide a breadth and depth of capabilities to a huge number of clients. Three months into my new role, I sat down with the team and was being taken through some work. It was the complexity of it, the understanding of how technology has a role to play in terms of being able to put a dollar value on the intangible assets of brands that was just fundamentally different. We can do that now too with the brand performance offer we have developed, we can predict and put a dollar value on a feeling, giving our clients more certainty, helping them to make more brave, bold decisions.

 

Transform: Landor has shown huge ambition in recent times, expanding into several new areas of design. What’s the thinking behind this strategy?

Christian: I think it's very much a function of the way in which people consume and experience brands nowadays. What we are trying to do with the expanded offerings – some of that has come through acquisition or through realigning agencies within WPP – is provide a breadth of offer. Ultimately, all these things make up brand experiences. Whether it's in terms of adding motion specialists or sonic branding, it's all to do with this notion of multi-sensoriality. By broadening and expanding our offer, I think that we have a greater opportunity to bring that brand experience to life for clients and answer the specific needs that they have.

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Transform: Was it these expansions which resulted in the recent rebrand? And how will this identity change serve you going forward?

Christian: Yes, is the short answer to that. We looked at trying to make our offer simpler and clearer, and what we focussed on was trying to get this sense of the interface between consulting, design and experience. What we want to do is to take the consulting offer, which is connecting the business to the brand strategy, and then express that through every single facet in terms of design, ultimately linking that in with the experiences consumers, customers and employees have. The rebrand really aimed to capture as much of that as possible.

 

Transform: Landor is an enormous agency with offices across five continents. As global president, what have you found to be the biggest challenge so far?

Christian: I think getting to meet as many people as possible, as quickly as possible has been the biggest challenge, whether that's our own people or clients. I've been on an aeroplane quite a lot and spent time in the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and a couple of other European offices as well, which is very important. So actually getting to grips with the challenges they face both now and in the future is the most exciting thing, but also the most challenging.

 

Transform: There’s already been a lot of change at Landor since your return. But what’s your vision for where the company will be in five years’ time?

Christian: I think we have set out our stall with the new positioning. I think we now need to bring that to life in a more joined up, consistent way and continue to build that bridge between business and brand strategy so the brands we work with do have a competitive advantage. I think AI is going to have a huge impact in terms of the way that we work, so I'd like to see how that augments our thinking and insights. But ultimately, I want us to be bigger and better and a really exciting place for people to be, both for our clients and attracting the creative talent we need in order to deliver that vision.

 

This article was taken from Transform magazine Q2, 2024. You can subscribe to the print edition here.