Managing Director Lisa Önnerlid of W Agency: “In every project, we put ourselves in the shoes of our customer”

Lisa Önnerlid, CEO, W Communication Agency

Interview with Lisa Önnerlid, Managing Director and Partner at W Communication Agency:  “In every project, we put ourselves in the shoes of our customer…”


Comvort. You’ve done it again, W is nominated for “Agency of the year 2015”, Sweden’s biggest annual client satisfaction study for communications agencies. You have obviously very satisfied and loyal customers out there… What are W’s secrets?

Lisa: Firstly, I believe one reason is specialization. Since the start 1998, we’ve focused 100% on international B2B marketing and communication – nothing else. This has given us a strong position on the market, and a niche in which we can excel and continue to grow together with our clients within life science, industry and high-tech. Secondly, we are experts in shifting perspectives. In every project, we put ourselves in the shoes of our customer and their different target audiences. How can we create impact and make a real difference? And since we only recruit Account Managers that have worked client side with similar, international challenges, a quick understanding comes quite natural for us.


Lisa Önnerlid, CEO, W Communication Agency
Lisa Önnerlid, CEO, W Communication Agency

C. What advice would you give a business looking to market their products in your country? Sweden is a global leader in innovation, with a highly skilled labor force and sophisticated consumers. But that’s just scratching the surface. Most product launches fail because not enough market research has been done, so make sure you capture real customer insights from your target audiences. Another common mistake is using most of the budget to create the product; leaving little left for launching, marketing, and selling it.


C. How could you help a company looking to export to Sweden? Here at W, our daily work is global product launches and international branding assignments and roll-outs – thanks to our amazing, international client list. But Scandinavia is our home turf, and we constantly have our finger on the pulse of the market. So if you’re targeting B2B customers in Scandinavia, don’t hesitate to give us a call!


C. What advantages do you think there are to being part of an international agency network such as Comvort? Huge, and more than most think, actually. For us, it’s like having an extra (really big) team of colleagues backing us up in our work, bringing specialist knowledge within different areas, local market insights and creative challenging. And just knowing that you easily can pick up the phone and call a colleague in São Paulo to discuss a project is both a very powerful asset for an agency, and something that makes work fun!


C. If your client wanted to export, would it help you to have an agency partner in that country? Absolutely! As I’ve mentioned, we strongly believe in local market insights, and the best way to get hold of those is through a local agency. Local resources are also critical when it comes to concept testing, focus groups etc.


C. Do you have any examples of projects you have worked on with any of the agency partners in the past? One of the German partner agencies invited us to support on a large, Japanese steel account. They worked on the pan-European branding, and we supported with branding and sales enabling activities for Scandinavia during many years. A great example of how a partnership can work. We’ve also taken advantage of different partner agencies for market research and in-depth interviews with our customers’ local stakeholders.