I’m a 45 year old, passionate surfer and global citizen based, designer, future branding expert, creative director, TEDx speaker, innovator and entrepreneur from Stockholm, Sweden who loves communication, ideas and creativity.
To hire Johan for brand or creative consulting, speaking assignments, or advisory and board member roles contact him here or via mobile +46 70 654 90 10
Curiosity. My greatest asset.
Born 1971 and Raised in the suburbs of style city Stockholm, creativity was always a part of growing up. With a background as a former snowboard professional and one of the few in the world who nailed a 1440° spin, I started my career on the buyer side.
Marketing exclusive golf brands such as Mizuno, King Cobra and Goldwin gave me insight into the demands of advertisers and consumers but foremost the complexity behind how products actually make it into the stores.
Always full of ideas, I felt I needed to move on to the creative side of the business. Internet, on the rise in Sweden drew me into the digital revolution already in 1994
In 1998 I joined Framfab, one of the late 90’s fast-moving companies. As a concept developer and key account manager I parted in creating award winning projects for clients like Vattenfall , Bredbandsbolaget, Nike Europe and Volvo Cars. I also held a position within Framfab Innovation. The incubator of new ideas within Framfab.
In 2000 it was time to move on. I spent a year at Abel & Baker, the worlds most awarded digital advertising company. At A&B I tool part in winning the global account for adidas and worked with MTV, Nokia, Toyota and the Red Cross before founding my first company – Foreign.
Foreign quickly grew to +30 employees and was awarded in the Cannes Lions, D&AD, New York Festivals, London International Advertising Awards, Epica, Clio, Cresta and other award shows every year since start up.
We launched both digital and integrated global campaigns for BMW Motorrad, MTV, H&M, IKEA, Omega, Beckers, Com Hem, Intersport, Kosta Boda, adidas International and many more.
In 2008 I decided to change my career. I wanted more of my old lifestyle, not just being tied to one career and most importantly – I wanted more freedom in life in order to be free in my mind.
To risk your life every now and then
is good for your soul!
– Johan Ronnestam
Curiosity. My greatest asset.
In 2008 my future was an open sheet. Passioned about creativity, design and future brand communication I started to share my most inner thoughts on whatever felt relevant. I started to blog about the future business landscape and soon readers from all around the world found and shared my blogposts. As a result of this I was commissioned by leading design, technology and brand festivals to share my thoughts on how technology impacted our future.
Some 1000 blog posts later and more +150 speaking assignments a year I established myself as one of Sweden’s most hired and appreciated speakers on trends, the future business landscape and branding shares his insights on creating communication for global brands while caring for your own future.
Part from speaking about communication I kept on consulting for the leading brands of the world. My design expertise, creativity and way of thinking different became sought after by brands globally. I’ve worked globally with brands such as Nike, adidas, BMW Motorrad, Omega, H&M, IKEA, Volvo Ocean Race, Kinnarps, Pfizer, Absolut Vodka, Suunto, Procter & Gamble, Nokia and many more. In Sweden ICA, Svenska Spel, Marginalen Bank, Fortum, Vattenfall, Stadium, Telia and many more have made use of my services.
I do not define myself by a specific media, solution or branch but by the work I deliver to some of the worlds leading brands and that is whatever solves their problem. I also don’t think I need to be shaped out of same mould as conventional communication consultants. Big budgets and production houses doesn’t promise big ideas. Brains and great individuals do!
Becoming a serial entrepreneur
As time freed up my mind freed up too. Since I was a young boy I’ve had ideas popping out of my head. Innovations, designs, products, services and always hand in hand with the belief that everything is possible. I’ve scribbled most things down and been watching from the sidelines how those ideas of mine were brought to life by someone else. Speed is essential.
I set out to found more companies and brands. Through the years I’ve been involved in building companies like JAJDO (educational apps for kids), Mountain Works (winter clothing), Starty (social E-Commerce), Lyx.se (online magazine), Zero Point (sport compression) and in 2013 I founded the brand BAUX together with Petrus Palmér, Jonas Pettersson, Fredrik Franzon and John Löfgren. Of course without continuing to build my own strategy and design consultancy Johan Ronnestam.
On the side of my entrepreneurship, consultancy and surfing I’ve among others held a position as a board member of the Swedish comparison service Compricer.com and have also been a part of the Stockholm University GI/IHR Board. Hyper Island and Berghs School of Communication are hiring me on a regular basis to teach students about the future of communication and I’ve been offering my services in several social projects such as Ecpat and Blank Spot Project.
How about tomorrow?
Today I combine creating strategies and creative communication for global brands with taking part in running several companies in various industries such as fashion, technology and industrial design with traveling the world looking for great surf and great adventures.
I firmly belief that we do only have one life to live. I’ve decided to make the most of it, to pursue my passions and strive to follow my own path.
Depending on where in the world we live, who bring us up and what happens around us we’re shaped. We’re shaped not into what we want but into a mix of what our parents, friends and the society wants.
For as long as long as I can remember I’ve been trying to break free. Not from it all. There are tons of things I never want to be free off, but also tons of things I’d like to leave behind.
The most interesting journey lays ahead of me. It is covered in darkness. You and I call it the future. The future, that’s what I want to shape all by myself. I want it to be built on my beliefs, my ideas and my thoughts. I want to succeed. I’m willing to fail. But I’m not willing to let you shape it for me. In fact I’m prepared to fight the rest of my life to stay free and true to my own beliefs. This is what drives me. The continuous strive for freedom. Not money. Not status. Pure freedom.
Thru the years, leadership and success has been important, but enjoying life, loyalty and sincerity is what drives me further. I consider my part in motivating adidas to let fairly small Foreign handle adidas global digital World Cup campaigns my proudest moment in business. The birth of my two daughters Ebba & Linn is my proudest moment in life.
Things others have said about me
Finally. In what better way can I end this page about me than letting people I’ve worked with or for give their point of view. These recommendations has been copied from my LinkedIn profile. To you all who’ve taken the time to write down these fine words – I don’t know what to say but….THANK YOU!
I joined Compricer as its Chairman in 2006. At that time the company was a start-up. In 2009 we felt the need for adding expertise within marketing, branding and communication to Compricers board of directors. Thus, Johan joined us. Johan has contributed to Compricer´s success as the company has grown severalfold. Not only strategically through the board, but also operationally by providing advise to the company on matters such as advertising campaigns. Johan connects the dots between marketing, branding, communication, internet and mobile. He has opinions on many matters and does not refrain from saying what he thinks. Johan is fun to work with and always has a positive spirit. While writing this in October 2013, Compricer has recently been acquired by Schibsted and Johan has thus left the board of directors. We thank him very much.
Robert Ahldin – Edastra Venture Capital
Johan Ronnestam is one of a kind: always up to date, always with his own agenda and his own take on things. In the field of digital marketing and entrepreurship, Johan is one of the most talented and respected voices in Sweden and Europe. I have used Johan as a speaker at several of IDGs and Internetworlds event in Sweden. Every time, without exception, Johan delivers the best results with a satisfied organizer and a happy audience.
Magnus Höij – Editor in Chief, Internetworld
“Some words on how I feel about Johan Ronnestam: passionate, happy, high energy, focused, fast, larger than life, multi-skilled, creative, senior, experienced, unafraid, visionary hard working and fun to be around. Yes, he is a God damn superhuman and a big inspiration too!”
Martin Ragnevad, Owner , Daytona
“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Johan on numerous adidas campaigns– most notably the adidas +10 World Cup 2006 campaign. Being our lead digital partner at the time he played an integral role in ensuring a strong level of integration in the online environment and ultimately created a highly acclaimed website for this campaign. Johan has always been a person you can rely on for an honest assessment of the task at hand. Most of all he is a good humored guy you can have a lot of fun with with.”
Mark Schermers, Account Director , 180 Amsterdam
“We hired Johan and his partner for the first time outside of our lead internet agency and were very satisfied with the work of Foreign. In very short time Foreign managed through their creatives ideas and reliable work to get more and more projects within adidas which they always completed successfully.”
Dagmar Hugenroth, Brand Manager, adidas International
“Having worked with Johan I can recommend his services. He provides excellent creative and strategic planning skills with personable and results orientated delivery.
Matthew Turner, Marketing Director, Macallan
“Johan and I worked together, whilst he ran Foreign, in the capacity of creative digital advertising agency for adidas whilst I headed up the Global e-Marketing team. His agency Foreign, worked on various global project for the brand and delivered intelligent strategy and creative solutions especially for the series of World Cup sites which rolled out over the course of 12 months, globally, leading up to and beyond the 2006 World Cup. Johan was able to elevate the status of adidas within the industry and amongst our competitors by constantly innovating in the digital advertising space and pushing his agency to deliver original solutions for adidas, which have won numerous awards for their creativity, technical application and relevancy to the target audience. Johan is a passionate person full of ideas and bursting to try new things, and whilst I worked with him, it was a fruitful and exciting time for the brand and for the e-Marketing department. I am extremely appreciative of all the hard work, going above and beyond what was expected of him, that he continuously delivered for adidas during my tenure. He was a pleasure to work with, with an extremely optimistic and positive personality.”
Adelina La Vita, Global E Business Manager, adidas International
“Johan always provided an excellent view on our business through the perspective of our key consumers. The creative solutions he developed for our brand campaigns were top of class, innovative, and truly out-of-the-box solutions. He really contributed to taking our brand to the next level.”
Rene Bretschneider, Global Project Manager, adidas International
“Johan and I worked together on the adidas-Salomon digital account from 2002 onwards. He was not only a great guy to work with, but had good strategic insights into the direction of the company and its positioning in a competitive online arena, and was well respected by the client. A splendid chap.”
Paul Grier, Owner/CEO , Groovytrain
“Inspiration, ideas, skills and innovation – Johan has it all. He is the brand guru who combines marketing savvy, analytical skills and innovative problem solving. He’s easy to talk to, gets to the essence of complicated matters fast and a great listener. I recommend him strongly.”
Armin Osmancevic, Designer/Illustrator , WERK
“If you´re looking for a person that will guide you on the digital arena, help you with your communication platform or create business concepts adjusted to your products or company Johan is that person. I had the pleasure of working with Johan for the period of three years at Foreign and during that time I saw him create one great thing after another. He is also one of the few persons Ive met that masters both discussion and creation on numerous levels and subjects.”
Magnus Arvidsson, E Business Manager, Stadium
“Johan is one of those rare individuals who brings, tremendous flair, creativity, innovation, fun and great leadership to what ever stage in the communication process. Be it a richly complex multi platform creative concept, or a simple line of code in a banner. He was well liked, an inspiration to work with, and had a great collection of obscure indie / euro / pop tunes. I would recommend highly him to anyone, and I definitely hope that our paths cross again.”
Mo Lishomwa, Saatchi & Saatchi
“We had closed an agreement with one of our major customers in the Real Estate Industry. Their goal was to make their entire application environment accessible through a (new) Intranet. A major overhaul. It was a big challenge. On top of what we already knew about our customers’ business operation, their information systems and the tools, mainly SQL and SharePoint from Microsoft that we were using, we also needed to bring in new expertise about design and usability. In this latter part, is where Johan Ronnestam came in. So, our idea about how an information rich and functional information environment should look like, was enhanced with the expertise that Johan Ronnestam added about how to build in user friendliness in the Intranet that we were going to develop. We formed a great Project team, with a creative spirit both design-wise and technically together with a maximum of sharing of expertise about how to meet our customers’ business requirements – and beyond. Now, the result is a very satisfied customer who got an environment that sets new standards for informatics in the Real Estate Industry. Coincidently, also an international and independent consultant acknowledged our achievement and said that “…I have never seen anything like that…”
Timo Murberger, Founder, Computence
“One of the strongest characteristics of Johan is his ability to understand different business concepts and ideas, mix that with his deep and wide experience in e-commerce and deliver something that everyone understands and are willing to pay for. Another skill that Johan master is his coaching ability, never ever does he tell you what to do instead you are guided through his questions – very motivating. I can strongly recommend him for consulting, strategy, e-commerce and architecture.”
Roger Boström, CEO, Nordea Fleet
“As a business development professional, you appreciate most the clients who give time and integrity. Johan ‘s time was always precious yet he still managed to provide it whenever asked. Even if his decision was a ‘no’, there was a thoroughly understandable reason behind this, and when it was a ‘yes’ his enthusiasm and positivity shined. Above all else, my conversations with Johan were a large influence on why I decided to move into digital advertising.”
Laurence Lipworth, Sales Manager , Marcus Evans
“If you are looking for someone with deep understanding of brands, consumers and the technology to reach them, Johan is second to none. He is always a step ahead, and has the rare ability to be able to take you with him to the next level. His participation on our Textappeal Advisory Board is always hugely stimulating and rewarding.”
Elliot Polak, Owner , Text Appeal Ltd
“Johan is unique in that sense he is a multi task-person that not only can manage several areas, he’s best in each! He’s a very driven entrepreneur. Most of all he’s, I’d say, top 10 in the world in online communication & services. He has a business & communication perspective in every project but also, NO ONE can fool him in which technology that can be and should be used to achieve the goals.”