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.
I left the sports industry and found myself working at Delphi Economics. There I developed internet strategies and concepts for the financial industry. Among my clients were Scandinavia Online, E-Trade and Avanza.
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.
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!
I take great pride in having been awarded for both my off- and online design work. Through the years I’ve designed everything from brands, logotypes, graphical guidelines, point of sale, brochures, websites, mobile applications, e-commerce solutions, posters, entire books, point of sale to products and even architectural monuments. I’m equally proud of winning the Swedish Design Prize seven times as well as being presented with the Editor’s Choice Award for the best stand at the Stockholm Furniture & Light fair.
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.
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.
Johan Ronnestam has more than 20 years experience as a global keynote speaker, and has successfully worked with hundreds of companies including Volvo Ocean Race, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, Google, ICA, Svenska Spel, Sandvik, IBM, Scania, TV4, Siemens, Kinnarps and many more.