An Agency Exchange: What Finnish and Italian Ad Agencies Could Learn from Each Other

An Agency Exchange: What Finnish and Italian Ad Agencies Could Learn from Each Other

Above (left to right): Emma Varotti and Pauline Marie Korp

Pauline Marie Korp, creative strategist: “After six weeks of living in Italy, I can confirm that no one will ever grow tired of the Italian cuisine and the country’s beauty. There is something breathtaking to see on every corner and as a design enthusiast, Milan will never exhaust your senses.“

“This agency exchange was definitely an eye-opening experience. There are a lot of differences between Italian and Finnish advertising culture – in Finland we put more emphasis on the idea, whereas in Italy there seems to be more emphasis on the craft. At Caffeina, I got to know two different teams and many brands. I met plenty of talented and friendly people, who opened up the essentials of the world of Italian advertising for me.”

The importance of design increases when you don’t know the local language

Moving abroad alone without understanding the language gives the opportunity of seeing the world from another perspective – a perspective outside of your comfort zone.

“One quickly realizes the importance of design – colors, shapes and other visual elements become even more important when the words on packaging are unfamiliar,” Pauline continues.

However, the biggest lessons come from within:

“You spend a lot of time observing and thinking. You get a chance to see everything again in a new light and the world will never look the same again.”

Low hierarchies, work-life balance and teamwork made an impact

Emma Varotti, junior art designer, spent six weeks at hasan&partners in Helsinki without ever visiting Finland before. One of the first differences she noticed was the working language: at hasan&partners the language used is English, while in Italy the co-workers use their mother tongue.

“hasan is international through and through,” she says. “I joined a team, which shares not just the lunch table at the hasan campus, but also creative ideas and insights for the actual client work. The tones of creativity I learned at hasan are all about collaboration without judgment or hierarchies.

“Already as a Junior Art Designer I was able to participate in creative brainstorming with the whole team. The agency exchange exceeded all my expectations. I would recommend hasan for an agency exchange to all my colleagues in Italy!

“The main learnings I will bring with me to Milan are trusting the lower hierarchies in teamwork, creating more equal opportunities for everyone, and the ultimate work-life balance. On the other hand, I encourage Finns to be even more experimental and creative in their approaches, and push the boundaries.”

Providing professional development gives employees opportunities to grow

The experience of professional development is central to job satisfaction. The agency exchange can stimulate discussion and help pinpoint not only the good things, but also the areas of further development in one’s work and working environment. In this way, the exchange of individual employees benefits the whole work community.

“We want to provide our employees opportunities to grow, to learn about different working cultures and styles, to be inspired and to bring thought-provoking experiences to our work community”, concludes Taru Purola, people operations manager at hasan&partners.


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