Re-imagining the Boutique Agency

Re-imagining the Boutique Agency

16. March 2023

A reflection from WeThink CEO and co-founder, Patrik Thelin

Last month, we had the joy of celebrating WeThink’s 10-year anniversary, a huge milestone in a journey that I’ve had the honour of being on from the very beginning. Aside from celebrating, I took the time to reflect on how WeThink has grown since its birth, and where we stand in the vast world of advertising agencies. More specifically, I considered how agencies are defined by their features and the services they provide, and how WeThink should be viewed based on those distinctions. 

We are a boutique agency – that’s something I’ve always been quite sure of. More or less everything seems to apply to us when I search online for the features of a boutique agency. A team of less than 30 people? That’s us. The ability to provide custom communication solutions for different clients? Definitely. Flexibility in deadlines? Delivering creative power with adaptable budgets? Strong communication with our partners? Yes, yes and yes. With so much to love, we wear the badge of the boutique agency with pride. 


Blurring the lines

Despite the good name of boutique agencies, there’s an angle that comes up often when I read up on its definition: boutique agencies tend to work with small, local clients and are entirely different to full-service agencies. It isn’t clear if these ideas come from outdated understandings of boutique agencies or perhaps different cultural contexts, but we’d like to offer a rebuttal. 

At WeThink, 90% of our clients are global brands, to whom we offer a full range of services for their localised or international needs. And although we’d certainly consider ourselves a boutique agency, WeThink is capable of providing the same services as most full-service agencies, all with minimal outsourcing. Considering that, it seems fair to see ourselves as a boutique agency that breathes new life into the term – the boutique agency 2.0 if you will. 


Small but global 

So how do we manage to elevate what a boutique agency can do? Of course, a major factor is understanding that the team is key. Our agency is built up of colleagues who bring a wide range of experience and skill sets to the table. Having a strong level of internal communication allows us to use our talents to understand our clients’ needs.     

But it goes beyond the agency itself. Since WeThink was founded 10 years ago, we’ve held onto strategic partnerships that initially helped us strengthen our position as a full-service lead agency in the Nordics, but later helped us grow internationally. A combination of an agency made up of different nationalities (including colleagues that are native speakers of Nordic languages) with a local network of knowledge enabled us to assist clients in entering the Nordic market, whether they be locally-based or coming from abroad. 

But to remain a boutique agency and also have a global standing, a global network is needed. By having worldwide strategic partnerships, like we have with other independent agencies through CommUnity International, we can see further than we would through our local lens. Communicating with other independent agencies gives us great insight into local knowledge of other markets, which has become a key factor in keeping up with the global world. 


The world is changing – we get it

Taking the time to think about what it means to be an independent boutique agency is necessary in my eyes, because it reminds us that the landscape of (digital) marketing is constantly changing. Businesses all over the world are rushing to launch themselves into the global market, and how they go about doing so comes down to what kind of agency they think suits them best. 

In building a global brand, you of course want to work with an agency who can support all your needs, but you’ll still appreciate partnering with a down-to-earth team of experts who can offer you a single point of contact – and all that, WeThink can provide. 


Feel free to reach out to me if you’re interested in learning more about our approach to being an independent boutique agency.  

Exporting the Nordic Mindset

Exporting the Nordic Mindset

3. March 2023

CEO and co-founder Patrik Thelin contemplates WeThink’s global output 

The other day I got to thinking – the world is chock-full of ways to approach being creative, what sets WeThink apart from the rest? I’d argue it’s the tool we’ve spent a decade perfecting: the Nordic mindset. Taking inspiration from our Scandinavian surroundings, Nordic thinking seeps into all our creative and digital communication solutions. 

But what is the Nordic mindset? To answer that, we might look towards the well-known Scandinavian exports: furniture, toys, art, architecture, sustainable living methods, to name a few. These products shape our view of Nordic thinking; seeing the elegance in a simple form of creativity, one that exudes modernism while evoking nostalgia. It pushes boundaries, but it’s also practical and self-aware. 

For most of the ten years WeThink has existed, Ghita Holst (my fellow co-founder) and I have been focused strategically on establishing our agency in the Nordic market. But lots has changed for us – after our first overseas client and campaign in 2019, we spent the pandemic exploring the potential of extending our reach outside the Nordics. And so far, it’s been a success! The strong relationships we’ve built with our many global partners are a testament to that.

It was through feedback from our global partners that I realised our special approach to communication solutions was powered by the Nordic mindset. In discussion with our creative director Thomas Bo Nielsen, we found that our unspoken philosophy is to put the idea first, meaning function comes before form. That may seem like a simple mantra to follow, but it’s exactly what makes our process special. Through always keeping in mind the story we’re setting out to tell, we allow that initial idea to shape our methods of storytelling, rather than the other way round. We work with insights in an analytical approach to ensure authenticity and relevance, ultimately capturing that elegant simplicity iconic of the Nordic way of doing things through creative precision.  

Based in a country that thrives off the export market, I see this agency as exporting a product of our own; Nordic-inspired creative solutions for our clients’ communication needs. Specialising in the export of our Nordic mindset has led us to success with 70% of our work happening outside of Denmark – in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Spain. And in some cases, clients have gone global with WeThink, letting us take charge of their creative and digital marketing strategies worldwide. Although our hardworking team hails from multiple walks of life, we come together to keep our export of Nordic thinking up and running, ready to take on new challenges from all over the world. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you’re interested in learning more about our Nordic mindset, and perhaps how it can help you.