Brand manager for Danish company Zone Denmark looked for external assistance in order to move the brand on its journey from dusk to dawn, and found, among others, VE2.
The design trio VE2 is now a consistent part of the external team that challenges and develops Zone Denmark.
Do you remember the film in which ‘help me help you’ was spoken with different tones of voice to express different emotions? Well, it might require someone of a certain age to effortlessly remember the title of the movie, so we will help you out: Jerry Maguire.
The conversation turns to this legendary picture as DANISH™ meets up with Design and Brand Manager of Zone Denmark, Michael Bruun, to discuss the progress in moving Zone Denmark from a commodity to become a design brand.
It’s not the quote that the new design and brand manager of Zone Denmark is most fond of, though.
The quote is from a scene in which National Football League players finish the season by saying goodbye to their managers. Everyone is shaking hands, but manager Jerry Maguire (aka Tom Cruise) is surrounded by the long arms of his player in one giant hug. When Michael Bruun accepted the challenge of revitalising the brand after years of decline and turn it into a profitable business, he sought to collaborate with external designers that would not only assist with lifting Zone Denmark out of the mist but would also contribute the honesty, professional competency and loyalty throughout the process that would result in one giant hug.
With these criteria in mind, Michael Bruun chose the small Danish studio VE2, consisting of three co-owners with very different interests and educational backgrounds and thereby qualifications.
‘By teaming up with VE2, we combine knowhow on colours and materials and gain insights on developing quirky ideas into actual relevant products. From the very beginning, my experience not only gave me a great understanding of our current position in the market and where we wanted to go, but also of the steps and the patience needed to get there,’ Michael Bruun explains.
The awards Zone Denmark has received since the beginning of this design journey speak for themselves: four awards from international shows (Maison et Objet), two iF Design Awards, one German Design Award special mention and a Red Dot Award since he took the job in 2015, and most of them gained in collaboration with VE2. But Michael Bruun would like to add a comment:
‘It is in fact truly remarkable how VE2’s guidance and market understanding have given us the opportunity to create award winning designs while at the same time staying true to our planned butterfly-jump strategy in order to maintain the credibility of the brand. This is some achievement!’
Shortly after entering Zone Denmark, Michael Bruun installed a creativity room in the company. In here you are not allowed to bring any kind of electronic device, which means no telephone or tablet. In fact, you can only enter with a desire to stare at the wall!
‘It took quite some time before my colleagues bought in to the idea,’ he smiles – a smile that reveals how that idea became a success.
‘I can now say that we all love it! And it is fair to say that the team members believing in their own creativity contributes to even higher quality when working with VE2.’
Michael Bruun explains how their meetings are planned with the purpose of developing new products, ideas or solutions and allow time for ‘surfing’ creativity with no specific agenda:
‘With six or seven people in the same room all confident in the many possibilities, the sky is the limit,’ he says, and continues:
‘Six or seven people in the same room sometimes also means equally as many opinions – and also within VE2. This, however, just makes it more interesting to work with VE2, as it reveals not only the individuals’ strong competences but also an honesty and a dedication to their profession and in wanting to embrace new paths in the future for Zone Denmark. You really want to hug them!’