Eka Ruola is one of the most awarded creative directors in Finland both nationally and internationally. But while most creatives are happy to remain creative, Eka has gone further, taking on the business leadership mantle as CEO of hasan & partners.
In that role he’s helped the agency grow to become one of the leading modern marketing communications networks in the Nordics, expanding the brand to Sweden. In 2014 the company bought renowned digital agency Perfect Fools that operates in Stockholm and Amsterdam. Plus, he’s broadening the range of the group via new subsidiaries focused on insight and analytics, video production and PR.
In addition to expanding his company’s footprint, Eka’s also equipping his teams to create brilliant content, amplify it via all relevant channels and react to feedback within seconds. This move means revamping the agency model and getting clients ready for the age of story creation and conversation – an on-going dialogue between brands and their audiences.
“The most successful brands and CMOs,” he says, “will be the ones who dare to believe in the opportunities that are evolving in the new media climate and have the guts to walk where no one has tread before.” Eka believes that most CMOs are aware of this, but struggle to get the rest of the company leadership to believe and invest in something that lacks a track record.
At the heart of his mission to expand hasan & partners is the need to ensure the agency understands how to demonstrate its contribution to a client's business reality and provide relevant advice on business-critical decisions. “This is the only way to earn a seat at the boardroom table that so many agencies cherish, but so few seem to have access to. In our original home market of Nordics, we are able to call up almost any CEO and get a meeting. Not to talk about advertising but about growing their business.”
Among his new project is a company that he founded under the hasan & partners Group called Frankly Partners, a consumer insight agency. “I have the honor of being the chairman of Frankly, and I’ve been a part of building a vision that enables data and intuition to form a holy alliance. Frankly’s first full year was a huge success, and its future looks extremely bright. Data does boost creativity. It’s simply magical.”