Think Free: A Creative Q&A with Hans Tranberg

This summer, PRWeek UK and the PRCA Creative Group launched a new mentoring scheme to encourage and nurture creative talent in the PR industry. The programme has brought together Hans Tranberg, creative associate at Ketchum London, and Olivia Dick, senior account manager at Fever PR as mentor and mentee respectively. Ahead of National Mentoring Day, Olivia visited Ketchum’s London offices to meet Hans and find out what makes him tick and do some of his best creative work.

(L-R) Hans Tranberg, creative associate at Ketchum, and Olivia Dick, senior account manager at Fever PR


OD: How did you end up in your role at Ketchum?

HT: It was a series of events that landed me this role. I had just finished a 10-month freelance stint at Ogilvy and wanted to continue working in a big agency environment. I applied to Ketchum, as the company was creating a new creative role. I received glowing recommendations from people who were familiar with my work, and that really helped.

OD: How would you define your creative style?

HT: I think my creative style can be best described as FREE. Luckily, I work in an environment where this borderless thinking is encouraged, and this has allowed my creative style to evolve, but in a more refined manner. I’m all about Ketchum’s RISC process, which is rooted in the belief that you need research, insights and a smart strategy to develop good creative that resonates with people. Having been more PR focused in the past, I am naturally inclined to think about what will make a news story or a great headline, but I try to approach everything thinking with as little limitation or barriers as possible.

OD: Have you found your own way, or did you have any mentors?

HT: A bit of both. I’m very lucky as I’m surrounded by a lot of friends who are super creative and work within the fashion, lifestyle and communications industries. They have listened, guided and supported me, but I’ve also picked up a lot myself.

My professional and personal life just blends into one big melting pot, so a lot of the people I have worked with, or now work with, I also have a relationship with outside of the actual four walls that is the ‘workplace’.

I’ve been a creative thinker from a young age, so a lot of my drive and passion for it comes quite naturally.

OD: Five things that inspire you?

1) The Internet – I mean, it never gets boring or old, does it?
2) Japanese culture – how it references both old and new is absolutely amazing
3) Nature
4) Paris Hilton – lover her or hate her, she’s a style trailblazer, meme hero, an icon
5) My friends

OD: What’s been your biggest creative challenge to date?

HT: Being able to push brands out of their comfort zones. Brands often tend to worry about taking creative risks, which is totally understandable from a business perspective. But the ones that do take the leap, often see phenomenal results. What’s important is that the creative speaks to the audience and objectives of the campaign. That’s when it truly pays off, resulting in lots of coverage, increased brand awareness and improved reputation, all of which ultimately have a positive impact on the business’ bottom line.

OD: What tools, books, or ideas help you in your day-to-day work?

HT: I use tools and platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Soundcloud, but my work is very much rooted in people and insights. I get really inspired by real life, real people, real stories.

OD: Your most important client hates your latest work…what do you do?

HT: I pick up the phone and talk to them about it. I think often people can get caught up in emails, and sometimes even misinterpret them. Sometimes a good old chat over the phone helps you get to the crux of the feedback and see how your next proposal can be even ten times better than your first.

OD: What’s the creative idea you’re most proud of?

HT: As a full-time creative, you will see that some of the ideas you’re most proud never actually see the light of day! But I think one of my biggest successes is probably the Acer Selfie Hat, a campaign I worked on during London Fashion Week 2014. I still get coverage for it, four years later. I am working on a couple of projects at the moment that I think will be really amazing. Watch this space.

OD: For people like myself who are looking to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give?

HT: Create opportunities for yourself, both in and outside of the workplace.

If you spot a chance to come up with a creative idea for a client that would fit a product or a seasonal hook, write it up, present it to your account lead and if it all makes sense, be confident in presenting it to the client. In my experience, even if ideas don’t always come to life, having my thoughts on paper and sharing them with people over and over again really helps shape the concept and sometimes, even transforms it into something better down the road.