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Rogier Bikker, Understanding the Youth of Tomorrow|读懂明天的年轻人

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Rogier Bikker is the Dutch founder and CEO of TOMORROW, a Shanghai-based creative agency with an ambition: to make Chinese youth fall in love with your brand. He says that his team of talented young people creatives gives him an edge in grasping what drives viewership, likes, and shares in the Chinese digital space. SHP+ had a conversation with Bikker to know more about his creative journey, his purpose with TOMORROW, and some of his most beloved projects.

Rogier BikkerTOMORROW的荷兰创始人兼首席执行官,而这家总部位于上海的创意公司有一个远大的目标:让中国的年轻人对你的品牌一见倾心。Bikker告诉我们,他的创意团队最擅于发掘观众观看,点赞和分享的驱动因素。SHP+有幸采访到了Bikker,而他与我们分享了他的创意历程,创立TOMORROW的缘由,以及部分他最喜爱的案例。

I only have two passions in life; one of them is running an agency, the other is China,” Bikker says. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, he didn’t face any objection in pursuing his passions. At age sixteen—the minimum legal age to register a company in The Netherlands—he opened his first agency to build websites from his bedroom. A few years later, he interned for Energize, a creative agency in Amsterdam. That’s when Bikker, only nineteen years old, came to China on an inspiration trip alongside a group of many established CEOs. All expenses paid by himself.

生活中我只对两件事极具热情;一是经营一家机构,另一个是中国,”Bikker告诉我们,他的家人很多都是企业家,所以Bikker在追求自己的梦想时,没有遇到任何(来自家庭的)阻力。在他年满十六岁那年,根据荷兰法律规定这恰好是自然人能够注册公司的最低年龄限制,他便创立了自己的第一家公司,在自己的卧室里做起了搭建网站的生意。几年后,他来到一家位于阿姆斯特丹,叫做Energize的创意代理公司实习。也正是那年,年仅19岁的Bikker跟随多位知名CEO,自费来到中国,而这次旅行给了他很多启发。

TOMORROW – Agency Reel 2020

His drive convinced the Energize’ founder of his passion for doing business in the country. At age 21, three days after his graduation, Bikker landed in Shanghai to open the Chinese outpost of Energize. The office worked with leading Dutch brands, like Heineken, KLM, and Miffy. For him, it was a deep and practical dive into the world of Chinese social advertising. Five years later, though, Bikker quit Energize to pursue an idea he was in love with.

之后,他用努力与对中国市场毋庸置疑的热情说服了Energize的创始人。在他21岁那年,毕业仅三天后,Bikker就来到了上海,为Energize在中国开设了第一处办公室。该办公室与荷兰领先品牌合作,比如喜力、荷兰皇家航空和米菲。对他来说,这是一次对中国广告界的深入实地考察。然而,五年后,Bikker离开了Energize,因为他要去实现他日思夜想的一件事。

Bikker in his first office in Shanghai in 2009, looking for his employee #01

2009年,Bikker在上海的第一个办公室里寻找他的第一位员工

I became very interested not just in China but also in Chinese brands. So I thought of Brand New China, a project for which I drove from China to The Netherlands using only Chinese brands and recording my journey,” he says. During this three-month saga, everything Bikker drove, touched, or wore, was Chinese. “The car, phones, computers, everything was Chinese, even my underwear. It was my way of telling the world that we can do it all with Chinese brands—and do it well.”

我不仅开始对中国感兴趣,还对中国品牌非常感兴趣,于是我想到了‘品味新中国’(Brand New China)这个项目。为了这个项目,我从中国开车到荷兰,全程只使用中国品牌,并记录下了我的旅程,”Bikker告诉我们。在这次为期三个月的长途跋涉中,Bikker开的、摸的、穿的全都是中国品牌。“汽车、电话、电脑,这一切都是中国的品牌,甚至是我的内衣。我用这种方式告诉世界,我们可以用中国品牌做所有的事情,并且做得很好。

Brand New China aimed to change the negative connotation of whatever product was “made in China.” It had all the ingredients for PR success, including Bikker himself. “A foreigner sufficiently in love with China and crazy enough to promote local brands in that way? The media loved it,” he says. BYD, Huawei, and Lenovo were a few of the names sponsoring the stunt. He had also talked to Alibaba for support, but it didn’t work out because of a conflict of interest.

“品味新中国”(Brand New China)这个项目旨在改变 “中国制造”这个标签对于任何产品的负面含义。这个项目具备公关成功的所有要素,包括Bikker本人。“一个深爱中国中国、疯狂地以这种方式推广本土品牌的外国人? 媒体最爱这种题材了,”他说到。比亚迪、华为和联想均是这次宣传活动的赞助商。他也曾向阿里巴巴寻求支持,但由于利益冲突,未能成功。

Bikker’s car in which he drove to Holland

Bikker开车去荷兰的那辆车

Alibaba wanted to sponsor it. But they were promoting their car repairing service, so they only wanted to invest under one condition: that the car would break, and they would send help. Of course, BYD didn’t like the idea. They gave us the car, so…” Bikker shrugs. “Funny story. The car didn’t break, but I crashed it pretty badly and had to have it repaired. It was my fault. It all happened in the middle of Uzbekistan.

阿里巴巴乐意赞助,但他们想要推广他们的汽车维修服务,所以阿里巴巴的投资条件是: (旅途中)汽车会坏,而他们会提供帮助。当然,比亚迪并不喜欢这个条件。但他们给了我们车,所以…Bikker耸耸肩。“说来有趣,后来车本身没什么问题,倒是我本人把它撞坏了,不得不找人修理。当然这是我的责任,当时我们是在乌兹别克斯坦中部。”

Back in China, Bikker worked with Chinese brands for a few  months. Still, he quickly realized that his value was in deciphering the ever-changing Chinese social media landscape to help foreign companies. That’s why he founded TOMORROW; to work for brands wanting to commit to the Chinese market.

回到中国后,Bikker与中国品牌合作了数月。不过,他很快意识到,他的价值在于解读不断变化的中国社会环境,为外国公司提供帮助。因此,他创建了TOMORROW,为希望进军中国市场的品牌提供服务。

We have the purpose of making Chinese youth fall in love with the brands we work with” Bikker says. TOMORROW does not specialize in one industry. Instead, they’re experts in an audience: the almighty and free-spending Chinese youth. With his youthful team of 45, including a crew of seven strategists, they’re always digging consumer insights through interviews and research.

我们的目标是让合作客户的品牌,赢得中国年轻人喜爱Bikker说到。TOMORROW并不专注于某一行业,相反,他们是专攻一个特殊消费群体的专家:多才多艺,且乐于消费的中国年轻人。在他45人的年轻团队中,有7名策略师,而他们喜欢通过采访和调研来挖掘消费者真正的想法。

If you want to have a younger approach, rejuvenate a brand, we are the agency for you. We know our audience; we understand what a 16-year-old girl from Xiamen watches on Bilibili; we know what a basketball kid from Chengdu thinks of your brand. And these are the questions we like clients to ask us,” Bikker says.

如果你想抓住年轻人的心,让品牌重新焕发魅力,我们就是你要找的代理。我们了解我们的受众; 我们知道一个来自厦门的16岁女孩在哔哩哔哩上会关注些什么;我们知道一个来自成都打篮球的小伙子怎么看待你们的品牌。这些都是我们希望客户问我们的问题,Bikker说到。

By design, TOMORROW‘s team is composed mostly of young Chinese creatives. Even with a foreign CEO, they can work from a local perspective. As long as the team shows superior creative competence, Bikker is indifferent to their foreign language skills. “If you forget about your team being able to speak fluent English, it opens up a large pool of talents,” he says. “I hire people that are the best in what they do, regardless if they speak English or not.”

根据设计,TOMORROW的团队主要由年轻的中国创意人士组成。即使CEO是外国人,他们也可以以当地的视角来工作。而团队最被看重的是卓越的创作能力,Bikker对他们的外语能力并不在意。“如果你放下让团队说一口流利英语的执念,就能打开一个巨大的人才库,”他说到。“我雇人只看专业能力,讲不讲英语并不重要。”

Nowadays, Bikker‘s work revolves around pitching, meeting clients, and giving feedback to his team. They are the ones that come up with the creative ideas, much often to Bikker’s wonderment. And they do it fast. Bikker stretches that speed is one of TOMORROW‘s founding pillars. The name has a double meaning: to state that they’re ahead in tomorrow’s trends and that they work fast to meet the demands of Chinese marketers.

如今,Bikker工作的重点是营销、会见客户以及为团队提供反馈。团队是创意的源泉,而他们的想法常常令Bikker惊叹不已。除了想法妙,速度也是TOMORROW的优势之一,TOMORROW(明天)这个名字有两层含义:一是表明他们在未来的趋势中处于领先地位,二是他们的速度能满足中国市场的需求。”

Before, brands needed a campaign every three to six months. Now, to “feed the feeds”, they need branded content every week. Still, it needs to be high quality and made to fit the same annual budget,” Bikker says. He adds that such content needs to be tailored to each social platform and, of course, to each client.

过去,品牌每三到六个月需要进行一次广告活动。现在,为了满足用户需求,每周都需要输出内容。同时,还仍需保证高质量,且不超出相同的年度预算。Bikker说到。他还强调,这些内容需要有针对性,从社交平台,到每个客户,都要有量身定制的内容。

TOMORROW has worked with industry heavyweights, including Budweiser, Burberry, Coca Cola, Absolut, Converse, Volvo, Ballantine’s, New Balance, just to name a few. For instance, in a recent campaign for Victoria’s Secret, they invited young consumers to reimagine what it means to be sexy. They did so through a series of thought-provoking testimonies from Chinese brand ambassadors. “They wanted a fresh approach, and that’s why they came to us. The campaign was all about redefining the stereotypical form of sexy, which of course, the brand is very much about,” Bikker says.

TOMORROW与不少行业巨头均有合作,包括百威啤酒,博柏利,可口可乐,Absolut(伏特加),匡威,沃尔沃,百龄坛,New Balance等等。举例来说,在最近的维密广告中,他们邀请年轻消费者来重新想象性感意味着什么。通过广告中中国品牌大使和她们一系列发人深省的发言,我们可以一窥究竟。“他们想要与众不同新鲜感,所以就找到了我们。这部广告的重点是关于打破固有思维,重新定义性感的,当然,这也是维密的核心,”Bikker说到。

Victoria’s Secret  x Combined Film

But the work Bikker is most proud of during his 5 years of running TOMORROW is a campaign for Absolut that aimed to support China’s creative nightlife. “We created a digital platform where anyone can submit their creative nightlife idea. Every week, we would choose one idea and fund it with ten thousand Renminbi. We then sent a massive box with vodka, event decoration materials, but no rules to follow”, he says. With a focus on second and third tiers cities, the campaign ran for over three years and supported over 450 events in more than 200 different Chinese cities.

但在他运营TOMORROW 这5年中,Bikker最引以为傲的项目是Absolut(伏特加)的宣传活动,活动的主题是支持中国有趣有新意的夜生活。“我们创建了一个网上平台,任何人都可以在这里提交他们的夜生活创意。每个星期,我们都会选出一个创意,然后投给它一万元人民币。然后我们送出一大箱伏特加,还有活动装饰材料,但不给出任何限制和规则。”他说到。该活动以二三线城市为重点,历时三年多,在中国200多个不同城市支持举办了450多场活动。

Absolut Nights_Edison Chen

Currently, TOMORROW is working with leading plant-based brand Beyond Meat. An industry and brand Bikker seems very excited about. “As lead agency, we’re given carte blanche to build a brand that Chinese youth will love, if we do our job well. In the two months of working with them we’ve done collabs with DOE, Innersect, Oatly, KFC and Puma. With even more exciting collabs coming up soon!” 

目前,TOMORROW正在与植基素食品牌的领跑者Beyond Meat合作。Bikker似乎对这一行业和品牌尤为感兴趣。“作为牵头机构,如果做得好,我们将全权打造一个深受中国年轻人喜爱的品牌。在与他们合作的两个月里,我们与DOE、Innersect、Oatly、肯德基和彪马都进行了合作。接下来还有更多令人激动的新合作!

Last week, Campaign Asia announced that TOMORROW got shortlisted for China Creative agency, Independent agency, Social agency and Specialist agency of the year 2020, following their wins as Boutique and Independent agency of the year in 2018 and 2019. Bikker himself got shortlisted for Agency Head of the Year, pending results next month.

上周,Campaign Asia宣布,TOMORROW入围2020年中国创意代理机构、独立代理机构、社会代理机构和专业代理机构的候选名单,这是他们在2018年和2019年赢得了年度小型和独立代理的奖项之后的新成绩。Bikker自己也入选了年度机构领导人的候选名单,获奖结果将在下个月揭晓。

TOMORROW is currently investing in its in-house video and photo production capabilities and on the lookout for more creative talent with hands-on video and photo production experience to meet the demand. It’s also keen on establishing more partnerships with production houses.

TOMORROW目前正在培养内部视频和照片制片创作能力,并在寻找更多具有视频和照片制片实战经验的创造性人才,以满足更多需求。同时他们还希望能与更多的制片公司建立合作伙伴关系。

Bikker can be reached on his Wechat ID: rogierbikker

如需联络,请搜索添加Bikker的微信:rogierbikker

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