All posts by CoolBrands People

Meeting Aur See You in Bangkok

Bangkok-based Aur See You has worked with brands, including Red Bull, Nike and Philips, royalty, celebrities and political leaders. She consults, lectures and leads workshops on Dhaksa, an ancient holistic profiling system comprising personology, numerology and environmental pyschology. In short: she ‘reads’ people and houses, helping individuals through work or personal challenges by giving them the tools to chart the course of their own lives.

Since 2007, Aur has hosted and appeared on various television shows, including one on Channel 5, a TV station whose mission is to promote a happier and more enlightened Thailand. At its peak, she received around 700 letters a day from viewers and had 20k followers on a dedicated forum. She returns to Channel 5 in August 2014 for a new show in which she visits people in their homes, advising them on the connection between themselves and their surroundings. I meet this remarkable woman at her home in the Thai capital. A veritable oasis in the heart of the buzzing city, I almost feel as though I’m in the countryside.

Read more stories about my meeting with Aur See You.

Meeting Aur See You, Life Consultant
Meeting Aur See You, Life Consultant

Tags: Aur See You, Dhaksa, Feng Shui, Numerology, Metaphysics, UCD, User-Centered Design, Udesign, design psychology, environmental psychology, natural science, micro environmental science, architecture, environmental psychology, architecture 2.0, study of the whole of nature

Meeting Richard Lee in Shanghai

Hong Kong-born Richard Lee is the driving force behind PepsiCo China’s campaigns. He joined the company in 1997 as China Beverages Cola Director, becoming VP of Marketing in 2001. The creative innovator with a knack for meaningful branding – backed up with an MBA from Harvard Business School and BSc from the University of California – didn’t go unnoticed. In 2005, he was named by Ad Age as one of its Top 10 Global Players. And in 2007 was made VP Marketing for Global Sparkling Beverages, working out of PepsiCo’s New York headquarters before returning to the world’s most populous country as Chief Marketing Officer in 2010.


Lured back by the huge potential, opportunities and challenges of keeping up with the speed of change, Richard currently leads product innovation and brand activation for all PepsiCo food and beverage brands. I catch up with him to find out how he stays on top of his game in such a rapidly evolving market.

You either run with it – or get left behind – Richard Lee

Richard Lee, CMO PepsiCo China 未标题
Richard Lee, CMO PepsiCo China 未标题 

Read more stories on Richard’s landing page.

Tags: Richard Lee, meeting Richard Lee, Richard Lee PepsiCo, meeting Richard Lee at PepsiCo, Pepsi China, Richard Lee Pepsi, Meeting Richard Lee in Shanghai, creativity can change the world, Bring Happiness Home, Richard Lee Bring Happiness Home, Pepsi Bring Happiness Home, CMO Richard Lee, CBNWS, #CBNWS, CoolBrands, #CoolBrands, #CBPersonal, CBPersonal

Meeting Carole van Bekkum in Rotterdam

Creative director Carole van Bekkum lately joined an Amsterdam based design agency, that was about to undergo a major transformation. Together with the agency’s owner they decided to rebrand the company fundamentally. First of all, they created its new name, DreamCatch. Carole’s philosophy of dreams can be easily resumed as follows: dreams happen. Simultaneously, she visualised and realised DreamCatch to be her ideal working space. For Carole as well as for DreamCatch, this is a dream come true.

Meeting Carole Van Bekkum - Creative Director DreamCatch
Meeting Carole Van Bekkum – Creative Director DreamCatch

Carole van Bekkum has her roots in art education, and she still is an artist, drawing everywhere she goes. Her rich career as an art director reached its first peak when Philips Design hired her as a creative director. Reputed for being a ‘driver of innovation’, she was asked to lead a mission critical innovation in the underexposed food and beverage market. The accomplishments were successful on the levels of creation, innovation and leadership. Her matching of extreme imagination and management style pleased Philips to the point that Carole van Bekkum was invited to participate in a leadership training for high potentials.

How come a former art academy student achieves outstanding results in corporate environments? And how come the owner of an agency gives her carte blanche to transform their company?

I am meeting Carole van Bekkum in her native city Rotterdam to find out. After all, Rotterdam is the place to be when it comes to rebuilding and reinventing. She must have picked up that spirit here.

Read more stories on Carole’s landing page.

Tags: Meeting Carole van Bekkum, Carole, van Bekkum, Bekkum, Dream, Catch, Dream Catch, Dream Catch Create, DreamCatchCreate, DreamCatch, create for the brave and the ambitious, CBNWS, #CBNWS, CBPersonal, #CBPersonal, CoolBrands, #CoolBrands, CBPeople, #CBPeople

Meeting Vera Lopes – CEO Luxury Marketing Council Brazil

The best place to meet Vera Lopes is the elegant Rua Oscar Freire, the famous high end shopping street in the Jardins neighborhood, the Beverly Hills of São Paulo.

Amidst finely dressed Brazilians, I walk along concept stores that are designed like precious jewelry boxes. Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs present their designs alongside Brazilian brands such as Alexandre Herchcovitch and H.Stern.

Ah, there is a perfect spot under the green, leafy roof at the terrace of Café Santo Grão. Food and drinks are served the Brazilian way, with attention and friendliness.

Cafe Santo Grao in Rua Oscar Freire
Cafe Santo Grao in Rua Oscar Freire

Who is Vera Lopes? What I read is that she worked for 15 years for the world’s leading diamond company De Beers, after which she worked for a gold mining company. A widely traveled lady from Brazil, who must have thought: after diamonds and gold there is only one way up: the Luxury Marketing Council (LMC).

Reading the LMC website I found out that the Luxury Marketing Council was founded in 1994 and has its Head Quarters in New York. It has been operating as ‘a business-building, revenue-generating global community of CEOs and CMOs. LMC is considered the leader in the field of luxury marketing, setting the “gold standard” for the intelligent exploration of best marketing practices and trends in the luxury marketplace. And LMC is inspiring luxury brands to more creatively and profitably work together.’

Vera is the CEO of the chapter Brazil of the Luxury Marketing Council. I’m curious about her story…

Read more on Vera Lopes’ landing page.


Tags: meeting Vera Lopes, meeting Vera Lopez, LMC Brazil, LMC, Luxury Marketing Council, Luxury Marketing Council Brazil, Luxury Marketing Council São Paulo, luxury marketing, luxury brands Brazil, luxury branding Brazil, CEO LMC Brazil, #CoolBrandsPeople, CoolBrands People, CoolBrands Women, #CoolBrandsWomen,#CoolBrands, CoolBrands

Meeting Jacqueline Schäfer in Amsterdam

Dutch artist Jacqueline Schäfer graduated from Amsterdam’s prestigious Rietveld Academy in 1989. Since then she’s developed a highly recognisable style in her paintings which exude bright colours and draws on elements of cubism, pop art and graffiti. In 2007, she expanded her artistic talent to sculpting, producing a series of birds, cows and cacti in the same distinctive style.

Her sculptures and paintings are exhibited at galleries and art fairs in Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Milan, Knokke, Gothenburg and even Seoul. I meet her at her studio in Amsterdam where I’m immediately struck by the amount of artworks. Every wall is covered in a colourful explosion of paintings, big and small. And on every table and window-sill, statues and sculptures vie for a position.

Jacqueline Schäfer and her artwork: a 'Strange Bird' sculpture.
Jacqueline Schäfer and her artwork: a ‘Strange Bird’ sculpture.
Jacqueline Schäfer - Artist of Paintings and Sculptures.
Jacqueline Schäfer – Artist of Paintings and Sculptures.

Read more stories on Jacqueline’s landing page.

Tags: Meeting Jacqueline Schäfer, Jacqueline Schäfer, Jacqueline, Schäfer, Artist, Painter, Paintings, Sculptures, Strange Birds, Happy Cows, Vreemde Vogels, CoolBrands People, CoolBrands Online Personal Reputation, CoolBrands.

Meeting Diego Ruzzarin in Singapore

‘Design Thinker’ Diego Ruzzarin, director of the Brazil office of Enivrance, divides his time between São Paulo, Singapore, Dubai and Mexico. Co-author of Brazil Food Vision 2020, in which he showcases his innovative vision on food design, Diego graduated with a Food Design Master’s Degree in Italy and lectures on his revolutionary ideas at the world’s leading design universities.
Together with the Brazilian government and 13 industrial food companies, Diego is busy positioning Brazil as a global food provider, food innovator, and lifestyle provider under the moniker ‘New Made in Brazil’.

I’ve met Diego before in São Paulo but today I’m meeting him at the other end of the world – Singapore. Here, the government has identified the creative design sector as one that will stimulate economic growth. And Diego has been invited by the Design Thinking & Innovation Academy (DTIA), a programme of the Design Singapore Council, to conduct a workshop for business owners and entrepreneurs on ‘Food Design’.

Diego Ruzzarin – Design Thinker and Director of Enivrance Brazil
Diego Ruzzarin – Design Thinker and Director of Enivrance Brazil

Design Thinking occurs at the intersection of art, craft, science and business – Diego Ruzzarin

How would you define Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a process used to improve products and services. It combines empathy, creativity and rationality to better meet consumer needs. Unlike Analytical Thinking, Design Thinking must be grounded in multi-disciplinary academic skills and interests.

What makes you a good Design Thinker?

I believe a good Designer Thinker should be a mix of at least three disciplines: strategy, design and psychoanalysis. In my case, I can also add that I’ve worked in several different countries across the globe. Next to life experience, this give me a better cultural understanding.

Read more stories on Diego’s landing page.


Tags: Bolson Ruzzarin, CB Personal, CBNWS, CoolBrands, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, Design Thinker, Design Thinking, Diego, Diego B. Ruzzarin, Diego Bolson, Diego Bolson Ruzzarin, Enivrance, Enivrance Brazil, Enivrance Singapore, food industry, food products, Food Vision 2020, Human Centred Design, Industrial design, Meeting Diego Bolson Ruzzarin, Meeting Diego Ruzzarin, Ruzzarin, SBA2014, Seleção Brasileira de Alimentos

Meeting Shobha Sairam at #CannesLions

Logo CoolBrands WomenWe are at Cannes Lions International Festival Of Creativity.

In our trip ‘Around the World in 80 Brands’, we meet brands with a
purpose and people with a vision.

Our storytelling expedition into the Cannes Lions leads us to meet up
with some of the most interesting people from the creative industry

We recorded a short video quote that serves as an entry point; either
into them as a person or into their company.

Meet Shobha Sairam, Group Planning Director at Deutsch NY.

Meeting Shobha Sairam, Group Planning Director Deutsch NY, at #CannesLions - CoolBrands
Meeting Shobha Sairam, Group Planning Director Deutsch NY, at #CannesLions – CoolBrands

Tags: Shobha Sairam, Meeting Shobha Sairam, Shobha, Sairam, Deutsch NY, Deutsch Inc., Group Planning Director, #CannesLions, Cannes International Festival of Creativity, CoolBrands, CBNWS, CoolBrands Nextworld Storytelling, CoolBrands Online Personal Reputation,

Meeting Clay Mills in Amsterdam

Since arriving in Amsterdam in 2010, Clay has prioritised building a business at W+K Amsterdam where creativity equals effectiveness. And in 2013, won the prestigious ‘Creative Effectiveness Lion’ award at Cannes for Heineken. Clay, it seems, is not only building brands but also growing business.

I’m about to meet Clay Mills, managing director for Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, which is an independent advertising agency.

I meet up with him against a backdrop of 17th-century canals and gentrified warehouses in the über-charming Jordaan district of Amsterdam – the most authentic and creative part of the city.

While I order a coffee at one of the many cafés, I take a look at my notes on Clay.

From what I read, I can tell that Clay has been around. He started his career in advertising in New York and then moved to London. From there he made a career move to Shanghai and now he is based here in Amsterdam.

Having international experience and knowledge of different cultures is obviously a big advantage when leading an international agency, working for global brands.

I’m wondering what the secret is behind his success…

"De Jordaan" - Amsterdam
“De Jordaan” – Amsterdam

Read more stories on Clay Mills’ landing page.
Clay Mills on Scribd

Continue reading

Meeting Kola Oyeyemi in Nigeria

President of ADVAN –

I’m in the South of Lagos, in Nigeria, a growing metropolis and the commercial heart of Nigeria. With an estimate population of 21 million people, Lagos is the second fastest-growing city in Africa. And not only Lagos, Nigeria as a whole is growing fast. The country is now the largest economy in Africa – a place I should definitely keep an eye on.

Today, I will be meeting Kola Oyeyemi, president of ADVAN – the Advertiser’s Association of Nigeria. He has a broad experience in the field of marketing as I read from his Linkedin, currently being the General Manager Consumer Marketing for MTN, the largest telecom provider in Africa. But I am sure this is not the only reason he got re-elected as ADVAN President. The fact that he is an alumnus of Columbia Business School in New York must help as well to develop a global view on marketing and business in general.

ADVAN is hosting an event I’m heading to now, in Victoria Island. This organisation has been around for more than 20 years, shaping the marketing landscape in Nigeria. Kola will be speaking here, as he’s just been re-elected president of the organisation. I wonder what he’s got to say and how he sees the industry developing.

Read more on Kola Oyeyemi’s landing page.

Tags: Kola Oyeyemi, Kola, Oyeyemi, ADVAN Nigeria, ADVAN, ADVAN President, General Manager Consumer Marketing MTN, MTN Nigeria, Ignite Africa, #CBPersonal, #CBNWS, #CoolBrands, CBPersonal, CBNWS, CoolBrands

Meeting Mart Meijer (NL)

Mart Meijer is op zijn zachtst gezegd eigenzinnig. Deze financieel adviseur had dan ook piloot willen worden, en tja, van Mart hoef je niet te verwachten dat hij braaf de regels volgt, anders gezegd: je kan de piloot niet uit de accountant halen.

Zijn eerste bedrijf, IFS Finance, stamt alweer uit 2006. IFS staat garant voor degelijk financieel advies én uitvoering daarvan. Dat is een bijzondere combinatie, want dat betekent dat je je niet mag inschrijven bij de branchevereniging NBA en je je ook geen accountant mag noemen. IFS Finance zet daarmee de accountancywereld op zijn kop.

“Wanneer ik mijn klanten financieel advies geef, dan kan ik moeilijk zeggen…’En ga nu maar iemand anders zoeken om het uit te voeren.’

“Ik wil het leven van mijn klant gemakkelijker maken, zodat de ondernemer zich bezig kan houden met zijn core business. Ik snap wel dat er een belangenverstrengeling kan optreden bij de grote accountancy bureaus, maar zo ga ik niet met mijn relaties om.”

Met de manier waarop hij dat doet, onderscheidt hij zich danig van zijn geregistreerde collega’s.

Lees meer verhalen over Mart Meijer

Meeting Mart Meijer, Financieel Adviseur

Tags: Mart Meijer, IFS, Clyff, IFS Insite, IFS Interim, ID Insite, IFS Finance, Director of IFS Finance, Meeting Mart Meijer, Beegua, Clyff, Exact, #MartMeijer, Mart, Meijer, #CoolBrandsPeople, CoolBrands People

Meeting Heela Yang Tsuzuki in New York

We arrive at New York’s Kennedy Airport around noon and get a cab into Manhattan. We’re here to meet Mariam Salzman, global trendwatcher, Cindy Gallop, author of Make Love Not Porn, and Heela Yang Tsuzuki, a successful entrepreneur who is making her way to the top in the global cosmetics industry.

As we enter the Queens Midtown tunnel, I take out my Ipad to look at my notes on Heela.
“She has everything to be successful,” I tell Anouk, who has just closed her eyes to catch up with some of the jet lag.

“Why is that?” she asks, without opening her eyes.

“She has financial experience after working at Goldman Sachs,” I read from my iPad screen. “She acquired marketing experience at L’Oreal and Clinique. And business strategy experience working for Wellstone in Brazil.”

We emerge from the tunnel to a brilliant view of Manhattan’s skyline. “Always impressive!” I say admiringly.
“What is?” Anouk says, her eyes still closed, “the diversity of her experience or the fact that she worked for American, European and Brazilian companies?”

“Actually I was talking about the Manhattan skyline.”

Anouk opens her eyes as the taxi turns right onto Park Avenue.

“Where are we going?” she asks.

“We’re meeting her in her favourite place in Manhattan, Central Park,” I reply.

“Cool, I could do with some nature!” Anouk says as she closes her eyes again.

New York

We get out of the cab by the Apple Store on 5th Avenue and cross the road to head into Central Park.

“We’re meeting Heela at the pond,” I tell Anouk, who is making a peace sign to the John Lennon Memorial.

“Is there something else we need to know about her, before we meet her?” Anouk asks.

“Let me see,” I say, as I scroll through the notes. “She’s a graduate of Harvard Business School.”

“That probably means she’s not just smart but also well connected through the alumni network,” says Anouk.

“She’s investing in a cosmetic business in China and Brazil,” I continue. “Probably Russia, India and South Africa are next… to complete the BRICS countries.”

“There she is,” I say, pointing at a smartly dressed woman standing by the pond. “I recognize her from her LinkedIn profile picture.”

A few minutes later we’re strolling around the pond.
“This is one of the best places to escape from Manhattan’s hectic urban life,” Heela says. “It’s all about finding the balance. On the one hand, I’m running a global business, building brands. And on the other hand I have to reconnect with nature and do my yoga surrounded by plants and trees.”

“When I Googled you I saw that you have a Korean background, a U.S. education and you worked for companies in France and Brazil. That makes you kind of a global citizen,” I say.

And I have a Japanese husband,” Heela adds with a smile. “I love the different cultures in me. It allows me to have a better understanding of what drives people. Which is again very helpful in branding and marketing.”

“Most of your investments and consulting is in cosmetics,” I say. “How come?”

“What fascinates me is the psychology behind it. The way the female mind works, consciously and unconsciously when sitting in front of a mirror. Do you know how many products a woman applies to her face on a daily basis? Seven or more!” she says, without waiting for our answer.

“What is going on in a woman’s head when she looks in the mirror? What does she see? What does she feel?
Do you know how many times a woman brushes her eyelashes when she’s applies mascara? Seventy!
It’s psychology more than anything else.
Branding and marketing cosmetics is a totally different game. And it’s a game I love to play.”

Read more about Heela here:


Tags: Branding and Marketing specialist cosmetic brands, Heela Yang Tsuzuki, Heela Yang, Heela Tsuzuki, Heela, Yang, Tsuzuki, Cosmetic, Marketing, Branding, Expert, specialist, CoolBrands, New York, NextWorld Storytelling

Meeting Katja Rogova – CoolBrands Curator for Russia

We’re heading over to the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam to meet with Katja Rogova, a Russian brand consultant who we met last year at the launch of our latest book Around the World in 80 Brands. At the time she asked us why no Russian brands were featured in the book and we got talking about the transformation of the Russian market in the last decade.

Now as we’re about to launch our NextWorld Storytelling project, we got back in touch with her and asked whether she’d be our curator for Russia.

Ekaterina Rogova CoolBrands Curator Russia
Ekaterina Rogova CoolBrands Curator Russia

Katja is waiting for us outside the Hermitage, looking out over the canal and the bridges. “I like this spot,” she says. “Even though it’s totally different, it reminds me of my hometown St. Petersburg with the nice views of the water and the bridges… But let’s go and see the museum, I read there’s a great exhibition about Peter the Great. Do you want to go and check it out?”

“Sure,” says Anouk. “As long as you also tell us more about the Russia of today and its culture and brands!”


As we pass through the exhibition spaces, I ask Katja what she thinks of our Amsterdam Hermitage. “Well,” she says with a little frown, “I guess the exhibition is quite interesting, but the building is nothing like the real thing. I think you’ll have to come to St Petersburg with me soon so you can I understand what I mean.”

“Oh I think you could convince us quite easily,” Anouk says as we head to the garden café for coffee and cake.

“So Katja,” I say after we’ve settled in a shady corner of the garden, “we met briefly last year, but tell us again about your background. How did you end up in branding and what brought you to Amsterdam?”

“Well,” says Katja, “I was born in a family of doctors, so everyone expected me to study medicine, but I had this passion for travelling, learning about new cultures and meeting interesting people.”

“Ok,” I say, “and where did the interest for branding come in?”

“Brands intrigue me,” says Katja, “I wanted to understand how they work and how they trigger such loyalty in people. So I studied psychology in St. Petersburg and then moved to the Netherlands to study branding and understand why people choose to belong to a certain group by buying particular brands…  How brands can become a religion.”

“And how did you like studying in Amsterdam?”

“I enjoyed the international environment, but I heard a lot of stereotypes about Russia,” says Katja. “Some were funny, but often they made me sad. So that’s when I decided that I wanted to work on changing stereotypes of countries. Now I’m building my career in two markets: Russia and the Netherlands.”

“Impressive!” I say. “You’re really building bridges and breaking down walls! What would you say to becoming our NextWorld Storytelling curator for Russia? Finding interesting Russian people and brands and telling their story as part of our project, hopefully also improving Russia’s current image…”

“Sounds great,” says Katja. “I’d love to be a part of it!” 

Tags: Katja Rogova, Ekaterina Rogova, Rogova, Katja, Ekaterina, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, curator Russia, coolbrands curator Russia, meeting katja Rogova, meeting Ekaterina rogova