Transforming a Danish Silversmith to a Global Luxury Brand
Hans-Kristian Højsgaard, President & CEO of global luxury jewellery and watch company, Georg Jensen, delivered an inspirational talk on branding and organizational transformation at a leadership session with CBS MBA candidates on 23 February 2005.
Leveraging 100 years of experience based on unique design language, craftsmanship and superior quality, the leadership of Højsgaard has taken Georg Jensen on a transition from a Danish design company to a high profile player in the global luxury market. Featured as a “Design Icon” at a recent program on CNN, Georg Jensen has achieved admirable success in its transformation. The company now encompasses a wide assortment of silver, gold and precious stone jewellery, watches, gift articles for the homes and office, cutlery and seasonal declaration.
Competing in the lucrative global luxury goods market which is estimated to worth more than Euro 150 billion, companies need, among others, the brand muscle, thorough understanding of the consumers and rigorous marketing and sales strategy to succeed.
Højsgaard’s talk has given the students an insight on their transformation process. Taking a long term view and an ambitious target, brand relevance is considered the strategic imperative. All the communications of the company ranging from advertising, store design to pr activities need to be coherent and consistent in expressing the brand personality.
As a design company, innovation and trend scouting are key success factors. Denmark scores high on the creativity index in the world. But an internationalization strategy is crucial for a global brand. Højsgaard is keen on getting more international talent to Denmark. He applauded that CBS offered a full-time MBA program that brings in international students from all over the world.
Furthermore, Højsgaard emphasized the importance on having very passionate people in the team, defined as having the power of passion, high energy and thoughtfulness. He has developed HR policies and practices that match with this focus.
Højsgaard also expanded on leading change. As President and CEO, he has taken on the responsibility from the very beginning to be a rigorous communicator – through personal visits, information meetings and newsletter to the staff. Højsgaard remarked that getting the willingness to change requires earning the trust from the employees and communication is the key.
Combining the uniqueness of its design language and expressing that in its brand value vision, Georg Jensen is well-positioned to take advantage of the expanding global market for brand luxury. This is the second year that Højsgaard has accepted the invitation to speak with MBA candidates who are very keen to gain insights on leadership in action.