Liisa Paasio helps people find their voices and then bring them into their companies. She has played a key role at Prönö since the early days of the company. Prönö’s CEO Helene says that Liisa’s skills feel like miracles. She is able to push so much out of you – and push you forward. Her skills have helped us at Prönö to come up with the name and the brand. Her style is unique and has remarkable depth.
Who are you?
Liisa: The most challenging question of this interview! I’m someone who needs to get comfortable talking about herself, not just her thoughts and ideas. I’m a prönö who works as a creative director with brands who believe that at their best, they matter to people, nature, society, and culture. Good brands can shape business, transform constitutions, and create culture.
Society, earth, and multiplicity in the past, present, and future, people, earthlings, and constitutions fascinate me profoundly. I’m an observer who seeks connections and narratives. I express my voice fearlessly for the common good.
You are one of the key persons who helped Helene to build the brand. She has said that without you, Prönö as a brand wouldn’t exist.
Liisa: It makes me humble to hear that! I fell in love with the idea of Prönö (especially being a prönö) the minute Helene pitched her baby to me. Helene is the real-life Wonder Woman – fast, strong, and bold, and I love being there to enable her to be a superhero. Everybody needs someone to crystallize the big picture and remind them about the essentials, purpose, and relevance. Together we built the foundation with a strong brand and strategy that is present today and curious about tomorrow.
She also said that you had played a pivotal role in developing the company: every time she was scared, you pushed her forward. How did you do this?
Liisa: I focus on what’s relevant and use multiple matrixes to define that. I believe in facing people, listening to their aspirations and values, and understanding their motivations rather than having one-size-fits-all theories, services, trends, best practices, or, worse yet, just opinions. And the key to finding the relevance and purpose is common knowledge, curiosity, and conversation!
Helene says she first met you when you were competing on a client case related to marketing. You won. Congratulations! She also says you are one of the best branders in Finland – why do you think she says that?
Liisa: Companies and brands are people. So I listen. I think. I connect. And then I ask. I feel. I trust. And then I speak. And all of this usually happens at the pace that the fast-moving world requires. Others have fast moves – I have a swift mind.
What is a good brand?
Liisa: Everything that applies to a good person applies to a good brand. Being good is getting complicated, politicized, and populistic. As long as the brand is associated with only marketing, we make poor decisions where brand relevance is measured with profitability and fame. What about the heritage that we leave, culture that we create, or values that build our actions?
If a potential start-up founder is thinking of starting a new company, how can she get started with branding? And which mistakes should she avoid?
Liisa: Have a dream/idea based on the future. If you found your idea on the current market or a trend, how do you make sure it will last? The complexity of the world tends to lead from a solution to another problem. Stay humble and curious. Instead of conquering or saving the world, regenerate it.
And PS – a logo is not a brand.
Can you share a story of one of your best memories of Prönö?
Liisa: It has to be when we put the seal on the name Prönö. It was so evident and delicious, but scary. Things that move us scare us.
Why do you think Prönö is great? What are its biggest benefits?
Liisa: The biggest and most essential is that Prönö creates and manifests a new culture and context for being an entrepreneur. This kind of entrepreneurship has emerged since start-up culture heated up, but now it needs to bloom into the new standard.
What type of projects are you most interested in at the moment?
Liisa: Big challenges that discover the future with multidisciplinary thinking and actionable brands.
Do you want to say something else?
Liisa: I can’t wait to see Prönö in action and as an acknowledged actor in business and society!
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