EBS Alumnus Sven Schondelmaier (right) and his founder partner Sascha Dreschinski.
How did the idea for WHYAHEAD come about?
That’s a long story. It actually took 13 years from “hey, let’s start an agency!” until we founded WHYAHEAD. My partner Sascha and I met for the first time in 2007 and immediately decided we wanted to do something of our own. At that time, the idea was to set up a “normal” advertising agency. Gradually the whole thing became more and more specialised. Of course also through various other jobs and experience, including our flat share where we lived together at that time. So, it all took some time. In fact, until we had matured personally, and it became clear to us that we wanted and needed to do something with a social impact. Nobody needs another advertising agency with glossy colour photos.
What is so special about WHYAHEAD?
WHYAHEAD is dedicated entirely to the topic “social transformation”. Social transformation of society, accelerated even more now by Corona, is in full swing. Meanwhile, issues such as sustainability, but also social responsibility, are very much mainstream. As a result, of course, people’s consumer behaviour is also changing. And companies must adapt to this if they want to play a role in the future. As a company, thinking about social impact is no longer a nice-to-have, in fact quite the contrary.
We support companies during this transformation. We bring them in line with themselves and society, so to speak. We have developed an explicit roadmap for this, our Social Transformation Roadmap. The journey begins by defining the higher purpose of a company, continues through business strategy and corporate culture, and finally “ends” in internal and external communication. We offer this entire “keyboard” of services. The key we press depends entirely on how the company is currently positioned on the market. In other words, we talk for instance to a social business or a conservative family business that is looking to completely reposition itself.
Its special aspect is that we are guided by the principles of Conscious Capitalism. This economic theory, together with numerous studies, show that it is economically speaking better not to focus exclusively on profit and shareholder value but rather on all stakeholders. This means primarily the company’s own employees, but also suppliers, partners, consumers, and investors. So, in this case, too we are balancing two things: namely economic efficiency and social responsibility.
What are the biggest challenges on the way to starting a business?
I guess the most important factors to uphold are perseverance and confidence in your own vision. You mustn’t get distracted and above all lose your nerve. We need to explain what our first steps at WHYAHEAD are. And while many see the necessity, they also question it to a certain extent or consider it a luxury they cannot afford. To them it sounds too good to be true that you can do good and at the same time be more successful economically. You have to persevere with your vision but also act. Because “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” Our purpose and our claim are “changing business to change the world.” And that’s exactly what we get up for every morning.