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Marco Mäkinen

Born February 11, 1965, Helsinki

MA 1990, University of Helsinki
Executive MBA 1991, Helsinki School of Economics

Vice President 2013–, TBWA Helsinki
CEO 2012–13, TBWA Helsinki
Board member 2012–, Vallila Interior
Managing Director 2007–12, SEK & GREY
Director of Strategy, SEK
Chief Strategy Officer 2000–05, TBWA/PHS
CEO 1999–2000 Ego Taivas Media Lab
CEO 1997–99, AMG Helsinki
Customer manager 1999, Taivas

Bulkista brändiksi - käsikirja kasvuun ja kannattavuuteen (‘From bulk to brand – a handbook for growth and profitability’) Marco Mäkinen, Anja Kahri, Tuomas Kahri, Ossi Ahto. Docendo 2016.
Brändi kulmahuoneeseen! Marco Mäkinen, Anja Kahri, Tuomas Kahri. WSOYpro. Porvoo 2010.
Nokia saga: kertomus yrityksestä ja ihmisistä, jotka muuttivat senI (‘The Nokia saga: a story of the company and the people who changed it’). Gummerus. Jyväskylä, Helsinki 1995.

Written by Tiia Niemelä and Marco Mäkinen
Translated by Matthew Billington

Stories inspire – in business too

Marco Mäkinen wrote his Master's thesis on the non-fiction novel and narrative frameworks. His thesis for his minor, comparative literature, was something completely different: Kun veri täyttää tyhjyyden: Bret Easton Ellisin American Psycho ('When blood fills the emptiness: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis').

Mäkinen became acquainted with Bret Easton Ellis, the author of American Psycho, during a year studying in the United States. His professor of comparative literature had enthused about the book from the moment it was released in 1991 and suggested it to his students as the subject of their theses. Mäkinen became interested; later he even interviewed Ellis in Finland for Image magazine.

According to Mäkinen, the protagonist of American Psycho, the totally cold and emotionless Patrick Bateman, is a perfect symbol of Wall Street capitalism, which has made the book a cult classic. Although the book is gruesome reading in its attention to detail – Ellis used post-mortem reports as reference material – it is also a skilfully drawn metaphor for the world of capitalism.

Mäkinen has always been interested in narration as a concept and a framework, narration itself, not so much as it is manifested in a particular work. In his current job he has seen the subjects of his theses come to life. Much of his work deals with brands and corporate stories.

– I try to provide companies with stories and frameworks that describe their relationship with the world, and the way I do it is through a narrative framework.

One example of applying a narrative framework in practice is Finland’s nation branding project, to which Dr Mäkinen contributed with the story of Nokia Corporation. In the early 1990s, before Nokia became a great Finnish success story, he had already noticed Nokia people telling the story of their company to illustrate the kind of company they were.

– Later the story changed, and today the story of Nokia is different again. Stories live and evolve, just like companies.

Marco Mäkinen in New York. Photo: Hanna Karppinen.


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