Meet Liis Tippel, CEO of TULI
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I was born and raised in… Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Our country has emerged from a former communist state into a digitally advanced state and blooming economy in less than 30 years. I say that with pride and joy. During my childhood, we had neither prosperity of any kind nor the state’s respect for the well-being of citizens. I am lucky to be part of today’s Estonia that cares about its people – the very foundation of a healthy society.
I studied to become a… saxophonist and have a diploma as a wind orchestra conductor. I had two passions with regards to the academic world – music and TV journalism. Estonia was regaining its independence in the early 90s and new possibilities were opening up on the verge of my university years, so I went on to pursue a master’s degree in Electronic Media. While studying, I started working on TV as an editor then host and started producing TV ads. After graduating, the next logical step for me was to leap into the field of advertising and marketing where I focused on brand building and communications.
When I started in the marketing industry… I never expected that I would be a part of such an exciting field and 20 years later with experiences spanning across industries including automotive, ICT, real estate and the public sector (state brand). All these industries have changed dramatically over a very short period. Take for example how state brands were developed back in the day and now how a small pool of tweets could change the whole perception of a place. The possibilities and power of brands to leave an impact have grown significantly.
If I could change one thing about the marketing industry in 2020, it would be… having cause-based marketing take centre stage everywhere, at rapid speed. We just do not have more time to buy as the planet can no longer sustain growing populations. Brands that have reacted to environmental and social issues are aware that sustainability sells but that the follow-through is what hits the right chord and keeps them connected to consumers. People’s trust in brands to help “make the world a better place” has become the ultimate currency for brand equity and should no longer be just a PR or CSR stunt. There is an urgent need for brands to rethink the way they do business. I believe in the new generation of talent coming into the marketing industry, armed with a new and relevant set of values. My advice: Take the lead!
One thing Covid-19 has taught us… I truly believe that consumers and producers can finally reflect on, and acknowledge, overconsumption during this period. I am hopeful that consumers have become more aware and understand their individual impact on the environment and are working towards a gradually emptier, trash-free shopping basket. This can lead to better products and services and thus more sustainable companies. I also believe that my favourite yet controversial quote by Swiss designer Yves Béhar – “advertising is the price companies pay for being unoriginal” – will become outdated in the very near future. This new reality we are living now is giving birth to many interesting new players and brands that will set new standards within our industry.
One thing most people don’t know about me is… I am a woodturner and produce wooden light fixtures with my 74-year-old father. The best father-daughter time for me is spending at least once a week in his workshop.
One fun fact most people don’t know about my country… There are only 1.1 million people in the world that can speak Estonian thus it is often referred to with a cute nickname – “the fairy language”.
*Note: Liis's last day as CEO of the Estonian Marketing Association (TULI) was on December 4th, 2020.
This is part of a series of monthly interviews with heads of national advertiser associations in WFA membership.