Morten Bo Madsen has already – though he is only 30 years old – reached many milestones in his short career. He has now found his dream job after having worked different places. With the title as Communication and Marketing Director at Jensen’s Bøfhus, the biggest chain of steakhouses in Denmark, the job gives him a lot of exciting challenges. The company has a yearly turnover of 800-900 million DKK, has over 2.000 employees and last year the company experienced on of the biggest media hetz of all time in the industry.
High ambitions made the difference
Like many other young people Morten dreamed about having a career early in life. Very early on, when he studied at the Business School, it was obvious that his ambitions to try and achieve greater things in life were overshadowing what his co-students were dreaming about. Therefore, together with a good friend Morten started working on webpages – and this was in a time where affiliate marketing was still very new in marketing. Together they build up a niche-business and had freelancers to write articles to their webpages. When their business peaked they had over 50 webpages, which was a very good help financially during their study.
They kept finding new initiatives during their studies at the university, and they became more and more eager to try new things – especially at the beginning of Morten’s career, where he had a hard time finding his ‘unique’ calling in life. Morten also admits that many of his jobs after he graduated ended almost as quickly as they started. Morten started his career as Management Trainee at De Forenede Dampvaskerier – a large company located on Funen. Though Morten started as a Trainee he quickly gave his resignation to go work as District Manager at ALDI – a German food chain. After nine months the will to try something new yet overcome Morten and he started at Bestseller having the responsibility of 13 stores located in Holland. Shortly after Morten had his first child, he choose to move to Holland alone to try and strengthen the organization. Being away from the family was too hard, and shortly after he arrived to Holland he found his way home to Denmark – where he thought about new challenges and ideas. Morten explains the many shifts in jobs as:
– One of my many forces – and also my biggest disadvantage – is that I am extremely impatient. Things quickly bore me – especially if I do not see any development or challenges. Many see a shift in job as a bad thing, but I have always believed in myself and my own qualifications.
Jensen´s Bøfhus challenged me
After Bestseller Morten’s career started at Jensen´s Bøfhus, and after two years in the company – starting as an assistant to the top management, and today he is Communications- and Marketing director. The company has developed quite a lot from being very management-oriented to thinking about the customers and their wishes. Afterwards, the customer club ‘Club Jensen’s’ has been implemented and Morten has the overall responsibility. The customer club has gained 160.000 members in only one year, and it is the biggest club within this business. Though the company has developed with high speed, Morten has also gone through personal development:
– Though I am Communications- and Marketing Manager I am far from the ‘normal’ communication- and marketing profile as I do not see myself as a creative person and furthermore, I prefer to communicate orally. I am very number and business-oriented focusing on how different initiatives affect the company. The position has expanded my horizon and given me ballast in terms of how to be present on social media and how to handle the press. I now understand why politicians always give so imprecise answers.
Suddenly the storm was here
Extern communication and handling the press is two important factors Morten has worked hard with during the last year. In the fall 2014 Jensen’s Bøfhus ended up in court fighting for the name Jensen as another restaurant is called the same name. Though Jensen’s Bøfhus, from a court’s point of view, won the case a lot of bad media and critic from many in the population made it all end up in a so-called shitstorm in the various social medias. Because of the massive media explosion Morten had to help handle the crisis:
– If we look back in time it is all about preparation, and honestly we just was not well-prepared when the storm hit us. It is difficult to give anyone the right answer to how we should have handled the crisis in best manner, but we have learned so much from this experience, and today we handle the press in a more professional manner than we used to. Today we have several counselors connected so that all matters concerning the press is being disused and handled, which hopefully will prepare us better if another shitstorm should ever hit us again. Looking back that was basically our problem back then. We did not get to tell the public our side of the story – and if you ask me I believe we had a quite good one. Instead of being pro-active in our communication it all became a matter of damage control. One thing is certain… We will not make that mistake again!
Especially the media-focus from the shitstorm has given Morten new methods to how he shall approach the media.
– Today many hours are used on how we handle the press – which we are very private about and nothing leave the walls of our office. We try to prepare our self in many different potential situations that might threaten our image and brand. I believe it is worth the time and money. In general we have become more professional and I – together with others – have had different training helping me to handle the media, and how I may strengthen my performance towards the press.
– Often I work 2-3 hours with our media counselor before an interview, where we go through all possible questions and angles to the story. My counselor plays the devil’s attorney asking me all the critical questions while taping it. By doing so we may go through it over and over till we find the best sentences and the best way of answering the question. I have learned so much, and today I have gained an insight into why politicians answer the way they do. Our media counselor has worked as Spin Doctor for high and important politicians – so he knows what he is talking about.
There is no doubt that the media storm affected the company on sales but must Morten highlight something positive, it in turn that it has accelerated projects that otherwise were only in the pipeline to meet guests' needs and regain public confidence. A shit storm is not beneficial to anyone, but you may be tempted to say that it has given the organization a wake-up call, which has led very positive with them.
Cloth signals who you are
Morten is a stylish gentleman, where almost nothing are random. He is very focused on everything he does, whether it is a marathon with friends in a big city in Europe, his career or his outfit:
– I'm very interested in what I wear. The way you dress, sends a signal about the person and who you are. I am sure that your dressing could help to radiate seriousness - at least in the business context. If interested in your look, then you also seriously with your work. It is okay to play around the Jante Law - we must aim for high goals even when we are living in asociety where we are getting much.
Carlo A seems Morten contributes to a healthy break for our society. A society where people accept the state of affairs rather than proactively do something about them:
– I like Carlo As mission. Weare becoming a genderless society and we do not necessarily have to be satisfied with just having a shirt on. We should try to look smart and have a good presentable look- also on a normal Monday. It is great that you are going against the causal flow and that the ties are not only for celebrations – it is about changing your clothes for every day. I really think your ties are super cool.
THE 6 SHARP
What are the ambitions for the future - where are Jensens’s Bøfhus in 5 years?
– We have turned our image positive again and I believe that we in the catering industry will be what other respected companies as IKEA, H&M and Zara are in their industries. In about five years, we are the preferred casual dining restaurant in Denmark - where guests are coming daily, and perhaps also to special events in weekends. Jensen 's Bøfhus is for everyone - and we are working daily to live up to this.
What is the next big project for you /Jensen´s Bøfhus?
– The big project for Jensen Bøfhus and myself is that everything that we have built over the past year are about to be operated and harvested. There has been a lot of change over short time, and now we have found a balance where there is not so development and more focus the output of our work. Furthermore, we have some exciting projects going on, where the chain has to move in the long term. Here we are working with digital tables where you can order food – and in general develop our industry. We have now a size that means that we can and should be a frontrunner in the industry.
Personally, I would like to read a MBA or something the like that.
What is your best business advice?
– It sounds very simple, but it's really to believe in yourself, because if you do not believe in yourself, do one does. I have met many people, who have been really skilled, but they did not believe in themselves and they have lacked to advance further. You need sharp elbows and you have to step on someone on the way up – you have to do it and dare to take the risk. You have to work very hard to get success. "
What are the hardest privations in relation to a career?
– My social life is low priority. However, I have said from the start that I knew that I had to give up on some things. I do not see my family and friends as much as I did in the past. A major challenge is to be present in the moment, because I constantly focus on the next goal. I am constantly thinking of new initiatives and new developments. Sometimes I force myself to stop and tell myself that it is ok where we are right now. It is an expensive price to pay - but I will not compromise"
Do you have a motto?
– I do not have a motto, but I like the saying "Do more of the things that makes you happy." It is a good guideline for having focused on the right things in life and at the same time I reflect my career goals herein. And it is nice when things interact in that way.
What book is on your bedside table?
– I read books in a limited scope and it is probably one of my weakest sides. I think that I voluntarily have read one book the last 5-6 years, but at my work I have just read the book "Growth Management" which actually had some very exciting points and useful tools.
Name: Morten Bo Madsen
Age: 30 years old
Children: a 3-year-old son and a 4-month-old girl.
Residence: Born in Norway, childhood in Nr. Broby – live in Odense.
Education: Master of Science in Strategy and Organisation, Syddansk Universitet 2010
- Jensen´s Bøfhus, Communication - & Marketing director
- Jensen´s Bøfhus, Marketing Manager
- Jensen´s Bøfhus, Excecutive Assistant
- Bestseller, Country Manager Holland
- Aldi, District Manager
- De Forenede Dampvaskerier, Management Trainee