Morten Albæk, Group Senior Vice President for Marketing & Customer Insights, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Aarhus, Denmark

There is no question that Morten Albæk thinks about marketing in new ways.  He is responsible for leading the transformation of wind turbine manufacturing company Vestas Wind Systems A/S from a product-oriented to a customer-focused organization. He has also created WindMade™ with a coalition of global partners as the first ever global consumer label for a renewable energy source, endorsed by the United Nations and designed to unlock the potential for wind energy among global consumer brands.

He also believes in “capitalistic humanism” as the driving force behind his marketing efforts and describes a new “capitalistic humanistic innovation platform.”   He explains: “This means that innovation needs to do two things at the same time: generate the highest possible revenue and the highest possible EBIT, and, concurrently, have a positive societal impact. This is fully doable. This new platform is not ‘humanistic capitalism,’ because that would start with a utopia like creating world peace.  Instead, by putting ‘capitalism’ before ‘humanism’, you add realism to ideals. And it is a fundamentally realistic ideal to change the energy mix by 2050.

This new ‘capitalistic humanistic innovative platform’ creates designs that were indefinable in the old world. WindMade™ is one such example as the first global consumer label for a single energy source. The six other global consumer labels that have been launched, such as Fairtrade, have all been initiated by civil society, that is, human beings or communities of citizens or consumers getting together and creating an NGO and then going to the corporate world and saying, ‘You have to support this, or we are going to expose you negatively.’  No corporation has ever jumped to the very beginning of the innovation chain and said, ‘Why wait for consumers to demand a global consumer label for renewable energy?’

But why can’t a corporation drive that innovation? Why can’t a corporation create an NGO and hand it back to civil society? Doesn’t social responsibility now mean stepping in and truly acting like a citizen? That gives me hope that if my 5-year old child is invited to a panel in 2050, when he’s 44, he won’t sit there and feel like his dad wasted his time.”

 Morten Albæk is also an advocate of pushing the boundaries as he strives to re-define notions of traditional marketing.  Vestas’ latest Energy Transparency campaign, a one-of-a-kind marketing effort, targeted Carbon Conscious Corporations by encouraging 622 top executives at global brands to invest directly in wind. The target group received an individualized issue of Businessweek magazine with a personalized letter and 16-page insert with company-customized data from the Global Consumer Wind Study and/or the Corporate Renewable Energy Index. LinkedIn also played an integral part of the campaign, marking the first time a company used a social media platform to engage in one-to-one dialogue.

Another recent campaign, entitled “This is for You,” was the first one-to-one effort targeting more than 600 individual stakeholders from over 60 companies.  Many were exposed to print ads or outdoor billboards close to their offices with custom-tailored messages that raised a few smiles and also some eyebrows.

 Morten Albæk does not have a typical marketing background.  He began as an academic with a focus on history and philosophy.  He then moved to Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest financial corporation, where he ultimately served as Senior Vice President for Idea Generation and Innovation.  He joined Vestas in 2009.

Today, one of his great passions is debating about social subjects in the Danish media. He is also the author of two books and continues his academic lifestyle as a professor at one of Denmark’s largest universities, Aalborg University.

“My vision is to make Vestas one of the most customer-centric business-to-business organizations in the world. It is also to help consumers make an emotional connection with wind and equate the products they purchase with the type of renewable energy used to produce it.”

No doubt, he will achieve it.