Sunday, 15 March 2015


Berlin based social media manager Marie Hougaard moved from Copenhagen to Berlin in 2013. After studying Danish linguistics and media studies, she is now working in advertising. Within this field she can nurture her interests in both network communication and user behaviour relative to social media. On top of that she's passionate about yoga.

Marie Hougaard | Photo source: Marie Hougaard

How did you end up working with advertising?          
I always wanted to do advertising for some reason. I liked the idea about doing funny stories, creating universes. My initial dream was being a copywriter. After university I started working for an advertising agency in Denmark. Instead of working as a copywriter I had to sell social media packages for the agency. It didn’t work out for me and after a year, I was ready to move on. And so I came to Berlin. Now I work for an agency which has a focus on social media.

Do you still want to work as a copy writer or do you prefer social media now?
Actually I like social media a lot, it's becoming so integrated in so many aspects of our life. It’s not only Facebook and Instagram but the question of how can we promote organically promote thought within social media whilst creating concepts around it? It’s a more holistic way of thinking communication. And that approach I really like. I still do a lot of copywriting, but in a more editorial way. Furthermore I’m creating the tone of voice so your brand develops a singular and distinct way to speak. And what's also funny about it is, that you actually can see how people start talking with you reusing the same words. This is very encouraging to feel that they're super fans outside who care about what we post. And also another aspect of the job is creating concepts around the launch of a product.

What is it like working different projects simultaneously? Is it difficult switching from one client to another?
I have one main client and when I have time I'll get into other projects. We don’t do it that often. I'm so absorbed by my client that maintaining involvement in the other brands, user/target groups at the same time is definitely a challenge although people at agencies work this way often. 
This is feeling of immersion is in one way exceptional to editorial and social media content because you are so involved with who you are and how you are speaking to your channels. You really feel like you talk the brand in a way.

What's your favourite project so far?

The one we are working on now is very fun. I can’t really discuss details, but in general it’s about a new space for the client. We gather all the communication of the new target group for the client. It’s about conceiving entirely new possibilities for the client. I’ve been working with them for almost two years now, talking to the same group of people. So it’s super interesting to start to define new segments, like looking where we can start talking to people beyond Facebook and such challenges. Who we can use to promote this thing? Who we can collaborate with?

How does working in Berlin compare to working in Copenhagen? What are the differences?
It’s different! You don't go home at five, maybe you don’t even go home! It’s a different mind-set. You work long hours and sometimes in the weekend but it’s not compensated with days off in the other end. But no one complaints – that's just how it is.  l've learnt so much in these last two years working in Berlin. The agency I work in is super structured and we do great work. I’ve worked in 3 agencies in Denmark and there was a lot of celebration; birthdays, champagne if we got a new client, Christmas parties and summer parties. We talked a lot in the office, and we all had lunch together in the kitchen.  At the same time we also had work done in time. So the social work life is something completely different from Berlin, where we should be happy that there's free coffee. I felt more appreciated as an employee in Denmark than what I do here. That has very much to do with the word “arbeidsglæde” [joy of working], a word that, from my knowledge, only exists in the Scandinavian languages. You don’t really get much a sense of it here but it would be nice if you did.

Marie (left) | Photo source: Marie Hougaard
How did you become a yoga teacher?
I’ve been doing yoga for a long time. After I started working and being forced to sit down for hours, this need to exercise was grew more and more. Last year I went to India for a month to become a yoga teacher although it was never really a plan to become a yoga teacher. Right now I want to do further education [in yoga] because I think it would be fun to do some private lessons and actually do something with it. My dream is to be more liberated and work with social media on a freelance basis and spice it up with some yoga too. So I’ll have a more active everyday life. A combined lifestyle sounds quite nice to me.
I practise two times a week at my work. We have actually a yoga teacher coming in. And I do it at home on my own on the weekend. So generally I manage to do it three times a week, but I would love to do it every day. Having an athletic dimension to your life makes a difference.

Which yoga style do you prefer?
This is the funny thing about yoga. I’ve been doing bikram for a very long time and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and now I think ashtanga is the best. While you do bikram in a very hot room, like sauna yoga and do the same series again and again, you do actually the same at ashtanga concerning the order of postures. But they are very different and it’s more dynamic and stronger. So I like powerful yoga and the ashtanga system suits me better. I still have to get more spiritual. I do believe in it, but I haven’t taken my time to learn it. That’s also so typical about yoga. When you start with it, you are so eager about the postures. You want to be strong and flexible and be able to do all these things and you take away the focus of the whole mindfulness. Yoga is really moving meditation. The breath is so important and you have to be a little experienced in order to move an breath correctly when you are doing the postures, then there is room for the meditation in your practice. When I was in India we started meditation at 6 in the morning. That's way too early for my taste but your learn to enjoy it and letting yourself go.

Thank you Marie! You find further informations about yoga schools in Berlin here.

Interview: Skadi Borchert
Editing:   Rosalie Delaney

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