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© John Abbot
Leading expert on business, brand, and culture transformation.

Martin Lindstrom

Martin Lindstrom is recognized as one of the world’s leading business, branding, and culture transformation experts.

Keynote spreker
Keynote spreker,


1. CULTURE: Leadership, Innovation, and the Surprising Truth of Human Motivation

Strategy eats culture for breakfast. Companies have never been so overwhelmed with emails, reports, data, statistics, and endless PowerPoint presentations, while at the same time preaching the importance of culture. Notice any conflicts?

Lindstrom takes his audience on a deep, remarkable dive inside some of the world’s largest organizations and their daily challenges as they rediscover, build, and maintain powerful cultures.

What happened when Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, was paralyzed by a two-month global cyber attack? When Lowes Foods faced two choices: to completely change their business model or to close down the entire retail chain? Or when Standard Chartered, the world’s 10th largest bank, realized that “common sense” had completely vanished from the behavior of their 86,000 staff members, leading to overly complex service offerings and immense customer frustration?

In each of these cases, culture became the savior.

As the spearhead of these and many more remarkable culture transformation projects worldwide, Martin Lindstrom takes the audience behind the scenes and shares what it takes to bring culture front and center in organizations that had been paralyzed by bureaucracy, compliance, and inefficacy.

Viewing bureaucracy as a disease, the Lindstrom team rebuilt the purpose of the organizations, reinvigorated and empowered the staff, and, most importantly, systematically removed the red tape that was killing entrepreneurship and productivity. In one organization, Lindstrom and his team banned PowerPoint presentations. In another, they entirely removed the CC function from Outlook. Meetings were limited to maximum four participants, and smart phones were banned. In one case, he even introduced a special division called The Ministry of Common Sense. And in every case, it worked!

In just two years, Maersk recovered and added an additional 43% to their global brand value. Lowes became the most innovative retailer in the U.S., and Standard Chartered nearly doubled their share price.

2. BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION: The Disruptor’s Agenda: Unleashing the Innovators

Fourteen years ago, everyone’s favorite toy company was near bankruptcy — but then something remarkable happened, elevating LEGO to become the world’s most powerful brand* … seemingly overnight.

With Amazon and Walmart’s relentless attack on the conventional retail industry, Lowes knew they had a two-year deadline to survive. Fast-forward four years, and customers were lining up to enter Lowes stores.

Around the globe, conventional postal service organizations are considered to be dinosaurs. There’s only one exception: Switzerland. Why was Swiss Post, in contrast to the rest of the world, the first to adopt drones and self-driving cars, placing their services way ahead of Amazon and Uber?

Over two decades, Lindstrom and his team have challenged companies from almost every industry — toys, retail, postal services, shipping, banking, food, beverage, pharma, automobile, fashion — to rediscover their core and transform themselves. Lindstrom always starts with the customer, but what follows consistently breaks the rules of conventional thinking. His unusual method proves itself resilient within even the most stubborn organizations.

In this presentation, packed with behind-the-scenes, first-hand observations from some of the most remarkable business transformations in the world, Lindstrom introduces a ready-to-use framework, suggests simple and memorable metaphors, and merges it all into a captivating narrative. He will have the audience on the edge of their seats, leaving them eager to transform their own businesses. As Lindstrom says: Sixty-five per cent of the jobs today’s 12-year-old will do when he’s grown don’t exist today. So, why would yours, unless you change … right now?

3. CUSTOMER JOURNEY: Creating a Next-Gen Customer Journey Experience

Two years ago, we all shook our heads as a doctor was dragged out of a United Airlines plane, leading to the company’s biggest PR disaster in its 92-year history.

But is that any different from what’s going on in your organization? What would happen if you became an undercover employee in your own organization, experiencing what your customers experience every day?

In this eye-opening presentation, Lindstrom goes underground with his audience. He shares first-hand recordings of disastrous customer interactions — and, yes, surprised managers and CEO’s who thought everything was perfect. This highly thought-provoking presentation is packed with videos and case studies, placing a revealing mirror in front of the audience. It will make them think, reflect, and, most important, act.

What makes Lindstrom’s presentation unique is that it’s hands-on, based on his personal experience designing, implementing, and monitoring some of the world’s most successful customer journeys, including the Walt Disney theme parks, Swiss International Airlines, Burger King, Maersk, and Dorchester Collection, the operator of the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Bel-Air Hotel, and many other luxury properties around the world.

What these and numerous other cases all have in common isn’t huge budgets. Instead, they share clever, innovative thinking, often requiring only a couple thousand dollars of investment to create happy customers and million-dollar returns.

This remarkable, highly entertaining presentation is guaranteed to change your view of customer journeys, demonstrating that a small effort can yield a big difference.

4. FUTURE RETAIL: Until Amazon creates a drone that can cut your hair, there’s a physical, real reason to visit the barbershop.

We’re witnessing the biggest retail war in living history, with more than 4,000 store closures in the United States alone during 2018. Is eCommerce the only answer? Surprisingly, Lindstrom’s answer is No — and he backs up his claim with solid evidence and provocative cases, time after time proving that while the whole world sees only one direction, there are multiple alternative paths leading to amazing opportunities and results.

Based on exhaustive global consumer research conducted in more than 70 countries, for more than a decade Lindstrom and his team have investigated the wants of today’s and tomorrow’s consumers. They’ve investigated how retail is likely to evolve and, most important, what it takes to turn a red bottom line to black as a conventional and eCommerce player.

Lindstrom knows his game. He was the mastermind behind Lowes’ remarkable transformation, turning a struggling business into the most innovative retailer in the United States. He helped the world’s second-largest supermarket chain, Carrefour, beat Amazon and introduce a flurry of successful eCommerce concepts worldwide. In his speech, Lindstrom will share how to identify undiscovered consumer needs and translate them into unconventional retail solutions few would ever have thought possible.

What makes this presentation unique is the price tag of Lindstrom’s solutions — they are hands-on, concrete, inspiring, and highly cost effective. Consider his introduction of a groundbreaking multi-state “mini-makeover” competition inspired by American Idol. This format resulted in a double-digit improvement of the bottom line for one major retailer, yet only cost a few thousand dollars per store.

The presentation explores every dimension of retail, offline and online. It explores opportunities spinning out of consumer observations made in homes, and it takes a deep dive inside Amazon’s servers. The biggest in the world, they contain shocking consumer data and are already able to predict your next car, pet, or house purchase — without your knowledge. You’ll learn how Alexa’s secret “Voice Sniffing Technology” is able to listen in on any conversation and interrupt your conversation with relevant commercial messages. You’ll hear how AmazonGo, the conglomerate’s retail store, may soon adjust the prices live on the shelves according to who you are and how many people follow you.

Expect an express journey into tomorrow’s retail universe. This inspirational, provocative, hands-on presentation will help any company elevate its presence into the next league of retail.

5. BIG DATA: And Why the Next BIG Thing Will Be All About Small Data.

LIKE IT OR NOT, businesses are drifting away from the consumer. In the last year, only 1 in 3,000 executives has spent time with their consumers. Instead of keeping in touch with consumers, leaders rely on BIG Data — reports, databases, and statistics — in order to understand the emotions of our most important asset. The only problem with this approach: They’re all looking at the past in order to predict the future.

Emerging in its place is a new approach, Small Data, which Lindstrom defines as seemingly insignificant consumer observations that completely transform the way businesses are built and run.

In 2004, the LEGO Company was near bankruptcy. Big Data had informed the executives that, due to the lengthy construction time, kids no longer had interest in playing with LEGO. In response, LEGO introduced larger modules, which cut the building time in half. However, the result didn’t mirror their expectations. Sales plummeted, and as a result the company decided to cease all conventional Big Data-based sources — and instead introduce Small Data.

It was a visit to an 11-year-old German boy’s home that profoundly changed the LEGO Group’s view of the world. A LEGO executive asked the kid what he was most proud of. It wasn’t a Nintendo or PlayStation, but a pair of old, worn-out sneakers. The reason why? Because, as the kid explained, the sneakers’ very particular worn-down angle on the side of the sole proved he was the #1 skateboarder in town. You see, when pro skateboarders slide down the board, their shoes get worn down exactly like this 11-year-old boy’s shoes.

This insight taught LEGO that if a kid is willing to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of hours fine-tuning an angle on a shoe, why wouldn’t a kid spend thousands of hours playing with LEGO? They reintroduced the small bricks, created the LEGO movie, and formed alliances with Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Batman.

LEGO had lost contact with its core consumers, yet by adopting Small Data, the link between the consumer and the iconic toy company was recovered — making LEGO the most admired brand in the world, according to Brand Finance 2019.

Lindstrom will share the remarkable insight behind LEGO’s success, and he will discuss how Small Data has been instrumental in the turnaround success of numerous other companies around the world, in shipping, banking, retail, fashion, and food and beverage.



"Very funny"

"Interaction with the audience was excellent — and very funny."

John McMahon van Standard Chartered Bank
"Martin is an exceptional intellect"

"Martin is an exceptional intellect and entertainer combined. He was able to inspire me and make me uncomfortable about the role of marketing at the same time."

Estherina Daniel van Hallmark

“He was INCREDIBLE! I could listen to him for hours and enjoy every electrifying, mind-blowing minute.”  

Josephine Vaccaro & Jenny Craig
"He keeps the audience at the edge of the seat"

“Martin is not just a consumer guru, but also an expert entertainer! He keeps the audience at the edge of the seat during the session with humor, relevance, and theatrics! Thoroughly enjoyable few ...

Lees verder
Vineet Chhabra van United Spirits
"Martin is a genius"

"Martin is a genius. I say that because a lot of impressions and thoughts I have about Go Daddy were reflected in his presentation. He nailed it."

Nick Fuller van Go Daddy

“I could have listened for another three hours.”

Garnet Fitzsimmons van Adobe
"a highlight."

The whole session was a highlight.

Kathrin Abrecht van SWATCH AG
“Best conference presenter ever!"

“Best conference presenter ever! Martin has significant insight into the minds of advertising consumers.”

Amy Bryan van CBS Outdoor

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