Be proud and your customers will love to buy from you

Participating in a promo is a role I seldom land in. It’s often me who is contracting or even organizing events, so it was a refreshing surprise to get invited into a launch as a private person.

The service, DriveNow is a German car sharing concept operated in Finland by our largest bank OP Group. The idea of the launch was that we all, around 100 people would drive the brand new cars in a long line into the city of Helsinki. Instead of license plates or other codes we got offered to nominate the cars by our first names, which will then remain in the app. In the screenshot (above) it says: Hey, I’m Meri. From marketing point of view great means of personalisation, commitment and engagement. Based on this I expected to get a full introduction into the concept and was ready to support the brand by spreading the word also in the social media. As you maybe can guess why I’m writing this, it still turned out a little different.

From marketing point of view great means of personalisation, commitment and engagement.

Since my first summer job at Carrols fast food counter I have learned the key to successful sales is sharing the pride of what I do with my customers. Be it the speed of the service, the tailored solution or the ethics behind it all, it is essential to take pride in it. Take a step back into marketing: adding an analog encounter into a digital service is a rare opportunity where your feelings get involved. And it’s through feelings you make your way into your customers’ lives. You will have them loving to buy from you and enter your customer journey you carefully paved for their different needs.

It’s through feelings you make your way into your customers’ lives.

During my journey yesterday from a digital lead into a car share user there were several human interaction points. I entered each one convinced to dive into the customer journey of DriveNow.

Touchpoint 1: Confirmation by phone – instead of encouraging me to share pre-feelings IRL or in SoMe I was told the time & address of the shuttle drive.

Touchpoint 2: Shuttle drive – having app. 100 of early adapters in a 30 min bus drive we were offered an A5 flyer & water. A ‘Good morning’ or ‘By arrival, you will find…’ would have been in everybody’s interest. Honestly, I was expecting an enthusiastic host filling our ears with the greatest brand story, SoMe kit with hashtags, key message and other common content.

Touchpoint 3: Common breakfast. Again ‘Good morning’ or ‘This is how we..’ would have been nice. Again, when lining up for coffee in silence (you know us Finns ;- ) we all would have been all ears for why we were there or how would we start nominating & using our cars. Luckily I run into some acquaintances to share our feelings over coffee.

Touchpoint 4: Having found my shiny BMW I was just happy having driven one of my dad’s before, since there were no instructions on the vehicle nor the app. So instead of going on about a brand new car on my name, I just tried to calm myself down by thinking that ‘it’s just another car like my father’s’, ‘sure the app will tell me what to do next’ etc. The car mechanic from the car shop only said the lights function automatically when handing over the car to me. With these words I drove away not excatly knowing whose car, why and for how long.


If you are not the charmer, make sure there will be one eagerly delivering the pride and confidentiality.

Well, both the app and the car turned out working fine. Exciting day, nice driving and a happy customer. The lesson of the story: Love your product. Take pride of what you do and share it with everybody. With videos or more importantly, live encounters – make sure to win your customer’s heart. If you are not the charmer, make sure there will be one eagerly delivering the pride and confidentiality to pave the way into the customer experience journey.

The next step is to get to know your customers, live with them and share their dreams. More on that in my next blog.


Public Media as a Service

Finland serves as a model country for press freedom. The international press organisation Reporters without borders publishes a yearly Press Freedom Index, where Finland ranks nr. 1 in 2016, 7th time in a row. We have a public broadcasting company Yle, which has been entiteled to collect its funding through taxation since 2013.

With several national TV and radio channels Yle reaches often the largest share of audience according to the research organisation Finnpanel. According to the Act on Yle the Finnish public broadcasting company serves also the audiences of certain language minorities. All of the other content between these big audience hits and small obligatory  productions is of course often being debated and critisized by citizens. Do we need to be taxed for humor, sports or talk shows hosted by an Yle reporter? Is there a chance that the media owner steers the composition of documentaries or news? Do we need a public broadcaster that produces content competing with the commercial media houses instead of just reporting public and nationwide issues?

In the 25th UNESCO conference for Press Freedom in May 3rd in Helsinki a new declaration was adopted. In this ‘This is your right!’ Finlandia Declaration all 199 UNESCO member states are addressed to enhance the right for information, media diversity and cultural expressions through the media in terms of fundamental human rights. Thus, apart from taste differencies on the everyday content, I think we still need a public broadcaster which is relevant, represents press freedom and uses the latest tech solutions to stand tall in today’s media landscape of Finland. We can enjoy talk show hosts like Ali Janghiri, who represented Yle very colourfully in one of the sessions at the conference.

The Helsinki Press Freedom conference also celebrated the 250 years of Freedom on Information Act in Sweden and Finland. The celebration with ranking 1st in press freedom were announced as arguments for  organising the main event in Finland. The conference was a success and served also as a great marketing action for the next year’s conference close to the opposite extreme of media landscape, Indonesia.

Indonesia, as stated by the realistic associate professor Ade Armando at a panel discussion, has a weak public broadcasting company. Among the almost 100 commercial TV channels, the public broadcaster serves mainly for government announcements, which are commonly concidered more or less propagandist.

Being a contradictonary and diverse country, one of Indonesia’s governmental challenges is its citizens’ scattering on 11 500 islands in the Pacific Ocean. Still pluralistic voices lack on publicity. The violentions against press are common and the country ranked 130 out of 180 on press freedom in 2016. Whom are the journalists serving when putting their lives in danger? In George Orwell’s words on media: “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed – everything else is public relations.” Thus, where in Indonesia will these voices of critisism, civic activity or the cultures of several minorities be heard, if not in its public media?

Indonesia’s GNP has more than doubled in the past decade, but by a strong regime typically for rising economies increasing the income gap and internal tensions. The next step on the state level concerning freedom of expression and media education will be the issue of rights on information and expression. Will the country be able to establish a relevant and free public media? Now UNESCO and its member states turn their eyes on Indonesia for the 2017 conference. Encouraged by all of us Indonesia could be guided towards freedom of expression, which commonly is considered as the key to legitimate democracy.

The government has the role of issuing and implementing legislation on the fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression and to information, to education and to be equally treated as citizens. Will this happen through education, public media as a service or other means, remains to be evaluated by the next conference of press freedom. We as media professionals can meanwhile take the genuine Helsinki spirit with us and let it push our work towards a more open, fair and relevant media landscape. Public media serves all citizens, with a special attention to the weakest. Let us not leave one stone unturned until we have made a difference, in Indonesia and globally. This is our right!

Blurred Line Between Communications and Marketing

Brand building has been in the ownership of Marketing management. It is vital to seek and keep the core strenghts and properties of the product (whereas the service can also be branded and called ‘the product’) to build a strong brand. A brand is not only the physical apperance nor it is merely the reputation, but a mixture of both. And most importantly, built on a solid ground, trust. Thinking back of ads embarrasing the whole concept concerned, it becomes obvious that the product itself needs truly to add value to the consumer’s life.

How Does the Communications Take Over?

More and more I see, that it is the Communications department that launches the Brand books, Branding strategies or the Brand concepts. What happened inbetween is the world. Digitalisation happened. Communication has in the past couple of decades evoluted from annual and carefully structured into daily, even hasty bursts of notes and captured moments. Compared to the scattered bits of shared insights, the still carefully planned Marketing actions and campaigns appear artistic and living inside a bubble compared to the branded product sharing, companioning and leading the consumer through today’s media rich reality.

So What is Left for Marketing?

Attraction. In order to build an (even prospect) customer relationship with the consumer, you need to be on everybody’s lips. The Brand and the Product has to have so many dimensions that anybody will need it. That’s where Marketing shows its teeth. Of course the promise to the customer has to be fulfilled both with the purhchasing and (often simultaneously) delivery processes and the produce chain has to meet up with the brand. But that’s another story.

Crossing the Blurred Line

There have been great examples of the dialogue and the interaction between the customer and community management adding value to the consumer. These communities and user generated content platforms can even bypass the value and the attraction of the original product itself. This is what happened between the Finnish Vauva (Baby) Magazine and its online community by Sanoma Magazines. What then is Communication and what Marketing and whereto the attraction should be dragged? The demand for a dedicated Brand Newsroom has emerged. The Finnish Food, Bakery and Confectionary Group Fazer has just launched theirs. It does not claim to be purely Marketing or strictly journalistic, but to live with the more and less dedicated customers in today’s busy world rich of information that often is hard to evaluate alone. Communities and Blogs cross the line between Communications and Marketing daily, naturally and with no further thoughts.

This is something also for the companies to take into account when building our processes and positions.

How to Add Value on Big Data

There are thousands of things to note every moment. Words, visions and sounds are the popular ones in the present society. Others, taken into account by millions of people now and in the past, are smells, emotions, state of mind and body, time of day and year, even time of decade or the millennium not to even mention the really intangible ones. These things, as not collected or even named by the marketeers are considered as fuzz in the means of marketing data.

Added Value of Big Data / Meri Seistola

Straight to the Point

The fleeting niche where the providing part is to convert the consumer’s attention into action must be filled with lure and confirmation. There has to be something so different and assuring, which dimms all the fuzz around the consumer and the very moment. To reach this goal the message offered has to be timed right, feeded by right media and – above all – essential. Going straight to the point.

What’s the Point?

Big data is available both for consumers and about the consumers. In order to avoid crucial mistakes such as advertising car washes for non-car-owners the data collected or purchased has to be matched. According to the classical Ackoff model digging big data leads to information, such as ‘who owns a car’. Matching the data with the information on car wash shops in the area, consumer behavior and other relevant variables provide knowledge. In this case the marketeer knows the point of interest of the consumer.

Adding Value

All this can be and is often done automatically, or with just little intelligent effort. My insight is, that the real wisdom beyond this point is only human. To add the last 20 % value to the plan and its execution requires a thinker. A broad-minded analyst sees out of the box, is able to interpret the thousands of weak signals of the moment or curate the seeds of change. This is the added value which makes the exquisit use of big data. The more expensive the data, the more important its ROI.


Make your Innovations the New Normal

Great business can be made when you are able to communicate your  innovation as the ’New Normal’. The European commission has now awarded the Swedish to be the top European innovators with Skype, Spotify – and Ikea.

It is not easy to introduce a new approach to the consumer’s everyday life, but the Sweds succeeded in doing so! Let’s learn (after feeling sorry for ourselves for 1 minute 🙂 that innovative business also needs to change the life patterns of the consumer.

Talk, show and challenge

It is not only about a brand campaign doing strong, but it also demands public discussion both live and virtual. At all levels of (non)expertise, to effect consumer’s attitudes and conceptions. And here, public discussion counts as well the Top National Media as the smallest on-line-community.

This is the very thing that differents the true innovations – and in this case it was the Swedish innovations – from those hundreds and thousands of ideas and products pouring daily in to the marketplace. No matter how genius gadget, program or service you have come up with, if there is no desire and demand for it. Attention and attraction to something that hasn’t existed in your entire life can not be made through a fancy banner campaign. Even thoroughly tested and tracked.

Test, use and again – talk

Most successful products (may it be an item or a service) have been tested within a minor circle first. Only with real users you can start to tamper towards the enhanced user experience, interface routines with the real life and/or scientific testing. All this demands long-haul planning, media and stakeholder group relations and great confidence on the end product. Having faced these phases, you and your stakeholders already have come up with the ’New Normal’ phrases on the usage, the greatest moments and the most common questions and hence you can start and communicate the beauty of the ’New Normal’ life with the innovation – raising attraction.

Note! Especially within the electronics industry there are audiences, who are keen to all new and are most likely  the first ones to buy the product just for the sake of it being new on the market. Still, mostly this kind of customer behaviour demands brand loyalty and pre-marketing.!