TEDxHelsinki aftermath

May 15, 2010

I had the pleasure to attend TEDxHelsinki for the second time this Wednesday. It was a huge success (as can be seen from comments on both Twitter and Facebook) — way better than the first one, I must say. Especially the mingling in-between the presentations and at the after party was a nice add. The ideas want to spread, so why not help them out..

There was a whole lot of inspiration in the air, as one might expect. Besides all those random, cross-discipline ideas that truly make TED what it really is, I especially picked up something communications and presentations related. This is what my notebook states:

  • Virpi Kuitunen: How open and fragile, yet strong at the same time can one be. And how it touches the crowd and makes an impact.
  • Anssi Vanjoki: How years of experience shows. In both good and bad.
  • Mikael Jungner: Say something remarkable. Say it in a way that it sticks. One twitterer put it nicely: Jungner made a “social media smart speech”.
  • Jufo Peltomaa: Standing out from the crowd by being yourself rocks.
  • Miina Savolainen: Pictures really say more than 1000 words. No, actually they say more than any words ever could.
  • Juuso Nissilä: Scientific studies to prove your point, common sense to sell it .  (Also, What I want for Christmas.)

Fortunately we’ll have a third one. And the one starting today on the railroad from Helsinki to Shanghai. And I assume these won’t be the last ones either.


Location, Location, Location – the 2010 edition

May 9, 2010

I drafted this blog post some two months ago, and now it popped in my mind again when I heard the news of Facebook’s attempt to utilize geolocation. Better now than never, so here you go, from early spring:

The beginning of a new year – not to mention a new decade – is a great time to make predictions about the future. Or the near future, the upcoming year at least.

I’ve been enthusiastically going thru various digital communications and social media trends forecasts. (Good reads include this TIME magazine article and TrendSpotting research)

Picking from that lot and adding my own recent experiences, I nominate location-based services as the thing in digital communications in 2010.

Basically location-based services are “information and entertainment services, accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network and utilizing the ability to make use of the geographical position of the mobile device” (Wikipedia definition).

A short analysis of pros and cons of the prediction:

My top reasons why

  1. Location data adds a new layer to communications. It is at the same time fresh, cool & exciting as it is practical & helpful.
  2. Mobile web usage is ever increasing. Usage grew 148 % worldwide in 2009. Many markets have reached – or will in the near future – the critical mass for these kinds of services to fly.
  3. It’s already here. Twitter added geolocation to tweets last year and location-based services like FourSquare and Gowalla could be this years Twitter hype-wise.

My top doubts why not

  1. People are afraid of their privacy. There’s a limit to sharing your life online. Services need to make their privacy settings easily adjustable and respect the users’ wishes regarding their data.
  2. Population density isn’t high enough. Sure these things work in let’s say Bay Area where there are a lot of people – tech savvy people, even. But take it to rural Finland and you won’t see that many people competing for being the mayor of the local gas station.

We’ll see how it’ll play out. In the mean time, I’ll be battling for those mayorships.

Edit (13.5.2010): Mashable just posted a good article that complements my “why not” list.

Top class social media socializing in London

March 10, 2010

I’ll be like a kid in a candy store for the next few days. I’m going to Hill & Knowlton’s Europe-wide Demystifying Digital symposium in London. My plan is to listen, learn, socialize, tweet, blog, interview, photograph etc.

Love. My. Job.

Keep an eye out for blog posts, tweets and Facebook news feeds on our Finnish H&K accounts. My personal Twitter might have something, too (especially since I’ll be staying in London for the whole weekend).

Till tomorrow – London calling!

Consumption goes China

February 27, 2010

“China has just started to consume. In 20 years time the Chinese middle class will be bigger than the combined population of EU, United States and Japan.”

– Lu Xueyi, professor of sociology, Chinese Social Science’s Academy

Would today be a good day to start learning Chinese?

Posterous not tumbling on Twitter

February 24, 2010

Happened the other day…

I was really blown away by Aviraj’s answer. Yeah, I could’ve seen that some of my followers would’ve replied to give a tip. But that it came from a “Community Evangelist”. Whoa!

What I loved about this approach is that it came out of the blue, but didn’t feel awkward at all. No hard sell. Simply personal service. A true dialogue.

The sad thing of course is, that I had already chosen Tumblr.

This time around…

A sustainable world needs marketing

February 19, 2010

There is a interview of Worldwatch Institute’s researcher Erik Assadourian on today’s Kauppalehti. Erik, who is the head of the State of the World 2010 project, talks about his views on global sustainability issues and how we should strive to do better.

I think the article was really good and I admire what the Worldwatch Institute is doing, but this really caught my eye at the end of the article:

If you had the power to change one thing so the world’s development would become more sustainable, what would it be?

– I’m not going to get any new friends with this answer, but I’d probably ban all marketing. I’d let people decide themselves what they need and want without being manipulated to buy.

Well, we didn’t become new friends with this, Erik. But for another reason that you might think.

Once again I have to say this: Marketing isn’t advertising. Marketing isn’t manipulating. Advertising might be.

Without marketing the people wouldn’t even have a chance to try and satisfy their needs or wants through the markets.

And, without marketing we’d never get the message about a more sustainable future through.

The 24g Swedish marketing success

October 11, 2009

As much as I love how IKEA makes me feel about marketing and how Absolut makes me feel about myself, there’s one Swedish success story that’s probably even more amazing. The story of snus.

A little bit of background: The oral use of tobacco is an age old tradition. It was widely done in America, long before Europeans sailed to its shores. It then spread to all corners of the known world thanks to European imperialism. We all know snus (or more precisely, chewing tobacco) from American popular culture with its cowboys, rednecks and baseball players.

Sweden wasn’t introduced to tobacco until the 17th century. But in the last 150 years they have fell in love with their snus. Today some 20 % of Swedish adults use snus. 90 % of them men, 10 % women.

Here’s a question: how did the Swedes, who are known for their classy looks and high level of sophistication , adopt a habit that was formerly associated with all things vulgar?

To illustrate the change: how did they manage to go from this…

Chewing tobacco

To this:


I see that from a marketing point-of-view the success of snus is based on three things:

  1. Product development. Of all the constant developments of the product, probably the biggest innovation that helped the wide adoption was the portion packaging, introduced in 1973. The teabag-resembling 1g portions made it far less messy than the regular kind of loose snus. Other great innovations include the fermentation process (which makes snus far less unhealthy than its American counterpart) and the white, dry portion (which makes it even less messy).
  2. Segmentation. Snus is available for many different target groups, be it beginners, active users, heavy users, girls, those who seek good value for money, those who seek luxury or those who want to quit the habit.
  3. Branding. There is a wide, ever-expanding array of different brands, each with their own qualities, personalities and fans. The vast amount of big brands is even more amazing when you consider the fact that one company (Swedish Match) has a monopoly-like market share (about 97 %).

The only downside of the marketing success is that it doesn’t scale. Snus is banned in many countries, so it isn’t likely to become the next remarkable global story to follow IKEA and the like. One can only wonder the role of cigarette companies’ lobbyists, since researches show snus to be “dramatically less dangerous than smoking”…

So, the Catch of all of this? (pun intended.)

Looking 10 or 20 years from now, what product could be transformed inside-out and upside-down to reach an unimaginable market?

What could be your snus?

[Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snus , http://www.swedishmatch.com , http://www.snusexpress.com/ , http://www.swedish-snus.com/ ; Pictures: 1) http://www.the-forum.com/ephemera/TOBACCO.HTM 2) http://mcns.blogspot.com/2008_10_01_archive.html 3) http://www.swedishmatch.com 4) http://www.flickr.com/photos/uploaded/3315456159/ ]

“Art is advertising”

October 5, 2009

A fantastic print by Hugh MacLeod, one of the most original marketing minds, has been decorating my home since September. Anyone who is familiar with Hugh’s blog Gapingvoid is also familiar with Hughtrain (pictured below).


Yesterday the artist made this interesting tweet, which inevitably got my attention.

@gapingvoid tweet

If Hughtrain is my advertising, is “The market for something to believe in is infinite” my slogan? If that’s what my brand stands for — an idea not at all bad — it seems I have lived up to it pretty well by paying for the advertisement to boost belief in myself. Talk the talk, walk the walk, y’know.

Be it how it may, the piece of art truly inspires me.

A consumer’s ode to open data streams.

October 4, 2009

In the pre-commercial world consumers had very limited number of choices of products and services. Hell, they weren’t even consumers back then. They were happy with what they got. Take news: One leaflet every now and then was more than enough.

With the 20th century came the consumer culture. Suddenly there were products and services for every taste. Kiosks were bursting with all kinds of news publications.

Then, after the market-based differentiation, came consumer-based personalization. The rise of the Internet played a major role in this shift making it easy for the consumer to interact with the company. An example: now you can compile your own personal “newspaper” with Netvibes.

The next step is the automated personalization. With all the information in the open web, the social media, the consumer doesn’t need to do a thing, but enjoy the personally relevant content. DailyPerfect knows what news you’d like to read just by typing in your name.

There’s one problem with the automated personalization, though. It’s called the digital divide.

It means that the people without a web presence are left out. Some of them are just not digitally savvy or haven’t found their place in the social media. Others are the same people who stay far away from all the loyalty programs and their data-gathering schemes. If there’s no data on you available, it’s quite hard to personalize.

I’ve always liked my loyalty cards. I have no problem with someone saving my time and effort.

And I most certainly like the social media.

The conclusion?

All hail the open data flow!

The journey from logs to blogs

September 13, 2009

In 1809 John Quincy Adams, the 6th president of the United States, set sails from Massachusetts to St. Petersburg. During the journey he kept a log of the coordinates, weather and all kinds of little things. All in one-line text, in less than 140 letters…

So, 200 years later the Massachusetts Historical Society comes up with an idea to publish the log via — yes, you guessed it — Twitter. Which is kinda crafty, I must say!

Keeping a daily log was no problem for the president-to-be: J. Q. Adams loved to write his diaries, which totaled at a stunning 51 volumes. Should he live today, I’d guess he’d not only tweet but also do some serious blogging.

If he’d be comfortable with today’s media, that is.

200 years ago, his writings must have reached only his family and closest friends. He wrote for them. He wrote for himself. The journey from logs to blogs has been a long. A lot has happened in the last 10 years. An awful lot in the last 5 years. For sure, social media would make him feel awkward and out of place.

But you and I have seen the sea change. We shouldn’t feel out of place. We should understand and embrace the potential of open and accessible conversations.

Our logs are written for the whole world.