Insight – inspiration – vision. Those were the some of the magic words mentioned at the Informed Consumer study research in Stockholm. The study is conducted by a Nordic insight agency Kuudes and the content consists of current and future trends and motives underlying consumer behavior. The results of the study were first presented in the beautiful Fotografiska museum on Valentines day 2017, and in addition to the release of the results fantastic quest speakers were there to inspire the enthusiastic international audience.
The first speaker, Chairman & Advisor from Berghs School of Communication Pär Lager woke everybody up by stating that “The opposite may also be true”. His big question was how to constructively find our the other possible truths that exist in every problem and solution. Insights play a big role in finding the opposite truths, and Lager framed that as outside driven company culture, which means that consumers, their behavior, motives and consumer trends should always come first. Continue reading →
In a previous post I summarized my experiences and takeaways from a facilitation demo by Grape People. The event was inspiring and the content felt useful for everyday work, so I decided to attend their virtual facilitation demo as well. Fitting for the topic, the demonstration took place online so I was able to see firsthand in my own experience how virtual facilitation works. The demonstration was done via Skype, and participants were able to contribute by using the annotation tool.
Virtual meetings and workshops are becoming more common, as it often makes it easier to arrange a common time without asking people to travel. Therefore it was great to hear new ideas and tips for how to best facilitate virtually. Many of the same principles apply to virtual and face-to-face meetings, but the fact that people are not present in the same room gives an extra twist to the situation and some extra responsibilities to the facilitator. Just like in face-to-face meetings, most often the meeting process is the biggest reason for bad meetings and workshops. The workshop target should be clear from the start, and the facilitator should be well prepared with a structure and timeline for the meeting.
Some time ago I had the privilege to participate in a massive trend event organized by a trend agency called Trendwatching.com. You might already be familiar with their free online content and monthly briefings (if you are not, check it out!), and in addition to those they provide a subscription based premium service packages and live events all around the world. After using their premium content for some time I was eager to see how they would put together a live show!
I was most eager to hear about their methodologies in collecting data and analyzing and forecasting trends, and these were all presented first thing in the morning. Trendwatching.com has an army of trendspotters from around the world who spot exiting new innovations and report back to the trend team. The team then matches the new innovations to their existing trend framework to analyze which way the trends are moving and how to update the framework itself. About 90% of spotted things fit this framework, but with the 10 % it gets exciting. Whenever there of these oddballs are found and if they can easily be grouped together, a new trend is created! Even though forecasting is not always simple and straightforward, I quite like this mechanical approach. It can be easily adapted to any organization wanting to find a way to do a little forecasting themselves.
A simple Venn diagram can be used by anyone to find the sweet spot between needs, drivers and innovations.
What facilitation is? That was the question addressed in a morning seminar by Grape People. The company specializes in facilitating trainings and workshops and offer consultancy services related to these things.
The mission of Grape People is to get organizations to facilitate themselves. The process is quite simple, and can be applied to any group situation, where participation and involvement is desired. Therefore by learning a few basic principles anyone can easily become a facilitator.
How to facilitate?
Miikka from Grape People defined facilitation as combining the knowledge of a certain group. It’s about bringing this knowledge to the surface, making it visible and grouping it to gain understanding and new solutions. Sounds simple, right? The aim is usually to make sense of a problem, an issue or a topic, with hopes of finding solutions or new ideas in the end.
The key elements of any facilitated gathering are clarifying the issue and/or goals, creating the solutions and summarizing the action points and what will happen after the workshop or meeting. By keeping this simple structure as a backbone to a discussion, the facilitator is able to ease the thinking process as the participants are concentrating on one piece of the puzzle at a time. Without a structure it is easy to jump directly to e.g. thinking about solutions even before clearly defining the problem.
Get the participants talking within the first 30 minutes or they don’t open their mouth at all.
The solutions and answers are created together in the group and are not brought in by the facilitator.
Most problems that occur during group gatherings are related to the process. By structuring the gatherings and planning the meetings and workshops these can be reduced.
The ownership of the created ideas should remain with the participants. Therefore it should not be the facilitator’s task to summarize!
Consumer experience seems to be a hot topic in marketing seminars these days. It was also the topic of the day at Suhde 2016 seminar organized by MARK Suomen Markkinointiliitto ry. The afternoon was filled with speakers from different industries, who provided the audience with a wide range of viewpoints to consumer value and experience thinking. First speakers concentrated more on the theoretical frames on consumer experiences and how they create value to businesses. Towards the end of the day the speakers moved on to more concrete examples which then nicely summarized the day.
Elina Kukkonen from Alma Media walked the audience through the main points of her PHD about the value created by consumers online. Her main thesis was that the consumers create new kind of value to the companies in the digital world, and capitalizing on this value makes it easier for marketing to meet the risen expectations of measuring return on investments.
Through all kinds of subscription models companies are able to better engage their consumers and make the most out of the value they create. This feels very logical to me, but to me it seems that the biggest barrier that keeps the consumers for using any subscription based models is the quality of services available. Many services could really benefit from consumer centric thinking when developing their business models.
Elina Kukkonen talked about the value the consumers create in digital channels
The role of emotions in decision making is critical, making emotions financially important. Understanding this and the role of the consumer experience was the topic of insight agency Frankly Partners’ Anna-Riikka Hovi. Even though brands and consumer experiences are strongly linked, Hovi stated that brands are overemphasized in marketing. The main focus should be in consumer experiences. Brands should therefore be built on clear, forward looking insights about the consumer. Relevant brands equal strong brand preference, which then creates more money below the line.