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Antti Kiukas, Hasan & Co

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Tomi Kaukinen (host) [00:00:00] This podcast is brought to you by Allies. Allies is all about bringing growth to the software services industry. It's a platform where hundreds of companies grow together by exchanging talents, projects and best practices. In this podcast, we will bring you the stories of the most successful companies and people in the business. We cover topics from sales, marketing, H.R. and culture to give you ideas for future growth. Hi, and welcome to Allies podcast. I'm Tomi Kaukinen, I'm your host and with me together today is Antti Kiukas.

Antti Kiukas (Commercial director at Hasan & Co) [00:00:31] Great to be here. Thanks! Thanks for having me!

Tomi [00:00:35] What's up Antti?

Antti [00:00:37] It's good. Well, it's second month in a completely new job in a new industry. So it is exciting, but it's not as exciting as being here today. So looking forward, what we have to say about the subjects.

Tomi [00:00:50] All right. Then we heard to talk about the software service industry and Antti's expertize, as I understand, lion branding and marketing.

Antti [00:00:58] I guess so, yeah. I think I have like during my adulthood, I've had like three careers. First of them was with Management Consulting. Yeah, yeah. I'm still recovering from that. But basically it was 13 years of management consulting. And of course, whenever you do that, you are always related also to branding and marketing as such. So the domains are familiar. From there on, I moved to Siili solutions into a Finnish publicly listed company, and there I ran the marketing and communication operations of the company, and now my third adulthood profession. I'm a commercial director at Hasan Group.

Tomi [00:01:39] Okay!

Antti [00:01:39] So first I was in the office side of things or let's say like, like, like consulting side of things. Then I went to the actual organization and back to the agency we come. So so I think it's somehow like the circle ends where it started.

Tomi [00:01:57] Yes, exactly. So can you tell which management consultant bureau you were working for?

Antti [00:02:02] I was working for this really, really famous or let's say, or sometimes almost infamous Finnish consulting company called Trainer's House.

Tomi [00:02:12] Oh!

Antti [00:02:12] Yeah!

Tomi [00:02:13] There you go.

Antti [00:02:14] Yeah. I think it's one of those companies that everybody knows in Finland and pretty much nobody knows abroad. So it's like big in Japan phenomena in that sense.

Tomi [00:02:23] Yeah yeah, exactly. And a very famous founder.

Antti [00:02:26] Sure, sure, yeah! Founded by Jari Sarasvuo. One of my great mentors.

Tomi [00:02:32] He's, um, he's a special one. Yeah.

Antti [00:02:36] Most definitely. Most definitely. So, yeah it was a company with a great culture, a great history, and especially great clientele. We got to work with basically all the big companies, all the institutions in Finland. I think that's the thing that really held me there for 13 years.

Tomi [00:02:55] 13 years. That's quite long. And in Siili, which is the software services company. How long did you stay?

Antti [00:03:02] I did there for I was there for three and a half years. So basically my mission was fairly straightforward. Uh, we need a new touch on marketing. We need a marketing operations, we need marketing organization and so forth. Same thing with communications. And eventually we need to look into our brand and see whether it serves us in today's purposes. Is it still what we are? And if it's not, just mega redo? And during those three and a half years, we pretty much we set up marketing, we set up communications, and eventually we did a complete redo on the brand with bond agency. That was one hell of a ride. Enjoyed every minute of it. But as it is said, you always seek for new adventures and new challenges. And I think Hassan as such presents that or represents that for me most definitely.

Tomi [00:03:56] So three and a half years in the software services industry. And then it's enough.

Antti [00:04:02] Yeah, yeah. It's like seven years in Wall Street.

Tomi [00:04:05] Yeah, yeah!

Antti [00:04:06] No, no, no! But it's a tough racket. We must admit that IT services, even if the business is booming. It's not an easy industry to succeed in. There's a huge demand for employees, everybody knows that. We have approximately, like shortage of 9000 people in the industry. So everybody is fighting for the right soul, so to speak.

Tomi [00:04:25] Yeah!

Antti [00:04:26] And of course, also on the supply side, there are no bad companies in the industry let's say. Let's put it this way. If you are in a class of 50 to 100 million of IT integrated in Finland, you are an excellent company, really top of the class, so to speak. So you are competing in a really, really tough environment and you are competing from both the customers and the employees. Three and a half years, I would say that it's a decent time to spend there.

Tomi [00:04:56] And it's very interesting what you're what you're saying about. The actual branding and the marketing side of the software service industry. Because this is a weird analogy, but there's a scene in this show from HBO, The Wire, where, where he goes to school to study how to brand the drugs they're selling because they're all basically kind of generic. So they try to come up with new names and all this sort of stuff. And as I said, it's a weird analogy, but it's not that weird because for others, the whole software services industry seems like, well, they're all doing the same and they all look the same, but they try to be different. That must be a challenge.

Antti [00:05:36] Yeah, I think that is the main challenge. To put it straight in a straightforward way, I would say that that's the main challenge, that the companies are ridiculously homogeneous in that way. The offering is pretty much one on one with all the companies. The needs are pretty much one on one. Everybody needs the expertize. Everybody needs the talent. And as they become more and more of like providers of everything. Everything from the design, everything from the business design, everything from the strategy all the way to the maintenance of the services. That kind of, what it causes at the end of the day is that that they become even more similar. So there are no longer these niche players saying that, for example, that we are the cloud company or we are the AI company, or there are a few, actually, that still say that they are the AI company and it's a really good thing. For example, the Silo AI, I love that they are specializing in something but the bigger you come more there is like expected growth also from the customers point of view they expect you have more and more of these services. So you can just like be one stop shop for for the customers. So, so they can get all the services from the design all the way to the upkeep of the services and like, like further development of the services. So it's a real challenge to differentiate yourself once you reach a certain size.

Tomi [00:07:03] This practically means growth demands lead to conformity.

Antti [00:07:11] Yeah. That that's a really good way to put it. But still, does it need to lead into conformity? I think that's the key question when it comes to branding IT companies.

Tomi [00:07:20] Because this is the small pond, big pond kind of analogy. I believe in niche business a lot. Like do one thing and do it like super well and own that segment. It's like this restaurant that is really good at doing sushi, but then start selling like spaghetti and then everybody just loses focus.

Antti [00:07:42] Sure.

Tomi [00:07:42] So how, how can we deal with this problem? Like, if you want to grow, you have to balance the needs versus the offerings.

Antti [00:07:50] Yeah, for sure. For sure. I think if you want to be like a service provider in the business nowadays, I think there has been this like big reveal. It's not a secret, but it's it's been kept a bit of a secret. These functions, they no longer work as a standalone services. For example, let's take for example like cloud understanding. Nowadays you cannot be there just selling the cloud services, for example, in IT because everything is connected to everything, all the way to the design. If you want to if you want a really, really good cloud service. The idea needs to be there already there at the design phase of things. And if it's not there, then it's something that is not like like especially designed for cloud. It's just designed. And then you lose the grip on that end. And there is this like John Donne had this poem where it said, no man is an island and in IT that definitely stands. You cannot be an island anymore if you want to create something that actually lasts time.

Tomi [00:08:58] Oh. So this is. This is quite tricky, actually.

Antti [00:09:01] Yeah it is. It is a difficult, difficult business as I said.

Tomi [00:09:05] So what I was thinking now was that, okay, what if we changed the whole company structure and you create different entities that specialize in, you know, and have that as a strategy, but then you encounter this issue.

Antti [00:09:19] Yeah.

Tomi [00:09:19] They need to communicate still.

Antti [00:09:20] Yeah, I think you're on a right path. And I think that is something that that that 50 to 100 million turnover integrators in Finland are all doing at the moment. They are building like smaller blocks inside the bigger block. There are huge benefits in that. Let's take, for example, if I just like remember something from Siili still, after all these months, we established this company called Scaler and the Scaler is focusing on automation. Their core is in intelligent automation. So basically using RPA and using like next generation RPA to boost customers business at the same time as they are specializing in intelligent automation, their main competitive advantage still is that they are a part of Siili, as they are no Island, but they are a part of a bigger entity. Where they have the data capabilities, they have development capabilities, design capabilities, software and maintenance capabilities. But still, people in that unit, they can like heavily focus on becoming better in intelligent automation.

Tomi [00:10:34] It's brilliant.

Antti [00:10:35] And at the same time, they have a strong identity, they have same minded people passionate about same things. And for example, when it comes to recruitment, it is much easier to recruit people into a niche where they can concentrate on what they love. Instead of recruiting people into a 100 million integrator that does everything, then you are just like another wheel. They're in the machine, so to speak.

Tomi [00:11:00] It reminds, I think, I don't know, it was seventies or eighties or nineties when when companies started, when they had this vertical integration, they did everything for everyone. And then you started to snap off, create small entities like I think it's Ben and Jerry's and Unilever or nothing about the same thing. People don't know that it's owned by, yeah, this thing.

Antti [00:11:19] And that it's been really funny. I've heard stories about this one when they, when they just like started to do market studies on Ben and Jerry's and then they ask people that how they feel about Ben and Jerry's. And they always say that it's so good that it's so ecological, it's so small that they have stuck to their values. And they're part of Unilever. At the end of the day.

Tomi [00:11:40] Yeah, but it's smart and they keep it very like shh so people don't know.

Antti [00:11:45] Yeah.

Tomi [00:11:46] So it kind of doesn't contaminate.

Antti [00:11:48] Yeah. For sure. For sure.

Tomi [00:11:49] Okay, so are we. You said we're seeing already transitioning into this kind of niche model as a part of probably like a what do you call it, just visuals. The optics is basically like, yeah.

Antti [00:12:03] It is optics. But at the same time it also gives us and the industry, it gives us some ways to actually differentiate, create these like, like these strengths that, that you would become well known of something. Or for example, I would say that after a few years of operations, what Scalar has done, it has definitely build capabilities within Siili, for example, that we are well recognized to be a company that is really, really talented in intelligent automation. Just to give you an example through the through the previous example. So it's not only optics, it's also it's also skill building, it is also offering building. And that way it's just like serving better services to the end customers.

Tomi [00:12:52] And I think you touched upon it already. So there are actually quite, quite a lot of upsides to this kind of thinking, because if we talk about employer branding, this must be a lot more easier.

Antti [00:13:06] Yeah, for sure. For sure. You can to say that, come here. Here we have like 50 people that are just as passionate as you about, for example, intelligent automation or cloud services or cybersecurity. Of course, we tend to go where our passion lies. So I think it's one of the keys in employer branding. The industry is no longer about bouncy castles and, like, endless parties. People have gotten older. I realised all of a sudden that we are no longer driven by alcohol, we are driven by our mortgages.

Tomi [00:13:43] Well, yeah.

Antti [00:13:45] Some of us at least.

Tomi [00:13:46] Yeah, yeah.

Antti [00:13:46] And everybody has like small children or bigger children, and they need to be home by 4:00 or 4:30 later to get about to pick up the children from the daycare and so forth. So it's been normalizing a lot and you cannot attract people no longer just saying that we have the biggest and the wildest parties in the industry. You need to say that you spend 8 hours here virtually or actually being there. Then you're done for the day and you can get to go home. But those 8 hours are meaningful and you get to do what you love. Nowadays, people come for the projects, not for the bus.

Tomi [00:14:23] I noticed the same thing and I okay, I'm in a startup now, but we have the almost the same because I've been the startup scene for ten years and and back in my own companies, we were just, you know, working and having office parties and eating pizza late developer nights. But now, ten years later, it's like people leave at four. Yeah, it's like, okay. And if you send a Slack message at like seven, which I sometimes do. I'm sorry. They reply in the morning at eight or nine.

Antti [00:14:55] Yeah. Yeah.

Tomi [00:14:56] So. So there's been a shift there too to be honest.

Antti [00:15:00] But I somehow feel that that is and it might be like age related things, you know, you know IT industry and the whole industry getting more mature. But at the same time I think that is going like across industries this, this somehow this work life balance, which by the way, is a word I really, really like, like I really hate because it's somehow like gives a plus to another side of it and a small minus to another side of things that we have to somehow balance the work and the life. It kind of means that the work is not life. Yeah, it's something like. Like it's separated from your life. It's like life badly spent.

Tomi [00:15:36] Yeah, I met this V.C. who said we only have a life balance.

Antti [00:15:40] But that's a really good way to put it. Yeah, I would completely agree that we have a life balance and approximately 8 hours of it is doing what we love with the people we really like.

Tomi [00:15:51] And the rest is work.

Antti [00:15:54] That's good. Oh, that's fast. That's good.

Tomi [00:15:58] For for many it is. I just want to point out, we've seen this is slightly off topic, but we've seen like the great resignation, we've seen the quiet quitting and yeah and all this stuff. So we are very blessed to be honest. And I come back to this, I'm thinking like, okay, how many people actually really like what they do? And it's, it's, it's scary how small that percentage actually is. It's a lot of like creative businesses. It's like urban people in their thirties, forties, enjoying, you know, and then I think like 85% when they go to work every day, they're like, Yeah, I want to do this.

Antti [00:16:36] Yeah, yeah, yeah. We are definitely privileged thinking of, for example, my career I've been in consulting, I've been in IT, and now I'm creative. And I would say that I have pretty much loved every minute of it, and it's been like a passion related work. And these are the industries that actually have it, like somehow built in. And you don't end up there if you don't want to be there. But majority of working like, like, like majority of places where you work, you just go there to actually fetch the money.

Tomi [00:17:08] Yeah.

Antti [00:17:09] To put it in a really, really blunt way. So. So definitely we are privileged and we should remember that when we talk about this work life balance and things such as that, that not everybody goes there every morning for passion. They go there just to get the check.

Tomi [00:17:23] Yeah. And that's why I notice sometimes when, when you when people post in LinkedIn with Simon Sinek, you know, like start with why and and there's a lot of people are like, what? What are you talking about? Like you're complicating, like you're doing, like, philosophical, uh, like studies on your work. And I'm like, most people don't care, actually.

Antti [00:17:42] Yeah! For sure!

Tomi [00:17:42] But, but let's rewind a bit and go back to Siili.

Antti [00:17:48] Yeah.

Tomi [00:17:50] When you came to Siili, I understand it was a little bit like green field or something like that.

Antti [00:17:56] For me?

Tomi [00:17:56] Yeah, for you.

Antti [00:17:58] For sure. Yeah. And, and, and they gave me, like, really, really free hands, so to speak, to do what I saw would be, like, optimal thing to do or the best thing to do in that scenario. I really love companies that have the guts or the bravery to actually trust people still, which they recruit. And I think that's a big thing also in IT, that if you recruit like super professionals, you probably should also trust them to do their job.

Tomi [00:18:23] Yes.

Antti [00:18:23] Now it comes to leadership and this will be a completely another discussion. But at Siili, that is what I actually faced, that they really trusted me. They let they let me do my thing, so to speak. And and and of course, it wasn't easy all the time because there was nothing pretty much to start with or a really little, of course, in a company such as Siili, there has been like this really, really strong. Demand driven growth. To put it that way. And all the companies such as Siili, they have had the same for a decade. There is there is much more demand in the market that there is actual like, for example, finnish based supply.

Tomi [00:19:04] Once you enter the stage and you see, you know, all the different competitors, you you're like the people within which are basically settled to your customers. They change within the companies and all that. And you're looking at it, you're like, okay, now we're going to rebrand ourselves like. What do you think about? What goes on?

Antti [00:19:25] Well, that is a complicated question. Of course, the the dynamics of the business, as you mentioned, they are completely different. IT is no longer bought in projects, or at least I think it shouldn't be bought both as projects, because IT is something that where this like constant development. It is not a nice thing to have. It's a must. There is no such thing as a ready made program, already made software. Or if somebody still believes that there is one, they shouldn't be in the industry. They should be painting pictures or something else, which which can actually be finalized.

Tomi [00:20:05] But it's also stressing, I have to point out, being I was the CEO of several start ups. And one of the biggest stresses for me was the fact that you were never ready and that was constantly coming in, new updates and App store and all this stuff. And you're like, Jesus, like you have to stay up to date like all the time. It's extremely stressing.

Antti [00:20:22] It's super stressing and it's super expensive. So I have like lots and lots of like former colleagues and friends who have been talking that perhaps we should build a platform on our business. And I'm always asking that. You mean like a digital platform, like software? And they're like, Yeah, we've been thinking that we should probably have an app. My first comment is always no.

Tomi [00:20:46] Mmhmm.

Antti [00:20:47] If you have less than 100 million of turnover, don't build the app or a heavy investor behind you. Because it's really costly. The burn rate is amazing once you start to really go into the IT business as such is an expensive game to be in and it won't turn any cheaper.

Tomi [00:21:05] No, no, no. It's a mess. And that's why when I talk to startups, they say, I have an app. I'm like, no, you have a service that you want to package into an app.

Antti [00:21:14] Yeah. Yeah. For sure.

Tomi [00:21:16] App is not the thing, you know. It's a medium.

Antti [00:21:19] Yeah.

Tomi [00:21:21] But yeah. So, so tell us a little bit about, if you can about the thought process going into like branding yourself within the software services industry. Like what, what, what are you what are your thoughts?

Antti [00:21:32] Okay. I think one of the first things I actually did is that I took all the major players in the industry and I looked into the what are they saying? So what is Vintage saying? What is Gofore saying, what is Futurist saying? What is reactor saying? What is Siilik saying? And I ended up with the conclusion I already had that everybody is telling the same things.

Tomi [00:21:53] Hmm.

Antti [00:21:54] And I think it's not a bad thing. Most of those things that are said there, those are like the hygiene side of things. You need to have them built in. Just as we discussed prior to this one or in the early stages of the podcast, how do they differentiate? This is I think this is a bad way to say, but mainly true colors. And that's a bit of a sad fact that I think the whole industry has already like, like woken up to this one that that that it needs to be more than the colors. And I think all the companies in the field are now like, like really, really paying heavy attention on how they present themselves. Where are their competitive edges is what makes them different. The game is on, so to speak. But currently still looking at the companies as such, the main differentiators are in the colors. And this was my thought process when we began. Even the illustrations, they used this. This was a funny one. I got it from my friend. He took screenshots from from there, from different companies, like social media platforms. And he just took the pictures and had the I looked through like six different companies from your field. And these are the illustrations they use. They could have been the same company. So even the illustrations, these like like non-binary figures, drawn figures that they had with like pastel colors.

Tomi [00:23:23] Yeah.

Antti [00:23:24] They looked exactly the same. But, but I think everybody in the industry knows this and we are a bit ashamed of this as well. And it's not a unique industry in that sense. There are many industries where everybody's like a lookalike of each other.

Tomi [00:23:37] Mm hmm.

Antti [00:23:38] And I think in my current profession, I think that is also the main challenge for us at Hassan, that we need to help the companies to differentiate themselves in a proper manner. And yeah, and that was my initial thought and that was the starting point for, for the branding work as well.

Tomi [00:23:58] Branding is like how you taste, like how you feel like what happens inside the body of a decision maker. You know, you want them, oh, this seems good. But for me, I mean, not I'm not like judging or throwing crap at anyone. I'm just saying, like, for me, they all feel a bit, like, tasteless and chewing on newspaper, basically, you know?

Antti [00:24:22] Yeah.

Tomi [00:24:22] Is there anyone who stands out and, like, tries to be kind of a rakish or or having a totally different brand?

Antti [00:24:29] Yeah, good question. I would love to say that my work was that once I saw what we did at Siili, that was completely different. I think it had notes, uh, that actually put it in a bit different position. For example, we really collected courage. To be able to say that we are that make it real company so we wouldn't have like ten sentences or 20 sentences. Or damn like, like 45 sentences to show who we are. But we had like one sentence that actually told the whole story, the narrative. So somehow, like really packing the narrative in short, and where you could expand that, why we are a make it real company or make IT real. It need to have a little pun in it.

Tomi [00:25:21] Yeah.

Antti [00:25:22] And then. Well, when it comes to visual identity, prior to the rebranding, we kind of hid the hedgehog. Siili meaning hedgehog, it wasn't there. And still everybody really loved it and recognized that the company from the hedgehog, so it's a hedgehog. And somehow we felt that we really want to bring the hedgehog in the front and ensure we do the artist because everybody loves hedgehogs. Yeah, you need to be like absolutely evil not to like hedgehogs.

Tomi [00:25:53] Psychopaths, you know.

Antti [00:25:54] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So sociopaths don't like hedgehog. Everybody else love hedgehogs. So in that sense, we also brought it to the frame, but we also gave it a meaning. For example, when we when we came out with the brand, we wanted to emphasize the fact that it's not a one company, but it's company formed from its employees. And then we created this small application, creating applications you know.

Tomi [00:26:21] Here we go.

Antti [00:26:22] Where you can actually take the brand and take the identity and you can tinker with it. So you could create your own brand out of it or your own logo out of it. And instead of Siili, it says your first name. And then all of a sudden we had, like, 700 and something logos. And many people ask me that that's going to be a complete mess. Like, like, brand wise, how do you control what they drill? How about if somebody creates a penis out of it? And I would say that that's a perfect thing to happen, because tell me how many corporate brands you have that people actually are interested tinkering with.

Tomi [00:26:59] True.

Antti [00:27:00] If somebody gets interested in the actual identity and the logo, that's the best thing that can happen. And people were really proud about it. It was then no longer we had Siili, but we have Antti with Antti symbol, we had Jenni with Jenni symbol and so forth. And they somehow felt that I'm part of something. I'm part of the pack in terms of being hedgehogs or swarm. We were so many. So we came up with a lot of things that actually just, like, brought up good thoughts. And of course, it's a really human centric company, Siili. And somehow we brought the value there, and it was talk of the town for at least a few weeks.

Tomi [00:27:41] But it there's a long attention span in today's economy. Yeah. So but when you do a rebranding like that, like marketing is in these cases, brand is hard to measure. Like, how did you did you have any KPIs? How do you measure this stuff?

Antti [00:27:57] This is one of my favorite questions, should you have like separates KPIs for brand. And I think the best KPI for a stock listed company for the brand is the value of the stock.

Tomi [00:28:08] Yeah!

Antti [00:28:09] Because eventually the value of the stock, it reflects really well on on how the how the buying audience sees your brand. Are they willing to buy? Is the company able to grow under that brand? Because somehow I feel that brand is always the external manifestation of the company's strategy.

Tomi [00:28:26] Hmm.

Antti [00:28:26] And that's pretty much it. That is also an interesting thing. But when people ask, should we have a like a separate brand strategy? Most definitely. You should have a brand strategy. When should it be built, aligned with the strategy of the company? They cannot be like separate things, but the brand strategy is there to actually give the overall strategy and external manifestation.

Tomi [00:28:48] And Apple, I think Apple is the most used example like ever, but it's still like the strategy is to make these, you know, sleek, nice, help, easy products. Yeah. And all their marketing is basically very sleek and in line and they create this weird cult of Mac users that are just refuse to use appease.

Antti [00:29:09] Yeah. But I love it because I think that the design philosophy of Apple has always been that. Could it be only one button? And I think their marketing, all in all, is always like one button marketing that they have, like, one message per like message. Whereas Nokia, for example, they had like 470 messages within one message. And eventually it's just okay. There's a lot there. I don't remember a thing. And they were so I must believe that they were so annoyed at Nokia back then, back in the days when, for example, Apple and iPhone came out with the now it has a camera, you can take excellent photos, you will have better memories and it's always with you. And they're at the Nokia headquarters. They been thinking like we had that for three years, but we never told it. Just this one button marketing. I think that that's the core core of many things. Too many messages, too blurry messages. You should have like one message and you should be really consistent with that. That's one reason why I love Apple as such.

Tomi [00:30:10] Yeah. I mean, I have so much to say about this too. And I use example when startups come and pitch to me and they tell all this stuff and I'm like, Oh, you like, simplify, simplify. And simplification is extremely hard. Yeah. And then I used this example, like every product has some defining feature, like Facebook. It's the like, yeah, Twitter. It's the tweet. Yeah. Snap is the snap. Yeah, Instagram is, even if there are stories and stuff there, it's still the photo. Yeah. So it's very attachable. And now you also use the example of LIDL beside basically cheap grocery food. When they enter a new market, the only thing they do for like three years, it's like are cheap. Where cheap, where cheap, where cheap. And once that core message of cheapness is there, well, all of the sudden they have this Michelin chef selling sausage. And because they don't have to tell it anymore. So driving the brand message, like, it's it's it's very if you're impatient, it's horrible.

Antti [00:31:14] Yeah.

Tomi [00:31:14] But in the end it pays off.

Antti [00:31:16] Yes, it pays off.

Tomi [00:31:17] What kind of advice would you give to companies that are amidst a rebranding themselves?

Antti [00:31:26] About rebranding. I would say that, of course, the brand needs to be like on point with the with the company's culture, companies real identity, not the identity they want to achieve next, but something that they already are, because otherwise it eventually turns into a fake. It should be more built like from market to in not from into market. Well, what I mean by that is that if you don't participate, your customers, the future customers, the current customers, the past customers into the project, it comes like a really inbred process. And like, really, like, banjo playing prowls. If you catch my drift.

Tomi [00:32:03] Yeah, I do.

Antti [00:32:05] And those projects would be avoided at all cost. But I think what is even more important than the end result of the brand is how the brand is then used in the marketing communications. As I just stated, the brand is the starting point, but the brand needs to give enough leverage so you can make really, really good marketing communication out of it. I think that would be my key message. So anybody there doing that rebranding of an IY company at the moment, just think that it gives you a platform to be great in marketing communications. There's a leverage now.

Tomi [00:32:39] In practice just get it down to low level. Like what? What would that mean? The marketing communications part of that, like in practice?

Antti [00:32:48] I think it just means one question that after we are done with the project and we have the brand in our hands. Is it like flexible enough? Is it interesting enough? Does it have the edge is needed, so to speak? Is it differentiating enough so we can create something amazing out of it once we start to communicate it? I think those are the key questions, and if it's not there, you probably need to have some sort of a redo in the process. So not creating a brand for the brand sake, but understanding what is the brand used after it's finished?

Tomi [00:33:20] Yeah, and I think there's a lot to learn from just looking at other businesses like you can look at, like clothing is actually one business where where basically people are selling exact same stuff. But they brand themselves too to turn to certain parts of your feelings and emotions. Perfume is one thing. It's just. It's just scent. And they do the same. So maybe the software service industry can learn a bit from, like, how jeans manufacturers brand themselves.

Antti [00:33:50] For sure. Fashion brand called Vollebok, which wants to make like a next level clothing. I think currently they only do do it for for men or they have the men's clothing line. But just to give you examples, they have jacket for Mars. So they decided to do a jacket so that you could travel to Mars with it. For example, it has a vomit back in it. So you can just put it back, get it out from the pockets, and you can vomit. Because most probably when you are going to Mars, you might vomit because the ride is hard. They also have like indestructible jacket. It costs some like like €600. And it's made out of material, which is like if I reckon, right. 15,000 times harder than steel.

Tomi [00:34:34] Okay.

Antti [00:34:36] And that's their niche. But there's an edge.

Tomi [00:34:40] Yeah. Yeah.

Antti [00:34:41] Super. As I'm looking your your eyes, as you're listening, you're like, okay, that is kind of cool. Tell me more what other clothing they have. For example, they have carbon fiber t-shirt.

Tomi [00:34:52] Damn

Antti [00:34:54] Yeah, but that's a brand. That's a brand. That is something that you can have opinion on. I think that's one of the core things also, I'd say. Would you have an opinion based on what they say? I think it's just like my opinion is that they look just like the others. Then you don't have a brand. If you can form an opinion out of the brand, I think then it's something interesting.

Tomi [00:35:14] It is. And I remember when, I'm a seventies kid. Probably you too, right?

Antti [00:35:19] Eighties.

Tomi [00:35:20] You're eighties.

Antti [00:35:20] I'm just. I look old.

Tomi [00:35:24] I'm sorry.

Antti [00:35:25] 13 years in management consulting. It's a fucking tough racket.

Tomi [00:35:29] You're early eighties.

Antti [00:35:29] I'm early eighties.

Tomi [00:35:30] Okay. Okay. I'm late seventies. Just to be clear.

Antti [00:35:34] Yeah.

Tomi [00:35:35] So I was raised with. With Levi's. Red Tab 501. Yeah, there was no other jeans. And if you had the red tab, people were like, Oh damn, he's got the red tab. And there were lead, there were a or there were a lot of different jeans, bars. But Levi's just crashed. Yeah. Everyone, they took familiar soundtracks from songs that everybody recognised. Son of a preacher man, all these videos, and they just dominated.

Antti [00:36:03] Yeah.

Tomi [00:36:04] With branding. So who's going to be the Levi's of the eighties of the software services industry?

Antti [00:36:10] Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a good example. And, and still looking at the looking at the jeans are such where they're jeans like ultra superior that their competitors just like, like better quality jeans that actually somehow shelter your legs better. No, no. Same stuff, better branding. So if it can be done with jeans, it probably can be done with IT.

Tomi [00:36:34] It can be. And I think this is a good, good, good closing of this pod. I mean, the time is just running out, I think, for us. But I think the main point here is that the brand is extremely valuable. It can be measured if you're a stock listed company by your share price. It should be measured with share price. You should have patience. And the finished tax authorities are sexy. The key group, which is the store group, which is more of a maybe premium, but still they have become sexy. Levi's was sexy. Everybody can be sure for sure to use the word sexy here. And sex sells. But but so there is hope.

Antti [00:37:16] There is most definitely there is hope. And looking at the companies, we always have to remember that they are performing in an exceptional way. They are growing year by year. They are turning profit to their owners and so forth and so forth. So we are not talking about an industry that is in problems, quite the contradictory. It's about question of who wants to grow fastest, who wants to be like the top of the pack, so to speak. And there are huge opportunities to actually just like take the advantage at this point, just being better in branding, being brave and actually doing the marketing communications, large scale investing in that one. Now is the time. I'm just I'm just waiting to see who actually does it.

Tomi [00:37:57] Wonderful, with that said, be bold and put the brand in place.

Antti [00:38:01] Thank you so much for this. This was fun.

Tomi [00:38:03] This was very much fun. Thank you. And thank you to Antti Kiukas from Hassan and Company, the commercial director, right?

Antti [00:38:12] Yeah, that was right.

Tomi [00:38:13] I'm going out and.

Antti [00:38:14] See you next time.