Reality Check!

Turning great ideas into great business by injecting customer insight.

Sutherland in Stockholm: An admans insights on life and the human nature.

Having worked in advertising for many years, I can assure anybody who is may doubt it, but the beings who work in agencies and crank out our ad-landscape, are actually human. A few of the are more human than others, and Rory Sutherland, who talked in Stockholm the other day, belongs to this category. Watch and listen in to his thinking about consumers, brands, marketing and our existance in general. Thought provoking – and very funny!

lör, februari 11 2012 » Opinions & observations » Kommentarer inaktiverade för Sutherland in Stockholm: An admans insights on life and the human nature.

Stockholm Innovation: RealityCheck on the the drivers of super-entrepreneurs.

In an assignement from one of Scandinavias foremost hi-tech incubators, Stockholm Innovation & Growth, we have conducted a study of the driving forces behand some of Sweden´s most successful high-tech entrepreneurs in recent years.  Stockholm Innovation,  founded by swedens Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) among others, wanted a clear picture of how the best entrepreneurs think and act, and how an incubator can come into the their equation. RealityCheck Consulting conducted large set of in-depth interviews covering issues such as motivation, challenges, opportunity, money and support for the struggeling entrepreneur. More on Stockholm Innovation & Growth

lör, februari 11 2012 » Reality checks » Kommentarer inaktiverade för Stockholm Innovation: RealityCheck on the the drivers of super-entrepreneurs.

UNICEF: Why we choose to give, and to whom?

During the past year we had the great honor of helping UNICEF Sweden in developing a Communications Platform. The assignment covered communication for both fund-raising (private citizens and businesses) and opinion-buidling. The core issues were in the ever-more competitive fund-raising, finding answers to questions like:

–       Why do we choose to donate money or sympathy?

–       With whom do we choose to associate ourselves with?

–       How can this relationship be maintained and nurtured over time?

Incorporating both local and global research, the platform was launched in late 2011, after an intence series of workshops with top management, staff and several partners (agencies, production houses etc). Since the launch, UNICEF Sweden has rolled out it´s traditional Christmas campaign, which got global attention and raised record amounts of funds for the children of the world. Tiop agency Forsman Bodenfors created the campaign. Take a look:
Even though UNICEF has done fantastic things for the children of the world, there is still incredible suffering and so many kids that need your help. Find out more how you can chip in:

lör, februari 11 2012 » Reality checks » Kommentarer inaktiverade för UNICEF: Why we choose to give, and to whom?

Itello: Building a brand in a financial hi-tech niche marketplace.



During the summer and fall, we have been hard at work together with our agency-partner Cox Stockholm developing a Brand- and Communications Plaform for fast-growing software-company Itello. Itello is focused on providing solutions to the financial services industry and they have been exceptionally successful . Our assignemnet has been to manifest Itellos powerful relationship with this marketplace in formulating a clear brand, and to lay the foundation for an international expansion with a distinct and effective communications strategy.

lör, februari 11 2012 » Reality checks » Kommentarer inaktiverade för Itello: Building a brand in a financial hi-tech niche marketplace.

How does marketing communication work – really?

Good question that has been answered to many different ways over the years. Though there is probably no one universal answer, but marketing professionals have always strived to identify a ”model” that can help them organize their work and manage their people. Perhaps the most classic of these is the 1920´s AIDA-model, which is unfortunately still in use. In our search of usabel models that take into consideration both modern values, attitiudes and behavior, as well as marketing technology and techniques, is The Consumer Journey, developed by McKinsey & Co and published in 2009. Read more about it here.

lör, februari 11 2012 » Opinions & observations » Kommentarer inaktiverade för How does marketing communication work – really?

BrandZ 2011: Apple ends Google´s four years as most valuable brand.

Millward Brown today released BrandZ 2011, a global ranking of the world´s most valuable consumerfacing brands. Plenty of food for thought and debate for all branding professionals. The overall Top 20 reads as follows:

  1. Apple         $153,285 M
  2. Google       $111,498 M
  3. IBM            $100,849 M
  4. McDonald’s$81,016 M
  5. Microsoft   $78,243 M
  6. Coca-Cola  $73,752 M
  7. AT&T        $69,916 M
  8. Marlboro    $67,522 M
  9. China Mobile $57,326 M
  10. General Electric $50,318 M
  11. ICBC        $44,440 M
  12. Vodafone  $43,647 M
  13. Verizon    $42,828 M
  14. Amazon    $37,628 M
  15. Walmart   $37,277 M
  16. Wells Fargo $36,786 M
  17. UPS          $35,737 M
  18. HP            $35,404 M
  19. Deutsche Telekom $29,774 M
  20. Visa          $28,553 M

Lots more on the subject here.

mån, maj 9 2011 » Opinions & observations » No Comments

What is the best way to build a global brand?

Nigel Hollis of Millward Brown raises some interesting questions about the virtues of global brands:

”I know, I know. If I wrote a book on the subject, how come I am asking this question? Well, I can tell you what the accepted answer is: find a relevant human motivation, tap into it to create brand appeal that transcends countries and cultures, and adapt to local needs and circumstances when necessary.

But what I cannot tell you is whether this approach will actually make more money than a more localized approach.

The topic came up a few months ago in a phone call with Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer of Procter & Gamble (P&G), and now founder and CEO of The Jim Stengel Company LLC. We were meant to be discussing the content for his upcoming book, but somehow ended up discussing the value of global brands.

We came to the somewhat scary conclusion that neither of us had seen compelling evidence to suggest that global brands actually created more value for their owners, than an equivalent series of local brands. It seems to be an accepted fact that it is worth the time and effort to create a single brand, marketed in a relatively consistent way around the world, but the evidence to support this belief seems partial at best.

There are certainly examples where tapping into a common human motivation has empowered a brand worldwide. The best documented example I have seen, would be Diageo’s Johnnie Walker whisky.

The brand went from fragmented and declining, to consistent and increasingly successful. The case study that won an IPA Award clearly documents the increase in sales and market share realized by the new strategy. But, assuming that these additional sales justify the cost of managing the global strategy, is the return due to a more compelling positioning or its global nature?

I am sure the majority of value was realized from a new and more compelling positioning. But how much was realized from incremental sales that resulted from applying that positioning globally? It is tough to tell.

Sure, there are synergies to be realized from utilizing a common design and packaging around the world, but what about the consumer side of the equation? Is a global positioning somehow more compelling to consumers? It really does depend on the country and the category. It might matter far more to an aspirational whisky than to an everyday soap.

Unilever maintains many global brands, but also markets some “local jewels.” One such is, Hamam, a soap that has been marketed in Tamil Nadu since the 1930’s. Launched in 1931 as a “mild, family soap,” Hamam drew a large following because of its natural ingredients, long before it was trendy or fashionable. In spite of its limited geographic scope, the brand is still strong today and may well be more profitable than its global equivalent (the fact that Unilever has not sold the brand also suggests this might be the case).

One of the primary rationales for creating a global brand is that extending the brand from one country to another is less risky than launching a completely new one. Of course, whether it is more cost effective than buying an existing, successful local brand is questionable.

Admittedly, Vodafone has found that the acquisition strategy can be less rewarding than might be expected, but that has as much to do with the local government and competitive context as the strength of the brand they acquired.

Overall, I suspect the justification for creating global brands rests far more with the management desire to claim they have a global brand, than the financial benefit of owning one. It sounds good no matter how much money it realizes. But maybe I am being too cynical, what do you think?”


ons, maj 4 2011 » Opinions & observations » No Comments

IAA seminar: Swedish design as a competitive international weapon.

Whatever the focus of your international market – heavy trucks, miracle drugs, financial software, furniture or clean technology – understanding the role of Swedish design can help you build your brand. Is it relevant in a global context? How can it be used as a differentiator in a cluttered world?Please join IAA Sweden’s members and other VIP international marketers for stimulating presentations on these topics by Henrik Otto, Senior VP Global Design at Electrolux and Eva Kumlin, CEO of Svensk Form, who also blogs as “Fru Form”. The discussion panel includes Susanna Barrett, former creative director at BVD and chair of the Design Jury for Guldägget 2010, and renowned eyewear and jewelry designer Oscar Magnuson.

  • Where: Svensk Form, Svensksundsvägen 13, Skeppsholmen
  • When: 23 March 17:30 (mingle), 18:30 -20:00 (presentation/discussion)
  • Plus: Wine, appetizers, other refreshments and good company
  • Cost: FREE for IAA members; 250 kr for non-members and guests.

Who was there (RealityCheck!), who was not? Click here for all the pictures…


tor, mars 31 2011 » Events » No Comments

RealityCheck på Kustkonferensen 2011.

I samband med Båtmässan i Göteborg arrangerade Västsvenska Turistrådet och Sweboat den 19/2 Kustkonferensen, ett årligen återkommande arrangemang som samlar stora delar av dens svenska båt- och båtturistbranschen . Årets tema var ”Kund i sikte” och diskussionerna kretsade kring kommunikation, trender, nya marknader och kunder. Stefan Rydén på RealityCheck Consulting presenterade delar av projektet Morgondagens Båtliv 2: Nytänkarna och pekade bl a på ett antal gemensamma drag hos de intervjuade ”nytänkarna”:

  • Insikt om nya behov, vilja att skapa nytt och bättre.
  • Ifrågasätter, öppen för självkritik och ”högt i tak”.
  • Engagerat ledarskap med tydliga visioner och uthållighet.

mån, februari 28 2011 » Events, Opinions & observations, Reality checks » No Comments

The Power of the Right Question.

A good point from HBR guest-blogger Scott Anthony: ”The next time you or your team start generating ideas, stop. Step back. Make sure you’ve thought about the question you’re trying to answer. Trust me: it will be worth the extra time…” Read more about The Right Question at HBR.

tor, februari 17 2011 » Opinions & observations » No Comments