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Niko Kujala has been working within the product segment of breakers and switches at ABB Protection and Connection in Vaasa, Finland since 2011 and he has held different international positions within both sales and production. He gives the background to his first experience with Opticom International Research: We knew that we wanted to conduct customer satisfaction research on a global level in order to better understand our customers’ needs, basically asking them: What were the needs in different fields and what do we as a supplier need to do better?

Niko ABB
Niko Kujala, Global Sales support Specialist, ABB Protection and Connection

In the process of selecting a market research agency, the ABB team had five competing potential suppliers providing quotes to look into. Niko continues: After evaluating the different options, we found that Opticom’s offer was by far the clearest, it was obvious that Opticom had made an effort to get to know our business and therefore understood our needs. In addition to that, the price level was also good.

Niko says that the quick initial response to any question that ABB had concerning the designed project as well as the smooth communication with the Opticom project team overall were further factors that tilted ABB to choose Opticom in the end.

The customer satisfaction survey covered more than 20 countries worldwide, with strong involvement from the local offices to make sure the most important customers per market were interviewed.

We got very valuable insights concerning client needs in in an ever more competitive market: what our clients appreciate about our products and services, how we can help them improve their own business, and also indications on where there is still need for improvement.

Niko explains that a lot of actions have been taken by them at ABB after the results in the final report were presented and statistical files and individual interview transcripts were delivered. Most decisions concern increasing and improving their direct communication with clients. He reveals that their business has grown since the research was completed and that the insights definitely have further supported this growth.

When asked what he would regard as the main benefits with this specific project, Niko points out that it was easy doing business with Opticom, that the communication was always smooth, the offer was prepared really well and that Opticom understood our needs in this kind of research right away. Therefore, wrapping up, he would definitely recommend that ABB would go with Opticom again, whenever the need for market insights arises.

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Cars for sale. Who cares?

Think of the word “chevalier”

At first hand, it implies that a man is chivalrous. A knight, as it was called way back in the day. Someone who was quite well off. Had a good hand with the ladies. A charmer.

But if you do your linguistic (i.e. French) research right, it is far simpler than that. It means a guy who owns a horse. No more, no less. A mere horse.

Owning a horse, in the old days, extended not only your body (taller, faster, tougher) but also your persona (smarter, sexier, more powerful).

Now fast forward to present days. Few men, and women, own a horse today. But very many of us own a car. And funnily enough, we have, for the last century, attributed that ownership the same connotations as our medieval predecessors did to their horses. We love and cherish the brand of the car we own and drive.

My car makes me not only taller, faster and tougher but also smarter, sexier and more powerful. At least, that is what we think. And what makes us spend a considerable part of our income on a rather dead piece of metal and plastic. At least compared to a horse.

But now things are changing.

Cars are not sold anymore. They are leased. Or even rented by the hour (without any shady implications). Basically, cars are owned by banks. Not by individuals.

So, from being an object that you own, cars have become a service that you buy. When you need it.

Where will this – in the longer perspective – lead to in terms of brand affinity and brand asset? Will young urban drivers develop a closer relationship with those brands that provide the functionality of a car-for-hire than the brands of those manufacturers that actually make cars-for-sale.

We don’t know yet. But we can find out.

Because we create value for companies around the world by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and efficient communication.

Car for sale. Who cares?

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Internet of things without a driver

Imagine one of the leaders within the automotive industry.

Paint the picture that they’ve been building vehicles for really long, been really successful and become really appreciated. Drivers just love handling these impressive machines. The mechanics are superb. The driver interface is beyond compare, and the comfort is exquisite.

Let’s say that this is a producer of professional vehicles, such as long haul trucks, wheel loaders, mining equipment or even buses. Hence, availability and cost of operation will be key to any owner. But also in this discipline, our company scores high.

One could only guess the brand assets of such a product range. And of such a corporation.

So what happens when the interactive electronics of these already advanced machines grow up and become connected? Become part of the so cherished Internet of Things.

Information technology will allow for mind boggling novelties such as vehicles that drive better on their own than with their drivers. Vehicles that thrive best with their kins, travelling whole continents in a group, or what is now called platooning. Vehicles that are performing around the clock. A traffic environment far safer, without any driver at all, however skilled they may be.

What happens then with the loyalty of the drivers? And what happens with the brand assets?

Will such a vehicle-producer be seen as a sub-supplier to Internet companies? Or is it maybe so, that an agile producer can grab this opportunity, and turn things the other way around. And build an even stronger brand?

We don’t know yet. But we can find out.

Because we help companies around the world create value by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and efficient communication.

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Sustainable

“Eka, or AkzoNobel Pulp and Performance Chemicals as we’re now called, has, in conjunction with Opticom, broken new ground in terms of customer contact and communication,” says company Sustainability Manager Maria Norell very enthusiastically. “A few times during the spring, we invited our customers to attend web-based seminars, or ‘webinars’, that highlighted and focused on the concept of sustainability, which is an extremely important issue for both us and our customers. All growth targets must be centred on achieving long-term sustainability, particularly when it comes to the environment,” explains Norell. “We only have one planet, we must remember that,” she adds in all seriousness. Continue reading

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Chalmers

“We at Chalmers, working in conjunction with Gothenburg University and Opticom, have recently implemented a Future Lab in mini format, and I’ve been absolutely delighted with the results – I didn’t think things would go so well,” says project initiator Ulf Carlson, Head of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Chalmers. Continue reading

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