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On February 21st, 2000 I was moderating a panel discussion in Stockholm and the theme was: The IT society, a threat against printing paper?

Starting up the panel discussion, I reminded the audience that there was an Internet company traded on NASDAQ called Amazon that had 3,000 employees, negative profits, and a market cap of 8 Billion US dollars. This was equivalent to the market cap of SCA, Stora, Enso, UPM and Holmen – COMBINED. Most people in the audience laughed and exclaimed that the world had gone crazy. Not so many are laughing today. Since then Amazon’s stock price has soared by over 2100% and the market cap is now 700 billion US dollars. What about the named forest industry stocks? Well, they have risen too and are today valued at 60 billion US dollars. With Amazon´s market cap outperforming the selected basket of forest industry stocks 12 fold, we can conclude that at half-time it’s 1-0 to Amazon.

However, the game isn’t over until the referee blows the whistle. What will happen in the next 18 years? Today the forest industry is in much better shape than in 2000. Their business models are supported by mega trends such as increasing e-commerce, aging population, growing middle class, a world going non-plastic, etc. The industry is optimistic about the future, with many new ideas and innovations in the making. In the second half of the game my bet would be to go long in forestry and short in Amazon.

We see these trends, with all the new opportunities they offer for the forestry industry. And we’ll take an active role in this process of change. Because we help create value for companies around the world by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and efficient communication.

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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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Unknown

Imagine a pioneer in the wind power business deciding to create true change.

Let’s assume that they have been around for a while, and that they have made their mark as a solid supplier of reliable technology. Let’s also consider the fact that they have moved upward the value ladder, offering both a portfolio of services and a range of consultative advice.

Finally, one more assumption. They have been an ardent advocate for wind power in general. Investing time and money in building the arena for harnessing this endless source of energy.

But turning the energy industry in a new and greener (or maybe bluer) direction takes time. And since time is money, one could imagine the agony of various stakeholders. We just do not make any money, the bean counters in this company complained. They just spend tax money, skeptical politicians claimed. They just waste time, reactionary industrialists complained. They need more time – and money – devoted environmentalists argued. On, and on, and on.

Gradually, technology matured. Reliability grew, so did efficiency. And finally, pay off times reached acceptable levels, even without counting financial support from governmental bodies.

Still the market refused to mature. It didn’t take off. It just trudged along, on shore, off shore and even off distance.

But what if they decided to turn the equation around?

Starting with offering the end customers a more tangible benefit than green electricity. Offer them the functionality they are using the electricity for. Like washing their clothes. Warming their house. Preserving their food. Preparing their meals.

In essence, they would market wind powered washing machines, radiators, fridges, stoves.

Would that work? Would it become a success?
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.

Turning wind power in a new direction. With an innovative spin.

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Unknown

Many of us remember Esso’s classic campaign about putting a tiger in the tank of your car.

That claim was coined in another millennium, but demand for a clean, powerful and efficient fuel (yes that was what Esso promised) remains.

Now imagine that someone sets the wheels in motion and starts developing, producing and marketing a fuel that is not based on fossil resources. That does not contribute to climate change. That has no negative effect on agriculture and does not interfere with food production.

Imagine a fuel that can power anything from airplanes and long haul trucks to city cars and scooters.

And imagine – if you can – this fuel being based on an endless resource that can be regenerated forever and ever.

Think trees.

How this can help change the world, we don’t know yet. But we can find out.

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

Put a tree in your tank

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