In the Nordics, when someone is looking to purchase some sports or outdoor equipment, chances are they will go to an XXL store. This is because they trust that they will find the predictability of well-known brands, enjoy a wide selection of products, and they won’t be overcharged. It is through these simple business values that XXL grew to become the market leader in the Nordics, with over 90 megastores selling well-known sports brands and outdoor gear.
Sometimes, meteoric growth can be attributed to luck, but in the case of XXL, it was hard work, intelligent business decisions and a strong culture of ‘doing things right,’ that led to the company achieving such enviable business success. So, what can we learn from this burgeoning Norwegian company that can be applied to other businesses?
There are many pillars required to sustain the growth of a business, and it is no secret that communication is key in every business, of any size. However, some keys are difficult to use, and just having the key does not enable the door to be unlocked.
Simply knowing that communication is critical to business success is not enough to achieve it. As it was one of the world’s fastest growing retailers of sports and outdoor goods, XXL recognised this and began extensive research and investigation into how to turn “communication” from an obscure caption on a motivational poster, into concrete business gains. Jon Harald Espolin Johnson is the Head of Training and Development – Group Operations at XXL, and in commenting about their successful growth, he stated: “All in all, we are about 5,000 people. To be successful, we need highly skilled and motivated people. In general, we are increasing our online training capacities, and COVID-19 accelerated this”.
The trademark grey buildings, with the neon green signage are practically a part of the landscape of Northern Europe, almost as recognizable as the Golden Arches. For years, this iconic Norwegian brand has been steadily growing and expanding, providing a textbook example of scalable business growth to a population who are no strangers to successful business.
In addition to the well-known and popular physical stores, Johnson explains that they “…have a very strong and growing e-commerce business”. Obviously, the entire global economy underwent significant changes due to COVID-19, with e-commerce being a major focus worldwide.
Without disregarding this trend, XXL believes that a healthy balance between online retail and physical stores is important. Managing Director of XXL Austria, Magnus Kreuger said “In these challenging times, it is particularly gratifying that we will open the eighth [Austrian] branch in Klagenfurt in 2021. I am very proud of it. Now is the right time and the location is perfect.”
With news channels flooded with reports of companies like Amazon reporting it “had doubled its quarterly profits with net sales rising by 40%” (The Guardian, 18/11/21), it could seem that e-commerce was leaving brick-and-mortar stores in the dust. This makes it easy to question XXL’s decision to continue investing in physical stores. However, reports by such publications as the Financial Times suggest that the data tells a different story. A dive into the 2019 FT 1000 ranking of Europe’s fastest growing companies claims that “The answer is online, or with a calibrated mix of web and bricks-and-mortar sales.”
Clearly, focusing on both e-commerce and physical stores is one of the successful strategies that XXL employed. But this is easier said than done, because as we have already established, communication is key. For a company as large as XXL, especially one that is growing at a similar rate, having effective, meaningful communication systems in place is absolutely critical.
One of the traps a lot of businesses fall into, is relying on outdated methods of communication, such as email, to handle things such as trainings, updates or announcements. A manager or CEO may spend days creating and honing a company-wide email, notifying staff of a particular update, new system or process, with the result often being only marginally better than not communicating at all.
The reason for this is that as a method of communication, email is relatively limited, and almost dangerously ineffective. In this and practically every cases where information is coming from a senior management position and being transmitted to large swathes of employees, an email is a one-way communication method.
Nobody ever replies to these kind of emails, so there is no direct response that the information was received. Worse than that, it is almost impossible to get any data or metric on how many people saw the email and/or opened it. Even if this data is accessible, there is no way to know if the whole email was read. Even worse still, speaking of accessible data, email as a medium is not cyber secure!
In addition, no matter how carefully the email is crafted, there is nothing inspiring about it. Email has become the most reviled communication tool in business, representing a faster, cheaper fax machine. Well respected business magazine Forbes has published a plethora of content, damning the medium;
One of the reasons why email is still so widely used, is because everyone has it. But for larger companies, emails are far from the best solution to communication. The above reasons are just a few examples as to why. So, what is the solution?
Like all of us, XXL recognised that communication was critical to their continued success. What they did differently, is they understood that it required further development. As an example, companies with large and/or scattered workforces can struggle to manage employee trainings. Online training has been largely underdeveloped in recent history, and suddenly became an international necessity with the COVID-19 pandemic. With companies all around the world looking for ways to successfully manage the training of their employees, the search for solutions has grown drastically. Jon Harald commented:
One of the key findings that XXL realised, was the value of video based content. The explosive growth of video content consumption in just the social media sphere recently indicates a new pattern in the Information Age;
As a medium, it is rivalled only by face-to-face (f2f) meetings in terms of how effectively information is exchanged and absorbed and although it may come as a surprise, utilising video in a business environment is more accessible than ever. It no longer requires huge budgets, reels of film and a lifetime of filmmaking skills. With the right tools, an effective, professional video can be created by anyone in less time than it takes to prepare for an in-person meeting.
Another thing to consider is that once made, a video is a reusable asset, unlike a manager’s time. A video can be replayed over and over, without requiring any further time for meetings. This is one example of how a video can prove to be even more advantageous than a f2f meeting.
But beyond repeatability and saving time, video affords another metric that is oft overlooked when compared to f2f meetings, and that is trackability. It can be widely assumed that if someone is present in the meeting room, that they are absorbing all the knowledge and information that is coming at them during the meeting. But listening, and understanding are two very different things. How often have you noticed someone whose attention wanders in the middle of a meeting?
There has been a recent uptick in journals and medical papers publishing evidence to corroborate that which most of us already assumed; we all learn differently. Some people may have the ability to sit and absorb information as it flows to them, for hours on end. There are many others, though, who may absorb information better a different way, and this does not make them any less effective.
So, whilst someone may be physically in the meeting room, they may not be absorbing all the information. It is not acceptable to just get up and walk out of a meeting when your attention wavers. A video, however, can be paused, and returned to when it suits you best, meaning you are able to consume the information on your own terms, in a way that best suits your learning method. Furthermore, with access to analytic data like this, you have a much more comprehensive review of what information has been consumed and understood, not just delivered.
In Dream Broker Studio, you can capture, edit, share, manage and analyse video content on anywhere, on any device, all in one entirely cyber secure platform. When asked about why he chose Dream Broker, Johnson commented:
Dream Broker Studio enables you to onboard new employees faster and continue to train existing ones. Reinforce the employer brand and let your employees tell their stories. Build a culture of sharing know-how through video. Reach and teach your employees no matter where they are located.
Whether you work in HR, IT, Marketing, or any function in the organisation, you can save time and costs by using online videos as a communication and leadership tool.
At Dream Broker, we help our customers lead their markets. That is how we became market leaders ourselves. We don’t simply sell a software, we help our customers reach their business goals through effective leadership, training, and communication.
In December 2020, Dream Broker announced that it will donate 5 euros on behalf of each of its enterprise customer, directing it to MIELI ry. With the donation, the aim is to support the association’s valuable work in developing mental healthcare services. By exceeding the level of a thousand enterprise customers by the end of the year, Dream Broker promised to increase donated amount per customer to 10 euros. At the end of the year 2020, the number of enterprise customers grew to 1026, resulting in a total donated amount of 10 260 euros. The donation is considered a general donation and it was granted to MIELI ry in March 2021.
In addition, Dream Broker has started the collaboration this year with Lapinlahden Lähde Oy, a subsidiary of MIELI ry. Operating as their technology partner, Dream Broker provides its Smart TV technology, software solutions and expertise for their use. This enables Lapinlahden Lähde to stay more effectively connected through online video communication with their important stakeholders, especially during the corona times.
Dream Broker’s collaboration with MIELI ry and Lapinlahden Lähde will tighten in other areas as well. In April 2021 Dream Broker will become one of the tenants in the Lapinlahti Hospital, where the rented facilities are dedicated to support research and development projects of Dream Broker and activities related to art, science and culture.
In the meanwhile, Dream Broker is actively working to secure the future of Lapinlahti area and its historical hospital together with other collaboration partners. As soon as the ongoing investigation of the future of Lapinlahti Hospital is completed, the ultimate goal of Dream Broker is to join forces with other like-minded stakeholders to secure the future of the hospital.
CEO, Mika Ahokas, Dream Broker Ltd, Tel. +358 40 583 7782, mika.ahokas(a)dreambroker.fi
Dream Broker publishes a new video messenger to honour the Independence day of Finland: Nian is truly a Finnish and an European solution for connecting with your friends and family when meeting physically is not possible. Finally there is an alternative and innovative video messenger available where you do not need to worry that your privacy or personal data are compromised. Nian is developed with the highest cyber security standards, the data is stored securely in Finland and your data will never be sold. With Nian you can always trust that your personal moments are safe.
Nian has been created by a Finnish online video software company Dream Broker Ltd, and is delivered by Dream Broker’s subsidiary Black Adamant Technologies Ltd. Dream Broker is known for its cyber-secure approach and video-first technologies since its establishment in 2007. Company that has previously provided high-quality video solutions for enterprises only, now for the first time offers a solution to make the everyday life easier for all people and citizens.
Simplicity at the core
What makes Nian special is its simple design and trustworthiness. All generations from children to grandparents can easily use the application to connect with each other. Mindfully chosen features allow users to focus on what truly matters – staying in touch with the loved ones.
– During the last decade, we recognized that in today’s world of being constantly connected, it is paradoxically becoming increasingly difficult and complex to stay in touch with those who matter the most, your loved ones. With Nian we introduce a safe, easy-to-use and innovative video messenger for everyone. We have considered all users when developing this user friendly, safe and trustworthy solution for all regardless of their age or technological capabilities. In order to honour our home country and roots we decided to publish Nian on the Independence Day of Finland in our home country Finland and also in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Iceland and the United Kingdom, celebrates Mika Ahokas, the CEO of Dream Broker Ltd.
Nian in a nutshell
SEND AND RECEIVE VIDEOS
Show your loved ones what’s happening in your everyday life by sharing safe video messages.
If a picture tells more than 1000 words, imagine what a video can do.
Stay in touch with your circle of friends and family. Give the group conversation a cute name or mute notifications when you need time to focus on something else.
Let your loved ones know where you are so they know you are safe. You can also share your location when travelling to exciting new places. Let your loved ones follow your adventures.
THINKING OF YOU
We all have moments when a loved one crosses our mind, but it’s not the best time to reach out to them. Simply hold down the record button to let them know you’re thinking of them.
MULTI DEVICE USAGE
With Nian, you can access all your video conversations from smartphones and tablets.
Nian is free to download from App Store and Google Play marketplaces.
Nian Unlimited is a monthly paid subscription, which unlocks unlimited storage and other functionalities for you to stay in touch with your loved ones.
- Store unlimited number of video messages
- Create unlimited number of permanent groups
- Invite unlimited number of friends
- The price of Nian Unlimited subscription is 0,99 € / month
Read more: www.mynian.com
CEO, Mika Ahokas, Dream Broker Ltd, Tel. +358 40 583 7782, mika.ahokas(a)dreambroker.fi
PR & Communications: Helmi Lindström, Dream Broker Ltd, Tel. +358 40 586 2822, helmi.lindstrom(a)dreambroker.fi
I stället för traditionella julklappar vill Dream Broker donera 5 euro för var och en av sina företagskunder till arbetet för psykisk hälsa. Dream Broker har för närvarande 974 företagskunder. Dream Broker är ett snabbt växande företag och vill dela med sig av sin framgång till dem som behöver hjälp. Antalet kunder har ökat från drygt 800 till nuvarande antal under 2020 och Dream Broker vill med gåvan varmt tacka alla sina kunder för samarbetet under det gångna året.
Dessutom vill Dream Broker på ett positivt sätt utmana sina anställda och kunder att nå gränsen på 1000 företagskunder i slutet av 2020. Om målet är framgångsrikt kommer Dream Broker att öka beloppet som ska doneras till 10 euro per företagskund. Med sin donation vill Dream Broker stöda det värdefulla arbete som MIELI Psykisk Hälsa Finland gör för att främja psykisk hälsa och välbefinnande. Beloppet som kommer att doneras offentliggörs i januari. Vi önskar alla en varmhjärtad väntan på julen, ett tryggt slut på året och ett gott nytt år!
Dream Broker Ab
Tel. 040 583 778
mika.ahokas (a) dreambroker.fi
Associations Pro Lapinlahti mielenterveysseura ry and MIELI Mental Health Finland as well as Dream Broker Ltd, a Finnish growth company in software business, are going to set up a foundation with other interested parties to support activities contributing to mental health work at Lapinlahti area, which is cultural-historically important area in Helsinki. The foundation wants to honour the architectural and cultural history of Lapinlahti and the values of its natural surroundings. The aim is to secure the future of the Lapinlahti area and its historical hospital. Meanwhile, the foundation will enable preservation of the hospital building complex for future generations by restoring the buildings and further developing the area into lively and active centre of mental health.
“Non-governmental organisations, individuals, professionals from different fields and cultural practitioners have put valuable efforts to foster the Lapinlahti area and to support mental health. It is an honour for us to declare that we will protect this valuable work. Our company is committed to support the foundation financially, to take a long-term role in it and lead the fundraising”, says Mika Ahokas, the CEO of Dream Broker Ltd.
One element on the background for setting up the foundation is the increasing concern of the rapid growth of mental health issues. In May this year, UN warned about the potential mental health crisis caused by the pandemic.
Currently, 70 companies, 20 organisations and 90 independent artists and researchers are operating at the Lapinlahti area. “A number of people have conducted very valuable work towards Lapinlahti 360 project and to support mental health. We are glad to state that Dream Broker as a private company has pledged to take significant responsibility to enable this work financially”, says Kristian Wahlbeck, Director of Development of MIELI Mental Health Finland.
Also new partners are warmly welcome to join both the foundation to be established and also to develop Lapinlahti and secure the future of the area.
”With the cooperation we want to secure the future of Lapinlahti and preserve the cultural-historically valuable area as a source of culture and mental well-being which is open for all citizens, as well as to engage in even broader work to support well-being”, states Pentti Arajärvi, Chairman of Pro Lapinlahti ry.
”Dream Broker wants to be an example in encouraging everyone to take part in supporting the work for mental health, for example, by helping in the fundraising of the new foundation. Even a small action can have a major impact on mental health. We will approach actively actors from different fields to whom Lapinlahti and mental health could be matters of the heart”, says Mika Ahokas, CEO of Dream Broker Ltd.
Chairman of the Board, Mika Ahokas, Dream Broker Ltd, Tel. +358 40 583 7782, mika.ahokas(a)dreambroker.fi
Development Director Kristian Wahlbeck, MIELI Mental Health Finland, Tel. +358 400 659 101, kristian.wahlbeck(a)mieli.fi
Chairman Pentti Arajärvi, Pro Lapinlahti mielenterveysseura ry, pentti.arajarvi(a)iki.fi
After receiving the latest updates from public authorities and several healthcare sector customers of Dream Broker, we wanted to also contribute to the prevention work against Coronavirus epidemic.
Get a direct link to the video here.
At the beginning of this year, an epidemic caused by the new coronavirus began in China, that causes respiratory symptoms similar to those caused by influenza. The virus spreads from person to person through droplet transmission. The patients’ symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. The incubation period for the virus is on average 5 days. If you are experiencing any aforementioned symptoms visit your occupational healthcare provider or the closest public healthcare center in your municipality.
Recommended precautions to stop the spreading of the virus:
- Avoid travelling to the epidemic areas.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) or if not possible use a disinfectant.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider and take extended care of your fellow citizens and coworkers.
Follow this link to the Finnish institute of health and welfare Coronavirus update page:
Disease advice from World Health Organisation:
We hope that you found this information and video to be useful in your organisation.
+358 50 381 0836
Between March and May 2019, hundreds of like-minded professionals from all industries and functions meet across six European capitals, to discuss how they use online video communication to establish and build trust with their employees and clients as trust drives all business.
Every Dream Broker PLAY event is an exclusive invitation-only gathering for decision makers. The interactive program provides the participants with valuable networking opportunities and broad insight to the event theme “Trust Drives All Business” from multiple angles. Annually, the tour attracts over 600 business professionals who share their vision, experiences and ideas on how to revolutionise their communication.
Dream Broker is looking for Account Executives, Senior Account Executives and Customer Relations Managers based in Helsinki, Finland.
Dream Broker is the leading online video software company in the Nordics. Our vision is to revolutionise communication in a fun, natural and productive way with video. Our online video software, Dream Broker Studio, is already used by over 800 enterprise customers in their communication, leadership and learning.
The Customer Management unit in Helsinki invites new talents to join the growing account management team which manages the current customer portfolio in Finland. The Customers unit invites Customer Relations Managers to join the international expertise team and to support the local account management teams and customers in their operative work.
“At Dream Broker we don’t do sales just for the sake of growth and results, but our aim is to produce maximal and genuine customer value. Sales work has to be ethical and professional, and based on good values,” says Lauri Heikkilä, Country Manager, Finland at Dream Broker.
Account Executives, Senior Account Executives and Customer Relations Managers have an essential role in Dream Broker’s customer value creation. Together with the colleagues, the aim is to eventually bring online video communication to all employees in Dream Broker’s customer organisations.
“The best thing about my work is to see the results of the work as part of the bigger picture. You can concretely see how customers are generating value and get the benefits from using our solution – enabling the revolution of communication,” says Nelly Nurmi, Account Executive at Dream Broker.
See the job descriptions here:
Apply now! We are ready to hire as soon as we find the right candidate.
For further information about the open positions, please contact:
Country Manager, Finland
+358 44 290 0021
Director, Technology and Customers
+358 45 268 1800
About Dream Broker
Dream Broker is a Finnish online video software company. We help our customers revolutionise their communication and learning with online video. Our cloud-based software, Dream Broker Studio, enables every employee to easily create, edit and share online videos. We also provide our expertise to help our customers succeed using online video.
Security and privacy have always been our top priorities in software design and development and in the ways our personnel processes data. We are proud to be able to offer our customers a genuinely European solution, which doesn’t transfer personal data outside the EEA. Dream Broker Studio is our own software and hosted using hardware and server systems owned and operated by us. This provides our customers peace of mind, which has always been crucial for entities who are revolutionising their communication and expanding the use of online videos in all functions of their organisation.
Over 600 professionals meet in 6 Northern European capital cities in Q2.
Today, every function in every organisation needs to succeed in communication with their most important people – employees and customers. Therefore, communication should be also your priority, regardless of what function or position you are working in today.