Visionist is 15 Years Young

My communication agency Visionist became 15 years old yesterday. I still live every day, the good and the bad, as a startup company. Good in the sense that I still wait for every work day as enthusiastically than I have done past 15 years. The company is still young and agile to do whatever feels interesting! The bad thing is that a small two man company is vulnerable to changes that clients are prone to do, so we have to be alert every single day.

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Five years ago, in order to celebrate our tenth anniversary, I wrote this about consuming entertainment:
”Physical media and ”the burden of owning things” are in decline and they have slowly been replaced by enjoying entertainment on a need basis. Whether it’s about music, movies, games, books or magazines, they are all heading to internet through digitalization and they are available as subscriptions instead of buying things separately to own.”

This is exactly what has happened, and the process is all but finished. Five years ago there were no streaming services for movies such as Netflix at least in Finland and gaming consoles’ marketplaces were barely taking their first steps. For music the only service offering music for subscription was Spotify. Selling the e-books was nothing but a joke. What has really changed in five years? In a way, everything. On the other hand, we’re living the winds of change. The digital world is not ready yet and I wonder if it will ever be.

In the last five years media has gone through a lot of changes. Maybe not as much as everybody keeps saying, but it’s clear that the whole field has changed a lot and it seems it’s not going to end any time soon. Social media is commonplace to most of us and its various channels evolve constantly. Fortunately, we’ve been able to keep up with these changes and social media is also part of Visionist each and every day.

Visionist has changed quite a bit during the last five years. It was almost five years ago when I recruited my first and so far only employee Jerry Kurunen. Back then his title was a gaming guru. For Visionist it was a strategic turning point towards gaming business and it was truly the right thing to do. Since then, among other things, we have handled the Finnish Gaming and Multimedia Association’s communication for almost five years and the most important game releases from Ubisoft for the last four years. Visionist’s focus has turned towards where I wanted it to go: more games and digital entertainment.

Finland’s economy is not in the best shape these days and many companies are looking for international market. This is also very true for many startup companies. This also includes Visionist. More than three years ago my good friend Juuso Vermasheinä got an idea which I simply couldn’t resist. Back then Juuso had a music startup company of his own and he also created Finnish Music Startups collective with his partners. When Juuso’s own company headed for other directions and left music industry, Visionist inherited this rather interesting collective to be taken care of. We refreshed the whole idea to being a collaborative communications collective and it still inspires me to focus on the startup world. Startup companies working in the gaming and music industries are close to my heart and they are something we want to focus on more and more in the future.

What hasn’t changed during the last five years? Relationships with people, collaborations and stories are still the most important things in a communication agency. Without all the great people and stories to tell there would not be an agency like this. At least it would feel pointless for me anyway. A product without a story and a story without people is just dull and it’s not fit for Visionist to tell. Do you have a story that you would like to share with the world?

Helsinki, 4th of January 2016
Jiri Koivuniemi

P.S. What will happen in the next five years? Less than what we think right now. On the other hand, some of the ideas we have imagined earlier will be everyday life in the near future. I can notice the two new digital trends that will be above others: (even faster) globalization and focus on appearance.

In the business and communications world faster globalization is making things more versatile and more efficient. It also means that local cultural elements will fade away to the background while an homogenous western lifestyle takes over. Focusing on appearance is showing by things becoming more visual and video based (4K, VR, GoPro, YouTube, selfies, social streaming, etc.). However, this is often done at the expense of storytelling.

Of course every new thing has its good and bad sides. I hope we will be quick enough to pick up the good fruits for us and leave the rotten ones for someone else.