20-year-old Visionist is also evolving into a visioning agency

Unbelievable, but true – I founded Visionist today exactly 20 years ago! In a way, it feels like yesterday, but in a way like another lifetime ago. I never imagined that my business idea would feed me and my loved ones for twenty years. On the other hand, when I was meeting the startup consultant just before founding my company, I was dreaming of a much larger company than what Visionist is right now. However, I’m not disappointed with the current situation. Quite the contrary, I’m pleased that I realized rather early that I didn’t want to grow up and lead a larger company. I still enjoy doing client work much more than managing the company or doing other things related to running a business. So, I prefer being a worker in my own company over being a “real” businessman.

For me, relationships are at the heart of everything. I’m immensely grateful for all the customers, acquaintances and friendships that have come over me during the last 20 years. I’ve known some of Visionist’s customers and partners for all of my adult life. At the same time, we’ve got some great new customers and friends. As an adult, building and especially maintaining friendships isn’t easy, so I raise my hat for all of my new and old friends who still want to look at my wrinkling face.

A special big thank you, of course, to my family and to my extended family, Jerry and Juuso, with whom we take our daily lives forward. Above all, you are good friends with whom I can discuss just about anything and whose sparring help is invaluable.

I started working in the technology and gaming business at the age of 18 over 32 years ago. At the time, I always wondered how I was the youngest person in the room in most meetings. Today, I wonder how I am often the oldest in the room. This doesn’t bother me at all, because I still have the enthusiasm to learn and my experience helps me to cope with difficult situations. Inconveniences don’t make me panic because I can put things in a bigger perspective.

Since I have always been interested in technology, games and music, I have tried to keep Visionist’s focus on these businesses. Sometimes we have gone onto side paths, but usually this has happened only because I have felt that it improves Visionist’s ability to carry forward towards its long-term vision. This has been the case recently as well, when new kinds of opportunities have come up partly due to the Corona pandemic.

One of the trends currently shaking the gaming world is esports. With many of our customers, we have been involved in the world of competitive gaming since the beginning of the 21st century. At that time, the well-known world-class player Fatal1ty collaborated with our then client Creative Labs. I drove this guy around Helsinki on a couple of occasions. The long path that began then has reached a significant milestone as we will launch our own international Battle of Boomers tournament concept early this year.

We have other new – and at the same time kind of old – things going on right now. In the pressure of traditional media communication, influencer communication, and social media, many have completely forgotten the importance of their own communication channels and strategies. We haven’t forgotten them, and that’s why we’re re-activating our online campaign offering. They are based on creating landing pages, conducting surveys and competitions and, above all, analyzing and communicating the results. We already successfully ran a campaign for Jimm’s PC-Store based on this concept in November. See the press release about the results here (only in Finnish). More info about our concept can be found here.

I’ve always felt that it is very important to understand sales channels, because I think the primary goal of communication and marketing efforts is to serve sales. Sales and marketing departments that are forced into artificial silos are the worst thing that can happen to companies. That’s why I have always tried to become familiar with the customer’s salespeople and their sales strategies. I have often wondered why on earth we would communicate things that salespeople can’t take advantage of when they do their own work. I guess this is thanks to my long background working at a distributor.

Our third new conquest, the reseller channel merchandising service, comes from this realization. We will start developing in-store and online merchandising and improving the knowledge of sales people by training them. Pasi “The Field Marshal” Virta just started at Visionist and is now developing this business area forward. Pasi was the first boss of my career and hopefully I will be the last boss of his career. Pasi adds to Visionist’s overall understanding of retail channels and how sales can be developed both in stores and online. More information about our new merchandising services can be found here.

The Corona period has been an exceptionally creative period for me. There are some other new ideas as well, but perhaps they are worth sharing when they are on a more concrete level. Maybe Visionist is gradually fulfilling its name by becoming a true visioning agency instead of being a traditional communication agency. At least I hope so, because developing new ideas advances the world forward better than just telling about them. 

Updated with the new services, we will of course continue working with our traditional core competencies. They are media, influencer and social media communication, consulting and marketing.

Helsinki, 4th of January 2021
Jiri Koivuniemi

P.S. I wrote five years ago that I believe globalization and focus on visuals will increase. This has happened as many things are more international than they were five years ago. In particular, many decisions are made further away than before, even when local people and companies are involved. Visual representation has also increased as many visual social media services (e.g. Instagram, TikTok) and extended reality have taken a real leap over the past five years. In addition, various video conferencing services have developed because of Corona restrictions. I believe that the same global technology trends continue, perhaps even at an accelerating pace, fueled by the development of even faster network connections.

However, every force has a counterforce. Local small businesses have their own value alongside large-scale development. For example, many value craftsmanship, small stores and neighborhood restaurants in a whole new way today. Pop-up stores have appeared alongside established business premises. Electric bikes and e-scooters have appeared alongside public transport. We value nature more than ever. We take better care of ourselves than ever before. We also value our countries – for example, local heroes in the technology and gaming industry are today’s rock stars for many people. All these things create new services and new customers. I also want to be involved in this development.

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