Prologue: The Importance of We
Somebody once said that the most crucial words in life are also the shortest. For us, we undoubtedly is one of those words. There’s just something about we. Two modest letters. One more than in “I”, one less than in “you”, two less than in “them” and a simple echoing pronunciation. When repeatedly sang, said or hummed in loud we indeed feels and sounds almost like a hymn or a mantra. We is also easy to adapt to the point that one of the very first words people usually learn as a child in any language, is we.
We comes with a great history, long tradition and an impressive legacy. As far as I am aware, we has been around pretty much from the earliest days of any known cultures and civilizations. When humans first started to form understandable sentences and proper languages about 7 000 years ago, we was likely to be one of the first terms that were given a proper meaning. When used deliberately wrong we – like any word – can become hostile and even aggressive but by default – when used with good and sincere intentions – it’s always friendly and most definitely inclusive. We matters.
We unifies our unique history, solid present, sensible present and excitingly potential future
We is a short two-letter kind term that mediates and communicates openness and transparency. A word that connects people and communities, shares values and information and serves as an open invitation for the spoken dialogue or written or visual forms of collaboration. For us, being a Finnish-born company with headquarters in happy Helsinki, we is also handy, since we in Finnish is “me”, which of course is very similar to the English word. And yes, strangely enough, the Finnish term “we” is also identical to the English term of meaning “me” which just adds our crush towards our beloved we. So, no, it’s no coincidence that the very first word of our carefully considered new hero sentence “We Orchestrate Automated Customer Journeys to Perfection” is we.
In fact, apart from official documents, contracts and other more formal ways of communication we hardly ever use our company’s name but simply refer to ourselves as we. There’s nothing wrong with our name. Quite the opposite, we are proud and happy being called Edita Prima but for us, we is the one word that ideally and informatively defines us as people, colleagues and individuals and connects us to our clients and all the other parties we co-operate with. We unifies and defines our unique history, solid present, sensible present and working culture and excitingly potential future as one of the oldest tech companies in Europe. We like we a lot. Hopefully you will too.
This story is all about we.
Chapter I: How we realized that to tell our story to others we first needed to explain it to ourselves
About a year ago, in December 2020, we as a company were in a weird place. Well, weird is clearly a wrong choice of a term here. Things were not literally weird at all but, to be frank, quite normal. The business was solid. Clients were happy. Staff motivated, company growing, new services innovated and our overall transition from formerly all analog towards presently more digital was moving ahead as planned. So no, things were not weird. Even the future looked bright but it was our history we were having plenty of issues with.
Ever since I started my work here in the fall of 2019 it had been evident to me that something had to be done with our brand and story. Even though we had been around for more than 160 years not too many parties outside of our own staff really knew what kind of company we had been in the past. Even I didn’t fully know it which was a bit problematic, to say the least.
Of course, I – as everyone around me – knew we had a remarkably adventurous and almost epically fascinating history but we did not really know too much about it. Details were lost, anecdotes forgotten, our colleagues from 150 or even 50 years ago long gone. We understood there had to be dozens of tales to be told starting from the great year of 1859 when our story initially began but none of us had ever heard them. There were no solid records or organized archives easily acceptable. Just a random set of old photos that we eventually managed to track down and digitalized. But most importantly, there was close to nothing about our past or heritage on our own website. For me personally, all that was highly disturbing.
Then, one day while visiting an old book shop in the nostalgic harbor town of Kotka, I randomly found a historical book about us. There were stories and info and numbers and names. That almost Indiana Jones like a discovery was the final wake up call for me personally. I realized that to tell our story to the others, we first needed to tell it to ourselves. So, in January of 2021, we systematically started to study our own history to find out who we really were.
Chapter II: How cherishing human emotions helped us defining of our new brand that should differentiate us from our competitors
Thirty-three. That’s how many slides there are in our new Brand Book that was written in March-April of 2021 after an intense research phase, honest one-to-one interviews, practical questionnaires, creative workshops and open small group conversations. In the process, in addition to our new hero sentence, we also redefined our story, values, manifest, purpose, mission, key messages, elevator pitch and other inspirational key terms and redesigned our logo, typography, visual and image concepts and then transformed all that into our new tone of action.
From day one, our goal was to avoid the usual tech jargon, humanize data for kindness, bring true emotions, believe in the power of honest and inspiring storytelling and build a colourful and fearless yet still trustworthy and professional brand that was different from everyone else’s within our industry, not just in Finland or in the Nordics, but globally. Our storytelling and visual references were deliberately not taken from local competitors but from all areas of business, life and popular culture around the world.
Our new seven-word hero sentence was born out of a longer elevator pitch
Naturally, we did market research and trusted in various forms of data but in the creative process feelings and emotions became just as important. If something felt off it probably was, so there was a lot of sensible iteration that was still done in a relatively fast phase. Instead of months or years, we wanted to get this done in 4-6 weeks. We gave a lot of thought and consideration towards different target groups and other key audiences trying to find out what kind of human reactions we wanted our new story to bring up with both our own staff members and clients, partners and other collaborators alike.
And so, week by week and word by word, our new story about ”the kindest Nordic tech company from 1859 that helps its clients communicate more efficiently to improve their businesses and customer experiences by orchestrating automated customer journeys to perfection better than anyone else by turning data friendly” was born. That unofficial elevator pitch was ultimately narrowed down in the form of our new seven-word hero sentence “We orchestrate automated customer journeys to perfection.” That was a big step but it wasn’t the end of our brand update. It was the beginning.
Chapter III: How our new story is never 100% final and never ours alone but belongs to everyone around us
For us, the summer of 2021 was the summer of change. In early June, just before the Finnish holiday season began, our updated brand, story and visuals were first introduced internally to all our staff members, board of directors and the Nordic Morning Group executives and then revealed to the public in the first days of fall of 2021 in the form of a new website, sales decks and presentations.
There is still lots to be done, of course, but we are confident that our updated story represents our culture, accompanies our values, is based on our own past and guides us fearlessly but gently towards the future. In other words, our new brand helps us and everyone around us understands who we are, where we come from, what we want, why we want it, where are we heading and how do we collaborate adding value for others while also caring about this planet.
We don’t consider our brand to be never 100% final but it’s evolving both naturally and through iteration almost monthly. It’s essential to understand that our story is also our clients’, partners’ and stakeholders’ story. Our story belongs to everyone around us because without them we is absolutely nothing. In that sense too, the word we is more than just a simple two-letter word.
Chapter IV: How 160+ years of experience brings perspective but also comes with a danger of failing
Sometimes I still find myself wondering how remarkable it is that we have indeed been in business since 1859 and that we are still here just to begin with. When you think about it, one hundred and sixty-plus years is an impressively long time to observe the world and see the transformative societal changes in civilizations, culture, philosophy, science, technology, printing techniques, local and global trade and customer experiences, sales strategies, communication and all the other areas of life.
To put our extraordinary heritage into perspective: Over the past 160 plus years we – unlike most of our competitors around the globe – have not only witnessed history but we have been a part of it living and contributing to all three first industrial revolutions from mechanical production through water and steam power to the introduction of electricity that enabled mass production all the way to information technology and electronics that introduced the first versions of automated processes for mass production.
Despite of new techniques and innovations our goals and expertise are still ultimately the same as in 1859
Now, at the height of the fourth industrial revolution – the digital one – we are participating in the transformation towards the fifth industrial revolution regarding personalization with deep, multi-level co-operation between people and machines. The non-stop march of digitalization has transformed nearly everything into computer-friendly 1s and 0s and has changed how we work, communicate, shop, bank, and even relax and entertain ourselves and this is just the beginning.
It sounds different, modern and futuristic but, for us, it’s not. After all, throughout our history, we've been helping people communicate more effectively through new innovations and technologies which has allowed ordinary people and governments of entire countries alike to transform and share information, first analogically, then digitally. We have seen it before. We have done it before. Despite of new innovations our goals and expertise are still ultimately the same. We help our clients communicate better by orchestrating their automated customer journeys to perfection.
There’s no question that 160 plus years of experience brings understanding and perspective but it also comes with a great danger of not being able to cope with progress and transition as fast and adaptively as needed. It’s not easy to survive for 160 plus years in this business. Yet we have done with a lot of help of change. Let’s talk more about that.
Chapter V: How change is not our superpower but ordinality that involves elements of imperfection
Quite often this business of ours is also a numbers game. I mean, there are not that many Nordic tech companies that have been in continuous operation since 1859. One hundred and sixty-plus years is different from 6, 16, 26 or even 86 years of heritage. That’s why we knew that our peculiar history needed to be at the center of our updated story. And that’s why we wanted to emphasize the word we on our hero sentence to begin with. We believe that our unique heritage is a testimony of our resilience and ability to connect with the present and future. That’s why I personally too see the word we as such a strong indicator not only to us but also to our clients, partners and the entire society around us. We stand for our belonging to the greater good that we want to cherish and share through our values. And in that change matters.
No company on this planet is perfect or at least we certainly are not
For more than 160 years our purpose as a company has been directly dependable on our capabilities and willingness to adapt, reinvent and transform through lifelong learning. Key word is a change which is also a critical element of our daily working culture. To be considered a smart, creative and attractive company we must keep on challenging the status quo with great courage, positive rebellion and zero fear. Change is not our superpower but something that defines us. Change simply is who we are and for us, change includes various elements of failure, doubt and hesitation. Especially from now on ideas, emotions, thoughts and feelings of imperfection are an essential part of our culture, values and tone of action. We believe that understanding imperfection is much more important than absolute perfection. That’s why we want to actively talk about it. Not from the stand of negativity but openness and transparency. No company on this planet is only doing or communicating the right things. No company on this planet is yet sustainable enough. No company on this planet is doing enough for equality. No company on this planet is perfect. We certainly are not but we’ll genuinely try to get better in all areas of our operations and existence. That we can promise.
Chapter VI: How our new story was inspired by a set of imperial stamps made by us in 1859
Let’s be clear about it. Our clients have always been at the very heart of everything that we have done. To live and survive through different eras of technology, we have been able to successfully adapt to ongoing transition and meet our clients' changing standards on the highest level. Ever since 1859, we have had a great insight into their needs and wishes, which has allowed us to develop our skills and services continuously. For me, 2020’s is a fantastic another decade of opportunity to learn from the past, cherish diversity, appreciate imperfection and share our knowledge for new progress both inside and outside our business. I believe that we are in a unique position to shape the future of both our company and the world around us. We want to have a lasting positive impact.
Reintroduction of stamps is a return to the very beginning of our story
The core of our updated story is connecting our 160+ years of history with our hybrid present and digital future. When all this brand work began in January of 2021 one of the very first things our core team did was to design a new company stamp. This was not that much a marketing concept than an internal action to guide our creative journey and respect our heritage because stamps literally are how our story first started in 1859. Back then, more than 160 years ago, Finland was not an independent nation yet but part of the great Russian Empire and our very first job was to print a set of stamps for Tsar Alexander II. When Finland finally gained independency 58 years later, on December 6th, 1917, we started printing stamps for the Finnish Postal Service instead. From early on we realized the comprehensive importance of stamps. They were crucial not only for reliable and well-functioning communication but a symbol of liberty and free speech of a new-born northern nation of ours that would soon develop to become one of the happiest and most equal countries in the world. Today we see our newly designed company stamps as a symbolic action of becoming a more socially active company that we absolutely want and need to be in the future. And yes, in addition to the stamps there will be plenty of more marketing campaigns and collaborations to come in 2022. Exciting times ahead. Please stay tuned.
We is back.
Epilogue: Part 2/5 of "Our Hero Sentence Explained" story series is all about the word ORCHESTRATE. Out sometimes in January 2022. Be aware. Change is coming.