MCPC 2009, Helsinki, Day 3: Business Seminar. Many people called this the most interesting day of the conference. I wouldn't make the judgment, as the MCPC Business Seminar is different in nature to the main conference, and serves a different purpose, but without any doubt: it was a remarkable day and perfect line-up of speakers.
One good thing was that I personally could relax a bit, as Kristian Möller, a marketing professor at the Helsinki School of Economics, was our host and chaired the seminar. The day started again with Joe Pine who this time focused on customer centricity, defined by him as "the one who pays you money … placed at the center of everything you do." The talk was a good wrap-up of his previous thinking … and humorous and insightful as always (reminder: check out the personalization/customization strategy of Progressive).
The following panel on Creativity and Customer Value Co-creation started with Teemu Arina, a Finish thinker on Web 2.0. What I liked, was his presentation's title, "Interactive Value Creation" (the title of our 2006 book on customer co-creation). The presentation itself remained a bit philosophical, building on Stafford Beer's 1970 utopian vision of establishing a "real time economy" in Chile.
Afterwards, Prof. Harri Oinas-Kukkonen from University of Oulu commented on the connection between social media and personalization. He was followed by Raul Lansink, from the Dutch open innovation consultancy Favela Fabric. His most memorable claim "Customer co-creation starts inside". When moving into customer co-creation, start within your own company first before reaching out. Do an idea contest with your employees or sales partners to get a better understanding and internal commitment.
After lunch, the perhaps most interesting session of the conference started, titled "Customer-Centricity, Luxury, and Personalization". The keynote was provided by Louise Guay from MVM.com, who rocked the hall as usual. Her statement: Real personalization is the reduction of choice complexity while keeping the experience of browsing. She introduced the new 3D creation kit that allows the generation of "try-able virtual garments" for free by an user (a service for which MVM has charged $2000 in the beginning and §300 later).
Afterwards, Kamel Ouadi, Director for everything online and interactive at Louis Vuitton, provided a great insight into personalization at LV. At LV, they see "mass customization and personalization as a great opportunity to expand the interaction with consumers." Interestingly, today this starts not with the products (here, monogramming and customizing the interior of 25K trunks still is the only option), but with the brand experience. For their recent space campaign, Kamel created a great site where users can become a film director and cut a LV movie according to their own desires. Their objective: Using personalization to emotionally engage consumers with the LV experience.
Next, Philip Rooke, new VP at Spreadshirt, provided his perspective on luxury: self expression. The main claim and vision of Spreadshirt, to support self impression, can be seen perhaps as the ultimate form of self expression (a theme that also came up during the Fashion Lab on Thu, more on this later). While the products and presentations of Spreadshirt could not be different to LV, they shared a joint vision: True luxury is when you are able to express yourself as you like.
The next panelists reinforced the trend to customization and personalization in the luxury industry. Uché Okonkwo, Executive Director & Founder of LUXE COR, and Sandy Carter, Social Media Evangelist at IBM, provided a number of further case studies how luxury houses today enable consumers over the internet to create custom items of their choice.
The last panel started with perhaps the most entertaining presentation by Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman and Executive Creative Director of OgilvyOne Worldwide Ltd. He applied behavioral economics on personalization and customization (a bit) and marketing in general (a lot). The panelists, Bo Harald from Tieto, Johan Wallin, CEO of Synocusm and Jarmo Suominen brought Bruce Kasanoff's vision from the first conference day into practice. Their talks focused on personalization in the service industries and true mass matching, and provide a good outlook and summary of the conference.
Overall, another great day! And while being already a bit tired, we closed the day with a reception by the mayor of Helsinki in City Hall and then drinks and dance in a Helsinki night club.