The recipe for success: Understand your business, know your technology and be creative

An interview with Elina Kukkonen, SVP Communications and Brand at Alma Media Corporation, Finland. Conducted by Päivi Maijanen, LUT University


Intrapreneurship has been one of the strategic focus areas for a couple of years at Alma Media, which is a Finnish media, digital marketplace and service company, operating in 11 countries. In their pursuits for more active internal innovativeness and entrepreneurialism, the management has created processes and various models to encourage and incentivize employees to innovate. “It is the heavy competition, changing consumer behaviour and technology that is going forward so fast that you need to be able to constantly develop your existing and new products and services”, says Elina Kukkonen, Alma’s Senior Vice President of Communications and Brand. Kukkonen highlights three focal competence areas that are crucial for success: business knowhow, technological competence and creativity.  They are the drivers for reaching an improved customer experience and sustainable success.

Kukkonen admits that organizational change towards a more entrepreneurial work culture and mindset takes time in established companies like Alma.  Even if the company is still in the beginning there have been promising internal initiatives as one sign of the emerging change in the work culture. In addition to the organizational challenges, the general demand for skilled people with both technology and business expertise is currently a big obstacle in many operating countries of Alma. The problem is worldwide and Finnish companies are in the same line with the big players (e.g. Google, Facebook, Amazon) in competing for the same scarce and valuable expertise.

Kukkonen sees the future development of the media environment in digital ecosystems. Media companies cannot do everything by themselves, but they can collaborate with different service providers in different phases of the value chain. For example, this year Alma started to collaborate with Sustainalytics (a Morningstar company), which provides ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) ratings about companies for Alma’s newspaper Kauppalehti to better serve its subscribers interested in responsible investing. In general, Kukkonen sees responsibility-related issues as a one of the key drivers in the collaboration and networking and an important asset against big platform giants. Therefore, for example, in marketing and brand building, which are excellent areas for collaboration with outside service providers, one must think carefully with whom to collaborate. 

Link to Alma Media: