Future directions and strategic choices for a media company

Leading Media Company​

Our client has been a forerunner in media since the beginning. However, the media industry is changing at a fast pace. New media, new channels, and new formats are launched constantly. Especially younger generations are consuming media in a completely different way than their parents: they are streaming, tik-toking and producing content themselves.

 

For a media company, staying relevant is getting harder, and understanding future directions is crucial to keep up with the change. We helped our client to get ahead of change through creating scenarios for future customer experience. These scenarios enabled our client to understand the range of directions towards which the consumption of media could be heading, and helped them prepare for the change in their strategic choice-making.

Success criteria

  1. Gain a holistic view of the media consumption of younger generations with a five-year time horizon, identify the underlying drivers of change, and analyze their impact on customer experience.

  2. Understand future opportunities and threats through exploring alternative scenarios.

  3. Use scenarios as a tool for strategic choice-making, opportunity exploration, and internal alignment at different levels of the organisation.

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To understand ongoing shifts in consumers’ behavior, we co-created a holistic signal spotting exercise to identify critical uncertainties most relevant to the customer's strategic decision-making.

We utilised several different sources of data, such as customer knowledge, reports, technology vision, strategy, expert interviews and co-creation sessions. Based on the analyses, we identified eight critical uncertainties affecting strategic decision-making, each of which had four alternative development paths. Scenarios were modelled as combinations of such paths, resulting in more than 70,000 candidate scenarios. With the use of mathematical modeling, we identified four plausible but dissimilar scenarios for the future of customer experience. Together, these four scenarios covered all development paths for each critical uncertainty, thereby ensuring that a wide range of possible futures would be considered.

The four prioritized scenarios described future operating conditions on a concrete level, for instance from the viewpoints of  customers, market, competition, and regulation. We stress-tested the implications of these scenarios for strategic decision-making by analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of each scenario. After the analysis, we identified which strategic actions and choices could mitigate the risks and strengthen the opportunities in different scenarios. 

 

In the complex and ever-changing environment, the future cannot be forecasted. Identifying alternative futures is therefore critical to make strategic choices that are robust to change. 

Scenarios for the future of customer experience are a concrete decision-making tool that can be used for prioritizing strategic choices to prepare for a range of future developments.

As a result, scenarios created a common view on probable future conditions and helped to steer the organisation towards the desired direction across departments; from strategy to business development and online services. The shared understanding formed a steady basis for creating new business opportunities for different operating condition and identify proactive actions to prepare for change. Moreover, it helped to identify the strategic choices, that perform well across different probable futures.

The outcomes also increased company's future-preparedness: the scenarios provide a frame for constantly monitoring change and enables quick reaction to shifts in the operating conditions. Our rigorous and systematic approach was praised by the client, because it helped pinpoint blind spots in current thinking and doing. Moreover, the scenario work also highlighted areas in which there is a need for deeper and more thorough validation of assumptions regarding, for instance, the values, needs, and attitudes of younger generations.

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What customers say

“Together with Swanlake, we developed vast amounts of research information and expert knowledge into business scenarios. The scenarios have proved to be a highly versatile tool. They allow us to anticipate changes in the business environment and identify actions required to develop our business forward.”​

 

—  Business designer, Strategy and customers