Jarkko Kivikoski: “People and their lives are our main trend”
Jarkko Kivikoski heads the sales and designated international accounts in Woltti Group - the leading Finnish brand experience agency with a global playground. He has developed his client portfolio with major multinational industrial companies and has experience on award-winning active marketing from the project to strategic process levels. He’s a keen advocate of offline/online integration and result-oriented planning.
“every event is always a combination of audience and the main idea”
Why do you feel that event planning fits you?
I feel like that because I love the magic of the moment. An event never repeats itself and this creates a special feeling inside people. They are connected somehow in one certain moment. And their interaction and contribution is something really very special.
Why do you think the audience has such an influence on an event? Aren’t things happening on stage somehow more important?
I think every event is always a combination of different people and the main idea. We can't have an event with no audience. It’s obvious. But when we create an event, it’s always a little bit adapted to the people we have. It works like that – the audience plays one of the main roles, people are part of the process and it means they are able to change it as well as us.
Do you find a lot in common between theater and events?
Well, we used to work a lot with scripts and all those mechanisms to create a story like in the theater. But events, even if they have a script, crystalize more communication between people. There is much more dependence from the audience that actually plays a big part in what is going on during the event.
Is it true that every event organizer tends to be very technical and close to the stage? Does this certain habit kill the possibility to enjoy an event, even if it’s not organized by you?
Maybe for some people, but not for me. My last event was in the theater. It wasn’t planned by me, but I remember it well. I think it’s important to be just a person, a part of the audience and enjoy the moment. If we can't do that, we lose something important in our work and daily life, of course.
What would be the event of your dream to organize?
I would say, I want to create something special which is very creative and effective at the same time. I like the DREAM FORCE event a lot. I think the manner in which they have designed the event and the atmosphere they’ve made, and how the audience is integrated in the process is amazing.
“when people love the thrill of events, they are ready to give everything”
What is unique about WOLTTI GROUP?
Well, to put it shortly. It’s the people. The way we work with them and who they are. They are very focused on effectiveness but still very creative. The combination of these 2 things makes our team strong and makes our events cool.
How do you usually motivate your team?
We have a strong team. We choose every new manager very carefully. Of course there are some points where people are exhausted and tired, but they love their job. They love events, they love the thrill of it, they are ready to be there, to give everything they can to make it really fantastic. I’m very proud of our team. We are compatriots and ready to support each other no matter what happens.
When you hire a person, how can you be sure it’s the right person? How do you recognize YOUR people?
It’s a good question. Actually we talk a lot about things that are not work related. We try to know every candidate better as a person, and only after that do we talk about working proficiency. We even try to meet first in some public places: cafes, restaurants and so on and only after that do we meet in our office. The more we know about people, the better it is. Usually we have 3 meetings in 3 different places made by 3 different members of our team. We talk a lot with them and after 3 meetings we have a touch of energy as well. We never regret about people that were denied.
“people and their lives are our main trend”
What is needed to achieve the client's needs?
You should know your customer and understand the business they are doing. It takes a lot of time. And, of course, you should be a very open person. Ready to know an unlimited quantity of new things. Always. Don’t get tired of new things, its important. And be honest
What do you think about the latest event trends?
I think we are in the digitalization era now. People think a lot and digitalize their events a lot. It’s definitely a trend. But I think sometimes people forget the key things with this digitalization. Events are always about people. Don’t forget this human touch that should always be present and should always be your focus. It is very important. It’s very important not just to divide people into target groups but to know your target groups. I think the key trend is gamification, involving people in the process. Let them choose the way the event should be. And these different ways of getting to know your audience better is a permanent trend for all event professionals. People and their lives are our main trend.
But how can you get to know everyone at an event if the event is made for 500 people?
You cant know everybody, but you can understand why these people attended this event. If you have 500 people in the same place it means there is something in common between them. What is that? Same interests, same love, same profession. And knowing this thing you can go further – you can choose any 50 people and know them better, to understand what target groups you might have. Here, by the way, all this tech stuff can help a lot. The thing is it is always easy to understand what clients want, what sponsors want, what speakers or organizers want. But the audience often doesn’t want the same things. And here comes all these apps and tech things that actually should help you know your target groups almost individually.
What specifics do you see in event market in Finland? Does it differ much from Baltic market?
In Finland, we have mainly two types of clients. Those clients who have their headquarters here and those who are managed from from outside of Finland. Role of the somewhat restricted foreign brands is great but still our own international brands give us a less limited opportunity to grow to global playground. I guess this dualism is partially the same in all Baltic market.
Why are you attending Baltic For Events Forum?
For us it is a very interesting event. First of all I want to know and understand what is going on in this region. I want to get to know people there. I really need partners and I want to collaborate more with the Baltic States. So, my participation is clear. And what am I waiting for? New Ideas, new ways of thinking and new collaborators of course!