Åkesson has a long, long background in music and marketing, from being a singer and tour manager to working for Live Nation as head of PR, press spokesperson, and director of marketing & communications for almost a decade. He just started his own consulting agency, KÅ&Co, to use what he’s learned from working with creative and commercial communication and ideas — within both corporate and startup worlds — and pass it on and help others, and keep on learning, and keep on innovating.
A big question to start with, but how’d you describe the media and social media landscape as of today? And how has it changed over the last few years and during the pandemic?
— Yes, a big question, but in short, I would say that the media landscape equals the social landscape, more and more, says Åkesson. The broad definition of media is now everything that we spend time on in digital channels, and people like you and me are our own media channels. And this shift in behaviors, needs, and expectations has rocketed during the pandemic in so many ways.
— At the same time, due to the same reasons, it’s easier than ever to reach out, but harder than ever to reach in. The audience, no matter what channel, have higher demands and are more disloyal than ever.
— However, from a marketing or brand perspective, this also creates a great opportunity for those who understand this and are bold enough to adapt and try new things, and always be ready to change — fast. That’s where communications plays such an important role today, more important than the business idea or product itself. You have to not only communicate in the right way to your audience, you also need to listen, and invite them to be a part of your communication.
— Good communication goes by definition both ways.
Åkesson has also spent the last two years challenging the media landscape, as COO and partner at marketing tech startup Society icon, that enables every creative with a social following to connect and apply to work with and create for their favourite brands.
How was it?
— It has been such an amazing, challenging, and crazy journey — going from 4 people to almost 30 on four markets in less than two years, and incredible growth each month since the start of the pandemic. The key, I’d say, has been that we could help the brands to do more efficient and genuine marketing with their consumers, and at the same time build long-term loyalty with their core fans. But since we are doing something new, it has also been hard work to educate the market and prove the value. Now, when big brands such as H&M, Klarna, and Orkla are using the service and it actually works great, Society icon grows organically very fast right now, with more and bigger markets on the road map.
What kind of media and social media landscape will we see after the pandemic?
— I think that we will see many new social platforms coming up, not necessarily social platforms in the likes of Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, but more curated, exclusive, and niche platforms. I believe people more than ever have discovered the importance of social life, but also social distance in the sense of being able to pick and choose your social moments and who to be social with, and in what way. And that will create many new social platforms and behaviors I believe, but also offline with more niche and exclusive experiences in the event world, travels, hotels, shopping, and work environment — and, of course, the digital world.
You’ve described how your new venture will help industry disruptors challenging the media and pop culture industry. How do those industries need to be challenged?
— Yes, as mentioned, media is now more or less everything we do online, so that also means that my scope is very broad. But brands and projects need to either change themselves and their business as a result of the change in consumer behavior, and in that sense disrupt the traditional way of doing things. And we’ll also see a rise in businesses that are born from that same shift, and therefore are disruptors in the sense that they are doing something brand new from the start.