Client Success Story in Media: RMG interview

Erwin Danis (RMG) is convinced of Trensition’s added value for ‘his’ media company: “The Trendtracker platform is unique, nothing else like it exists in Europe.”

The implementation of Trensition’s AI-driven strategic intelligence platform Trendtracker at various departments of RMG (Roularta Media Group) is still ongoing. The collaboration was kicked off over a year ago. Erwin Danis (Innovation Director at RMG) and Vincent Defour (co-founder & CEO at Trensition) recap their fascinating co-creation project and look forward to the future with confidence…

 “Trensition knows the difficulties and needs of strategy and innovation executives and how to provide these stakeholders with the data insights they need to make better strategic decisions.”

-Erwin Danis-

Innovation Director, Roularta Media Group

A cross-border mediatech acceleration programme initiated the collaboration

The collaboration between RMG (Roularta Media Group) and Trensition emerged in the context of the cross-border mediatech incubation and acceleration programme STADIEM (Start-up Driven Innovation in European Media). The STADIEM programme aims to bring together start-ups, scale-ups, investors and media organisations to foster the development of Next Generation Media solutions. Their goal is to boost the opportunities and success of innovative companies by developing and growing in close cooperation with corporate and venture partners, securing sustainable growth to success.

The project was by no means a walk in the park but absolutely worth it nonetheless. “In the meantime, Trensition completed all four stages of STADIEM’s acceleration programme, totalling a duration of 14 months”, says Vincent Defour. “Initially, no less than 400 start-ups signed up for the STADIEM programme. 40 projects survived the first ‘Match’ phase. Sixteen start-ups then made it through to the ‘Develop’ phase. In the third and before-last ‘Integrate’ phase, only 12 start-ups remained and we entered the final ‘Pilot’ phase as part of an elite group of just 4 winners, something we are extremely proud of.”

Erwin Danis jumps in: “During the ‘Match’ phase, Trensition proactively got in touch with RMG. I am responsible for the innovation team. Trensition founder Mike Vanderroost, who has been focusing on the opportunities offered by new technology when it comes to trend detection and analysis, approached me with the interesting proposition to enter into a collaboration. The STADIEM programme was the perfect initiative to make this concrete.”

Simultaneously with the collaboration with RMG, which focuses on publishing, a project with public broadcaster SWR, active in Germany, was kicked off in the context of STADIEM as well. Meanwhile, Trensition accumulated a wealth of expertise in de media & entertainment industry. Media is a volatile, fast-changing and very competitive industry where trend detection, analysis and prioritisation can provide a major strategic advantage if organised optimally.

Digitisation as a fire starter

RMG realises they must constantly reinvent themselves in order to survive. Erwin has a clear picture of the challenges facing RMG as a media player in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany: “We are content creators. Always have been, always will be. Today’s landscape provides many different ways of offering that content. Digitisation is an absolute game changer in that regard. Digital transformation has been ongoing in our industry for a long time. A development that bears a major impact on our business model. We have the ‘willingness to pay’ among consumers on the one hand, which requires the content we offer to be as relevant as possible. On the other hand, there is a sceptical attitude and fragmentation in media spendings among advertisers. This is why RMG offers services to advertisers that help optimise their advertising and native content approach, allowing them to maximise on their investments”, Erwin clarifies.

An agile mindset and acting fast is key. But so is gathering relevant insights in order to take accurate strategic decisions with confidence. Trensition’s Trendtracker supports media organisations in taking better informed strategic decisions by continuously providing a 100% customised and data-based, transparent and objective view of the trends that are coming their way today, tomorrow and the day after. Including to what extent and when they will impact their business. Vincent explains: “Our Trendtracker platform is based on monitoring global big data, NLP (natural language processing) and advanced data science. This enables us to detect early signals of change and follow up on the evolution of all kinds of trends. We place the insights in the perspective of any specific context and suggest strategic actions. These profound insights are mapped out based on our proprietary and unique AI-driven algorithms.”

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Boosting the performance of RMG’s innovation, strategic sales and research teams

RMG immediately saw the possibilities of introducing Trensition’s innovative technology in various departments. “In the initial phase, our innovation, strategic sales and research teams use Trendtracker. There are multiple benefits for my team [innovation]. Before using Trendtracker, the entire trendwatching process was done manually by attending conferences, reading reports, etc. An unmeasurable amount of input which is impossible to process. Trendtracker is perfect for channelling and interpreting the overload of information. Plus, we use the platform to determine whether what we see and hear is accurate. We may overestimate certain trends at times. And the opposite may be true as well. You cannot keep an eye on everything at the same time. There is a real risk of missing or underestimating something. Trendtracker helps us detect, objectify and prioritise trends in a mind-blowingly high-performant way. The fact that we are unlikely to miss something gives us confidence and peace of mind.”

 

The approach over at sales is different than at RMG’s innovation and research teams. Currently, Trendtracker also serves as a huge source of information for RMG’s national sales teams. RMG’s sales team has to act as an expert and a sounding board for advertisers in specific sectors. “If someone in our sales team enters into a conversation with a car manufacturer, for example, they can make a difference by pointing out certain trends that will be impacting this industry. Trendtracker gives us a serious head start. It allows us to identify trends before they surface. Plus, we get an estimate of when such trends will peak and how much impact they will have; information that the advertiser is often unaware of. The added value could not be any clearer”, according to RMG. “Best practices are shared internally and we see many opportunities to implement Trendtracker into our organisation more broadly. Our regional sales divisions, for example, expressed their interest in using Trendtracker locally.”

Personalised with attention for regional accents and unique features

Erwin does not mince words when it comes to Trendtracker’s special character: “Trendtracker is the first to even come close to fulfilling our needs. First and foremost, with the flexibility to add data sources depending on our specific situation. In addition, we can add regional accents to get insights that are truly tailored to our needs. On top of the fact that Trendtracker allows us to spot important trends it also maps the start-up landscape. Consider it a database of all relevant start-ups. Something like that simply does not yet exist in Europe despite its tremendous value. Start-ups often play a considerable role in the development of concrete solutions based on certain trend insights. And the way in which everything fits together, from analysis, dashboarding with various metrics that force you to face the facts all the way to advice about the necessary strategic actions makes Trendtracker highly complete and efficient to use. Thanks to its intuitive nature, our people find it easy to adopt. I have certainly become an ambassador, both internally and externally.”

“Having a comprehensive, cost-effective, efficient, and continuous analytics tool for trend research is a game changer in RMG’s strategic decision-making process.”

-Mark Daemen-

Director Strategy & Innovation Advertising, Roularta Advertising

STADIEM’s key role as a facilitator

Both parties are convinced of the role that STADIEM played in forging their collaboration. It is a key factor in this success story. “We received financial support as well as access to a gigantic media network. And we were able to participate in several initiatives that support us in our ambitions to make a difference in the media landscape”, Defour says with conviction.

RMG, in turn, speak very highly of the way in which STADIEM guided the project and ensured concrete progress. “Thanks to the different phases and deadlines, we were able to make great strides. Add to that the fact that Trensition truly listened, understood our needs as a media player and interpreted and translated them into a concrete solution, and you now understand why I am so enthusiastic. Trensition knows the difficulties and needs of strategy and innovation executives and how to provide these stakeholders with the data insights they need to make better strategic decisions”, Danis concludes.

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