Strategic partnership to create the new heart of east Helsinki
Easton Helsinki is a new commercial centre whose identity and physical and digital services are built around a sense of community, food and locality. Kuudes has been a strategic partner for Kesko since the project began in 2012.
100 000+ visitors during opening weekend
50 000+ visitors online during opening weekend
120+ locals involved in the development
“Why should the city centre come to the east? Can’t east Helsinki have its own personality?”
In order to match Kesko’s vision to create a totally new shopping experience, we took a unique approach to consumer insight, drawing on vast research, home safaris, Kuudes Concept Lab rapid co-creation, and the participation of hundreds of people. The 30-strong user community group was continuously involved in UX testing and service concept validation.
The work provided us with insights that shaped the planning of the centre: there was a demand for a strong, urban and local player, something the residents can be proud of. That’s why the concept was built to represent local people and their lifestyles. We also found out that people didn’t want any more fashion stores. Instead, Easton set out to be an oasis of the social food culture for the epicures of the east.
The best food in the east
Locality and community where the guiding themes when we proceeded to design the identity, the psychical shopping environment, and the digital services. Easton will make the region stand out with the best and most versatile food services, both on-site and online.
Unlike many other commercial centres, Easton has a strong presence online with its customer loyalty programme Sitä Itää and content portal Eastori and even its launch marketing took place mainly via digital and social channels.
Following the insight and strategy phases, Kuudes’ multidisciplinary design team got to work. The result was a holistic customer experience spanning each digital and physical touchpoint.
Embracing the contrasts
East Helsinki has a wide range of different identities and atmospheres and it’s this multitude of contrasts that makes the area special. It’s a place where the new and the old live side by side. Concrete jungles are located next to green havens of the woods – buzz and tranquillity facing one another. The visual identity takes pride in this unique diversity of lifestyles, with bold colours and rough materials.
Cutting-edge commercial retail spaces
The contrasts are strongly present in the retail space, also designed by Kuudes. Therefore, the interiors speak the same design language as all other customer touchpoints, such as digital services. Vibrant colours and different textures put the final touches to the design. The result is a unique shopping centre environment bringing that extra something to your daily shopping routine.
The architecture is by Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects.
Neighbourly love: loyalty programme ‘Sitä itää’
Sitä Itää is a loyalty programme with a difference– bringing joy to both individuals and communities! Anyone can propose an idea, activity or location to improve, three of which are brought to a general vote. During a one month-period, each Easton visitor contributes to the total amount, which goes to the winner.Read about Sitä itää
Local news and inspiration: Eastori
Eastori publishes engaging articles about food, well-being and every-day life online. It’s a medium for content marketing that ticks all the boxes of the Easton concept: by locals, for locals, about themes that interest them.Visit Eastori
Smoother everyday life: Piloting Easton meal kits
Easton meal kits help you to eat more healthily in the midst of your hectic everyday life. Three kits are on offer: Classic, Ethnic and Veggie. The meal kit service is being piloted during the autumn of 2017 and spring 2018.
Marketing Strategy & Communications
Kuudes took the leading, strategic role in Easton’s marketing to turn the concept into engaging actions, events and campaigns. This ensured that the marketing efforts weren’t a mere sugarcoating, but that they supported the brand position and the image we were striving to project. Thanks to the omnichannel approach, Easton was present in all the same channels as potential customers.
The main goal was to stand out with a strong presence in digital channels. For example, Easton hired a ‘social media mayor’ who kept the audience up to date with progress on the new building. Later on, this evolved into Eastori, an ambitious content marketing effort. The #eastonbravuuri launch campaign embraced the special skills of both locals and agencies in Easton. The campaign invited everyone to join in! This has been the method all along: involving and engaging locals prior to the grand opening.
Food meets social
Eastern parts of Helsinki have been lagging behind in attracting food providers and services. Easton has helped to bring a social food culture to the east by creating inviting and cosy spaces, new services, offerings and genuine, local communication.
Digital retail pioneer
Easton has taken a bold approach to creating the first commercial centre in Finland that is also genuinely present in the digital realm. Content, services and marketing are all done online, as opposed to the common norms in the industry.
Embraced by locals
Easton’s daily visitors amount to over 10,000 people, which is way beyond all expectations for a local centre. Easton has found its position as a perfect partner for locals running their everyday errands.
“We are happy to see that the concept has also worked well in reality. Kuudes has challenged us to do things very differently from industry norms, but it has paid off. The results have been overwhelmingly positive.”
– Mika Ohenoja, Shopping Centre Manager