50 Most Innovative Companies to Watch 2021
Change is necessary to get our political and economic systems back on track in this crucial 21st century. Objectivity, science, and expertise are also under attack. Even the “20s” a hundred years ago stood for curiosity, cosmopolitanism, and openness. Their brutal ending shows us how fragile a curious system is. Founded in 2010, 20blue is an independent research service provider and consulting company offering a network of interdisciplinary and international experts. They work with more than 280 handpicked specialists in over 60 countries throughout Europe, the Americas, and beyond, all of whom provide independent, informed answers to urgent social, political and economic debates. These valuable strategic insights at a reasonable pricing, provide the right knowledge to allow companies and organizations to improve their decision-making processes. We interviewed Anja Mutschler, the Founder, and Owner of 20blue, to learn more about the company and its services. Here are a few excerpts of the interview:
Q. How often does your organization analyze the competition to understand competitive advantages and disadvantages and identify areas for investment or needs for improvement?
We always have a look into competitors’ development. Especially when evaluating or re-assessing our go-to-market strategy, we do a market research, first. Once a year, we usually take some time to dig deeper. Since our business is a mix between different markets (market research and think tank), it’s also important to consider bigger trends like digitization, sustainability, or diversity to find the sweet spot between our core audience and 20blue.
Q. Is your long-term view reflected in your short-term priorities? Are you pouring effort into initiatives today that have connections with where you expect and the market to be in the future?
Absolutely! If you do not stick to your strategic goals, you’ll lose track. But it also works the other way around: When we see that priorities are shifting (e.g., Clients want something different than we’re offering; we see that a service is not selling well), we must go back to evaluating our overall strategy. So – long term, yes, but in an agile and open way.
Q. How efficient and organized is your organization’s plan to improve and evolve the strategic objectives over time?
I would say we’re not too bad in it. 20blue is a community-based company which means that we’re always interested in different points of view and don’t consider them threats. Hopefully, this makes it easy for everyone in the company to stand up for their ideas and tell the management if they think that we need to improve or change our strategy. We also have a routine of sitting together four times a year to only talk about strategy. And what is most important: we execute the changes we committed to, afterwards. Results always need action. We narrowed the gap between planning and acting by adding digital workflows in the last 12 months.
Q. What are 20blue’s value-adding ideas to engage your customers?
Engagement is key in the digital era. And a business like 20blue is always driven by trust. No trust, no business. This means that we’re using the “tribe” concept to segment our customers, a small group of leads, and/or clients that share one need/pain point and then start a communication with them on this need – via all channels available to us. Luckily, Germany is opening up again, so live meetings and events that are an indispensable touchpoint for connecting will become one important engagement step again. Other marketing assets are: a newsletter people love, a podcast people are waiting for, and a newsroom on our website where experts (and even clients) can publish unique relevant content. As a (female) CEO, I’m very active online and very responsive. Besides, I’m also training people in personal branding. This is a tremendous help for me to know how I act in public. We call people and chat with them using whatever channel they prefer (LinkedIn or WhatsApp etc.). Also, we’re treating them well: even if they do not buy something right away, they’re important stakeholders to spread our message. Overall, I’d say it’s rather a targeted and individual way. But by using the tribe strategy, we can also use some nice automation tricks to remind people regularly.
Q. Help us know more about your expert community, and how far has it been beneficial for 20blue to rely on their expertise?
Our Expert Community is at the heart of everything we do. The network currently consists of around 280 handpicked experts. Our Expert Community is as diverse as our clients’ questions. There are highly qualified academics, reliable country and sector experts, talented researchers, meticulous translators, and imaginative content creators. Our Expert Community, made up of independent experts at the cutting edge of current discourse and research, guarantees multi-perspectivity and the highest scientific quality. It ensures that we can answer forward-looking questions and accompany the change projects of our customers. Whether for a one-off or a long-term project, 20blue can provide the necessary links in the chain to ensure that our clients have access to the expertise they need. Our job is to make sure our clients find out what they want to know and that our experts can work independently.
Elaborate about 20blue being a pro in consulting and content.
20blue is not a typical consultancy or content agency. We’re there for knowledge-driven requests and for smart people who aren’t satisfied with standard services. Customers can expect 20blue to deliver beyond. This is working because we’re not restricted to the people we have hired but can choose the best expert for the job in a widespread international and interdisciplinarian Expert Community. If you book a consultancy, you will always get a very individual expert hub working on your question. 20blue knows the right people and brings them together for you. With long work experience from over 1.000 projects, we have actually seen almost any request from info videos to multidisciplinary studies. This makes us very agile. Projects range from 3.000 to 300.000 Euros, depending on the scope of your request. We build your expert hub, moderate it, and make sure you get it delivered within the prescribed time. The ability to combine the best of two worlds (exceptionality of the experts in their area and professionality of the service) is the USP customers are likely to come back for once they have experienced this individual service.
Meet the Founder
Anja Mutschler is the Founder and Owner of 20blue. She is a networker, moderator, skilled writer and combines creativity and analytic strengths. She founded 20blue over ten years ago (as NIMIRUM) and is the best advocate to promote scientific advisory as a feature-not-to-miss for better decision-making in companies and organizations. Studying political sciences and art history, interdisciplinarity is born in her cradle. Anja is open-minded, curious and someone, people like to listen to. She is also an example of female leadership, a gifted communication expert, and an artsy mind.