In-depth reader interviews, “Lean” process revitalise business and economic content


During the last few years, the Swedish morning newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) has strengthened its position in the market, and is one of the few newspapers that managed to increase its circulation last year. It constantly focuses on consumers and B2B customers, and is impatient to improve its editorial and commercial products all the time. The newspaper develops its brand very systematically.

This autumn, it will re-launch its Business area. Economic and Business content are important parts of SvD, even if it is not a financial newspaper. The interesting part of the project is how SvD did the research and the revitalisation. The purpose of the whole project was to strengthen SvD during weekdays and to increase B2B income.

Insight and knowledge are vital qualities to its target groups. Readers really want to understand the big picture and to learn more. And when they do, they get very inspired. SvD is perceived as very trustworthy and with high quality — where insight and knowledge are highly appreciated.

SvD is known for being excellent in its brand-building and research work, and understands very well how its brand is perceived in the market. Chief Executive Officer Gunilla Asker wanted to test a new approach to get better reader insight. Instead of just doing the traditional focus groups, she wanted to test in-depth “at-home interviews.” SvD therefore decided to do this kind of in-depth interview in the homes of the target group.

SvD visited several business content readers in their homes over the course of a few weeks, using well-trained experts to do the job. The research method was very efficient, and it was obvious that doing the interviews at home made the responders more comfortable and therefore more honest and open about their habits and views. Hence it was easier to identify a true and trustworthy image of their habits and needs.

The results of the research didn’t give SvD any big surprises; it knows its brand too well to experience that. It confirmed what was expected, but it also gave some new and important insight that was very useful in developing business content.

Olle Zachrison, head of SvD Näringsliv (economy and business content) is very pleased with the result of the project, making SvD Näringsliv stronger both online and in the morning paper. SvD has looked into every area and made improvements and some innovations, everything from content and focus to photos and graphics.

Zachrison explains that a whole set of tools made the revitalisation process easer and more fruitful. During the spring, SvD also went through a “Lean” process (continuous improvement) to help it work smarter and more efficiently. During that process, SvD also gained some important insight into how to meet the needs of the readers better.

It will be interesting to follow the development of SvD, and SvD Näringsliv in particular. The newspaper has revitalised the product with a whole set of varied and very useful tools, and has documented the philosophy, purpose and goals very well.

Everybody involved in this project knew exactly what to do and what SvD is going to achieve. And all this effort was done with the main focus on the readers and their needs and habits. This is definitely the recipe for success. To be continued!

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