Unveiling SmplCo’s new European partner

Smpl Team

27 Jun 2024

Meet SmplCo’s new European partner, Axel Thoma, managing partner of the boutique Swiss marketing accelerator, ‘TurbineOst by Die Botschafter’.

Here Axel talks about his quests to far-off lands, making business management ‘spicy’, and almost winning a Europe-wide music competition…

Axel Thoma, SmplCo's new European partner smiling at an event

Why did I drop everything to travel the world? Well, there was this girl…

From early on I’ve always wanted to get out and conquer the world and I’ve never taken ‘no’ for an answer.

The first time I really went for it was when I had a Filipino girlfriend and ventured to the Philippines for an MBA-level exchange at the Asian Institute of Management in Manila.

Asia captured my heart and mind and I longed for more. I asked my university for a second exchange.

They said ‘no’, so I just organised it myself. It seemed the obvious thing to do. It was an opportunity to experience another unique culture and go on a quest into the unknown.

I just did it and – as often happens with these things – the journey took on a life if its own. It led to an exchange year at the exclusive Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, India.

But none of it would have happened if I hadn’t seen a problem in front of me and just got on with sorting it out. (And if there hadn’t been a girl, obviously…)

Axel Thoma, SmplCo's european partner, dressed as superman
Axel says: “My superpowers lie in my brains, not my muscles!”

My company was born out of a bad PowerPoint presentation

TurbineOst is a place people come when they have demanding communications tasks; when strategy, marketing and sales need to come together, and do so fast.

But it was born out of a bad PowerPoint presentation.

The story starts when we were asked to make a sales deck “cooler” and we thought that was a really bad idea.

The client needed to different tool, not just a more expensive presentation. They needed something to make the sales force more entrepreneurial.

That led to us developing an app called Storyteller, to help the client and their sales teams create their own stories and inspire customers, while also giving them the tools they needed to up-sell, cross-sell, and close deals.

“We often talk about hidden champions”

Axel Thoma

The Storyteller app was few years ago now, but that project gave us the inspiration to think about a delivery model that’s very different from most marketing/strategy/sales agencies.

It taught us that solutions that really worked were the ones that:

  • were personalised and values-based;
  • gave customers the opportunity to rethink, recalibrate, and prioritise what they wanted to achieve and why;
  • simplified complex ideas and established “message-to-market-fit” – AKA unravelling value and translating it to the target audience

When we talk about finding ‘hidden champions’, this is how we do it.

It’s a philosophy that came out of developing the Storyteller app. And it’s the reason we teamed up with SmplCo. They think just the same.

I came 4th in a Europe-wide music competition

I have always had an interest in composing music, but not mainstream styles. I’m more into acid, hard house and 90s techno.

Once upon a time, I got to know a Swiss TV producer. I spent time with him and was fascinated to see how his studios worked.

I learned as much as I could and started collecting kit to build my own studio.

Axel's homemade studio
Axel’s homemade studio

Once I built it I wrote and recorded a song that I submitted to a Europe-wide contest.

It was called “Higher” and was a percussion-led techno tune, with South American influences.

The jury was made up of famous techno producers, like Ralf Hildenbeutel who, at the time, was working with famous DJs like Sven Väth and also created the Trance genre.

They really liked the rhytmn and the breaks, and it came fourth out of thousands of entries.

It was recorded on DAT tapes, which are locked away in a box somewhere. I’ll see if I can find them for dust them off for this!

[SmplCo Editor: AND HERE IT IS! Freshly digitised and dust-free! Enjoy.]

Enjoy ‘Higher’, by Axel Thoma

Enjoy ‘Higher’, by Axel Thoma

How I make business management ‘spicy and tasty’

Everyone has a favourite business book, mine is “Key Customers – how to manage them profitably”, by Malcolm McDonald, Beth Rogers, and Diana Woodburn.

I came across it in a dark, dusty back street bookshop when I was in India.

I settled down in the shadows with a cup of coffee and loved it so much I went on to write a thesis on it!

What’s so great is the authors combine sales and marketing and business development, but in a way that works in the real world.

It’s a mix of everything that makes business management spicy and tasty.

The book Axel calls ‘life-changing’

The authors talk about having a ‘differentiated view’. That means, rather than trying to get people buy your products or services based on what you think is most suitable (that’s known as ‘value selling’), you focus instead on ‘value creation’.

That’s much more about being a partner; about helping them open up and navigate their problems, and then recalibrate their expectations so they get the best result.

When you focus on value creation, you find much better ways to serve customers’ needs – and it’s often in ways you or they would never have thought of.

The new partnership between TurbineOst & SmplCo is all about helping you sharpen value propositions, turn them into winning value messages, and letting you deliver them in ways that will help you to conquer the world yourself.
If you’d like to know more send us a message or email SmplCo’s managing partner, Andreas Melvær.

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