Awareness building on digital channels and the launch of a new sustainability service


Helsinki Marketing

With Columbia Road we were able to bring growth hacking into the same processes with technology development, rather than running them on separate paths. Growth hacking is going to be a long-term plan for us, and Columbia road has taught us the mindset while producing excellent results and showing how it's done successfully in multi-vendor teams. Tia Hallanoro, Director, Brand Communications & Digital Development, Helsinki Marketing

Key objectives & challenges

Problem description

Helsinki is committed to providing a more responsible lifestyle for every city resident, and to be a city where people learn about and introduce better ways of living together. The change will happen only when a sufficiently large and diverse group acts, which is why was the right place to make an impact. The goal was to make it easy for its users to find sustainable options for living in and enjoying Helsinki. SEO visibility and findability of the whole web service needed to be improved accordingly.

Key objectives

Helsinki Marketing needed help promoting their new Think Sustainably service in various digital channels. Their wish was that the promotion would be ‘quiet’ during their soft-launch. The goal was to reach possible early adopters for their new service and get feedback through them to develop the service further.

After their main launch advertising would be kicked off in a bigger scale, both in digital and offline. Columbia Road helped to promote MyHelsinki’s posts on Facebook with detailed targeting in order to reach audiences within the capital region. Facebook and the context of sustainability also presented some regulatory challenges, which Columbia Road helped Helsinki Marketing to deal with.

In addition to paid promotion and navigating through Facebook’s regulatory systems, Columbia Road helped in the development of the new Think Sustainably Service based on collected data. This was done through an extensive analytics setup and close co-operation between Futurice, MyHelsinki and Columbia Road.

Key challenges

One of the biggest challenges was the fact that the launch of Think Sustainably included multiple stakeholders, including Futurice, who was in charge of technical development of the website. Other stakeholders included Demos Helsinki responsible for the Think Sustainably criteria and N2 Albiino responsible for the visual appearance of the service.

In addition, the context of sustainability proved to be a challenge. Facebook has very strict regulations on topics such as politics and social issues. The Think Sustainably concept was considered as a social issue, which meant that navigating through regulations on different platforms was crucial. Columbia Road researched possibilities, next-steps and required certifications to help MyHelsinki launch their digital channels promotion. Along the way Columbia Road kept providing advice and solutions to problems that arose during the promotion.

Our approach

Helsinki Marketing had a clear publication roadmap, which meant that the targeting schedule for paid promotion needed to be systematically defined. Columbia Road, together with MyHelsinki, designed Facebook campaigns, through which targeted traffic was driven to the new Think Sustainably service. Early promotion was done only in Finnish in order to get feedback from the early adopters. This feedback was important as Helsinki Marketing wanted to develop the service together with its users. Columbia Road also designed the material that was used during the Facebook advertising. In design we followed the original visual appearance by created by N2.

After the main launch of the service, Columbia Road and Futurice kept brainstorming on ways to keep the new service visible on Traffic to the service naturally decreased after the main launch, which meant that keeping users engaged and thinking about ways users could “re-discover” the service, became more important. This brainstorming and co-development was a great example of co-operation between Columbia Road’s analytics-heavy approach and Futurice’s technical approach.

Based on the extensive Think Sustainably analytics setup, together with Helsinki Marketing, Columbia Road performed A/B testing on their new service and presented the findings in order to increase users’ engagement. Findings included some design element changes, which helped users to navigate the service better.


Why it matters

Solutions to combat climate change are everyone’s concern and achieving them is not just a task or a privilege for a small minority. Stopping climate change requires both major structural changes and everyday activities. The change must be made now, and that is exactly what and Think Sustainably do.


  • Previous Search Engine Optimisation work increased traffic from Google by more than 25% – even more outside Finland.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Content Guide for MyHelsinki to help them publish content with improved search engine indexing
  • Average load time for website -25%
  • 50% of all Think Sustainably feedback was driven by our targeted campaigns during the soft launch
  • Extensive behavioral data analysis and A/B testing, which resulted in improved user experience of the new service
  • Over 4000 users directed to test the service during the soft launch
  • Development and implementation of a website analytics dashboard 

A great example of growth hacking a new service with multiple stakeholders including excellent designer and developer cooperation

About Helsinki Marketing

Helsinki Marketing is a marketing company owned by the City of Helsinki. Helsinki Marketing is responsible for Helsinki’s operative city marketing and business partnerships. Its target audiences include international visitors, decision-makers, experts and talent interested in moving to Helsinki, as well as local residents. Helsinki Marketing works in close cooperation with the departments and units of the City of Helsinki.

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