Jorne Korzelius – Fitbit

Jorne Korzelius – Fitbit

Jorne Korzelius is the sr. marketing manager for Northern Europe at Fitbit. Jorne: “Fitbit was founded in 2007 by James Park and Eric Friedman, who were inspired by the introduction of the WII in late 2006. Nintendo had combined the hardware and the sensors with amazing software to create a holistic experience that made gaming into something that was active, fun and positive. The founders of Fitbit thought about using that magic in a wearable to make people more active, and live a healthier life, which is still our mission today.”

Main KPI’s for brand growth

Jorne: “At Fitbit our most important KPI is the number of active users, people that are using their Fitbit and synchronise it with the Fitbit app regularly. As long as you are growing the number of consumers that engage with your products and services, you will realise growth. Loyalty plays a big part in this; we have a big Fitbit fanbase who help spread the word.”

“What makes Fitbit different from competitors, is that we’re a tech focused company. At Fitbit the combination of the device, software and the app are developed to help people live healthier and more active lives, by empowering them with data, inspiration and guidance to reach their goals. Technically speaking, a lot of products in this category are similar, but the network of people that use Fitbit – 27 million worldwide – is one of the biggest social fitness networks in the world. All data that is being generated, is used to optimise our products and services and give personalised insights to the users. Therefore, it is hard to compare our eco-system to competitors.”

Innovation as a necessary element

According to Jorne, innovation is necessary to simply be able to survive as a company. “Consumers have high expectations and as a brand you constantly need to live up to these expectations or even exceed them. This means that as a company you should constantly look at how to optimise; you need to keep learning and make improvements every day. Everybody within the company needs to contribute, so it needs to be part of the company culture.”

Main source for innovation

Jorne explains that the main source for innovation at Fitbit stems from a combination of technical possibilities and customer insights. “As a tech company, data is our most important asset. At Fitbit, we have a substantial amount of data scientists, based in the US. They are constantly looking in our data to find, for example, correlations between activity and sleep and use these insights to help our users improve their quality of sleep. On the development side we also look at the input from consumers, for instance, we’ve noticed that the majority of Fitbit users look at how they have slept in the app when waking up. So, we decided to make the data available on the clockface of your smartwatch. With regards to new products, we also employ research. This mainly takes place in the US. Because we are a tech company, an opinion or idea will always be validated by research before the next steps are taken. Recently we launched a couple of more affordable products, because we discovered that people are open to the product, but looked up to the purchase price. Innovating always comes from the combination of these market insights, own research and price setting. Consumer value is the key element.”

The daily business

Jorne: “We have a test lab with treadmills, bikes and even strollers. We heard back from our users that steps of people walking behind strollers weren’t being counted, because it is a different movement as opposed to just walking. We started working in our lab to alter our products in such a way that those steps can be counted. The biggest group of our users is female, so it made sense to invest engineering and development resources to find a solution for this.”

Personalised insights

According to Jorne, Fitbit is constantly working on giving personalised insights. “We are currently working on making our app even more personalised, with insights and guidance for its user. To give an example, we can give insights based on the data you generate, in comparison to other people of your age. Suppose you are active for 30 minutes a day, and others your age are active 40 minutes a day, but sleep on average 15 minutes longer and deeper during the night, which could result in an advice for you. Machine learning and AI make these insights possible, and great opportunities lie here to help people further, which connects seamlessly to our mission. We even offer ‘challenges’ where you can dare your friends to be more active. You really notice that the challenges motivate people to get more steps in. People that participate in challenges take an average of 2000 steps more a day. We use a lot of our data to keep giving people more personalised insights to improve their health. Since we first started, we have received 181 billion hours of heartrate data, 175 trillion steps and 9 billion hours of sleep.”

Transforming business into healthcare

Jorne: “Something we already see happening in the US is our business transformation from consumer into healthcare. We recently launched Fitbit Health Solutions using our technology to offer solutions for health plans, corporate wellness programs and health research. We believe that with our products we can play an important role in healthcare. Especially in the prevention side of diseases such as diabetes, which can be prevented in a lot of cases by being more active.

Biggest challenges and pitfalls

Jorne: “I feel as though everything falls or stands with company processes and culture. In my experience a lot of companies want to be innovative, but if your company culture doesn’t embrace new ideas or ways of working, this is nearly impossible. And when you have a great innovation, you don’t need budget to launch it. There are the examples of companies that grew from nothing to a billion-dollar company these last couple of years – Tesla and Airbnb for instance – that don’t spend a lot on marketing. They found a gap in the market, and are constantly trying to improve. Those are all tech companies with the right mindset and company culture to support this. If you don’t keep on innovating, chances are a big disruptor will enter your market and do things a lot better and faster.”