December 11, 2017

Sailer films the way to better businesses

...and action!
...and action!

Sailer’s videographic research turns customer insights into a documentary film, compelling companies to listen and act.

Traditional customer surveys and market research studies result in PowerPoint presentations or PDF reports. Numbers and graphs are important – How many people would recommend this service to friends and family members? – but they don’t necessarily push to immediate action.

CEO and founder Hannu Uotila

CEO and founder Hannu Uotila


Finnish Sailer is on course to establishing another way of finding out what customers really think: videographic research. The company not only films interviews, observations and consumer habits, but also presents the results in the form of a documentary.

“You can really see the difference,” says founder and CEO Hannu Uotila. “When people in top management watch the documentary and discuss it, they instantly start solving problems, recognising quick fixes and understanding what the most pressing issues are.”

This is because the video removes the researcher from between the customer and management. Instead of being a number on a piece of paper or a circle graph, there is an authentic person saying what works – and what doesn’t. Uotila has noted that particularly negative feedback tends to get a quick reaction.

“That’s our point. When a customer tells almost eye-to-eye that something’s not working, it’s a powerful message to any level in the organisation and it can’t be dealt with just by shrugging shoulders.”

Pushing further on full steam

Uotila’s background is in video production and business research. Combining the two fields of expertise felt like a no-brainer – especially after he found out that only a handful of companies in the world offer something even remotely similar.

Sailer was founded in 2014. The 12 months were spent conceptualising and finding the right direction, but the past two years the winds have been blowing at full speed. Feedback from customers and prospects has been very positive and promising.

“Many have wondered why they haven’t come to think of this before,” Uotila mentions. “That really keeps us wanting to push forward, grow and internationalise.”

Growth doesn’t mean incontrollable expansion. The team size has stayed moderate, with reliable freelancers contributing to projects when needed. Uotila points out that Sailer is at a point when its reputation is spreading and inquiries are coming in from companies Sailer hasn’t previously targeted.

“Although we’re not talking about huge numbers yet, the percentages are impressive,” Uotila explains.

The goal is straightforward: in less than a decade, Sailer wants to count its turnover in millions, preferably nearing 10. To achieve this, the company is heading out to foreign markets, beginning with pilot projects in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Boosting the palette

Sailer office is decorated with a real sailboat. Even if it's mini-size.

Sailer office is decorated with a real sailboat. Even if it’s mini-size.


Uotila doesn’t see Sailer as a competitor to traditional market research companies. Rather, he deems its service a tool that complements existing methods.

“We want to bring video to the palette for researchers and show it adds value and diversifies results. For example, if someone’s conducted a study about customer segments, we can validate it and make it easily representable and comprehensible to employees.”

In the future, Sailer is planning to add other types of studies to its offering. For example, finding out customer perspectives prior to launching a new product or service, or mapping employee experience could just as well be done through video.

The core idea is always to understand human insight and help implement changes.

“We focus on quality instead of quantity,” Uotila says. “Humans aren’t only about numbers. On a scale from one to five, someone’s two might be someone else’s four. We want to develop a profound understanding instead of averages.”

Text: Anne Salomäki