Forest based audiovisual solution for recovering from work – the importance of well-being at work, and the several restorative effects, that spending time in the forest can generate
For about two months, a group of six students from Åbo Akademi University and the University of Turku has been supporting Korpi ForRest, a Finnish start-up company, to launch a new content marketing campaign as part of a project management program. Project Aces – a programme run by the University of Turku – offers students a great opportunity to step out of the academic and theoretical bubble and enter directly into a practical case for a real company facing a problem for which they expect the students to find a suitable solution. While staying in the safe space of the framework of Project Aces, students can gain valuable experience in project management and in the very real working environment that we all ultimately have to face.
Korpi ForRest offers a digital audio-visual forest experience during working hours, which is intended to serve as a preventative and restorative break solution to increase both the efficiency and the well-being of employees. An increase in the interest and need for general well-being in companies is already evident. Human resources departments are investing heavily in this sector, as it is the key to the success of a company. Based on scientific knowledge about the general health benefits that a visit to the forest can bring, Korpi ForRest has already collected research articles and reports as a basis for its product. Their aim is to create the best digital solution to achieve the same health related benefits, as it has been shown that a number of these positive effects occur even in less than 10 minutes in a forest environment.
Mental fatigue is an ever growing fact of life in an information overloaded world. For instance, Berto (2005) notes that exposure to natural environments induces a kind of effortless attention and fascination in the human brain, allowing an important psychological resource, directed attention, to rest and recover. In another report, Tyrväinen (2014) points out the various positive effects on mental and physical health that result from forest exposure, such as a reduction in blood pressure, muscle tension and heart rate. In addition, it has been shown that staying in the forest also activates the parasympathetic part of the human body’s autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and the digestive response when the body relaxes and rests. It has also been shown that negative thoughts are more strongly regulated as a result.
The core task of this content marketing campaign is to increase the brand awareness of Korpi ForRest in its intended audience. For this purpose, a strategy was developed to distribute specifically produced content on the internet, which emphasizes the relevance of well-being at work as a key message. Through regular meetings and exchanges with the client, three core areas were agreed upon, which included continuous blog posts, the establishment of a podcast and the creation of a video campaign. The task of the students was to work on these goals independently and to implement them through further agreements with the client. The six students from various fields of study therefore divided into three groups, each of which focused on one medium in order to find the best possible solution for the company Korpi ForRest. The main focus was therefore on finding sustainable solutions that were tailored to the customer, as they had to be able to continue to maintain the established channels after the end of the project in May by themselves.
Content marketing is about providing non-proprietary content such as information, educational and entertainment content and publishing it at the points of contact with customers. When done right, it attracts their attention and makes them want to focus on the topic around the solution presented and leads them to want to learn more about it and about the company, which hopefully leads to them buying the offered product or service. Content marketing is then optimized when the generated content successfully reaches the desired audience and maximizes the number of hits and interactions. To achieve this the team first had to analyze and familiarize themselves with the target audience to understand their online behavior patterns. The generated content was then validated by the students to ensure that it is relevant, usable and tailored to the specific target group.
It is general practical experience gained through this project that should be of interest to every student, as it can be of great advantage in later professional life. We would like to encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity already during their studies.
Writers: Henrik Tofferi, Ricardo Walldorf-Correll
Berto, Rita (2005). Exposure to restorative environments helps restore attentional capacity. Journal of Environmental Psychology 25, 249–259.
Tyrväinen, Lisa (2014). Luonnon merkitys ihmisen terveydelle ja hyvinvoinnille. RCE Espoon unelman päivän seminaari, Espoo.