Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
Scandinavian freshness is coming to the Weekend Media Festival in Rovinj, and it comes with a man who has been working on brand creation for almost two decades, and comes from a part of the world that is recognized by top design. Hans Martin Megard is the Nordic CEO of the Scandinavian Design Group (SDG), which last year became part of the I&F McCann Grupa, and at the Weekend Media Festival he will hold a lecture on a topic that will dominate society and business for the next generation – the sustainability of development.
In his lecture, he will show that sustainability is as much a challenge as it is an opportunity, and how smart agencies can use the UN’s sustainable development goals as a means of building brands.
How long did it take for Nordic companies to accept the idea that branding is an important part of positioning in the market?
Hans Martin Megard: Companies in the Nordic region are quite professional when it comes to branding and design. Historically, I think that this is the case due to the strong tradition of design. The Scandinavian design trend that emerged in the ’40s and ’50s connected with furniture and architecture has raised awareness of the value of design in all areas of society. There are also many good schools for designers. Another important driver of branding and design in the region is the combination between the base of high prices and small domestic markets. As a result, most Nordic companies and products cannot compete in price, but depend on exports. Most Nordic brands must nurture the premium position in their categories. Design and branding are important tools for achieving premium positions. If there is one perspective that we can bring from the Nordic region to this region, it is design and branding at all stages of business. Design and branding should be put into a strategic context. Another aspect I believe that is valuable to implement is the way in which branding and design are created with a purpose, and that the design process is used so that it focuses on sustainability in companies and society.
Our wish is to transfer our branding experiences to this region which has great potential. We have already begun to form teams between the Scandinavian Design Group and I&F McCann Grupa members with excellent results. There are many talented designers and many very interesting companies working in areas such as animation and gamification.
Rovinj is one of the tourism centers of the region, and that is one of the favorite professional topics for the SDG. What is the key to creating successful branding of a tourism destination? You already did it with Oslo, and now with Norway.
Hans Martin Megard: According to our experience, the most important factor is creating a common understanding about brand positioning and marketing strategy among stakeholders. The strategy we developed for Visit Oslo took that aspect to the limits, calling all Oslo citizens to get interested in the “Oslo” brand. The power to promote a destination will always be in the people who live there, and thousands of service providers: restaurants, hotels and guides, who are part of the story. Another part of the “Oslo Boosters” strategy was to open all tourist APIs for anyone who wants to use them. All official data and content from Oslo, such as pictures and event calendars, were free. This has led to a much greater media and digital attention. We also created a great design system and designed new web sites and visitor centers. You can find all of it at visitoslo.com.
Project for the “Norway” brand is under way and has two key objectives. One is to help the development of Norway as a tourist destination. The second is to increase exports. Over the next 30 years, Norway must replace its largest export industry, oil and gas, with exports from other industries. Our job is to fill the term “Made in Norway” with relevant content, apart from salmon.
How would you rate the branding of Croatia as a travel destination?
Hans Martin Megard: The current branding of Croatia, full of life, is well executed. The destination as beautiful as Croatia is a fantastic source of attractive photos, and the promotion channels are making good use of it. The present material also focuses on diversification, with concepts for food and various activities. Croatia should invest in the development of destinations within the destination – these could be cities, islands or certain locations. However, the biggest challenge will be to expand the perception of Croatia as an affordable destination with sun and sea to a brand with wider appeal. Consider the universal attraction of a destination like Italy. You can add the epithet “Italian” to almost everything – food, people, village, sea – and make it more attractive and valuable.
How important is it for companies to implement the global sustainable development goals in their business?
Hans Martin Megard: Sustainability will be the most expressed topic in society in the coming decades, and beyond. I believe that customers, talents and the government will demand that companies and brands become clear, and apply sustainable business practices. Anyone who works in branding and marketing profession already knows the importance of “strong purpose”, the importance of striving towards common good and a contribution beyond just business goals. UN’s seventeen goals of sustainable development provide SDG a universal framework, bringing this complex topic into tangible sectors. They also help us gain a wider understanding of sustainability, by including social factors, such as education and equality, in addition to environmental and biological challenges. From the perspective of branding, this framework is very useful. It allows companies and brands to identify a clear positioning in sustainability.
Is the implementation of this goal a cost for the company?
Hans Martin Megard: There’s a widespread perception among companies that a stronger focus on sustainability will cost them, set limits on the choice of suppliers and create processes that require a lot of time. I don’t think this must be the case. With proper execution, sustainability is an opportunity to save and earn money. The key is to look for triple options – initiatives that contribute to the people, to the planet and to the profit. Wallmart uses this strategy in the United States. They use their purchasing power to encourage suppliers to use less energy and generate less waste. As a result, they save money through a value chain. Unilever’s sustainable lifestyle portfolio has provided 60% of the company’s growth in 2016.
You will hold an interesting presentation at this year’s WMF titled “What’s Your Number?” According to your opinion, which numbers from the UN’s list of goals could be quickly implemented by our companies?
Hans Martin Megard: I believe one of the most exciting numbers is the number 17. This goal is called “Partnerships for the goals” and focuses on how to raise awareness about SDG 17. Our industry has great potential to contribute to this by adjusting the SDG framework to our work with our clients. “What’s Your Number?” is more than a presentation. It’s a call to the industry in the region to participate in the campaign so that the SDG 17 could become a part of the tools for our industry. Another very relevant goal for our profession is No. 12, “Responsible Consumption.” Here we have exceptional opportunities to contribute to stimulating our clients in exploring opportunities in more sustainable products and services. As marketing professionals, we have a great advantage in working with a wide range of industries, helping clients develop brands and stories. I believe this brings us to a position to contribute to all the goals.