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GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | Seattle

GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | New York

Den Röda Tråden | The red thread of experience design

Core Values | Sweden — could they be designed?

THE QUESTION IS, CAN THE VALUES OF A COUNTRY BE COALESCED INTO AN EFFECTIVE BRAND STRATEGY, THAT THE ENTIRE MARKETING ENTERPRISE — AS WELL AS TOURISTIC AND GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES — ADHERE TO COLLECTIVELY?

“Together with the Progressive position, the core values describe Sweden’s overall distinctive features, the values and behavior that stand out, and which are thus what we have to offer. They are used as internal signposts, for instance as a checklist for what projects we want to support and what communication we want to have. The core values should be seen as a whole, which together describe our position as a progressive country.”

In meeting with teams connected with the marketing strategies of Scandinavian “branding” and tourist enterprise, we’ve approached — discussed and reviewed — the concept of the nation brand, a standard that is remarkably detailed in the platform branding structure of their planning organization.

Sweden’s different.

Den Röda Tråden | The red thread of experience design
Brand Sweden | core values

Part of that discussion relates to the notion of the red thread, den röda tråden — the single line, the spiraling of the soul of brand, of experience, of memory and consistency in the voice of message. The red thread is live, clear, powerful and connective. And what visuals could be expressed in the inspiration of connection.

For the last several years, Sweden has coalesced their strategy for marketing, messaging and visualizations back to a central premise. That’s unusual, for a nation — and even to some degree, the idea of a brand. Detailed, refreshing, spiritual, caring — consider what brand guidelines and corporate positioning that has been written in filling this space.

According to Joakim Norén, Brand Development Manager, Swedish Institute, “Part of Sweden’s celebrated image can be credited to the fact that the country has a unified brand platform, the result of incorporating the Swedish Institute, VisitSweden, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Invest in Sweden Agency and the Trade Council into the Council for the Promotion of Sweden, which generated a common brand platform for most of the relevant aspects of the country. Now, the Council wants Swedish regions and cities to use the platform for their own local promotion and branding.

Den Röda Tråden | The red thread of experience design
Brand Sweden | document spread: authenticity

When is comes down to studying the strategic effectiveness, and the tactical outcomes, the Brand Sweden ”platform may make the job easier.”

This effort was defined in 2006, formed by The Council for the Promotion of Sweden (NSU*) which launched a brand platform for Sweden. The NSU is a cooperation between the aforementioned groups — the Swedish Institute, VisitSweden, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Invest in Sweden Agency and the Trade Council. This positioning platform defines the essence that is the foundation or starting point for all official communication of Sweden abroad.
What I might surmise is that a strategy that is this integrated is relatively unusual — but it might be emblematic that Sweden, given its legacy of openness and innovation should define and ascribe such a careful tactical overview. More can be learned here.

Den Röda Tråden | The red thread of experience design
Brand Sweden | document brand spread

The opening, and the summary, offers the tactical character of the guide — which “concerns our joint efforts in working with Sweden’s image and its importance for Sweden’s cooperation with the rest of the world. It is our hope that the guide will provide answers to your most important questions and be of help in your work representing and promoting Sweden.

Den Röda Tråden | The red thread of experience design
Brand Sweden | document, foundational principles

It goes on in a range of careful notations and “describes the way to create communication about Sweden in practice step by step based on the common platform. The Council for the Promotion of Sweden Abroad (NSU), which includes the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Swedish Institute, Swedish Trade Council, Invest in Sweden Agency, Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications and VisitSweden, has developed a common brand platform for Sweden. It provides the basis for an updated and more forceful presentation of Sweden abroad and is to serve as support in our different activities. The platform is also a natural starting point for closer collaboration with other Swedish parties who have interests outside Sweden.” There’s a point to laying the foundations of strategy, and how that might be applied to alliances, other applications, partner communications.

A core offering principle, founding the strength of the book and the team thinking:

Den Röda Tråden | The red thread of experience design
Brand Sweden | document spread: openness as a core virtue of brand experience

What are we offering?
Sweden as a collaborative partner and source of inspiration. Inspiring others and being inspired by them. Of course, Sweden does not have all the answers, but we are often on the cutting edge of development and we are open to sharing our experience with the rest of the world – working together and sharing the future.

The booklet is lively, engaging and written in an encouraging and optimistic manner.

The text is simplistically arranged — but focusing on the quick layering of conceptual and positioning content:

Building attention
Attractiveness
Openness
Transitioning to new (and renewed ideals)

An attractive position
in a time of change

Change making in experience strategy:
In a time of revolutionary global change, the progressive approach is an attractive asset. An openness to new ways of thinking and an ability to adapt are of considerable importance in keeping up with development. At the same time, there has to be an ability to guard against and handle the downsides that rapid development can entail, such as environmental damage, social tensions and welfare problems. Development and this art of living with continuous change that takes into consideration both people and the environment are something that people throughout the world strive for. This means it is strategic to “own” the position as a progressive country, and Sweden can be credible as this owner. The new ways of thinking and open-mindedness of Sweden and Swedes have also been at the heart of international interest in our country, which is an advantage in our future work as well.

“Development and this art of living with continuous change that takes into consideration both people and the environment are something that people throughout the world strive for.”

Concepts of evolution, team leadership, shared ideations found the nature of a potent strategy — emotionally engaging, upbeat, happy and directed outlook.

Den Röda Tråden | The red thread of experience design
Brand Sweden | positioning the attitude of innovation

There’s an attitude:

Swedish progressivity in practice

To the notion of progressivity, in terms of strategy, the idea of creating ownable phrasing continues to boost the leveling of the platform — creating brand documents that are lively in intention are memorable. Working manuals fail to click in the minds of the users — this tactical expression is something that is unusually refreshing. This alignment of experience is surprisingly artful. But that’s Sweden.

Foundations and attitudes:
“In the 20th century, Sweden underwent a rapid social transformation – from an agricultural to an industrial society, from an industrial society to an information and knowledge society.

This took place without revolutions, through steady movement forward. Development has meant a continually rising standard of living with greater security for Swedes. It has given people the chance to get an education and develop, which resulted early on in a population that was well-educated and aware.

Our experience shows us that change and improvement are possible and that this provides opportunities for both individuals and society. New technology and new products improve our everyday lives and make them easier while at the same time they are better for the environment.

Progress in research and medicine gives us a better quality of life. Reforms in society, such as paternal leave, give us greater equality between men and women and opportunities to combine a career and a family.

We have learned that it is possible to solve problems that accompany development, for instance, pertaining to the environment, even though that places great demands on new ways of thinking. So achieving sustainable development that takes into consideration both people and the environment seems realistic.

Our positive experience of change has allowed us to dare to believe in the future and to believe that development is in essence something positive. We believe the future holds many answers to today’s problems, and that it means positive development both in Sweden and in the rest of the world.”

“Our positive experience of change has
allowed us to dare to believe in the future and
to believe that development is in essence
something positive.”

Den Röda Tråden | The red thread of experience design
Brand Sweden | the character of care, as a founding virtue

the notions of progressivity are:

Made in Sweden – high-tech international trade and industry

Equality – modern non-hierarchical relations

The open society – the principle of public access to official records, freedom of speech and the right of public access to the countryside

Share the future – openness and involvement in the global village

Freedom without fear – advanced welfare and security for everyone

With the future in mind – and sustainability as the goal

Why, this examination? Really, the character syncs to experience — in working there, being there. Truly, that is the foundation of experience branding — working there, being there. Being: in there. But it also aligns to the thoughtfulness of a designed experience and the storytelling that emotively defines that: being in there — to that end, the idea of a coalesced strategic positioning, along with enriched positioning documents that celebrate the brand — not merely mechanically engineering the standards of the brand, nation, notion, or otherwise.

T I M | N Y C
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NOTES ON SWEDISH BRANDING | Strategies
http://bit.ly/eKWE2h

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