Reinvention Without Alienation - The Volvo Way

Reinvention Without Alienation - The Volvo Way

Here at bluemarlin where our Mettle consultants ideate, innovate and disrupt, we partner with clients to apply provocative and transformational thinking to broader, more complex business and brand challenges. We constantly look across different categories to see how companies are doing in this space. In our first article for 2018, we celebrate Volvo embracing the spirit of change to innovate and future-proof its brand.

Society’s shifting attitudes to safety, the environment and health are key drivers for brands to innovate. Such seismic attitudinal changes are reinventing whole categories. But how can this level of reinvention be done, in this case with Volvo, without alienating its core customer base?

The revolution shaking the automotive industry towards petrol-free driving is a jolt for all its players to embrace and innovate or run the risk of extinction.

Volvo’s bold pledge, that by 2019 they will be producing only electric or hybrid cars, arguably set the bar for other long-established marques to follow. But are Volvo drivers ready for such a change? Or will they abandon their Volvos instead? 

One way to road-test this bold ambition is to see how it resonates with ‘The Volvo Way’ which is summed up in three core values: safety, quality and care for the environment. The last value is an obvious clean fit, but what about quality and safety?

Volvo’s commitment to quality and performance have underpinned its brand for years, and it has no intentions of sacrificing this to honour its new brand promise. Aided by rapid advances in battery technology, two of Volvo’s five fully electric cars, to be introduced between 2019 and 2021, will be high-performance vehicles, from its Polestar range. With many Volvo customers attracted to the brand for power, engineering and precision it seems they won’t be disappointed with the new models as the brand ends production of the solely combustion engine powered car.

Safety has also been a long-standing feature of a Volvo car, with its award winning commitment to passenger protection, something that’s taken centre-stage in the brand’s marketing campaigns. Safety remains at the heart of the new ranges. Indeed, soon not only will driving a Volvo car protect you and your family today as you drive the vehicle, but it will protect you and your family tomorrow, as it leads us towards a pollution free world.

What’s more, we can expect to see Volvo’s commitment to cleaner power and innovation to feature heavily in its future marketing initiatives if its recent #PUREPOWER campaign in Thailand is anything to go by, where it launched the world’s first lightening powered billboard.

It’s clear that for many brands with lofty ambitions there will be many bumps in the road on their journeys to honour their pledges. However, Volvo has found that for their brand, staying true to their core values will ensure their brand can reinvent itself without alienating their existing customer base. What’s more, by stealing a march on other car manufacturers, it’s likely they’ll attract many new customers to their brand too. Isn’t that the kind of smart future-proofing you want?

If you think your brand needs innovation, whether revolutionary or evolutionary, and you’d like an independent point of view we’d love to hear from you.

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