Volvo Gets It.

Branding / 08.12.16 / Arvin Sepehr

When It Comes To Branding, Sweden’s Volvo Gets It.

Sweden seems to be doing a lot of things right. I’ve spent a month in both big and small cities of the Scandinavian nation and found it to be delightful. The people are kind, the architecture (particularly in Stockholm) is awe-inducing, and the chocolate…oh, the chocolate. Sweden’s sense of “Yeah, you got it, man” is even demonstrated at the level of company branding. In a commercial for Euro 2016, the summer’s biggest soccer tournament, Volvo exemplified brand storytelling in a brilliant way.

By telling the story of their nation’s most decorated soccer star, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Volvo said a lot about themselves. Instead of hearing the same old jargon about how this car will cure that God-shaped hole in your soul, they demonstrated the similarities between Zlatan’s difficult but successful journey and their own. By displaying only subtle glances at the Volvo V60, the rest of the 3 minute-long spot connects the audience not with a sense of materialism, but one of conquering impossible odds to accomplish worthwhile tasks.

Where most brand statements cause one to cynically walk away with even more postmodern comedic material to regurgitate over their next overpriced cup of coffee, Volvo’s storytelling approached caused me to find myself recognizing Volvo’s bold initiatives to build cars that keep people and the environment safe. All of a sudden, my sense of cheering for Zlatan has been linked to cheering for Sweden to keep making cars and keep telling stories.

Of course the most cynical, mainstream-hating millennial is eager to put down his forever half-read copy of “Infinite Jest” to point out how Brand Storytelling is the worst kind of corporate manipulation, but Volvo has broken through the skepticism by talking about something, someone worthwhile. If that’s manipulative, I wish more companies would be that kind of manipulative. I wish more companies would get it like Volvo seems to.

Brand Storytelling interprets the essence of what a company is about and enables the viewer to cheer for the success of a company that is legitimately after bettering the world around itself by fostering empowering stories.