Scandinavian brands may have much to thank Stieg Larsson for, as his Trilogy featuring Lisbeth Salander, a girl with an unhappy past that continues to haunt her and Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative reporter and publisher of political magazine Millennium, becomes the first truly global Scandinavian phenomena since the Vikings. Sadly Stieg Larsson died in 2004 so he will never witness the impact his novels and subsequent films are having. Of course as someone who is an aficionado of brands you know this is rubbish. There are already lots of established global Scandinavian brands, try Volvo, IKEA, Nokia, Lego and Absolut. The point is that many people outside Europe have no idea that these brands come from Scandinavia and a fair proportion of those have little idea of where or what Scandinavia is in the first place. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo may be about to change all that and provide Scandinavian brands with an opportunity to breakthrough into new markets.
A great example of the sort of brand that could really benefit from such an opportunity is Finnish design company iittala.
What started as a glass factory in Iittala, Finland, now celebrates generations of essential objects that are made to enrich people’s everyday lives. iittala believe objects should be distinctive, combinable and multi-functional, with lasting design that allows for individual use and expression.
iittala engage many of the best designers in Scandinavia.
Their products are premium, stylish, and very distinctive. This is just the sort of brand that would sell well in status conscious, aspirational markets like Russia, China, India and the Middle East. If Scandinavia becomes chic then brands like iittala will become hot property.
The iittala range cover three main areas, eating, drinking, cooking and home decorating.
iittala has stores in Finland, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Other regions are served by independent stores so the potential for expansion is considerable.
You would be forgiven in thinking that iittala is a co-operative run by a collection of individual artists who would have neither the finance nor the desire to become a global brand. In reality iittala is part of the Fiskars Group which is quoted on NASDAQ and has 3,600 employees and net sales of 716 million Euros so iittala has the sort of backing required to expand rapidly. Other well known brands in the Fiskars Group include Gerber, Rorstrand, Hackman, Hoganas Keramik, and Kitchen Devils which will be familiar to UK consumers.
So if you wish to be a trend setter I suggest you prepare for a second Scandinavian invasion because the Vikings are back!