Note: this is one of 600 trends pulled from the Springleap trend, insight and influence platform. For further information on subscribing to the platform, go towww.trends.springleap.com
Volvo SA strategised a rebrand of their South African division in May. Moving with the brand’s global strategy, Volvo, along with trending hashtags #MadebySweden #NewDawn was integrated into the local branding sphere.
The brand invited Joburg’s online influencers, bloggers and prominent individuals with a high following to the Carlton Centre’s rooftop platform during sunrise in May. Guests were briefed with taking cellphone pictures - using the above hashtags and posting on Instagram, Twitter etc. - of the activation as the morning sun shed light on the city. The attendees were encouraged to use only their iPhones, and the initiative was supported by iStore South Africa.
Beautiful, surreal views from “the top of Africa” ensured a memorable experience for the invited guests. After some fun in the morning sun, a thank you breakfast was laid out for all who attended and took part in the activation.
Grey South Africa was the creative and strategic brainchild behind the brand activation:
“As Grey South Africa, we wanted to provide Volvo (our client) with something that was different from the norm. We helped Volvo stand out from other brands while talking to a new generation of Volvo brand advocates” - Jessica Wheeler, Business Unit Director PR and Social Media.
Volvo SA Rebrand - Why did it trend?
Despite the personal hype from being “influential enough” to be graced with an invite, attendees had a lot to be excited about.
The Carlton Centre, at its rooftop plaza, is the tallest building in Africa - climbing heights of over 220m. The views are stunning, no matter what time of day. It’s not everyday that one places him/herself in such a context, not too mention being able to take pictures of such a spectacle. The activations experience was iconic, as locals got to to see their city from a powerful, new perspective - tying in with the campaign’s slogan, “A New Beginning”.
To give some substance behind the global stance, the international concept promotes Volvo’s home country of Sweden, and incorporated homegrown DJ Avicii who was born in Stockholm. A resulting TV commercial / music video was produced, featuring the artist’s new single “Feeling Good” - shot in Stockholm and areas linked to his childhood and background. Both Avicii and his style of EDM is popular in South Africa, having topped charts on radio stations many times. Anyone into the modern dance music scene would’ve heard of this vetted international DJ by this point.
Volvo SA Rebrand - Competitor landscape
For competing brands, this is an interesting strategy to observe. Not only did Volvo follow through with their global strategy more than adequately, they brought a really interesting concept to the table. What better way to portray “A New Beginning” than to use the natural light of the earth’s morning sun - symbolising fresh appeal, new movements and exciting things to come.
Competitors in the South African motor industry can look at the event in two ways. One possibility is that brands are integrating heavy duty financial spend on marketing and rolling out massive yet consistent global strategies. Or, there is room to create a new experience for potential consumers.
Brands seem to be exploring the roots of their past to optimise the future of engagement, awareness and consumer acquisition. This can be played out well, particularly in the motor industry of South Africa, where most cars have a rich history stemming from the brand’s country of origin. Ford and Toyota are South Africa’s favourite car brands, having sold 3,019 and 2,912 units in June 2015 respectively. Ford is seen as the ultimate masculine car brand in this country, but could be accentuated by tying in its industrial Detroit Roots. Toyota, being Japanese in its ancestry, comes from a culture of hard work and civil society. The association that many people have towards Toyota is embodied by the brand’s trustworthiness and reliability. Crafting campaigns or tangible activations that allow consumers to experience the brand at its core should be made a priority in the South African market.
Volvo SA Rebrand - Insights & Consumer Trends
This brand activation, although lacking no creativity in its concept or strategy, didn’t seem to make as much of an impact as was predicted. Social media channels were buzzing with pictures of the iconic Johannesburg sunrise, especially on Instagram and Twitter. The images, although beautifully personalised, didn’t seem to attract many retweets or favourites on Twitter. Instagram reflects only 182 images tagged with #volvonewdawn, however they did attract more likes from other ‘Igers’ in South Africa. The resulting social stream of ‘hashtagged’ images seemed to only diversify with guests who took more than one snapshot. For example, artist/stylist >@LAMA_WOLF and film photographer student @Andile_Buka’s posts are seen more than anyone else’s on Twitter.
For the case of this activation, the online impact could’ve been accentuated by inviting some other people to this event. Although an intelligent strategy to invite local influencers with a high social media following, this doesn’t mean that the entirety of Volvo South Africa’s target market will know who they are. General members of the public who have Instagram and/or Twitter accounts would have helped not only to boost reach but to draw the attention to more diverse digital crowds. Unfortunately, the “celebrity market” has limitations when creating hype, as the first groups of people to link up will be other niche influencers, not members of the public (in which untapped markets could be hiding!).
Interested in understanding the influences and trends shaping your target consumers? Subscribe to the Springleap digital platform where our expert trend trackers showcase the most impactful consumer activities, events, influences & brand activations. Learn more here trends.springleap.com