Saab have been a sponsor of the Swedish Tennis Open in Båstad, and it was here that TTELA caught up with Knut Simonsson, Saab’s chief of marketing and brand manager.
The following are excerpts via a Google Trans. The original article in Swedish is here at TTELA.
Back to the roots. Now, Knut Simonsson is soon to look ahead again. With Koenigsegg Group [as] Saab owners they can go back to their roots, to the “innovative thinking differently” that marketing believes is the company soul. Over the years with GM, such thinking was not encouraged.
Swedish Open Båstad: tennis, celebrity spotting – and Saab.
Saab’s marketing and brand manager Knut Simonsson smells the morning air. After nearly two decades with U.S. owners, Saab will be Swedish, or at least Scandinavian, again…..
He sees a future where Saab will return to its roots. Where it once started, with a bunch of aircraft engineers who dared to think of tvärsen with what then existed in the industry. And built a sporty, front wheel drive car with a transverse engine standard.
– “They came with the most complete, incredibly different thinking and the whole culture of Saab.”
– “Saab is innovative thinking differently. It is the core of all what Saab stands for. But if you are in a company which is the world’s largest car manufacturer, I can say that you have a [long way to travel] when you come with different ideas.”
Knut Simonsson is clear in his criticism of a GM, who has not understood the Saab brand. Or just the value of brands in general.
– “It is for the client that we are here. It may sound like a cliche but there are large, very large companies very close to us who forgot it. [They put the same lines] on every car and just changing the lamps a little bit.
– “It is no coincidence that [Koenigsegg] are interested in Saab. Both are cars for people who think a little different, if you drag it to the extreme.”
Saab owners will feel a bit special and it is an ambition that is clearly visible in the Swedish Open in Bastad. Everything from the special free parking lot to the tennis stadium where you will enter just by waving your ignition key.
Båstad and Saab is a marriage that lasted for over 60 years and Knut Simon’s part in about 10 years. Or maybe you should call it a relationship, because relationship marketing is what it’s all about. The personal meeting, not to be associated with tennis in general.
– We would never put the logo on the Dubai tennis open. It is not us.
– We are here because we can make an event of it, a relationship. And it fits in with what we stand for as a trademark. We can show what we stand for and what we want in an environment that is very much us, a Scandinavian brand. It is a cleanly place to be on.
Retailers and especially loyal Saab Buyers are invited and may be a few days with food, test runs and mingle with Saab heights and tennis celebrities.
– We do not have five million customers in the world but what we have, we shall seize the [opportunity?] well.
Saab focuses on people with “modern values”, which serves good and thinking differently: dentists, university professors, the self-employed.
– You can compare us with Apple. There are not many who have Apple or Iphone really but cool it is. And they feel good and make money. Then IBM and Nokia and Erisson make phones to the masses.
Swedish OpenOffice is perhaps the greatest but not the only way to advertise the meetings. The Ice Hotel in Jukasjärvi usually start to go when a new model to be marketed, with carefully selected media representatives on site. It also has a collaboration with ski manufacturer Salomon, much activity in Åre, you have Saab Performance team as far around the world with advanced köruppvisningar. And more.
All of the overriding objectives will appear in a world of full of impressions.
– It is difficult to get attention. To have a place in the mind of people is so much worth in today’s world that it is ridiculous.