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Entry no.: 177

10 Jul 2007, 9:25 AM

Tags: , ,

Comments: 9

Photography Saab

Take it as a Saab print ad, Cristian Kit Paul, 2007

Looking back, Cristian Kit Paul, 2007

Loving Scandinavian design means buying Scandinavian design.

Comments

Reply no.: 1

10 Jul 2007, 12:54 PM

Corin:

well, I must say, this only works as an argument if you are a Scandinavian designer :)

Reply no.: 2

10 Jul 2007, 7:33 PM

Kit:

In our job I'm afraid we constantly witness a lot of brands (sporting very nice award-winning advertising campaigns, usually) that everybody likes but almost nobody cares to buy.

Liking and not buying = virtual consumption — more of that at Brandient Seminars :)

Scandinavian design deserves not to be "consumed" virtually but bought and paid for with real money, not fake smiles. Copenhagen convinced me of that.

Reply no.: 3

11 Jul 2007, 10:10 AM

cip:

Nice, drive it safely!

Reply no.: 4

11 Jul 2007, 4:44 PM

Corin:

Kit,

A little refutation, if I may, on a “laissez faire” note

I must say I do agree with one of the principles that stays behind your idea: design costs tend to be sometimes overlooked, especially when we are talking about Eastern Europe, a place were piracy and copyright infringement is a daily, corner street occurrence.

Both as consultant and consumer, I fully accept design as a cost category and I am willing to pay for it.

I also know and understand the concept of virtual consumption, even if, unfortunately, I’ve never been to any Brandient seminars (which I greatly appreciate, but never attended one, mainly because Brandient doesn’t allow competitors in the classroom). Referring to this concept doesn’t solve our issue, it only provides a theoretical framework that allows us to describe it better. It’s not the answer, it’s the problem. Anyway, let us use it for a change.

From your perspective,

Love = buying, when the product is “Scandinavian design”

My only problem with this equation is the fact that it somehow ignores some important marketing issues, for example the price proposition, while the consumers tend not to.

I do say that from a consumer perspective:

Buying = liking (or even loving) + a fair price proposition + some other little things

This is why we are trying to establish the price premium attached to a brand, this is the reason behind the question: “How much are you willing to pay for using this brand instead of the other?”

As any other brand consultant, I am aware of the growing importance of design when it comes to the way the product, the formal communication or the physical medium that surrounds it talk about the brand. I know that design is the new advertising; Apple stands enough as a proof.

But also, I hope that we agree over the fact that from all thee reasons listed above, sometimes design tends to be overpriced (it’s just an artificially oversized price premium driver). Maybe it happens because of the growing importance of the early adopters or brand/design addicts as consumer segments, I don’t know…

In the same time, let’s not forget that the mainstream consumers still have to afford great design in order to buy it.

Still,

Product sale = great design (functionality + esthetics) + well tailored marketing

This is why I say that ignoring the second part of the right side of the equation equals to switching from a consumer perspective to a designer perspective.

When the mainstream consumer says he likes or even loves the design but doesn’t buy it, I would say it’s healthier to presume that we have a marketing problem and not a “consumer with an attitude” problem. In fact, there isn’t such thing as a consumer with an attitude problem.

The fact is, Swedish design has to be competitive on the free market. If it fails to do so, maybe is because it doesn’t have a wide enough consumer base or maybe is because it‘s a little bit overpriced, and not because consumers are a bunch of little hypocrites.

Anyway, it’s just another point of view…

Reply no.: 5

11 Jul 2007, 10:00 PM

Kit:

What a long comment! I can only envy your stamina. :)

Your argument would stand if there would be no Mercedes, BMW or Audi cars on Romanian streets, but there are. Plenty of them. Romanian consumers are ready to pay premium for design, and they do it in droves — but for German design mainly.

Because German car design has a social relevance (established brands signaling success), while Scandinavian design is just good, functional but understated design. And often cheaper, Bang & Olufsen aside.

My point though is far from a marketing argument, it's personal: I recently fell in love with Scandinavia and its design and consequently I put my money where my mouth is. The story — if there is one — may be pro education, not against "consumers with an attitude problem".

Reply no.: 6

12 Jul 2007, 1:10 PM

Corin:

Thank you :) I will try to make it shorter this time, but please, bear with me, for the sake of the debate...

First, congratulations for the car, drive safely and enjoy the ride!

Returning to our discussion, we must say that every brand is socially relevant, as any big name carries around some brand associations. There isn’t such thing as "just good design", in my humble opinion.

German cars signal success. Swedish cars are the "exotic European option", they signal a need to be different, while preserving quality and status. Some people are trying to look established; some are trying to look different. It isn’t such a big difference, if you ask me. Just different needs.

Of course, a fair proportion of people do it because they want to look a lot more successful then they really are, as a fair amount of people with exotic car options are actually not that different or creative. I think snobbish behavior is evenly distributed through the social spectrum. It's the proportion that counts, not the quantity.

Yes, you are right, people buy German cars, and they do it in droves. But keep in mind the fact that there are also some good reasons behind it, some of them cost/price proposition related. I will give you 3 of them:

1. A socially relevant car that signals success has always a very good reselling value. And this is a serious part of the total cost of ownership/price proposition, if you ask me.

I had for three years an 89' Mercedes 300D which endured a lot of punishment, never broke, and sold it in profit afterwards. Ah, and of course, it was a socially relevant car signaling success, which incidentally I had :) For free.

2. As a roman imperial coin, German cars are well known in all the land covered by Pax Romana. When it cams to a small, dusty imperial province named (incidentally) Dacia, I have to use the coins in circulation there. Roman dinars, not pfennigs. German, not Swedish cars. When it comes to service or fast selling options, German cars are the only real option on the market.

3. BMW/Mercedes and to a lesser extent Audi feature good, sometimes excellent build quality and design that translates into smaller maintenance costs.

A little bit shorter this time... :) I'm trying, i'm trying...

Reply no.: 7

12 Jul 2007, 8:58 PM

Vlad:

Well done on buying a safe and beautiful car. Now make sure you will do something for the environment to be safer and more beautiful... Think Sweden... :)

Reply no.: 8

18 Jul 2007, 2:32 AM

Gabi:

Hey Kit, congrats for the car :) In one of our past conversations, a driver's license seemed pretty far away from your cravings. Ain't it fun driving ? Oh, it makes me feel like playing the most interesting and (at times) equally challenging game.

And, I would add, the design community is such a small world... You just bought a car whose logo was last updated by Miles Newlyn :)

Reply no.: 9

30 Aug 2007, 7:02 PM

Diana:

Congratulations on the new ride. I hope the Saabs over there are still made a bit better than the ones they ship us over in the US these days.

My husband has been a long time fan of Saab's design. We had a newer one a few years ago. His dream is to buy one of the older 900's.

They have beautiful lines, elegant interiors and last time I saw great photographs of their cars.

Enjoy!

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