Volvo Car Australia’s problem has been developing since its inception, when its founder declared Volvo’s “guiding principle behind everything we make is…safety”. The association between Volvo and safety has become synonymous - this is our problem as we try to sell more to premium buyers.
SAFETY DOESN’T SELL PREMIUM
Safety was the number one reason people bought a Volvo. But for premium buyers, safety barely ranks as a motivation. And it was an attribute that had been commoditized as safety has become standard even on low-end mass-market cars.
A total reset. We needed to inject new meaning and desire into the Volvo brand, to generate more consideration and sell more cars. All in a new car market that was contracting.
CREATING A NEW SPACE FOR PREMIUM
Through extensive audience and cultural research we found that ultimately, luxury and status has changed. For the buyer’s Volvo needed to attract, it’s shifted from an extravagant statement of wealth to a more conscious expression of intelligence.
VALIDATING VOLVO’S OPPORTUNITY
We couldn’t throw out Volvo’s heritage of safety, it was too closely aligned with the brand. But Volvo’s safety-first approach has always been about much more. It’s about compassion with people.
This was Volvo’s brand opportunity. Other premium auto brands are hallmarks of traditional luxury, yet they felt dated due to their inward-looking and arrogant nature. Volvo could transcend traditional luxury by earning appreciation for contemporary premium by showcasing its empathy, generosity and ingenuity.
VOLVO’S OMTANKE BRAND
Volvo’s philosophy, Omtanke, makes them look at things differently, it’s a lens in which they look at the world differently. The Omtanke approach allows Volvo to shine the light on the things that really matter, and that helps them focus on making those things better.
Most auto brands create moments by launching cars, we created a different launch. Working with Omtanke’s Sustainable brand pillar we extended Volvo’s involvement as the only car brand in the G7 Ocean Plastic Charter.
FINDING A CULTURAL OPPORTUNITY
In Australia, we live an idyllic life with 85% of us within 50km of the coast. But urban development and coastal infrastructure have seen the loss of more than 50% of our natural shoreline in Sydney alone. The native mangrove trees that once lined the harbour are now lost to concrete seawalls. Beneath the surface our oceans are polluted on an endemic scale. There are 50,000 pieces of rubbish per square km around Australia’s coast with 75% of it plastic. Most plastic enters the ocean via rivers and estuaries which were filtered by mangroves. Yet we can’t rid our shoreline of seawalls due to coastal development, but we can think about them differently.
HIJACKING SEAWALLS TO BRING LIFE BACK TO OCEANS
We partnered with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science to create the Volvo Living Seawall, an ocean conservation project.
Living Seawall is a world-first project to upcycle plastic to strengthen marine grade concrete tiles that are placed along Sydney Harbour’s seawalls. The tiles mimic the root structure of native mangrove trees to create a habitat for organisms that filter pollutants from the ocean – effectively cleaning the water.
THE SUSTAINABILITY STORY
The first phase of the Seawall story was told with a bank of assets released through Volvo owned channels and fed into the news media and social media to generate conversation.
The project gave Volvo a permanent, ad-free, out-of-home placement in a landmark location, but importantly gave the company an opportunity to announce its Omtanke approach and demonstrate its ingenuity, empathy and generosity in action.
We then rolled out the Omtanke brand story further through always-on advertising activity.