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Why so many great brands come from Sweden?

Hötorget, Stockholm in October 2016. © Petteri Hannonen
Hötorget, Stockholm in October 2016. © Petteri Hannonen

In a global scale Sweden is a small country. Only 9.9 million inhabitants live there. Interestingly, quite a few great brands come from such a small place. You might have heard of, for example:

I am from Finland, and we are not that much smaller than Sweden. Our great brands include for example Nokia, KONE and Supercell, but in a global scale that’s about it. So, what makes the difference?

I must admit that I might not have a bulletproof answer for you, why Swedes whoop the butts of Finns (and many other nations) in branding. However, a visit to Stockholm gave me an aha moment.

In the Stockholm city center I went to the Hötorget marketplace. There the level of execution was something unbelievable. Every single item was put to its place perfectly. Just see the picture on top.

No wonder Swedes master branding, when those views are tattooed to their eyeballs since they are toddlers. Getting used to that level of execution even at a marketplace becomes a standard later on.

The key learning and conclusion from my Stockholm visit is that branding is a part of Swedish culture (like sisu is a part of Finnish culture). And culture eats strategy for breakfast and lunch.

If a low-cost branding lesson and inspiration is needed, just take your team to Stockholm’s Hötorget. Even if you are branding experts and execution masters, a marketplace can teach a lesson.

Thanks for reading!

PS. Feel free to share the joy. Thanks!

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