If you have heard me speak on brand or worked with me, you know I emphasize brand clarity, consistency and connectivity. While listening to Alexa’s Flash Briefing, I heard a highlight about the issuance of the three-point seatbelt U.S. patent on July 10, 1962 — just over 61 years ago. This story reminded me of a great example of building a great brand.
Imagine if I asked you to describe Volvo in one word. Most likely, you would say “safety.” Boom. That’s clarity. Volvo established this clear brand position nearly 80 years ago. They committed to it and consistently delivered upon and communicated their brand promise of “safety” in everything they did.
Lesson 1: Clarity, then commit.
Volvo’s unwavering focus on safety led to significant milestones. They hired engineer Nils Bohlin, who designed the revolutionary three-point seatbelt system in less than a year. Volvo unveiled this groundbreaking safety feature in 1959, demonstrating its commitment to the “safety” positioning. Volvo didn’t stop there. They also drove the focus of safety internally with their employees and also externally with their audiences. They then went beyond their own success and shared the new seatbelt design with other auto manufacturers, where it is now a global standard.
Lesson 2: Consistency and connectivity.
All these efforts and a relentless focus on safety have positioned Volvo as a trusted brand in the minds of consumers. Today, if safety is a top priority when considering a vehicle, Volvo is already in the consideration set, without relying on advertisements, video spots, or excessive marketing jargon. This is a brand built to be trusted, with a clear focus and position. Now that’s the way you build a brand and secure its position to withstand the test of time.
Lesson 3: Be known. Stay known.