Interview with Gustav Kjellberg – Brand Manager at Awake Electric Surfboards
Gustav Kjellberg is Brand Manager at the Swedish tech-startup Awake, a brand recognized for premium quality and delivery throughout the international yachting industry building premium electric watercraft. We talked to him about the importance of brand values, about sticking together and about blood, sweat, tears and Cake…
Gustav Kjellberg, thank you so much for being here with us today! Let’s start out right at the beginning: Which was your favorite brand in your childhood and why? And what is it today?
I must say that my favorite brand during my childhood was NIKE. As I was quite into golf, Tiger Woods was nothing short of an icon, and that semiotic value was automatically transferred to NIKE.
Today (apart from the obvious top choice being Awake), I must say that I am sort of shifting between brands. It basically depends on the brand’s values, how well they are conveyed in the corporate content and message, how the brand is absorbed by the intended demographic, and so on. For me personally, the Swedish electric motorcycle ‘Cake’ is doing a great job!
Which developments and trends do you currently see when it comes to brands?
As stated above, I feel that it’s very important that a brand’s values are clear and well-communicated, and this is generally what I see trending. Consumers have an incredible amount of brands to choose from nowadays, no matter what they are looking for. It’s immensely important to have a clear, consistent and focused brand message that shares the values of the intended audience. Values, values, values!
Imagine you’d meet a brand fairy who can fulfill your every wish. What would you wish for Awake?
Haha this is a good one! Hm, I believe I would like to always get some kind of premonition about whether a new or different action is the right way to go or not. But then again, trying out new tweaks and qwerks is what makes this job so wonderful, right?!
What do you think are the top 3 measures to inspire your employees and customers with enthusiasm for a brand?
As I wrote earlier I believe that a well-communicated set of values is key! What many companies tend to forget is that the internal brand values are as important (if not even more important) than the external brand values.
- What is the goal of the company?
- Why are we doing what we are doing?
- Where will all the blood, sweat and tears take us? 🙂
What significance does the Corona crisis have in the brand environment?
This is a difficult one. I believe that the message of ”Sticking together” has blown through every industry like a whirlwind. There is a sense of humbleness I believe, and, I also hope that the pandemic will have helped us further realize that we are not invincible. The exact same steps that have been taken in the efforts against the pandemic need to be taken to prevent the environment from ”going bankrupt”. Brands are more cautious in their messages; quality over quantity.
What are your most important learnings for successful brand management?
- Due diligence – do your research!
- What audience are you targeting?
- What values does this audience share?
- What does your tone-of-voice sound like in respect to the intended audience?
- What will your brand offer the audience that they are currently lacking?
- Create a plan and STICK TO IT!
- Brand actions
- Get the company onboard
- Make sure to have a clear image of what the brand is/will be
- Make sure that your team knows WHAT they are working for
- Make sure that your team knows WHY they are working for it
- Make sure that the team is having a blast working for it