President's Brief July 2015

President's Brief July 2015

29 July 2015

President's Brief

I would like to, on behalf of all members, pay our respects to Jim Livingstone who sadly passed away recently. Jim and Jen have been longstanding loyal members of the NZSBA and were often seen at events. Jim had a big heart and smile and we will miss his presence here at the Assn. Our thoughts are with you Jen and look forward to catching up with you again at the coming AGM.

In June we held our second Nordic Networking event hosted by ABB at their premises in Grafton, Auckland.

It’s a privilege to have such icons as members - companies steeped in history that play such a pivotal roll in keeping the world functioning. This of course allows for some fascinating insights imparted by the NZ MD’s. The Nordic Networking events also give members a great opportunity to get together and network.

Events coming up include the AGM on 18th August, the NZSBA Business Forum on 21st September with a fantastic line-up of speakers, the Scandinavian Christmas Market on 1 November - at which we will again have a presence - and the Christmas Function early December. 

You may have noticed we have moved from a quarterly newsletter to a monthly blog-style email and online content. This facilitates more regular communication with members and plays into the email and online/social media strengths. It’s painful reinventing these strategies so frequently as each move costs money but such is the price to be paid of remaining relevant in – and taking advantage of - this quickly evolving world of communication and connection.

Two members have had product launches over the past few weeks; Cult launching a new furniture collection AGxCult by Australian designer Adam Goodrum and VOLVO launching the new XC90. Those that attended were delighted they did.

Cult continue to display and promote from their showroom in Parnell some of the most authentic and classic pieces of Scandinavian furniture and lighting. Further, it’s little known that they actively work with and promote local Australian and NZ design talent where they see great potential and quality.

The new VOLVO showroom in Greenlane is stunning and testament to the rapidly increasing position VOLVO has in the luxury vehicle segment - the fastest growing luxury brand in the world. And like the new XC90, the showroom exudes Swedish design - minimalist, chic and downright cool.

Some 35,000 people pre-ordered the new XC90 before it was off the production line and without even viewing it. Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Car Group, is certainly proving his worth as head of design and the XC90 reviews have been phenomenal. For the discerning buyer VOLVO is now showing the German competition who’s boss. More importantly, the VOLVO brand is not just sitting on the fringe, it’s now for many a first consideration that imparts that ‘Swedish-cool’ factor in much the same way Apple does for owners of Apple products - a market position only possible through the application of stunning design and pushing the boundaries of innovation. For those two brands, selling more product than the competition is not the imperative. It’s about having a product everybody aspires to own and maintaining that position in the market.

One example of this is the collaboration between VOLVO with UK stereo equipment supreme Bowers and Wilkins to design what is possibly the best in-vehicle entertainment system. This stunning 19-speaker system is offered as an upgrade on the XC90 - but given the additional cost is only about a third the price of a ‘similar’ upgrade on any other luxury brand its hard to imagine the XC90 buyer doing anything other than considering it an essential part of the package.

Steve Kenchington, the NZ head of VOLVO cars puts it nicely when summing up the XC90 ‘When all you want is everything’. Thomas has rolled out many of the concept elements in this vehicle so if you want to see what all the buzz is about you can see the XC90 at the new VOLVO showroom at Archibald and Shorter in Greenlane.

Some cool links on Scandinavian design from the ‘Dr of Design’:

A great interview with Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Car Group:  click to view

Thomas Ingenlath On Scandinavian Design and its impact on car design And Electrification:

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