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We Have Remained Consistent In Our Purpose Of Safety: Charles Frump, Volvo

For Volvo Cars, everything always must “begin and end with safety”, explains the auto brand’s India CEO, Charles Frump

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“The world of marketing has changed drastically that it is unrecognised now and this because the customer is changed. The customers are a much deeper audience that we have to reach, they are much aware, empowered and fuelled by passion,” said Charles Frump, the Managing Director of Volvo Cars India in his keynote address at the Marketing Whitebook Summit in Delhi on August 22, 2019. 

Addressing the theme, which in the 15 year of the book was ‘Purpose, Personalisation & Performance: Scaling Ideas that Future Proof Businesses’, he talked about Volvo Cars India’s journey around ‘purpose of safety’.

He explained that in this “millennial-driven age”, a company needs to have a new approach that is driven by ‘purpose’ and that brands must inspire people.

Volvo’s ‘Purpose Marketing Strategy’, is divided into five major steps. 

The first of this is ‘Know It’, which is inherent to the brand DNA being authentic. ‘Own It’, which is to distil the essence down to vision, messages and actions that are relevant to people is the second step. 

‘Deliver It’, which means taking tangible action with purpose at the core is the third step followed by ‘Share It’ – the plan for timing and budget platform inclusive of marketing and PR, and finally ‘Walk It’ - close the loop and make results public.

Frump informs the company has released its inventions with masses to bring the change globally. “Safety is core of everything we do. Back in 90s we released the pattern of safety belt for everyone so that everyone can have safe cars. We have also shared the EVA initiative – digital crash test dummy - with everyone,” he said.

Volvo’s vision aims to have zero kill or injury by Volvo in 2020, 1 million electrified Volvo on the road by 2025 and 30 per cent female leaders by 2025. 

Frump said, “We have taken safety expanded with gender diversity and laid a concrete vision of where we have to go.”

He also highlighted the Volvo campaign, #BreatheFree, that made an impact in the country. Over the course of two years, Volvo Cars India has raised the female employee percentage from 1 per cent to 23 per cent.

Frump asserted that much of these journeys for a brand find success, courtesy their partners and mentioned Volvo’s agency partners – WPP, Grey, Mindshare and Forsman & Bodenfors and Integral PR in India – among these. He said, “Idea is simple but execution can be difficult so make sure you get the right partners.”

His address was followed by an on-stage conversation with Shashi Sinha, CEO of IPG Mediabrands India. 

Sinha pointed out that many companies deviate from their purpose, but Volvo has been consistent with its purpose i.e. ‘safety’ and asked Frump the reason behind this consistency.

“We have been consistent with what the founder said, ‘everything always must begin and end with safety’. It is so embedded in our culture that it is consistent, and we over-invest in it to make it relevant,” Frump replied.

When Sinha enquired what step in Volvo’s ‘Purpose Marketing Strategy’ was the most challenging, Frump cited the second step, which ‘Own It’. “Distilling that message down that is relevant for the customer is very difficult,” Volvo Cars India CEO explained. 

Concluding the address, Frump said, “Do it only if it is a part of your DNA. The purpose of ‘safety’ is embedded in our DNA and hence, our brand is liked by everyone who knows about it.”

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marketing whitebook 2019