What can a Swedish hotel teach us about marketing

Sweden is a small country if we consider its total population (approx. 9 million people), yet it has a clear and attractive place that vividly distinguishes it from other countries. For example, I feel that Sweden is one of the most fashionable, green, forward-thinking and generally most sensible countries on the planet. But why do I have such a high opinion of Sweden? I’ve never been to Sweden. I am planning to visit it soon however. So why is that Sweden has such a great reputation? (Send me an email if you disagree.)

My short answer to that question is: The vast majority of the positive associations I make with Sweden are fuelled by the stories I hear about the country from those who have experienced it directly in one way or another. And as is so often the case, the most memorable stories are among the simplest.

Exhibit A: I recently discovered a short story by Rory Sutherland about his experience with a small hotel in Stockholm called The Lydmar. It was about a series of buttons in the lift (aka elevator) of this small hotel, which let you choose your lift music! Rory’s guess is that the cost of installing this option was probably no more then 500 to 1,000 pounds. He notes,”It’s frankly more memorable than all those millions of hotels we’ve all stayed at that tell you that your room has actually been recently renovated at a cost of 500,000 dollars, in order to make it resemble every other hotel room you’ve ever stayed in in the entire course of your life.”

Lesson #1: Taste Younique. People will talk.

Lesson #2: The best promoter of your business is your customer. If you delight or fascinate that person, he’ll walk right out of the door and sell for you.

Lesson#3: Effective word of mouth marketing generally stems from something authentic.

P.S. By the way, did I mention how much I like Sweden’s H&M?