From subway to sidewalk to supermarket, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t on their mobile phone at any hour of the day. Guilty as charged, I admit I’ve had my own moments where I’ve just barely missed walking into someone or something because I was too busy checking Facebook, Twitter, BBMing, or browsing my favorite retail site. For those of us with smartphones, it’s hard to imagine life without one now.
Things aren’t so different in Norway. Mobile is rapidly becoming the way of the Web. What does this mean for retail brands that are actively trying to keep up? Brands need to be where their consumers are, and that where has become a combination of social media – Facebook in particular – and mobile content. Norwegian high-performance outdoor wear brand Helly Hansen can – and should – capitalize on this growing space.
The numbers really put into perspective just how technologically engaged Norwegians are. For a country of only about 5 million – the second least populated in Europe – Norway has one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the world. More than 50% of the population is on Facebook. Norway was one of the first countries in the world to offer 4G mobile broadband speeds (read more here). And now, 1 in 5 Norwegians is consuming media content on mobiles every day. For a country so small, this is huge. So despite the obvious that Helly Hansen is a native Norwegian brand, where do they fit in?
Looking deeper into a Norwegian retail profile, Norwegian society places an overall emphasis on leisure time outside of the workweek, especially outdoor sports. Consequentially therein lies a strong demand for high-quality products and equipment to supplement such activities:
Norwegian consumers are demanding and quality-conscious, not least where outdoor equipment is concerned, owing to the harshness of the Norwegian climate. Norway has the highest sales of the Gore-tex brand of clothing per head anywhere in the world. There is high demand for the latest in advanced equipment for skiing. High-tech sportswear is considered fashionable and is used as much for exercising as for going out.
Hence where the Helly Hansen brand is spot-on. However, they need to extend this national brand recognition into the mobile social media space where their consumers are spending much of their time. Helly Hansen already has a brand Facebook page, however it is generally not common for Norwegians to use Facebook to add a brand/product. By creating pages not just for the masses but rather for distinct Facebook users (i.e. trend-setters and discount-shoppers), Helly Hansen can increase chances for consumers to have a positive experience with the brand and then be more apt to ‘like’ their page to be kept up-to-date on trends, new products and sales.
Finally, investing in a mobile retail app could benefit Helly Hansen’s continued strong presence in the company’s native Norway. As mobile content and ease of accessibility continues to become more important for Norwegian use of smart phones and tablets (surfing the Web is becoming more important for mobile users than sending SMSes), retail brands must be present in this space to keep up with consumer desires, especially in such a technology-driven country.