Holmen succeeded in registering the name Iggesund as a trademark. Iggesund is now part of an exclusive group including fine Swedish companies such as Gustavsberg, Orrefors and Kosta Boda. Still, this valuable outcome was not the only value in going through the process including a legal case, gathering testimonials and doing a brand survey, as those involved also refreshed their knowledge about the company’s history and its heritage of branding.
For Holmen’s business area Iggesund Paperboard branding has always been important as a way to create added value for its products over time. Iggesund has created premium products since the start in 1685 when Isak Breant the elder produced iron products at the ironworks in Iggesund. “With these products he had the feeling that they were not just any products. These were high quality iron products that he and his company had made. So on all products they shipped, he stamped the logo with the crowned anchor. Why did he care? Why did he do it? If he had not done it, it would have been just any iron product. It would have become a bulk product where the only competitive parameter becomes price,” Carlo Einarsson, Director Market Communications at Iggesund Paperboard, refers to the company’s long history.
“If we translate this to Iggesund and our products then we create brands for building added value. We want to stand out from the crowd. Why should anyone choose your brand or your product? This depends on the different promises you over time have embedded in your product and for which the product is recognised. This sounds a lot like theory but it is also the reality. We know this makes a difference. By branding our products we get a platform to discuss our products and what they can do: which added value our products can create for our customers when it comes to printing and converting, but also when it comes to design. It gives designers the freedom to work with a product they know will work well.” Carlo Einarsson continues. “Working with brands in the long-term way we do is really a big part of our heritage. We have the privilege to work with these strong brands and our brand families Invercote and Incada are among the strongest in their fields: Invercote is rated number one and Incada among the top three. Incada is still a very young product. We launched the brand ten years ago and this shows that it can be done. I often get questions like: ‘This is easy for you to talk about, you have been doing this for such a long time, but if I start now I do not stand a chance.’ But that is wrong. You do not reach huge sales successes by having a bold campaign or devising some inspired idea, but if there is a trick it is to get started.”
“Our product brands meet in Iggesund and Iggesund in turn is a business area within the Holmen group. So Iggesund is also a brand for us and Iggesund is known in the market for quality with a capital Q. We are known for our sustainability, for our competence, and as a life insurance for printers and converters if they need something extra. Sometimes I get to hear that ‘I need Iggesund for this job’ and then often Invercote is meant. There is a symbiosis between Incada, Invercote and Iggesund and Iggesund in turn is well embedded in the Holmen group.”
Last summer Opticom conducted a brand survey for Iggesund. The reason was that Holmen wanted to register Iggesund as a trademark but that the Swedish Patent and Registration Office normally does not approve these types of registrations and accordingly Holmen’s initial request to this purpose was denied. Although Holmen not owning the brand Iggesund could be explained with existing rules and practice, at one point in time Iggesund did own the name as a brand but it was lost during the centuries.
Carlo Einarsson describes the challenge: “When we discussed this with our trademark solicitors they told us that it may seem easy but that it would be a difficult case. So we started to gather testimonials from our customers in Sweden and abroad and also from different trade organisations and complemented these with a market survey that was tailored to our needs. We decided that if we would give it a try, we would do the best we possibly could and see where that would get us. The survey showed very clearly that Iggesund is a very strong brand and the survey’s results formed an important part in the total case we put forward to the court. We could show different questions with different types of answers and how they were distributed in relation to each other. They provided a strong case as we were very careful with ensuring the survey would be statistically significant. So all the proportions and answers were easy to accept and the survey provided a type of factual answers testimonials could not.”
Autumn 2008 Holmen filed its appeal and in December 2010 the company received the answer that the court had overturned the earlier decision from the Patent and Registration Office and that Holmen got the right to use Iggesund as a trademark. Now Iggesund is part of an exclusive group including fine Swedish companies such as Gustavsberg, Orrefors and Kosta Boda. “We had the feeling that we had a strong case and the court even referred to the fact that the company Iggesund had contributed to making the town better known that it had been.” Carlo Einarsson reflects on the court case. “It feels good that we own Iggesund again. We are focusing our branding efforts on our product families Invercote and Incada, but if feels like a comfortable situation to own the name and it provides us with possibilities and freedom.”
When asked why Opticom was chosen as a partner to conduct the survey, Carlo Einarsson answers “Part of the reason that we contracted Opticom to do this survey was because the company is well known in the forest industry and the company has a strength in its competence in different types of market research. We knew that together with Opticom we would not just get the opportunity to buy a standard product but rather the possibility to tailor-make a survey that could help us in our line of reasoning. We also have a well-established relationship with Opticom and we work together with Opticom in a number of projects, so it was a very natural decision. Then I can also add that Jessica Tommila as project manager was extremely competent as usual. She really helped us out although it was during the summer period. What is more, we also know that if Opticom says ‘this is something we can do’ that the end result will be really good, which ensured us that we really would have done the best we could.”