Stories 2024.01.16

Legacy brands create trust and respect

People in every corner of the world should be entitled to enjoy unique Scandinavian Design. That is the very purpose of Network of Design (NOD) – a group set on a mission to bring carefully selected design brands to a much greater audience.


NOD’s mission statement is a very natural part of what Jonathan Lee, Chief Commercial Officer APAC region, does every day and for NOD group it is invaluable to have an expert like him onboard.

He has his background in Electrical Engineering but later realized that International Business was more of an interest. He says he chose to divorce his love for technology and chose to elope anything that was about design. Today he has immense experience within the design industry, after working and conducting business in the APAC region since 1993. Even if he does not dare to say that he is an expert in Asia, he says he knows “a thing or two”, we do learn a lot from him and by that, improve our overall customer offering for all our brands that are present in the region.


What does Scandinavian Design mean for you?

Scandinavian Design has its distinctive characteristics that’s irreplaceable. For me it means simplicity, elegance, honesty, and timelessness. To be simple and elegant at the same time is not an easy feat while achieving timelessness is even much more complex. History decides timelessness and many Scandinavian designs survive the test of time! And furthermore, Scandinavian Design had a great association with their lifestyle that’s shaped by their unique culture. Such as “Lagom” or “Hygge” are ways of life that relate so very well with many Millennials and Generation Z around the world.


What is the most common feedback regarding String and Grythyttan in your part of the world?

There is quite a lot of feedback from our partners in Asia. However, rarity comes out top. Rarity is a common denomination for both our brands – String and Grythyttan. Many of our Asian counterpart wonders, how many producers (in the world) of storage modular system and outdoor furniture that still exist since 1949 and 1895 respectively? Reflecting on the journey of both brands, our counterpart here expresses trust and respect.


Any memorables moments from your time working with String and Grythyttan?

One of the most memorable moments will be the company BBQ get together we had last year in Malmö, Sweden. The entire BBQ was prepared and cooked and served by the founders and management of the company. The staff just comes to wine and dine in style. It certainly needs some adjustments for me as over our part of the world, mostly it’s the opposite. This certainly says something about the culture of the company.


From your perspective, what is the secret sauce for a successful international expansion for any brand?

Many would have discussed “product-market fit” or “price-market fit” when they develop a strategic plan for international expansion. However, I differ and identified that “value-market fit” is a more critical dimension.


I would evaluate what “values” can our product and organization collectively deliver into the new target market we are expanding to. The earlier addresses the tangible while the latter addresses the intangible perspective. When we can identify one or more “values” that’s difficult to replicate, international expansion becomes more pleasant and manageable.


The word “international” explains very well that we will be operating in diverse cultural settings. The battle of “homogeneous vs heterogeneous” culture determines success. Especially for people coming from a homogeneous culture, overcoming the challenges to be adaptable within the diversity of customer experience journey is worth working on. Afterall, the customer experience journey is hugely impact upon by culture.


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