Brand platform for a completely new mountain destination. How do you attract tomorrow’s mountain travelers on a year-round basis in a highly competitive market? What would make a destination really stand out? This was the challenge facing Open in the start of our journey together with Fjätervålen and developer Serneke construction group.
Our client. Located in Sweden’s scenic Darlana region, a 15-minute drive from Idre Ski resort, Fjätervålen is something of a well-kept secret. The destination is a long-time favorite of ski clubs for practicing, since the slopes meet FIS (International Ski Federation) standard for downhill and Super-G. But it is also quite small with limited facilities and accommodations – only private homes, a small grocery store, a café-style restaurant and ski shop.
Fjätervålen is located right on the border of a large alpine mountain mass and nature reserve connected with the peaks Städjan, Nipfjället and Fjätervålen to the south.
The resort and land are privately owned and needed investment. In 2018, Serneke, one of Sweden’s larger construction companies, decided to step in and help develop Fjätervålen into a unique mountain destination.
Our assignment. Before involving architects, it was necessary to take a step back and agree on a solid brand platform. Who should we be attracting and what does our competition look like? What are we building? In other words, identifying the unique properties and personality of Fjätervålen. It soon became clear that sustainability was highly important. They felt it should be possible to become maybe even the world’s most sustainable ski-resort.
"The plan is to preserve and develop what is unique with Fjätervålen. To develop the facility with long-term sustainable solutions in focus. The ambition is to become the Nordic region's most sustainable mountain destination and an innovative test bed for sustainable building and digitalization,” says Ola Serneke, Chairman of Fjätervålen AB and President and CEO of Serneke Group.
What we did. Our starting point was to gather insights thorough a competitive review, interviews, looking at research and by carrying out workshops. Based on this input, we identified a clear target audience, brand story and created a brand communications platform.
Our analysis made it clear that Fjätervålen should not compete head-on with all the conventional commercial resorts out there. What was unique with Fjätervålen was the closeness to nature, the small “boutique” feeling and the possibility to carefully manage future development. We identified the target audience as a group of mountain travelers who were more attracted by nature, adventure and wide-open views than cramped ski lifts and disco bowling. At night, they want a nice fireplace with a good glass of wine (or craft beer) in a cool lounge, followed by locally produced quality food. This is something Fjätervålen would be able to provide and build on.
Results. The resulting brand platform, which described all these characteristics, was used for presentations to stakeholders and as a basis for the architectural competition (which was won by AIX architects). The next steps for the brand development will start once all the planning permissions are in place.