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Consumers today are shopping in a very different environment from what shops looked like many years ago and their behavior has changed considerably, so you have to make sure that you’re moving with the consumers, because to be relevant is to be where they are, and they are shifting dramatically, from physical retail to online shops and now to market places.European Business: What does the Björn Borg Group’s brand want to communicate to its customers and how important is authenticity for its success?I admit that it might be a bit idealistic, but we truly believe in it.A lot of this feeling and atmosphere is derived from our heritage with Björn Borg, the tennis player, and his ability to always bring the best out in him – not because he was the biggest talent, but because he never gave up. European Business: The Björn Borg Group‘s brand has long had an identity distinct from its namesake, the tennis player.They can buy the product anywhere, which is why the key to creating an inspiring atmosphere for your customers is the staff working in the store.Physical retail is not primarily a transactional place.From a consumer perspective, though, Björn Borg as an individual may not be very important at all, because most people buying our products right now don’t even know him.They are too young and weren’t around to see his athletic excellence.
These days, however, his name may be more closely identified with sports apparel and underwear: The Björn Borg Group, founded many years after Borg’s retirement as an athlete, has transformed his name and history into a strong brand with a high recognition value.
Is it the Björn Borg Group’s ambition to set trends in the sports apparel and fashion accessories market on a similar scale – and on a similarly global level? We believe that our brand has the potential to become a global player in the future.
However, we are currently focusing on making inroads in Northern Europe, so I think to compare us with IKEA, such an iconic company which has really changed an entire industry, is maybe a little too much at this point – even though I’m an ambitious guy.
How important does Björn Borg, the man, remain for Björn Borg, the company, though?
Henrik Bunge: From an internal perspective, the athlete Björn Borg still plays an important role.
I believe there are two things that make us unique as a company: the people who work for us on the one hand, and our past, our history, our iconic story on the other hand.