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Today we have Jon Olafsson, co-founder of Icelandic Water Holdings. He has spent the last 30 years building successful companies from the ground up and transforming them into industry leaders and he has done this in a variety of fields including entertainment, media, construction and many more. Jon started to build a media and broadcasting portfolio when he founded Skifan, Iceland’s largest music recording and distribution company with distributing rights for a variety of music and film companies such as Sony, Universal, Warner Music, Columbia Pictures, Miramax, 20th Century Fox and more. Jon co-founded the Icelandic Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), before moving into television in 1990, when he took over the Icelandic Television Corporation (ITC). In 1999, Jon merged all of his companies (Skifan and IBC) under one umbrella to form Northern Lights Communications, Inc. (NLC) – Olafsson served as chairman until November 2003 when he sold everything and stepped down to co-found Icelandic Water Holdings with his son in 2004. Jon oversees Icelandic Glacial water which is born and bottled in Ölfus, Iceland. It is the world’s first certified CarbonNeutral® natural spring bottled water for both product and operations. Which means it is an environmental pioneer in the industry, using 100% natural green energy in the form of geothermal and hydroelectric power to fuel production.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [1:15] Jeremy introduces his guest, Jon Olafsson.
  • [3:45] Jon talks about his childhood.
  • [9:10] How did Jon get involved in the music industry?
  • [14:00] What skill set allowed Jon to manage so many bands? 
  • [19:00] Why did Jon decide to merge all his companies into Northern Lights?
  • [20:30] Storytelling is vital.
  • [24:30] Jon talks about the design of Icelandic Glacial’s bottle.
  • [27:30] How have the PH levels of Icelandic’s water helped with health concerns?
  • [30:20] What led Jon and his team to get involved in Flint, Michigan?
  • [32:00] Why did Jon decide to sell his businesses in 2003?
  • [35:30] The hardest aspect of the bottled water industry.
  • [38:15] Jon talks about competition and how his brand is faring in the US.
  • [42:00] What was it like to start building a team from the ground up?
  • [46:00] One of the lowest moments in business so far.
  • [47:20] A proud moment in business for Jon.
  • [48:45] Why you should check out Iceland’s premier music festival.

In this episode…

What role does storytelling play when it comes to marketing? Is it an important aspect or just an add-on? Can storytelling really make much of a difference in business? On this episode of Inspired Insider, you’ll hear from entrepreneur and innovator Jon Olafsson. In his conversation with Jeremy, Jon opens up about his childhood in Iceland, how he got started in the music industry, why he got into the television industry, the power of storytelling, what led him to disrupt the bottled water industry, and so much more! You don’t want to miss a minute of this engaging episode featuring Jon!

What was the opportunity that led you to your current career path? Did you ever think that you’d end up down the path you are on today? For Jon Olafsson, his career started in the music industry then went to the television industry and finally led to where he is now with his work in the bottled water industry. The best part is that he didn’t have any plan for ending up where is today! Jon is a prime example of a leader who has seized every opportunity that has come his way. What can you learn from Jon’s story?

Did you know that storytelling is vital to a brand’s success? It’s true! Think about the way you talk about your service or product, chances are, you are telling a story to convey the significance of your commodity. Too often, businesses don’t realize that they are in the storytelling business and they fail to tell their story well. Jon Olafsson has honed his craft over his many years in business and excels at telling the story of his brand. In fact, he was so efficient in telling Icelandic Glacial’s story that he convinced a large distributor to drop their search for bottled water partner and go with them!

How can your business take part in providing social good? Would you jump at the chance if the opportunity presented itself? Is it part of your business’ makeup to engage in tangible ways to help locally? When the opportunity arose for Jon and his team to help out in Flint, Michigan with their water crisis, they jumped at the chance. Due to their swift action and involvement, a whole wave of businesses decided to get involved and provide helpful solutions. You don’t have to wait for a crisis to arise to do good! Make a plan today to positively impact your community!

What would it mean for you to create a legacy that you could pass on or even share with your children? Imagine what it would be like to empower your children to pursue their goals and work alongside them. Jon Olafsson didn’t have to dream about this possibility for too long before he went to work with his son building Icelandic Glacial. According to Jon, running the business with his son is a dream come true. Together, father and son are striking deals and making a name for the once small bottled water startup. Let the Olafsson’s story serve as an inspiration for you as you look to build your legacy and impact the next generation!

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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