How to successfully communicate your brand when scalling up in a new country? Enterie PR experts share their hints from their home markets. Today: Focus on Sweden by Martin Ruist from FourPR
Rich, digitalized and open – this is a bit simplified, by a quite accurate characteristic of the Swedish market. 10 m. of Swedish citizens fully benefit from a decent distribution of wealth generated by one of the strongest economies in EU and create an attractive market outlet for those who want to scale up.
It is a promised land for technology companies, as absorption of web technologies and services, both, in the case of consumers and businesses clients, is one of the highest in Europe and in the world. 99% of Swedish households have a broadband access to the internet. 80% of Swedes shop online, and 89% (!) uses the internet for banking. Swedes literally live and work online.
What also attracts foreign businesses to the Swedish market is its openness. Swedes are well educated and have a good command of English. Also, Swedish companies are used to cooperate with foreign partners. Nevertheless…
Swedish society is very democratic. Also, organisations tend to have a flat structure and a democratic management style. This implies two things which you should consider when making business (and communications) in Sweden. First – don’t let the lack of titles disorient you. Clients and employees might have a bigger role in the decision making process than the executive levels of CO’s. Second – lack of clear hierarchy put special demands on communicating with Swedish partners and clients. You simply have to be very careful here.
As said, the Swedish market is very open. Which does not mean that personal relations, especially in business, do not matter. On the contrary. Businesswise Sweden is more ‘conservative’ than you probably imagine. Swedes like to know what their neighbours are doing, and often use it as a justification of their own actions. Also in business.
Therefore recommendations, references, the world of mouth and personal relations might be crucial for succeeding, especially in b2b sector.
There are a lot of small magazines with narrow niches, that might end up having a huge impact on the outcome of your PR activities. The national newspapers and media are relatively few and regional papers pay certain significance as well.
In general – relations and recommendations (as mentioned above). When communicating with a broader audience – localisation will be essential. This refers probably to most European countries and markets. As for insider tips for PR specialists:
– avoid newswires and “spray and pray” approach to journalists, mass press releases will work only if you have a really strong brand or something extremely interesting to say
– when talking about technology – demonstrate its practical impact and usefulness for end-users
– be short and specific when approaching journalist and pitching your story. Swedish journalist expect much shorter press releases than those usually issued by corporate press offices
The main social media in Sweden are Facebook and Instagram, followed by Snapchat for younger audiences. Also, Twitter and Linkedin have a good penetration. There are lots of bloggers and micro-bloggers that tend to have a good influence over their followers.
Sweden is an attractive market and many brands have their own representation in the country. That means the PR services market is also doing well in Sweden, but most PR agencies are not used to working with clients with no Swedish representation. We [Four PR] are one of a very few agencies that actually specializes in working with companies from abroad.
It is usually more difficult to run a successful PR activity when you are not located in Sweden. In such a case you should be prepared to assign a minimum budget of around 5,000 €. This is a minimum cost of activities which will enable your brand to gain a basic visibility. For a series of activities with bigger and more lasting impact, you’ll need at least 10,000 to 15,000 €. This is in case of projects. If you decide for a longer engagement – it all depends on a scope of work.