Navigating the Nordics: Insights into launching PR and Comms in Scandinavia

The Nordic countries have always marched to the beat of their own drum – and if you take a closer look, you’ll see alI the unique flavours of the region become more apparent. From design and pickled fish to diplomacy, the Nordics have certainly distinguished themselves from the crowd on the global stage. And in the world of public relations and communications, this desire to be different is the same. With the rising influence of technology companies in this region, understanding the unique culture and communications landscape of the Nordics becomes even more crucial for tech brands looking to enter the market.   

Here are five observations of how to navigate the terrain, especially in contrast to the broader European market. 

  1.  Cultural nuances, transparency and direct communication

The Nordic cultures are in varied forms known for their directness; however, openness and authenticity are common characteristics. While PR campaigns in many European countries might focus on persuasive storytelling or emotional appeal, Nordic audiences appreciate a straightforward, honest, and fact-based approach.  

Emphasising transparency and authenticity goes a long way in building trust across the region. In other words, it might be in your interest to not present overly-curated and emotive narratives but instead provide clear, concise information with context. You’ll build stronger relationships with journalists and your Nordic target customers in this way.  

  1. The importance of localisation

Although Scandinavians usually don’t shy away from showing off their exceptional language skills – with a general high proficiency across the Nordics – campaigns that are localised to native languages (Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, or Swedish) tend to resonate far more deeply.  

In contrast, many European PR efforts can often rely solely on English language content, especially in tech circles. But for a more profound engagement in the Nordics, companies need to consider local language outreach. It’s a crucial factor since most journalists don’t have the time to localise themselves and will most probably glance over your material before moving on.  

It’s also important to know that the Nordic languages might have their similarities. However, they’re vastly different and the media logic varies profoundly between each market. To really make an impact, you need to take a per-country approach.  

  1. Sustainability and ethical dilemmas 

The Nordic region has been at the forefront of sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical practices for a long time. Companies that want to make a mark in these countries need to genuinely embed these values into their DNA.  

While corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming a global trend, in the Nordics, it’s almost a prerequisite. Not only do companies need to talk about it, but they also need to walk the talk – which can be a challenge. 

Stories that emphasise sustainability are a welcome perspective, however it’s easy to come off as disingenuous or opportunistic. That kind of shortsightedness is detrimental in building trust and fundamentally, it’s inauthentic. Tolerance for ‘greenwashing’ or ‘purposewashing’ is low and can even be detrimental to your business if your messages are perceived in that way, so avoid putting out messages just because your competitor has and focus on what change you are actually driving as a business. 

  1. Mix digital and traditional medias

The Nordics boast some of the world’s most advanced digital infrastructures, making them a hotbed for tech companies. With a robust digital infrastructure, the Nordics has an abundance of influential online media platforms, blogs, influencers, and tech-focused e-publications. However, the tech-savvy population still holds traditional media in high esteem – so a mix of digital and traditional methods is the way to go.

  1. Timing and respecting boundaries

Given the Nordics’ emphasis on work-life balance, it’s crucial to time your media pitches and interactions wisely. Avoid reaching out during late hours, extended holiday seasons like the summer ‘cottage season’ in Finland and Sweden, or other national holidays. This respect for personal time is more pronounced in the Nordics than in some European nations where media might operate on a more 24/7 cycle. 

By understanding these media-specific nuances of the Nordics, PR professionals can foster stronger relationships with journalists, ensure their stories are told in the most impactful way, and navigate the region’s evolving media landscape effectively.