Laura is the Director for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Finland.
Finland has a good reputation. In Finland, they understand that a good country brand is an asset but realising the potential requires a lot of work.
In 2010, Finland wrote a comprehensive, 300+ page country brand report. In 2017, the country brand strategy was launched. Finland’s country branding is run by the Finland Promotion Board whose members represent both the public and private sector. This is one secret to Finland’s well-managed brand.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland is a member in the Finland Promotion Board and the operational work of the board is executed in the ministry’s Unit for Public Diplomacy. MFA steers the network of diplomatic missions, coordinates major projects and tools, organises visits by journalists and opinion leaders and works with key partners and stakeholders. The Finland Toolbox is an important practical tool for spreading the good word about Finland, providing key publications, presentations, images and videos.
The success factors of Finnish country branding lie in common key messages, a common storyline and putting into practice the necessary broad co-operation network with stakeholders. A yearly country branding calendar is published with main themes determined by the Finland Promotion Board. For example, in 2019, the cross-cutting theme for country branding is equality. An important medium for communicating these themes and messages is the ThisisFINLAND website together with its social media channels.
Finland’s strategy rests on key strengths and values, among them quirkiness. The Finns have translated this into award winning campaigns like the Finnish emojis launched in 2015 and the Checkout 24/7 live feed from a supermarket conveyor belt in 2017. Fun aside, Finland does see values as a core of any successful country branding effort.
Laura will talk about how to successfully manage a country brand and using values and dialogue, engage target audiences.