Finland is the country where Angry Birds, Linux, sms-messages and Nokia were born. It is a country of woods, 1500 km of Russian border, over 100,000 lakes and 5.3 million people living on an area which is close to the size of France. Read today, if and how these facts influence the way PR services are done up here.
1. What is the latest trend (change) in PR you have identified in your region?
Jukka Laikari: The distances in Finland are long, the winters harsh, the internet connections fast and mobile internet is cheap. No wonder that Finnish journalists tend to do more of their job from their offices: It is harder than ever to attract them to attend press conferences. On the other hand this creates opportunities for those who are willing to produce better background information, articles, fact sheets and white papers.
Internet is an ever stronger channel in PR. It is not only a channel for distributing or publishing stuff, it is also more and more used for meetings and interviews. Skype with all its features, Facebook, LinkedIn, chats, blogs and webinars are commonly used. And of course also a lot can be gained by re-publishing or promoting media coverage online. You can easily double the amount of readers or viewers by doing this well – which is something only very few public relations firms provide. For some of our clients we are providing this online and social media interaction as the only service they book with us for our region. We help them take international public relations to a whole new level.
2. How does your agency handle / embrace this?
Jukka Laikari: Have a look how we appear in LinkedIn or Facebook, use blogs or how we look like in skype. IFPR is ahead in the online sphere compared to other agencies – I actually think that we have larger networks in social medias than any of our competitors.
3. Can you give a recent example from a project or best practice?
Jukka Laikari: We recently started to work with 2 new clients, Kuoni and apollo – one of the big travel industry players and Eurosport – a French sports channel. Both of them came to us, because they wanted to understand how PR practices have changed in Finland and how they can get a better return on investment by using the web effectively – for example by republishing and promoting their coverage.
4. Are there PR practices in which you think your region differs from PR in other part of the world?
Jukka Laikari: When it comes to Finland, I would answer no – I suppose the practices are very similar to other European countries, except that web is maybe more used than in some parts of Europe.
I have heard many people and companies think it is difficult to get media coverage in Finland. The explanation is: there are 3-4 main national or regional newspapers, 3-4 additional business focused dailies, weeklies or monthlies and for IT and tech another 3-5. It can be hard to get coverage in the national or regional dailies business sections, but it’s also hard to get coverage in the main IT titles because the vast area they have to cover. These magazines cover the entire range of IT, Internet and technology solutions – there is no specialist IT media in Finland.
Is there any point doing PR at all? We recommend to aim for quality instead of quantity. Stories with local angles rather than universal product releases, for example.
5. Can you describe common mistakes foreign companies make?
Jukka Laikari: Even though most Finns in business positions and all of the journalists speak reasonably fluent English, it is a major mistake to try to make PR in English. The journalists need to produce their output in Finnish or in some cases in Swedish – therefore PR professional should do their job in those 2 languages as well to make sure that their message will be delivered.
6. What do clients from other markets need to keep in mind when they plan to do PR in your region?
Jukka Laikari: A typical Finnish business journalist receives more than 100 email releases a day. He can’t possibly read all of them. Guess which one will be opened – the one with a relevant Finnish title or the international corporate release in English? And like I told before – as journalist are nowadays busier than ever – which one ends up to the news. Try to make it as local and locally relevant as possible, something that falls within the realm of international PR.
Jukka Laikari is a founding partner of IFPR Finland, partner of the GlobalCom PR-Network, a Espoo based agency that is located next to the Nokia, Microsoft and Angry Birds offices and Aalto University campus. Besides Finland IFPR operates also in Ukraine, a 45 million people market, which is located only 2 hours flight from Helsinki.