How to get business with the world’s happiest countries


In the 2018 World Happiness Report, Finland, Norway and Denmark were named as the top three happiest countries in the world. But before we all up sticks and move northwards, let’s look at the opportunities offered in these economically powerful countries. 


By Jennifer Barnes, account executive at Stone Junction

The Scandinavian countries include Denmark, Norway and Sweden, with the addition of Finland and Iceland to make the Nordic countries. While each country differs in its specific sectors, the economies are some of the world’s strongest. Energy and renewables, such as Norway’s oil industry, is a strong sector, as well as infrastructure, financial services and food and drink.

So, if you’re active in one of those sectors and are looking to build some links in the Nordic countries, what cultural differences do you need to consider? One of the key theories that stands behind Nordic society is Jante law. 

Jante law
This is a series of laws originating in the 1930s that forms the basis of social conventions in the Nordics. These include statements such as “you’re not to think you know more than we do” and “you’re not to think you are important that we are.” While these may seem quite harsh to the modern day audience, Nordic business negotiations rely on an awareness of these rules.

So, what does this actually mean when you’re trying to win new business? Social cohesion is key and the team is more important than the individual. This means that when presenting ideas, use pronouns such as we and our and emphasise the benefit of the idea to the team, or the entire company, rather than an individual. 

Hierarchy
Because of the ideas of social consensus in the Nordic workplace, you may find it easier to get in contact with the senior person you really want to speak to. In Jante law, no one should consider themselves better than anyone else. 

That’s not to say that hierarchies don’t exist, but generally a whole team should agree on a decision, rather than the manager taking the lead. This means you need to build a relationship with all staff, even those that you may not traditionally consider important. 

Language
Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland are all in the top five for English language skills across the non-English speaking world. Fortunately, that means that language will be less of a barrier than in other countries, although it’s still good to respect your hosts by learning a few words in the language.

You may also find that small talk isn’t as common in the Nordic countries and an idea may be met with silence. However, that’s not necessarily a sign of negativity, as many Nordic people won’t talk for the sake of it, if they don’t feel like they have anything to add to the conversation. In this situation, why not ask a direct question to see if your new client may have any comments? 

So now you’re equipped with the basics of business culture, let us know if you’re interested in boosting your brand in the Nordic countries. Whether you’re already an established business in these countries or looking to dip your toe into the icy waters of the North Sea, we can work with you to create a PR strategy that fits your needs.

Get in touch with us on +44(0)1785 225416 or at jennifer@stonejunction.co.uk

Jennifer Barnes

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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