By Eva Helene Kabelmann, PR & Communications Advisor
When we’re talking Scandinavian countries and the peoples within, we tend to regard ourselves as a pretty homogenous bunch, where – as we have mentioned in earlier articles – “the differences are far less than the similarities. And rightly so, for us Danes, Swedes, Norwegians and Finns are very similar to each other both in appearance, behaviour, levels of education, mentality, shopping habits – well, you name it. But. There are differences.”
And it is worth noticing, that the small differences matter and being able to adjust your PR and marketing towards these can give you the highly sought after edge.
Let’s have a look at some of the cultural differences within the 4 Scandinavian countries. Again taking into consideration that they are small, there are a few that stick out, as the Hofstede Insight bureau’s very interesting “Culture Compass TH” indicates.
Especially the following points should give pause as they speak volumes in their own minuscule way.
The Danes tend to score relatively low, when we look at how they act towards power within organisations, in this case relating to Danes having a high degree of employee autonomy: Danes do not lead – they coach. Employees expect to be consulted. Danes have a very egalitarian mindset and respect is something to be earned, it’s not inherent in your position. Understanding how Danes in their working environment have a very informal atmosphere with direct and involving communication can nudge you towards how to proceed with a more effective MarCom strategy.
The swedes tend to have a high rate of indulgence, which in this case means, that they generally exhibit at willingness towards realising their impulses and desires with regard to enjoying life and having fun. And they place a high value on the importance of leisure time, being able to act as they please and spend money as they wish. Taking this tendency into consideration could be one of the points that sets you aside from the competition, when developing an approach towards the Swedish market.
When taking a look at the Scandinavian peoples culture, when it comes to the attitudes towards the challenges of the present and the future, the Norwegians tend to have a so-called normative attitude. This entails a preference towards maintaining time-honoured traditions and norms, no explicit desire to save for the future and a focus on achieving quick results. Also a small, but in no way insignificant point to consider, when approaching the Norwegian market.
On a scale, that measures the 4 scandinavian countries tendency towards Masculine values (competition, achievement and success) vs Feminine values (caring for others and quality of life), they all have a very low score, which indicates a strong tendency towards the Feminine, it is worth noticing, that Finland (of the 4) has the highest score indicating, that Finns have a less predominant tendency the feminine. So even though Finland is considered a Feminine society, where conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation and focus is on wellbeing, solidarity and quality in their working lives, you might not have the same resonance with a MarCom approach taking feminine values into consideration in Finland as in the remaining 3 Scandinavian countries.