Media relations

How to select the best Nordic PR agency for your brand

Kenneth Nygaard Knudsen
Founder & CEO

Choosing a tech PR agency to represent your brand in the Nordic countries may sound like a straightforward task, but in reality, organizations quickly discover that it’s not as simple as it appears. There are an abundance of agencies and freelancers in the region, all offering a different mix of services, but it’s not just an agency’s skillset that matters, but its pan-Nordic expertise too. For example, PR in Norway is not the same as PR in Sweden or Denmark, so in many respects the catch-all term, “Nordics”, is misleading.

To provide a more specific example, brands must recognize that journalistic integrity is at the core of all Nordic publications, but it is especially important in Norway. Product samples are always returned and press trips are typically funded by the publications themselves to ensure impartiality. Understanding these regional differences is crucial for a successful PR campaign. To help brands make the right choice from the get-go, we put together a list of key questions you need to ask yourself before embarking on a PR journey in the Nordics, and employed our experienced team at digitalPR to provide their insights.

Does my Nordic PR agency even need to be in the Nordics?

This is one of the most common questions that brands ask, because global agencies, by definition, will claim to support all countries. The benefit of this is simplicity – a one-agency-fits-all approach is easy to manage, and potentially more cost-efficient, but the tradeoff is often poorer results, due to a lack of local knowledge and expertise.

For example, while a global agency may promise they can cover the Nordics, more often than not, brands will be assigned a consultant in the UK or elsewhere. This consultant may be saddled with an outdated list of media contacts, and be further hampered by the fact they don’t have relationships with journalists in the Nordics, and lack local knowledge too. And that’s before we come to the important subject of content localization, which is why, typically, English-language releases are distributed across the region.

At the other end of the spectrum, resident agencies will claim that they offer a better service due to their local expertise, though this often necessitates a “one agency per country” approach. In such examples, one of these local agencies typically handles more of the project management workload than the others, sometimes in direct contact with the client’s PR team or an international lead agency. And while this approach has a far better chance for success, it also comes with more complexity and much higher costs.

A third scenario is using a freelancer or an agency that is based in only one of the Nordic countries – for example, Sweden. This can lead to good results in that country, but lackluster performance elsewhere, since the agency or freelancer lacks an understanding of what journalists in the other countries need or want. The “sweet spot”, therefore, is to find an agency that is truly pan-Nordic, with a HQ in the region and local people on the ground in each country, so that there are no gaps in experience and understanding. This is actually the route that digitalPR has championed since 2015, as we believe it offers the best results and value for money.

Do I need my agency to translate, localize or even transcreate PR?

A good Nordic PR agency will recommend that content be localized for each target country. Our experience shows that this greatly improves not only press relations but results too. As such, be wary of agencies that promise they can ensure great performance just using English-language content that will have predominantly been written with a USA audience in mind.

In fact, because English-language content is so often US-centric, translation is not the best option, since it doesn’t take into account the local wants and needs of each Nordic country, which are different. As such, we recommend that transcreation is the way to go.

Transcreation means that the English content is not simply translated, but reconstructed in each of the Nordic languages by a team who understands your brand, business and target market. Ideally, that team should have an IT or tech background, too, as is the case with digitalPR’s staffers. At the end of the day, transcreated PR material might read differently from the source material, but it will perform much better in-country, making it a worthwhile investment.

Does a global PR strategy need to be adapted to work in the Nordics?

Yes, it does, and often by quite a margin, especially when it relates to coverage KPIs. The media landscape in the Nordics has shrunk (and is shrinking still), which means that fewer publications have a greater impact. Consequently, you shouldn’t expect to roll out a global PR strategy in the Nordics and expect a 1:1 correlation in terms of coverage performance compared to the UK or Germany, for example.

Another aspect to consider is the famously unbiased nature of Nordic media. Local journalists are immune, and in many cases even allergic to, commercially-oriented PR pitches. This means that core international PR tactics may need to be reworked or even disregarded entirely, since they may not work in the Nordics. Classic press releases and (B2B) product news releases are also notoriously difficult to succeed with, as there are little to no media who cover these stories. Instead, a more strategic, receiver-oriented PR approach is recommended, which is further tailored depending on the target country.

Does my short-list of agencies need to specialize in tech?

Tech and IT, whether consumer or B2B, is a complex subject, and even seasoned PR pros may have a hard time grasping its ins and outs, especially if they lack a background in the industry. This is why, no matter your product or service, we recommend finding a specialized agency with first-hand experience in your sector. This applies regardless of whether your business is in tourism, consumer goods, fashion or tech. That might mean your preferred agency has worked (or sometimes still works) with some of your competitors, but all Nordic agencies have the highest integrity, with no muddying of the waters. This means that you can expect to work with professionals who will always have your interests front and center.

Do we need to have a dedicated in-country spokesperson?

It’s best to combine an ambitious Nordic PR strategy with a designated pan-Nordic spokesperson. Better still, a spokesperson for each country will deliver the best performance.

In the Nordics, we love fostering relationships with professionals and industry figures who hail from our own country or region. For example, we achieve greater success when pitching a Swedish spokesperson to a Swedish publication, than when pitching that same spokesperson to a Danish publication. That said, the Danish publication would much prefer the Swede than an EMEA Manager based outside of the Nordics! The reasons for this would necessitate a longer discussion about Nordic culture, but at the end of the day, this aspect shouldn’t be forgotten or overlooked, and any good agency will understand this, and work with you to find the best solution.

Do I need resident PR consultants with “boots on the ground” in each country?

If your company has a sales or business manager in each Nordic country, and ambitious plans for growth, then we recommend a central project management team, plus local consultants on the ground. This allows the agency to build strong media relationships in-county and deliver the very best results.

If you don’t have an office or staff in-country, then we suggest a consolidated approach with one specialized, pan-Nordic agency doing outreach across the region, using localized or transcreated PR content. This is a more cost-effective solution, as it reduces project management hours for both you and the agency, while still delivering results similar to the scenario where you have boots on the ground in each market. The best-case scenario is an agency that can work with both of the above scenarios, which is why digitalPR maintains a pan-Nordic HQ in the region, and also has local people on the ground in each country.

The digitalPR approach

These best-practice strategies have been part of the digitalPR approach since 2015, and we’ve employed them to great success for dozens of clients, helping to propel their brands to the top of the news agenda.

Whether you’re a start-up or a proven company looking to disrupt the market and grow, you want your business to succeed, and so do we.

We hope you’ve found this guide useful. If you did, and you want to take on the Nordics and win, our team of former top-tier technology journalists, PR and marketing professionals stand ready to assist. We’d love to hear from you!

How our services work

  • Nordic PR
  • Thought Leadership
  • Digital Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Localization and Translation

Nordic PR

digitalPR is your brand’s gateway to the entire Nordic region. Through the execution of compelling and newsworthy PR and communications campaigns, we have proven success in propelling brands to the top of the news agenda. Our expert team of former, high-profile technology journalists have strong relationships with all the key B2B and consumer media, and specialize in crafting campaigns and thought-leadership stories that will grow your business.

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Thought Leadership

Within every organization there are star people, whose knowledge and expertise are a cornerstone of your business success. With the right driving force, these people can become powerful advocates for your brand.And in the digital age, expertise and authenticity are major selling points that can drive sales just as much as advertising or other promotional campaigns, but only if done correctly.

Our job at digitalPR is to ensure that your star people are heard in the right media at the right time, and in the right context, so that they can shine a light on your business and its USPs.

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Digital Marketing

We offer tailored digital marketing strategies across platforms from Google to TikTok, precisely aligning your goals with your target audience for optimal ROI.

Our expertise in the Nordic region allows us to customize strategies based on each country’s unique digital preferences. This sets us apart from agencies offering “one-size-fits-all” solutions.

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Content Marketing

An effective content marketing strategy must be at the heart of any digital marketing initiative. However, in order to generate high-quality traffic and leads, your brand must produce compelling, insightful content that resonates with your target audience. digitalPR is uniquely placed to supply content campaigns that convert, thanks to our expert team of former technology journalists. We will write content that demands to be read, and drive inbound traffic and leads through effective use of lead-nurturing strategies.

Cases with this service Philips Dictation QNAP Systems Acer

Influencer Marketing

In a recent survey of 4000 marketing agencies, brands, and other industry professionals, 91% of respondents believed influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing. Whether you need a one-off influencer activation or long-term partnerships with relevant, high-profile influencers in your business sector, digitalPR can ensure your brand is promoted by the right influencers, in the right way, and with measurable results.

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Localization and Translation

As self-confessed language nerds, we are writers, editors and expert translators at heart. We can localize even the most complicated product content, while maintaining technical accuracy and your brand’s unique tone of voice. This ensures that your key communications material can be enjoyed in all the Nordic languages.

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We know that telling a great story about your brand or product is the gateway to business success. And who better to create these stories than journalists themselves?