Promoting Finland's country image
Countless decisions about Finland and the Finns are made daily in different parts of the world based on Finland’s reputation. The better our strengths are known, the better Finland and the Finns fare from the perspective of our political and commercial interests.
Country branding—or promoting the country image—refers to strategic advocacy, marketing and communications, through which target groups’ knowledge and opinions and, ultimately their decisions, are influenced. Successful country image projects help all those who are engaged in fostering Finland’s international connections. It also promotes Finland's success in political, commercial and cultural contexts. The promotion of the country image is a central part of Team Finland activities.
Country branding is long-term work, because people form a permanent image of a country at a very early age. The work is guided by Finland’s Country Branding Strategy, adopted in 2017, which sets out, among other things, Finland’s main strengths and main messages. The targets and the Strategy are based on the Country Brand Report (Mission for Finland), which was prepared by a Country Brand Delegation, led by Jorma Ollila, and published in 2010. The findings of the report are still relevant from the point of view of country image work.
“Finland is a well-functioning and solution-oriented country where education and knowledge and skills are among the best in the world and for which nature is an important resource.” – Finland’s Country Brand Report, Mission for Finland (2010, available in Finnish)
Finland’s country image is promoted under the leadership of the Finland Promotion Board (FPB), which consists of representatives of public administration bodies, the private sector and third sector representatives. The FPB is appointed by the Prime Minister. The FPB is chaired by the Director General of Communications of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry's Unit for Public Diplomacy serves as its Secretariat.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Finnish diplomatic missions around the world are working in a systematic and coordinated manner to enhance a positive image of Finland. Country image is promoted in close collaboration with different stakeholders and, increasingly often, in collaboration with the Nordic countries.
Country image is promoted by all Finnish diplomatic and consular missions abroad, but the objectives and scope of the activities vary. In 2019–2021, priority is given to the following countries: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Russian Federation, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. The following missions have a press secretary or a secretary for cultural affairs, whose duties include tasks where high priority is given to the promotion of Finland’s country image: Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, London, Moscow, Paris, Stockholm, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Tokyo, and Washington DC.
A list of the main country branding tools produced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs:
- Theme calendar, issued annually by the Finland Promotion Board, includes the main themes and main country branding events of the year in Finland and abroad
- ThisisFINLAND (finland.fi) is Finland's official country image media, published in eight languages
- ThisisFINLAND’s social media channels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in English, VK, Facebook and Twitter in Russian, and Weibo and Wechat in Chinese
- Country image toolbox, Finland Toolbox, contains publications, videos, infographs and readily available presentations for anyone interested in using them in their communications about Finland
- Finland Image Bank (freely available for non-commercial purposes)
- Printed matter: themes central to country branding are covered in FINFO brochures and the annual This is FINLAND Magazine
- Finnish embassies’ websites and social media channels
- Approx. 300–400 visits for journalists and opinion leaders are organized every year
- ThisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme (FCP), held since 1990 for young journalists from around the world