Country image work

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 Finland’s political and commercial interests.

Country branding – or country image work – refers to strategic advocacy, marketing and communications, through which target groups’ knowledge and opinions and, ultimately their decisions, are influenced. Successful country image work helps all those who work to uphold Finland’s international connections. It also promotes Finland's success in political, commercial and cultural contexts. Country image work is a central part of Team Finland activities, which aim to promote Finnish business and investments abroad.

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 work is led by the Finland Promotion Board (FPB), appointed by the Prime Minister, which consists of public administration, private and third sector representatives.  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 member organisations in 2019–2023 are: Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Education and Culture, Finnish National Agency for Education, Business Finland, BF/Visit Finland, City of Helsinki, House of Lapland, Finnish National Fund for Research and Development Sitra, Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes, Music Finland, Wärtsilä, Finnair and Iceye.

The Finland Promotion Board’s work is network-based. It is tasked with expressing its views on matters relating to Finland’s country image, defining the main guidelines for country image work in the form of annual key themes, and adopting them in the joint thematic calendar. The Finland Promotion Board’s Management Group is supported and assisted by a Task Force. During the current term, the Finland Promotion Board aims for Finland to conduct the world’s best country image work.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Finnish diplomatic missions around the world are engaged in systematic and coordinated efforts to enhance a positive image of Finland. Country image work is carried out in close collaboration with different partners and, increasingly often, in collaboration with the Nordic countries.

Country image work is done in all of Finland’s diplomatic and consular missions abroad, but the objectives and the scope of the efforts vary. From 2019 to 2023, 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 country image work: Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, London, Moscow, Paris, Stockholm, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Tokyo and Washington.

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: TwitterFacebook and Instagram in English, VKFacebook 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