Information about Marketing - doing business in Sweden
The international transition of a business when preparing to expand is more than just costs and procedures, it is also about cultural acclimatisation.
It is making sure your product or service fits the new country; finding a way to culturalise your business in order to reap the same results your business has achieved domestically. This is accomplished through one simple step: effective marketing.
If marketing your business on domestic soil is an art-form in itself, attempting to do it overseas is nearly miraculous. Countries may be becoming more homogenous, but the foundations of a culture rarely budge for anything: their sensitivities, traditions, humour, discourses, protocols are essentially unchanging and stubbornly unaccommodating. Therefore, the identity of your product or service needs to adapt itself to the new country.
Advertising and Sales
Sweden has strict advertising regulations, whereby all claims or statements must be verified. If you are setting up a business in Sweden, any promotions must be accurate and any misleading statements could lead to prosecution under the Marketing Practices Act.
If you are expanding your business in Sweden, newspapers are the most important advertising media, with printed advertising accounting for around half of all expenditure. The major newspapers are run from Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo and have a national circulation. The second most important form of promotion is direct mail, which accounts for around 30% of expenditure. Until recently, television and radio were exclusively state controlled but commercial channels are now established and advertising is growing in broadcast media. Internet in Sweden is also widespread, with E-commerce firmly established in what is regarded as one of Europe’s leading internet societies.
Cultural sensitivity and understanding of protocol is critical in achieving effective marketing. The structure of a nation, its beliefs, even its superstitions, can make or break your business. Know the market; immerse yourself in it. Never assume your marketing strategy will be transferrable to a foreign country. There is only a slim chance lthat anguage will translate well. Unless you are certain that your product or service can sell itself, it is probably wise to revise its selling-points for a foreign market.
If you are expanding a business in Sweden, it is important to acknowledge Swedish culture. Swedes are known for their views about equality and selfish or egotistical behaviour is frowned upon. Competition in schools is discouraged and people are culturally less inclined towards self-interest. “Lagom” or everything in moderation is also a common Swedish trait, where excessive or grandiose behaviour is deemed unappealing.
Business attire in Sweden is formal and Swedes prefer to discuss business ahead of small talk. It is seen as important to be punctual and it is also considered unprofessional to become emotional regarding business matters. Elaborate or flamboyant sales techniques are often regarded as insincere. Swedes are also renowned for being comfortable with awkward silences and prefer not to mix commerce with family life, which is of great importance in Swedish society.