Archive for the ‘Norway’ Category

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The Key to Jumpstarting Norway’s Tourism Marketing Campaign

In Norway on June 20, 2011 by Amira E. Tagged: , , , ,

Norway: The Happiest Country in the World. That’s an accolade that’s hard to come by with 193 competitors around the globe. National Geographic recommended it as one of the “20 Best Trips of 2011.” Even CNN listed it as one of the World’s Top Destinations for 2011 — #5 to be exact. But somehow, an avid traveler like myself has never heard Norway described that way. Frankly, I’ve never heard anything about Norway from any of my well-traveled friends. Why is that? And why hasn’t Norway done anything to attract us?

Well… actually, they have. Innovation Norway, the tourism board for Norway, launched a social media campaign called Norway. Your Way. in 2010 to increase awareness of Norway as an attractive and desirable tourist destination in Europe. They described it as “a competition to find 5 adventure seekers from Europe to compete and challenge their own boundaries in a beautiful wintery Norway.” The competition required consumers to submit a creative piece inspired by Norway.

Watch the campaign’s teaser video here:

Over 1,400 entries were received from five countries (UK, Italy, France, Germany and Russia). The five winners (one from each country) set off on their journey in February of this year, accompanied by Norwegian explorers Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen, and the challenge ended earlier this year. Innovation Norway’s strategy was to leverage word-of-mouth marketing through each of the 5 winners who documented their 10-day trip through Norway.

norway-your-way

Frankly, I think the campaign is genius. It harnessed the collective powers of Norway’s bloggers, tweeters and social media gurus to encourage entries, vote on the best ones and then follow the campaign throughout. But now that the short-term campaign has ended, is Norway reaping the desired ROI of their initial strategy?

VisitNorway.com – Norway’s ongoing tourism marketing campaign is active on Facebook (+ US-specific page), Twitter (Norsk, Spanish, German, US) and YouTube, with several accounts on each (to serve different foreign audiences). They even have an app for Android and iPhone that serves as an in-depth travel guide to Norway, with thousands of hotel, restaurant and attraction listings. They’ve attracted a total of 28,207 Facebook fans (on both pages) and 10,176 Twitter followers (across all accounts). All in all, I think they’ve done a pretty terrific job of covering all their bases.

Now what, though? How will Norway keep attracting people? With a population of over 4.5 million people, close to 95% of Norwegians enjoy seamless, high-speed Internet access. That’s even higher Internet penetration than North America, Singapore and the entire continent of Europe. Not only that, over 50% of Norwegians use Facebook on a weekly basis.

With stats like that, Norway has an incredibly valuable untapped national treasure: its very own citizens. Norway needs to shift its tourism marketing into the hands of the every-day media-savvy Norwegian. Who better to capture and tell the beautiful story of Norway than its very own? With hundreds of bloggers, thousands on Facebook and Twitter, Norway can create an army of its nation’s own brand ambassadors with little money and effort.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against Norway’s initial strategy of using tourists to generate creative content that would then hopefully “go viral online.” On the contrary. I think Norway is on the right track. They should move forward and take their strategy to the next level by engaging tourists at every touch point of their visit.

I have three recommendations for Norway’s ongoing tourist engagement on social media. These could be incorporated into a long-term campaign in partnership with major tourist hotspots (airports, transport hubs, hotels, restaurants, outdoor attractions).

  1. Facebook Places and Foursquare: People love being in everyone else’s business. It’s in our nature. So naturally, if our friends are checking in at Oslo International Airport, we’re intrigued. Encourage tourists to check in wherever they go, virtually creating an online logbook of their entire trip. And, more importantly, marketing Norway’s beautiful destinations for free.
  2. Gogobot and TripAdvisor: We all know by now that word-of-mouth is the most powerful marketing tool. We believe other people more than we believe advertisements. By the time most of us are nearing the end of a vacation, we’re not thinking about writing reviews. But when we have a great experience, we’re usually willing to write one. So, why doesn’t Norway take advantage of that goodwill and ask tourists to recommend them on travel sites where other travelers can see their reviews?
  3. Twitter: Twitter has two very cool features: location-based tweeting and photo-inclusion. The best tweets are specific and visual. Imagine all your friends tweeted their travels with great photos of beautiful, far-off lands. Now, imagine you knew exactly where those photos are taken! Sounds like a sweet deal to me.

Norway is definitely on to something. They understand the importance of social media presence. They understand the power of user-generated content. Now, if only they would remind their two most valuable stakeholders to spread the word… Personally, I think they’ll strike gold.

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Norway, Transparency and Corporate Social Responsibility

In Norway on June 19, 2011 by vmcfarre Tagged: , , ,

We are all learning to define what it means to be socially responsible in a social media world both as consumers and producers. The private sector usually leads these efforts and governments usually lag behind in being involved in transparency,Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and social media. In Norway, it is interesting to see that the Government is the entity leading these efforts, ahead of businesses.

The Norwegian Government’s policy paper on “Corporate social responsibility in a global economy”  was launched in 2009 and stresses that companies are not just operating in a market generating financial results, but also within a culture, a local community and a political system, and therefore have an impact on social development. This paper expresses the Norwegian Government’s commitment to exercising social responsibility in its own activities, conveys society’s CSR expectations to Norwegian companies, and outlines options of developing and influencing the framework for CSR, both nationally and internationally, using social media as a tool. These efforts are serving as an example to countries worldwide and continues to grow in importance as the role of government is now seen as necessary to promote CSR, and it is more effective when information is disseminated widely, showing transparency.

Despite these Government efforts, businesses in Norway are hardly using social media as a tool to promote CSR efforts. Social media websites and the internet are important tools to share information given that over 90 per cent of Norway’s population has internet access and over 50 per cent of the population uses Facebook on a weekly basis. Surveys show  that Norwegians are willing to use these tools more on a personal level but not something that businesses are willing to try at the moment.

For example, Get Satisfaction, a popular social CRM tool, was introduced to Facebook pagesin early March 2010. The application helps companies with their costumer service by including links such as: Ask a Question, Share an Idea, Report a Problem, and Give Praise. Norwegian business owners do not seem to have advantage of these applications and are still learning how to grasp the potential of internet marketing to engage their costumers.A planner of Scandinavian Design Group, Helge Tenno is a top Norwegian executive who says he is skeptical of the role that technology plays in building solid customer relationships and disseminate information. He understands the potential of internet marketing but stresses the necessity of face-to-face contact in business settings. Building personal relationships is important but social media is a great tool to disseminate information on CSR efforts and an opportunity to win new costumers.

Businesses have a responsibility that extends beyond financial value creation and can be described as ethical responsibility. As seen in Norway, promoting CSR using social media is a challenge and it will be interesting to see what happens in the future.  For the time being, the role and the importance that the Norwegian Government is playing in raising awareness about CSR in both the private and the public sectors is commendable.

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In Norway the News Comes First

In Norway on June 19, 2011 by @LauraEWilson Tagged: ,

If you’re a company looking to reach Norwegians where they congregate online, news sites are undoubtedly an important place to turn.

Unlike in the US where newspapers own less than 1% of online audience page views, Norwegians continue to spend the majority of their time online with newspaper websites. Norway has the highest per capita newspaper circulation above any country in the world and its media companies continue to play a very crucial role in Norwegian’s  daily lives.

Norwegian newspapers have put significant effort into building a dominant web presence online and play a  leading role in presenting and owning content on the web.  The website Origo, an emerging social network in Norway, has developed out of its country’s fascination with newspaper-like sites and its insatiable appetite for news and niche information online. Origo is a social community for people to join and engage in various interest groups and is an increasingly popular place not only for news sharing and social publishing but also for networking.

The homepage of the social network Origo.no

Origo  offers Norwegians digital tools for  blogging, photo sharing and social calenders. Origo is also a community tool for local and regional newspapers (approximately 53 newspaper groups belong to it) in Norway. On Origo both newspaper groups, journalists and individual users can establish their own groups  called “zones”  where they can contribute written content, images and other content online.

Some local Norweigan newspapers have set-up these “zones” where readers of their newspapers  can write and contribute their own stories and opinion pieces,upload their own photos and contribute to an events calendar  much of which is eventually used in the printed version of their newspaper.

Many of these local zones that are created include groups specifically dedicated to local sports, culture, events, and local food and drink. Origo could be a real opportunity for companies and brands to openly engage with users that have specific niche interests such as local gourmet food. A company or brand could also benefit from starting a “zone” around a product that it offers in order to give it’s users/fans a place to congregate and exchange information in a forum where the company is able to observe and engage in the conversation.

Origo differentiates itself from some social networks as it is very open and transparent and all of its users are encouraged to  use their full name in order to disclose their societal role and what their possible agenda may be. Because this open dialogue is encouraged on Origo, the opinions of a local influencer may be taken more seriously since their identity is  verified and can not be written anonymously.

Origo is a uniquely Norwegian social network and an opportunity for any company or brand seeking to reach a local market to spend time both listening and engaging in local conversation and issues.

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Move Over Snuggie…Make Way For The Norwegians

In Norway on June 19, 2011 by jmassenburg02 Tagged: ,

Just when you thought lounging attire could not have gotten any more ridiculous than the phenomenon that is, Snuggie, Norwegians have found a way to top it.

Snuggie, the ever so popular, lovable, one piece flannel outfit that’s marketed as the cool way to lounge while doing just about any activity you can think of —homework, watching the game and lazy afternoons with the grandkids —has officially been outdone with the Norwegian take on the comfort and casual, the OnePiece.

The one-piece, footed garment instantly brings back memories of Christmas morning when my siblings and I, donned in our new pajamas, would rush downstairs to find what Santa left us. Outside of that situation, and perhaps in addition to being a six year old excited about a sleepover at my best friend’s, it appears very difficult to muster up much excitement about outfitting myself into monochromatic material head to toe.

Apparently I’m alone in not succumbing to the craze. OnePiece has completely taken off in Norway and even has a few famous faces to offer “cool cred”. Kate Moss, Paris Hilton, David Beckham and Jude Law are among the many famous faces spotted rocking their OnePieces. The one piece contraption originally designed by 6 Norwegians as the perfect outfit to recover after a night out on the town has even been spotted on the town — yes, at an actual night club itself. Well, at least it’s safe to say no one else will have on your outfit.

Picture it, 6 friends gathered in a room after a night out on the town complaining how they just didn’t have the perfect outfit to “recover” after a long night. Perhaps the night’s inhibitions were still in their system when they came to the consensus that a one-piece footed jumpsuit was the answer to their prayers. I would kill to have been a fly on that wall.

I may, however, stand alone in my disdain for the outfit. Bloggers began to pick up the buzz on fashion’s latest craze and expressed extreme like for the idea. I understand the universal appeal of the garment as it is available in a wide array of patterns, colors and fabrics. OnePiece fans can don their attire at the beach in a light weight cover-up, on a camping trip in red, wool flannel, or to bring in the holiday season in a snowflake covered option. Bah hum bug!

Not to forget the little OnePiece fans, sizing is also available in youth sizes so the whole family can get in on the craze. While I can relate to the practicality of being on to throw on what seems like your most favorite sweatshirt, I was completely taken aback with the most extreme pattern of them all, the two-tone OnePiece. Yes, that’s right, for a nominal fee you can channel your inner Cruella de Vil and sport a two-tone black and white number. My only caution, don’t walk past any firehouses.

All things considered, I think we as Americans have had our fair share of outrageously successful market items —remember the Bump-It, popularized by our resident drunken 5 foot Jersey girl? And one can’t forget the blueprint for the OnePiece craze, the Snuggie —now available in leopard print.

I suppose this too shall pass, with any luck. The OnePiece was not capable in luring me because of its practicality, but perhaps the complete opposite. As a result, I have now chosen to write a blog about it and several of my readers will surely visit the site either of intrigue or curiosity. I guess it’s true what they say —any press is good press.

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Bus Stop: The New Check In Hot Spot?

In Norway on June 18, 2011 by KHughes Tagged: , , ,

For any social media marketer wondering how to reach the Norwegian market, they need not look any further than…the bus stop?

In February 2011, Digital Urban of Norway launched a campaign, in collaboration with the Tales of Things, to incorporate over 4000 QR Codes at Norwegian bus stops.

But what exactly are these codes?  QR Codes, short for quick response codes, are two-dimensional bar codes that detect any encoded text, URL or other data.  QR Codes were originally developed in Japan, created by Toyota to detect car parts.  Now QR Codes have become very prominent in marketing campaigns, allowing consumers to link offline information to online content.

This QR Code campaign, originally launched in Norway at Kolumbus bus stops, not only allows QR Codes to inform travelers when their next bus is set to arrive, but also allows consumers to tweet and record stories of their travel experiences.  In a sense, this QR Code campaign has incorporated multiple platforms of social media; status updates much like Twitter, and check-in, much like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.  The check-in and story sharing is through the website, Tales of Things, which has a free application for download on both the iPhone and Android smart phones.  Tales of Things has taken on incorporating QR Codes as a way to share personal stories, or link personal items to a forum people can use to learn and comment on what others share.

Kolumbus project manager, Einar Hougen states: “When we learned about this exciting UK research project, we instantly recognized the parallels to our own QR tagging of bus stops, which we believe is the largest adaptation of QR codes of this kind in Norway to date. Scanning a QR code at a Kolumbus bus stop gives instant access to current departure times, right on your mobile phone.  Via our tech blog, we know there are many tech savvy users among our travelers. This will give them the opportunity to join this project, and hopefully have a bit of fun at the same time!”

As a brand, Kolumbus has utilized QR Codes to reach multiple social media forums, allowing consumer to read past experiences, share new experiences and engulf themselves in the Kolumbus brand without even realizing it.  I would say this is a bold and smart move on the part of Kolumbus.  This allows them to be open to both negative and positive stories, as well as feedback, seeing as anyone who has ever ridden a bus has a least one horrific story to share.  In the end, it allows them to reach an exorbitant number of people, while making it fun and interactive as well.

As the social media world continues to grow and develop, companies like Kolumbus will need to expand their creativity, find new and innovative ways to allow their consumers to dive into their brand, and do it in a way that’s fun and interesting.  The fact that Kolumbus is partnering with popular social media outlets such as Tales of Things, looking to make travel more convenient and entertaining, means that they are keeping their consumers in the forefront of their digital and marketing campaigns.  As a consumer, I dig that.  If I need to be taking a bus in Norway anytime soon, I know whose bus stop I’ll be waiting at.

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Freia: Sweet On Social Media

In Norway on June 18, 2011 by Katherine Hutton Tagged: , ,

Whether on a warm summer afternoon or a cold winter evening, chocolate is a go-to, comforting treat. Norwegians know all about that, being one of the largest buyers of chocolate, consuming 21.6 pounds per capita in 2008.

Each country seems to have its own iconic brand: the United States and Hershey’s (after all, there’s an entire theme park), Great Britain and Cadbury, Switzerland and Lindt. For Norway, it’s Freia.

Founded in 1906, Freia is the number one brand of chocolate bars in Norway. It comes in a number of different forms that are similar to a Kit Kat bar (Kvikk Lunsj), a Hershey’s bar (Freia Melkesjokolade), and M&Ms (Non Stop). However, the company still has competition from other chocolate companies, both Norwegian and international. So what’s the best way to convince the public that they should buy the favorite Norwegian chocolate?

Capitalize on that Norwegian pride.

In the 19th century, a movement called romantic nationalism was devoted to invigorating pride in Norwegian culture. A number of people went around the country to collect artifacts that defined an identity for the Norwegians, who, throughout most of their history, had been governed as a Danish province or ruled under a Swedish sovereign.

Since 1980, Freia has capitalized on that national pride by using the slogan, ‘Et lite stykke Norge’ meaning ‘A little piece of Norway.’ Its ad campaigns have used pastoral Norwegian settings as the backdrop for its advertisements. While that theme is still useful, it’s no longer 1980 and traditional advertising is no longer the best way to market to its audience.

Freia has gone online; it has a separate Facebook page for each of its products, which is a good first step. The company encourages consumers to share their interest in its products, creating a dialogue. Being so tech-savvy, Norwegians, particularly the younger generation, have a positive perception of companies with an online presence.

But Freia needed more than just a simple Facebook page to keep up with the rest of the market. It therefore created a new online campaign in 2011 on its website: a game where the prize is actually a little piece of Norway. The winner will receive 500,000 Norwegian Kroner (90,396 USD)  to purchase a property in Norway.

An actual little piece of Norway from the game

The campaign runs through the end of the year, when a winner will be chosen December 1st. A person must register an account on the website in order to be entered into the contest. The website also connects back to Facebook, so a user can see what others have chosen as their spots of Norway. Judging by the hundreds of thousands of ‘likes’ on its Facebook pages, the campaign is seeing some success so far this year.

This campaign is a great example of connecting Norwegian national pride, Freia chocolate sales, and current social media tools. Freia is using this game to increase its visibility as a Norwegian product and further identify itself as the leading chocolate brand in Norway.

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Living the Good Life: Why LivingSocial Can Thrive in Norway

In Norway on June 18, 2011 by katielancos Tagged: , , , ,

Norway’s high cost of consumer goods and near perfect internet penetration of 94.8% makes for an ideal market for LivingSocial to join.

Daily deal sites like LivingSocial provide internet users with the opportunity to purchase coupons to restaurants, events, and services at a discounted price, allowing people to enjoy local entertainment that could otherwise be difficult to afford.

This would be especially true for Norway, a country that now has two of the top four ‘most expensive’ cities in the world.

Daily deal sites attribute a lot of their success and growth to social networks like Facebook where information can be easily shared among friends. Therefor, a country like Norway, which has one of the world’s highest Facebook penetration rates at 52.54%, would make for an ideal market to launch a daily deals company like LivingSocial.

Facebook would be ideal to use for many reasons:

In Norway, Facebook and LivingSocial would target the same demographic. 49% of Norway’s Facebook population is between the ages 16-34. LivingSocial’s demographic is very similar, currently with 51% of their subscribers under the age of 35.

Daily deals are highly shareable on Facebook. People who purchase deals typically want their friends to do the same so they can participate in them together. Daily deal companies also encourage sharing deals by offering discounts and freebies for recruiting new purchasers, and make it easy to share these deals by featuring an automatic post-to-Facebook option at the end of every purchase.

Facebook Social ads allow companies to easily advertise to people in new markets. These ads can target specific interests, making it possible to promote individual deals. LivingSocial has also used Social ads to build their subscriber-base by sending clicks to their sign-up page.

Norwegians are increasingly making online purchases. A 2010 study showed that 70% of Norwegians had bought or ordered goods or services for private use over the internet during the last 12 months, up from 63% the previous year. This trend would facilitate the adoption of the potentially new concept of daily deals. LivingSocial would also have an edge on competitors; the most bought good or service over the internet for Norwegians were travel and holiday accommodations, making them a perfect audience for LivingSocial to promote their getaways and vacation product Escapes.

Groupon, LivingSocial’s biggest daily deal competitor, already has a presence in 15 Norwegian cities. While a competitor in your market is typically bad for business, the daily deals market sees this as a benefit. A survey from Business Insider found that 72% of Groupon subscribers also subscribe to LivingSocial. Internet users do not need to chose one company over another – they can subscribe to both. And awareness of Groupon creates an understanding of the daily deals process in general, making Norway an even more approachable market for LivingSocial.

So what do you think – do you buy it?