Posts Tagged ‘Norway’


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.


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? – 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.


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.


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  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.


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.


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?


The “Club” Cola Scene: Pepsi Brand Scores Big in Norway

In Norway,USA on June 18, 2011 by Nicholet123 Tagged: , , , , , ,

Are you a Coca-Cola person a Pepsi person? Personally, that is sort of like asking do you like blondes or brunettes. White wine or red? Chocolate or vanilla?

It is the age old question in the game of cola and not doubt, one that we have all heard or been asked. Although the answer may lie in something as simple as our subconscious childhood memories, or just plain personal taste, the battle for cola supremacy carries on.

In this fight, marketing and adverting creatives have constantly pushed for innovative strategies in which to simultaneously convert rival skeptics and retain their loyalist consumer base.

Similarly, as energy drinks and low-calorie alternatives have gained popularity in recent years, these two corporate heavy hitters have felt increased pressure to step up their game as well. A few years back Coca-Cola introduced Coke Zero and shortly thereafter, Pepsi came out with Pepsi Max, a low-calorie, sugar-free alternative to Diet Pepsi.

With the slogan of “take things to the Max”, Pepsi Max aimed to market an actively engaged demographic with web based tools, rather than using traditional approaches. Since their TV ads had been a bust in the past and fizzed from public memory after airing, PepsiCo needed a new approach. This was going to be their one opportunity to create the buzz needed around their “forward-thinking” brand and wow new audiences.

 The Approach

Using their “forward thinking” caps, PepsiCo partnered with Microsoft© Advertising to launch a strategic online campaign in three non U.S. markets: United Kingdom, Norway and Australia called the Pepsi Max’s Club. Taking the ambitious approach of targeting men between the ages of 18-25, the campaign took on a feel of exclusivity, as many elite, posh clubs do. Built and hosted by Microsoft © technology, the micro-site “club” tailored to the interest’s of this younger demographic.

The Pepsi Max’s Club included humor, games, content sharing, social networking and most importantly, beautiful women. What more could a guy ask for when trolling the Internet?

Besides an ice cold [insert refreshing beverage of choice here] in hand and maybe a game in the background, I don’t know many other men that would argue for much more.

Also, lets be honest here, folks. Sex appeal sells and the fact that the site was fronted by the stunning Australian pin-up, Holly Valance, does not hurt the cause either.  

Logic and Reasoning

Also, it comes to no surprise that PepsiCo choose Norway as one of its three launching test sites.  Norwegians are amongst the top Internet users in general, in the world, and have clearly found their niche in social media through the extensive use of Facebook, Twitter and Nettby, in particular.

According to the Norwegian Research Agency, TNS Gallup, more than 50% of the Norwegian population is using Facebook on a weekly basis and among those, user skews more heavily male than female. In leveraging this knowledge, the Pepsi Max’s Club was created, along with several coinciding Facebook pages (PepsiMax and MaxYourMusic)that have provided Norwegians the digital space to build and share the Pepsi brand organically.

The Result

In the 9 months the micro-site was in commission, much success was made in way brand impact.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s evaluate the numbers, shall we?

  • 2.8 million unique users generating 4 million visits to the site.
  • 73 percent of respondents were male and 68 percent were younger than 29
  • 18.5 percent of users came back to the site.
  •  Users engaged with the content for an average of 17.9 minutes, generating over 799,000 hours of active engagement with the brand.
  •  More than 24,000 pieces of content were shared around the web.
  • Media placement on Xbox LIVE smashed all previous click-through records at 34 percent.
  • The campaign has been so successful that Pepsi had their PR agency create a video of Abbey Clancy in a real-world Max Club. This video has since received over 110,000 views.

In the end, the race continues for Cola dominance; however PepsiCo’s biggest online campaign was executed with precision and creativity. Not only did the Pepsi brand resonate with target audiences, they were actively engaged and entertained with the content throughout the marketing process—the result: a win, win scenario for both consumer and marketer.

“The Pepsi Max Club reached the right audience at the right time with the right content” – Claudia Lagunas, Director of Digital and New Media, PepsiCo International.


Kolumbus: Norway’s Social Bus Network

In Norway on June 18, 2011 by Erika S. Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

In 2007, buses transported more than 290 million passengers over a staggering 2.3 billion miles in Norway. With buses being a primary source of transportation, it didn’t take long for a transit company to consider reinventing the rather boring experience of public transportation. Kolumbus, a leading transit provider that covers over 2,800 routes in Rogaland County, has set out to socialize the mass transit experience through its adoption of quick response “QR” code technology.

Before we get started, here’s a little nugget of information about QR codes: Born in Japan way back in 1994, QR codes are those robotic-looking, two-dimensional barcodes supported by smart phones; upon being scanned, the code redirects the user to a company’s website and displays information. While Japan uses them extensively in almost every industry, it has taken nearly two decades for QR codes to invade the West.

Now back to Norway…

Kolumbus recently launched a campaign aimed at providing the most accurate bus arrival and departure information by embedding an estimated 4,500 QR codes at over 1,200 bus stations across Norway. The codes allow passengers with smart phones to track buses in real-time using geospatial technology. With millions of people relying on public transportation for their day-to-day activities, QR codes could prove to be invaluable when it comes to time management, and may become an essential part of life in Norway. But Kolumbus didn’t stop there…

The transit company teamed up with Tales of Things, a research project exploring social memory in the Internet age, to create a location-based social network with elements of foursquare and Facebook. Here’s basically how it works: You’re at a bus station waiting for your bus to arrive, you scan the QR code posted at the station to check for the exact arrival time and notice you have a few minutes to spare. You then log on to Tales of Things to peruse previous passengers’ messages, pictures, tips, stories, etc. that they posted while waiting in the same spot, which may or may not entice you to chime in and begin sharing also. Just think, you can leave a sweet message for a loved one or embark on a scavenger hunt with friends! Oh, and because each QR code is unique to its location, each message, picture, tip, story, etc. provides an endless adventure and an unprecedented way to socialize in a public transportation setting. Pretty neat, right?

Integrating the underutilized QR code technology while promoting socialization on public transit systems via social media is truly a revolutionary and unorthodox approach to social media marketing. Although some may find it pointless, I find this a rather fascinating way to get people interested in connecting with those who are sharing the same journey as them.

Passenger shares his bus ride in Norway.

For marketers hoping to create buzz for a brand via social media, incorporating relevant issues of society (time management, in this case) can help ignite a newfound interest in the brand and get people engaged in exciting new ways — isn’t that what every company wants?

This Norwegian model is one that can be replicated a thousand times over across the world; which has me wondering: why did it take so long for someone to promote the interconnectedness of public transportation? Just imagine this Norwegian approach to public transit in Washington, D.C.! Hey, I’m even thinking this could inspire people to be friendlier! I mean, Norway is considered the happiest country on earth. We can clearly learn a thing or two from the Norwegians! I have hope for you, D.C.! Anything is possible!


A Breath of Fresh Air: Why Helly Hansen Should Engage Norwegians Through Mobile Content

In Norway on June 16, 2011 by S.Albright Tagged: , , ,

From subway to sidewalk to supermarket, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t on their mobile phone at any hour of the day. Guilty as charged, I admit I’ve had my own moments where I’ve just barely missed walking into someone or something because I was too busy checking Facebook, Twitter, BBMing, or browsing my favorite retail site. For those of us with smartphones, it’s hard to imagine life without one now.

Things aren’t so different in Norway. Mobile is rapidly becoming the way of the Web. What does this mean for retail brands that are actively trying to keep up? Brands need to be where their consumers are, and that where has become a combination of social media – Facebook in particular – and mobile content. Norwegian high-performance outdoor wear brand Helly Hansen can – and should – capitalize on this growing space.

The numbers really put into perspective just how technologically engaged Norwegians are. For a country of only about 5 million – the second least populated in Europe – Norway has one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the world. More than 50% of the population is on Facebook. Norway was one of the first countries in the world to offer 4G mobile broadband speeds (read more here). And now, 1 in 5 Norwegians is consuming media content on mobiles every day. For a country so small, this is huge. So despite the obvious that Helly Hansen is a native Norwegian brand, where do they fit in?

Looking deeper into a Norwegian retail profile, Norwegian society places an overall emphasis on leisure time outside of the workweek, especially outdoor sports. Consequentially therein lies a strong demand for high-quality products and equipment to supplement such activities:

Norwegian consumers are demanding and quality-conscious, not least where outdoor equipment is concerned, owing to the harshness of the Norwegian climate. Norway has the highest sales of the Gore-tex brand of clothing per head anywhere in the world. There is high demand for the latest in advanced equipment for skiing. High-tech sportswear is considered fashionable and is used as much for exercising as for going out.

Hence where the Helly Hansen brand is spot-on. However, they need to extend this national brand recognition into the mobile social media space where their consumers are spending much of their time. Helly Hansen already has a brand Facebook page, however it is generally not common for Norwegians to use Facebook to add a brand/product. By creating pages not just for the masses but rather for distinct Facebook users (i.e. trend-setters and discount-shoppers), Helly Hansen can increase chances for consumers to have a positive experience with the brand and then be more apt to ‘like’ their page to be kept up-to-date on trends, new products and sales.

Screenshot of current Helly Hansen Facebook page

Finally, investing in a mobile retail app could benefit Helly Hansen’s continued strong presence in the company’s native Norway. As mobile content and ease of accessibility continues to become more important for Norwegian use of smart phones and tablets (surfing the Web is becoming more important for mobile users than sending SMSes), retail brands must be present in this space to keep up with consumer desires, especially in such a technology-driven country.