More often than not, the British perceive Norway to be a little boring. Others haven’t had enough exposure to Norway and Norwegian culture to form opinions at all. To overcome this, Norway has been undertaking a branding project to expose the UK’s citizens to a wider view of the culture their northern neighbour, and bring about a clear change of opinions.
Komodo has been working with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in London and Innovation Norway to support a nation branding programme since and launched a special social media project as part of this public diplomacy programme.
The aim of the social media project was to evolve and shift perceptions within the UK about Norway and Norwegian culture, in line with its innovative, sustainable and culturally-rich heritage. It also sought to engage communities that traditional diplomacy and PR programmes fail to reach, including the young and young-at-heart.
After a social media audit, Komodo developed key recommendations for the social media campaign. Primary focus was given to the development of a dynamic Facebook page, along with an active Twitter feed.
Throughout this campaign, the Embassy has been able to converse, discuss and listen to their fans and followers, and gain valuable feedback about their interests and perceptions of Norway and Norwegian cultural activities.
The core strategy was simple:
Content - The key strategy has been to keep the focus of conversations and communication on cultural events, rather than business, political or economic issues.
Exclusivity - To encourage audiences to return to the Embassy social media channels again and again, the content produced for Facebook and Twitter was often exclusive, such as competitions, photos, video or access to celebrities and well-known individuals.
Tone - Throughout, the tone of voice was kept young, light-hearted and fun. It has been important to communicate with fans and followers in a style that suits natural conversations and will keep audiences interested, engaged and entertained throughout.
Specific campaign activity
The campaign consisted of a series of programmes.
Britain’s Next Top Model - To coincide with the visit by contestants on hit show `Britain’s Next Top Model` to Norway, Komodo ran a live question and answer session with show judge and celebrity stylist Grace Woodward. Norwegian Embassy Facebook fans and Twitter followers were invited to ask Grace questions about the episode which saw contestants do a fashion shoot in a snowy Norwegian location. This resulted in a large number of fans interacting live on the page.
Kristian Aadnevik- Following the success of the Grace Woodward Q&A, Norwegian fashion designer Kristian Aadnevik agreed to participate in a live chat with Facebook fans in the week prior to his London Fashion Week show. As an added dimension, Kristian kindly donated two tickets to his fashion show to use as a give-away for those taking part in the live chat. Two photo albums were created; one during the live chat in his studio, and one at the fashion show including snaps of the lucky winner and her friend.
100% Norway - To celebrate 100% Norway, an exhibition of Norwegian furniture and interior products which forms part of London Design Festival, Komodo launched a competition on Facebook to ‘Win a Norwegian Living Room’ using £8,000 of donated prizes including furniture and interior pieces. In order to give away this special prize, Komodo created a bespoke, branded Facebook app that encouraged people to enter. That was supported through online and offline PR and marketing activities, including a Facebook CPC advertising campaign (which attracted 5,344 clicks), Twitter activity and media relations. The competition received over 1,600 entries, a huge amount of comments, interactions and an increase in fans.
Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree - Since 1947 the pine tree in the square has been a gift from the City of Oslo to the City of London in recognition of Britain's support during World War II. Komodo was involved in the organisation and PR launch of the cutting ceremony in Oslo, and the lighting ceremony in London, which was attended by the Governing Mayor of Oslo, Stian Berger Røsland, the Norwegian Ambassador, Kim Traavik and Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Judith Warner. Komodo ensured Facebook fans that were unable to attend the ceremony in London were able to content from the events, and get behind-the-scenes at the press trip to the cutting ceremony.
By the end of the eight month campaign, the Embassy’s Facebook fans grew 442% to 4,241 fans. Interaction levels also improved, with an eightfold increase in monthly active users on the Facebook page. These channels have worked so well for the Norwegian Embassy because of the support from the Embassy itself – quality cultural planning and accessibility to competition prizes and Norwegian performers, designers and events has meant that the online activity has been able to integrate and provide support to offline activity as well.
Throughout the campaign, Facebook and Twitter audiences have frequently commented and discussed their newfound love for Norwegian designers, music and events, which has helped to shift perceptions about Norway, and present it as cool, interesting, and diverse country.
Another significant result is that as the fanbase has grown, the Embassy has become a more attractive partner to other companies or events (such as Norwegian Air donating flights, Comfort Express donating accommodation and Oya Festival will to provide competition tickets), and is continuing to be approached and is finding organisations more receptive to working on social media projects together. Other London-based Embassies are also now following with interest the pioneering approach taken by the Embassy.
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