Date: 21 Nov 2017, 8:30 - 11:30
Host: Danish-American Business Forum, Toldbodgade 39, 1253 Copenhagen K
How can Danish companies bridge the communication gap across the Atlantic, when they take on the US market?
What is “need to have” and “nice to have” in a country with huge cultural differences when it comes to communication and stakeholder management, and how do you avoid getting ripped off in the PR (public relations) jungle in America?
We tested our conference room at Danish-American Business Forum for the first time, and successfully hosted 30+ members and guests who got tangible advice from a Danish New York-based communication expert and a young tech startup on the hunt for customers in the waste management industry in the US.
This event attracted owners / cofounders / marketeers from a variety of Danish companies who are in or expanding to the US and wanted tips on how to manage their public relations and marketing there.
We heard first from Søren Christensen, CEO and co-founder, Nordsense, who gave us his personal tips on how to work with Americans, and how to “de-Danish-ize” your company. In his experience, after 20+ years working in the US, Danes in general need to get better at THINKING BIG, listening and adapting to feedback, preparing for the inevitable volume of “no’s” one must expect when starting up in the US, and NETWORKING. It is critical to have a clear well-practiced business pitch and be perceived as an interesting, solid company even in your early stages, by choosing your marketing language carefully with the help of professionals, and choosing your INVESTORS carefully, since others will rate you to a large extent based on who is backing you and their reputation. Speak confidently – you ARE the best, first etc, not “probably” the best!
Next we got an overview of the challenges in marketing to the crowded US market, followed by a workshop with Sofie Rud, Founder and CEO, Rud Relations . Sofie’s top 4 words describing the US market were “unforgiving”, “impatient”, “competitive”, and “no free lunch”! She finds that generally Danes are not well prepared to explain their companies, and she describes the communications assistance she gives as sometimes feeling like being a midwife helping give birth to a company! You need to clearly present the BENEFITS you are offering to your CHOSEN target audience, understand how your message is being received (which can be tough given that it is easy for Danes to miss small language and cultural clues in the US), and spend time mapping the relations you need to build in order to make a mark. You can waste money quickly with the large PR and marketing agencies, as it can be tough to know exactly what you are buying, and Danes sometimes use this type of help too early, before they are crystal clear on their product/service and audience. There’s no need to develop a tagline and spend money on advertising until the basics are in place!
Her overall advice session was followed by a fun, informal workshop where she picked 3 of the 7 companies who volunteered to have a “light” communications audit done, and reviewed their websites with us all, discussing with each company representative what could be improved. Participants pitched in with their advice, and all 3 companies went home with new ideas.
Some of Sofie’s advice is here, and participants received the full presentation.
Registration, coffee and networking
Einar Dyrhauge, Executive Director, Danish-American Business Forum
The US market wants to hear from you in loud sentences!
Søren Christensen, CEO and co-founder, Nordsense
Søren Christensen spent 20+ years in Silicon Valley in the tech industry working with both start-ups and established companies. He was also a part of Sunstone capital for a period. Last year he moved back to Denmark, where he is the CEO of Nordsense, a tech start-up that invented an IOT-platform based on a sensor that can measure the waste level in garbage bins, enabling cities and waste haulers to optimize their operations and save fuel and emissions. Nordsense got its first seed investment this spring and are now working to market their product in the industry in the US.
Issues and challenges for Danish companies entering or working in the US
Sofie Rud, Founder and CEO, Rud Relations
Sofie Rud is an experienced media and communications professional with 25 years of hands on experience from both Scandinavia and the US. She holds a master’s degree in journalism, which she topped up with Series 7 classes in order to get a grip on the financial markets when she first came to the US. Before moving to New York to work as a contributor to Børsen, the Danish equivalent of WSJ (the Wall Street Journal), she held a number of positions in media corporations like TV2, DR, Berlingske Tidende, and metroXpress. Mrs. Rud also has solid experience as an adviser on strategic communications and PR in both the public and private sector. Throughout her career, she has coached executives in both corporations, industry organizations and political institutions, on how to create and deliver key messages.
She founded Rud Relations in New York in 2016 with a focus on paving the way for Danish companies working in the US and American corporations in need of knowledge and strategic advice on how to positions themselves in the Nordic countries.
Coffee and networking
Workshop: Mapping your need for corporate communication in the US
As a newcomer to the noisy US market, one of your biggest and most immediate concerns should be how you communicate the unique value that your company provides to customers, partners, employees and investors. In this workshop, Sofie will help 2 or 3 participants map their company’s narrative potential, checking what message is currently being communicated and helping you identify existing or potential messages and output, channels and key stakeholders. Please indicate in your registration form if you’d like to be one of the cases! Don’t worry, it will be a soft, non-dangerous discussion :).