Finns are always interested in what people think about them abroad – so it was only normal that Finnish advertising professionals Janne Pirinen and Jan Fagernäs came up with the idea of FollowFinland.com – a website-based tool that tracks what is being said about Finland and Finns.
Initially, the project was something of a hobby outside of work, but it soon became apparent that that the service could be used by country branding task forces, and specifically by the Finnish nation branding team, a body sponsored by foreign minister Alexander Stubb, by providing them relevant information for their job to develop Finland as brand.
The website currently follows social media from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the UK, and concentrates on what is said about Finland specifically, but it plans to expand to other countries such as Russia, some Eastern European countries and the US. The overall philosophy of the website is, in fact, to provide a service for anybody interested in polishing their country’s image.
The tool collates all positive and negative stories, comments and discussions abroad, and uses the data to produce an aggregated “brand temperature”. Is it warm today or cold? It all depends on what is being said. The site also features news about Finland and encourages visitors to do their part for Finland by voicing your opinions in selected discussions relating to the country’s image. “This web service makes it easier to target marketing and communications regarding the Finnish brand. We are currently working on expanding the service by adding more media monitors in more countries to get a truly global perspective. The sky is the limit, really”, says Fagernäs.
See Follow Finland in action: www.followfinland.com