We have talked on various occasions about the importance of localisation for companies that wish to expand their businesses internationally.
Contextualising a story or product in the target country is essential in empathising with the culture and customs of a specific population and, as a result, with potential international customers.
The Nordic countries are an excellent example to study and observe in order to understand how to create cultural synergy.
The Nordic region may seem like a collection of small and similar Scandinavian countries. In reality, they are some of the world’s richest and most successful societies, with extremely high levels of education, healthcare and safety.
But what are their communication styles?
There are national patterns revealing that the Swedes like to reach a consensus, the Danish wish to feel at ease, and the Norwegians go straight to the point. But what about the Finns?
If you wish to localise a product in Finland, you need to be very careful about their communication requirements, which we can summarise in three brief points.
Another issue involves the ways of expressing gratitude and courtesy. The Nordic people often leave out words such as please, thank you, sorry and unfortunately. For example, in Danish, it is possible to express a polite request with structures such as kunne du “could you”, kan jeg få dig til at“could I take you to…”, må jeg Bede om “may I ask”, and vi håber, a du vil “let’s hope that…”.
The word venligst, which means “kindly”, is considered rather formal and is used only in written correspondence from the authorities.
These countries are also increasingly paying attention to using a language that is as inclusive as possible.
For example, mentioning skin colour or ethnicity is generally avoided unless specifically relevant to the issue.
If you intend to expand your business in these countries, you need to consider and reflect on the use of superlatives, as modesty is a virtue for these people. Exaggeration is never seen in a positive light.
For example, statements like “This extraordinary and special product will make you feel fabulous and better than all your friends! You will love it, call now, don’t waste time, do it free!” would be communicated in Norwegian as “This is a good product. You will like it”.
These many examples are very useful and important for understanding how the localisation process is essential to expand your business internationally. It is not about simply adapting to a culture but about understanding and respecting the country’s values. Creating synergy with a country means enriching your own culture, both from a business point of view and from a human perspective.