Ola Rembe, head of external comms, Ericsson, discusses why international relations are essential to the success of large businesses in the Swedish capital.
What advice would you give to a PR pro looking for work in Stockholm?
Know the English language. All of Ericsson’s 150-strong Stockholm-based comms team speak English.
Because Stockholm is a small city, boasting a population of 900,000, and is located on the fringe of the polar caps, businesses must have an international perspective and export products to succeed.
It is part of Swedish culture to travel and meet people from around the world.
What comms challenges does Stockholm’s non-central location pose?
From a business perspective, Sweden is not in the middle of Europe, so a large part of our constituency and the people we are trying to build relationships with are not based here. In addition, it is a fairly long flight to a lot of places.
Less than 5% of our revenue comes from Swedish consumers. Ericsson’s customer base is mostly outside of the country. That is probably true for all of Sweden’s largest companies.
PR pros in the area must be interested in gaining insight and listening to what is going on in different markets and how to best engage with customers in different parts of the world. Ericsson places a lot of focus on digital to communicate with its international customers, including social media and database relationships.
How do local people consume media?
It is all about mobile. Streaming and on-demand services are quite popular here.
Stockholm had broadband from an early stage and we had an extremely active Internet and innovation scene in the late ‘90s. In addition, the adoption rate of mobile, 3G, and 4G has always been quick here. As a result, we are significantly ahead in terms of our IT infrastructures and our consumers are quite advanced.
Does Stockholm’s location make it difficult to attract talent?
Ericsson has been able to attract top talent from across the world. It is not just about salary, it is also about the brand and what kind of company a person wants to work for. We also offer employees international travel and work opportunities.
As a tech company, we are constantly undergoing large transformations. So we need to attract people with new talents, but this is not a challenge. There is a lot of competition for PR jobs in the city. With the startup scene, new companies can be attractive to staff, so some organizations may experience turnover, but that isn’t really happening at big brands.
Where do people in the area tend to come from?
Stockholm is a hub of innovation, so you will find lots of small startup companies and large international businesses that have a long history or legacy of innovation, as well as export companies.
That has always attracted other people from different parts of Sweden. One in five Swedes live in Stockholm.
The city’s globally recognized brands and universities also attract people from all across the world.
Who are your major competitors located in the area?
Those in Stockholm’s tech market include Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent, and Huawei. In the services market, we compete with several companies, including IBM.
What sectors drive the Stockholm economy?
The technology industry is really strong in Stockholm, including companies that focus on telecommunications, the Internet, media, and IT.
Sweden is also strong in digital services. Our tech startups include brands such as Spotify, King, Klarna, Tictail, GP Bullhound, FundedByMe, Osom, Gavagai, Memoto, Schibsted, Doremir, Goo, Instabridge, and Magine.
If you’re a Swede, you are going to look for organizational models that will allow you to do business in other parts of the world at the lowest possible cost. So that is why we have a strong digital trend in the city.
In the next couple of years, Stockholm is going to see the development of interesting innovations in relation to what happens when you start connecting different industries and systems with each other.
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