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A Focus On... Denmark

VitalStatistics

Population: 5,574,000.
Monetary unit: Danish krone
Capital city: Copenhagen
Major languages: Danish
Major religions: Evangelical Lutheran 83.0%; other Christian 1.3%; Muslim 3.7%; nonreligious 5.4%; atheist 1.5%; other 5.1%
Ethnic composition: Danish 91.9%; Turkish 0.6%; German 0.5%; Iraqi 0.4%; Swedish 0.4%; Norwegian 0.3%; Bosnian 0.3%; other 5.6%
Age breakdown: under 15, 18.3%; 15–29, 17.6%; 30–44, 21.3%; 45–59, 20.0%; 60–74, 15.8%; 75–84, 5.0%; 85 and over, 2.0%
Life expectancy: male 76.5 years; female 80.8 years
Education: Percentage of population age 25–69 having: completed lower secondary or not stated 30.3%; completed upper secondary or vocational 43.9%; undergraduate 19.6%; graduate 6.2%
Urban/Rural split: urban 86.6%; rural 13.4%
Income per household (USD): -
Broadband internet users (%): -

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Introduction

Klavs Valskov, head of communications at Danish shipping giant Maersk believes that PR is fast moving up the agenda of Danish boardrooms. “Communication, branding and marketing teams are all increasingly important to executive boards,” he says. “They are beginning to think about how certain developments will affect their reputations, and how the media would respond to certain actions. As a result there is a slowly growing demand for PR professionals.”

At many companies this is in the field of public affairs. “A major change for us in the last year or two has been the increasing focus on public affairs over pure media relations,” says Peter Steen Mortensen, communications director at engineering consultants Alectia. “Airtime is now so much more limited than it was ten to twenty years ago that we have to be more focused on where we spend our budget. We have had a great deal of success setting up working groups at Parliament connecting industry figures with MPs.

Ultimately this is a small market and reputation matters,” comments Peter Nielsen, MD at investment firm BlackRock. “There is a limited number of journalists in any market segment, so you need to maintain a good reputation with all of them. The best PR professionals recognise this and are doing a very good job of building those relationships on behalf of their corporate clients.” He believes that while they are strong domestically, Danish PR professionals could develop a more international outlook. “Danish journalists can be too focused on domestic issues and so it's relatively easy to get local stories placed,” he explains. “We've worked hard to draw the attention of journalists to international events that are affecting Denmark and this tactic is starting to produce results.”

Media

There are two main TV channels, DR and TV2, both of which are public service, as well as a popular 24-hour news channel, TV2 News. Reuters and Ritzau are the most important newswires.

In terms of print, Morten Grøn, chairman of the board of industry body  Danish

Association of Public Relations Agencies, says: “Børsen is the leading financial media, Politiken, Berlingske and Jyllands-Posten are the major dailies, whereas many B2C brands must pay attention to the leading life style media, such as Euroman and Femina.”

As in so much of the world, online is rapidly

growing in importance. Nielsen at Black Rock, says: “We’re being approached much more frequently by journalists from online titles, and this is changing our PR work. These titles want new stories and they want something short. It’s a major shift from working on longer pieces with longer lead times.”

Major Brands

Denmark is internationally known for consumer brands such as Carlsberg, Bang&Olufsen and Lego, but for many the true Danish bellwether brand is Maersk, which is in fact the world's largest container shipping line. It has in recent years done a great deal of work on its internal communications.

Valskov says: “For 50 years, the management of this very traditional company viewed employee
engagement as a strange, soft-boiled and alien concept. The same was true of media relations. Since 2008, our attitude has changed. Executives now regularly speak with staff and journalists

about the company’s direction. Employee voices are heard all over the company. The communications department is now considered a fundamental part of the business, besieged with requests for support from every business line.”

Agencies

Of the global groups, Bell Pottinger, Kreab Gavin Anderson, MSL and Hill + Knowlton Strategies are all highly visible. Grayling and Weber Shandwick operate through affiliates: Prime Time and Outcome respectively.

All face stiff competition from local firms such as Aspekta, Boman Communications, Front Page PR, Geelmuyden Kiese, URGENT Communications, Have Communications, Kaster Gaardbo, Kragelund Communications, Lead AgencyD Mannov and Star PR.

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