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Blog 19.06.2018

Successful PR events in Russia

“Together” was not just a vain word in this case. Visit Finland has called for Finns to join up, and an impressive cluster of partners did so.
Author
Sergei Shkurov

Marketing Specialist, Russia & CIS
Visit Finland

Russia – largest tourism market for Finland, and a special one in many aspects. Volatile, unpredictable to certain extent, but also the one with huge potential and possibilities for growth. From essential markets, Russia is the closest to Finland – that means, many Russians know at least something about Suomi.

Early 2017, as competition for Russians got tougher after the 2014-2016 economic crisis was fading away, Visit Finland Russia team was looking for ways to re-inforce its upcoming B2C campaigns in Russia, to add a different angle to online presence and media exposure.

So a good old wheel was taken and re-invented – it was decided to arrange large scale B2C PR events in Russian capital, in a form of a free entry city festival, targeting our main audience families with children and young adults.

For Visit Finland it would have been the first large event in Russia for many years, and a first of such shape and content. The aim was set high – to get highly motivated target audience not just to click and read about Finland, but to show up and communicate with Finland on live mode. This of course to be done with quality, style and a budget five to ten times smaller than your usual beach destination suspects are throwing in.

"Together" was not just a vain word in this case

Visit Finland has called for Finns to join up, and an impressive cluster of partners did so, including Embassy of Finland in Moscow, various regional tourism organisations and consumer brands, like Valio, Paulig, Fazer and Reima to name a few. Along came also major local tour operators and other Russian partners.

And so, in a middle of windy, cold and rainy October, Flacon design factory in Moscow witnessed around 10 000 visitors, showing their interest and love in Finland.

After such an amazing start, there was a welcomed change made in 2018 action plan by Visit Finland Russia. Visit Finland has set up two more similar format events for this year, expanding also to Saint Petersburg and aiming for spring and beginning of summer, in order to enhance not only the image and general awareness, but also strongly pushing the tactical sales for summer season.

Day of Finland in St. Petersburg resulted into complaints about a venue too small

Saint Petersburg festival called "Day of Finland" was set to happen on 19th May in creative space "Tkachi", with free entrance and versatile content program, provided by over than two dozen of Finnish partners, including Consulate General of Finland in SPB, Institute of Finland in SPB, Come to Finland, Prisma, Valio, Tikkurila, Viking Line, Tallink, Paulig, Finnair, Visit Turku, Visit Tampere, Kotka-Hamina, Holiday Club, Saimaa region and many more. There were Moomins from Naantali, Angry Birds, Finnish food, culture, language and design...

After six months of preparations, the wait was finally over, and on 19th May nervously excited Visit Finland Russia team was awating for Saint Petersburg event to begin. PR campaign went excellent in SPB, with radio and TV appearances and lots of interest in social media, so expected amount of visitors (taken into account other large public events in the city on same day) was risen from original 3 000 to 5 000!

And expectations were fulfilled – already within two first hours of "Day of Finland"! Altogether, over 8 900 guests visited the event during the day, resulting even in some complaints about the venue size, not able to fit in all the crowd.

The Nordic Way in Moscow attracted over 16 500 guests

After a short rest-break in Helsinki main office, Visit Finland hit the road again, this time getting back to invade Moscow on Saturday 2nd June. Moscow event went by the name of "Nordic Way" – joint family festival with Visit Norway, at the same Flacon design factory. This time, the whole area of huge Soviet perfume glass factory was in use for Finnish and Norwegian partners, local tour operators, Nordic food courts, Finnish consumer goods, books, and design, along with lectures, master classes and workshops for kids, Finnish and Scandinavian live music and loads of fun.

Prognosis was set for 10 000 people, and once again it was exceeded. During the day, Nordic Way was visited by over than 16 500 guests, interacting live on site with our partners and getting to know Suomi and its offerings in a depth.

Now, we at Visit Finland have a rather difficult task ahead of us for 2019. We will definitely return to Saint Petersburg and Moscow next Spring, with larger venue and improved arrangements to continue the success saga of Finland promotion for B2C audience. But since the bar has to be set higher, Visit Finland will need You – our partners to join in even bigger and bolder, with as creative and interactive formats of presence as possible. Because the outcome is definitely worth the effort!

For early heads-up information on upcoming 2019 events in Russia, please contact the Visit Finland Russia team.

Keep calm and join the "Day of Finland"!