New York, New York: Takeaways from our Grow to the USA presentation

I was recently fortunate enough to be invited to present at a Grow to the USA workshop in New York at the office of one of our clients, Vainu, to discuss content creation and PR here in the United States — particularly offering some tips from experience working with Nordic brands.

 All the companies participating in the event were from Finland and in various stages of considering creating a physical presence in the United States.

It was incredibly inspiring and encouraging to meet so many entrepreneurs considering not just doing business in the U.S., but investing time, energy and resources into creating an office, bringing on team members and literally taking their business across an ocean.

 I got to share the stage with Vainu’s talented VP of Sales in the United States, as well as the Chief Development Officer of global marketing firm, Burson-Marsteller.

 While the workshop was primarily to benefit the Finnish companies in attendance, I did glean several takeaways that I think are universal for all business leaders.

 Let me share a few of them:


Be confident in your product/service

 This probably sounds like common sense, but I was impressed with how fired up some of these companies were about their offering. One of the companies even carried around a sample of the product they manufacture and raved about its benefits every chance they had. What I witnessed were businesses who were so passionate grow and reach milestones that they couldn’t help but tell you about what they did and why it was the best. That kind of confidence definitely goes along way when pitching investors, conducting media interviews, instilling values in your team members and beyond.


Reputation is currency in the current marketplace

 No, I cannot lay claim to this piece of advice — it came during the Burson presentation. But, I really think it rings true in an era where anyone can turn to social media in a heartbeat to bash your brand.

 Take the now infamous United Airlines’ PR nightmare in April 2017 when a person was dragged of the airplane after refusing to give up his seat. I was curious to see what kind of impact that incident had on United Airlines financially — it did cause a serious dip in United’s stock the week of the incident, according to this Business Insider article. And, there were remnants of the events days, even weeks after the incident. Reputation is currency and companies may stand to lose revenue when their reputation is tarnished in our Digital Era.


Localize your marketing to meet your target audience

 I spoke about the importance of this — when I say “localize” I don’t necessarily mean down to zip code; although, if you’re a consumer-facing brand working in a local market, that is most certainly important.

 Rather, I mean that brands, when entering new markets, need to do their market research and create campaigns that approach their local audience — whether they are a consumer-facing brand opening up a physical shop or a B2B brand targeting customers in a new region or country.

 While customers’ painpoints may be similar regardless of where they are located, the way in which you describe your solution to those challenges is going to be different. From the messaging in your blogs and across your website to the marketing approaches you use (from PR to social to email marketing). Every market is going to be different enough to approach them as unique and deserving of their own marketing plan. In short, you’re not going to have a one-size-fits-all, universal marketing strategy if you’re an organization with multiple locations, markets, customer bases, etc.


Want to hear more about what I learned? Feel free to send me an email at or call our office at (773) 453-2444; I would love to share more insights with you and hopefully provide some inspiration for your day.