19 April 2006
Helsinki (Finland) - In January 2006, Design Forum Finland started a strategic planning process to improve international marketing of Finnish design.
Helsinki (Finland) - In January 2006, Design Forum Finland started a strategic planning process in order to improve international marketing of Finnish design and to reinforce its position internationally. Design Forum Finland s vision is to make Finland internationally known for its high class design know-how and include design as an integral part of Finland's national image by 2010. "In the past, design has had an exceptionally important role in building the national identity of Finland. Today, design is strongly integrated to the modern Finnish society, which is based on research, innovativeness and technological know-how," states Mr Ilpo Santala, CEO of Design Forum Finland.

The aim of the project is to improve the visibility of Finnish design both in international press as well as in important international arenas. The purpose is to present new designers, companies and success stories alongside well-known icons of Finnish design. The marketing strategy currently under preparation is intended to promote the international competitiveness of design-intensive companies and the design sector as a whole. At the national level, the aim is to make design as one of the prime focuses of Finnish creative exports and to seek synergies in the promotion of other cultural, as well as technological fields.

Needs of the Finnish design sector as a starting point
The need for intensifying the international marketing efforts of Finnish design has originated from the Finnish design sector. According to research done in recent years, the lack of marketing and communication skills is currently one of the main challenges for the Finnish design community. According to the study The Impact of Design on Economic Performance (2005, Nyberg M. & Lindstrom M.) made by ETLA (The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy), Finland ranks high in the technology related design know-how whereas know-how related to marketing and communication is weaker.

Steering group and the working team
For the project, a steering group has been appointed. The members are: Arni Aromaa (CEO, Pentagon Design), Eero Miettinen (Design Group Manager, Nokia), Outi Raatikainen (Communications Manager, University of Art and Design in Helsinki), Ilpo Santala (CEO/Chairman, Design Forum Finland) and Eva Torra (Marketing Director, JCDecaux/Finland). Design Forum Finland is responsible for the strategic planning of the project, in cooperation with a Stockholm based brand development agency Grow Partners Ab. Members of the Design Forum Finland working team are Brand Manager Anna Varakas (project leader), Marketing Manager P ivi Kaira, PR & Communications Manager Aila Kolehmainen, Project Manager Hanna Neuvo and Marketing Planner Kristina Noor.

The first stage of the strategic planning process will be completed by summer 2006. Practical marketing measures will be undertaken during autumn 2006.

For further information please contact:

Anna Varakas
T: +358-9-6220 8116
C: +358 50 53 88 543