5 Insights from the PLACExNordic Conference

May 29, 2024
Man standing on stage at PlacexNordic Conference in Estonia to talk about place branding best practices

Recently in Tallinn, Estonia, about 150 place branding and marketing leaders convened for the PLACExNordic conference, an annual gathering of those working to attract visitors, talent and businesses to their cities and countries.  

Steve Duncan from our European-based sister agency, C Studios, was there to soak up the best practices from the Nordics (and beyond). The region is at the forefront of place branding, with a design-forward and collaborative-rich environment leading to innovative approaches to FDI and talent attraction.  

Below are four themes from that resonated most from the two-day conference. 

1. People need to know who you are and what you stand for before they’ll truly connect with you.

Leaders at Work in Estonia shared how they first started their world-class talent attraction campaign, when a potential candidate confused Estonia as a company, not a place. Whoops! It was an important insight though – no one knows who we are! The team quickly pivoted to investing more resources in first building a reputation for the country, realizing that would feed anything that followed.   

2. A strong place brand can fill the void in international talent attraction. 

The talent pool is getting more international, which means people are coming from farther away. Traditional employer brands might not be as strong in this new context as they are locally, but a healthy place brand can plug the gap. This is where EDOs and DMOs can play a vital role in facilitating job placement – by helping employers become more competitive through the selling of “place.”  

3. Cities and countries are struggling to integrate their international populations.

Attracting internationals is one thing, but even mature city and national initiatives are struggling with truly integrating those who move globally into the local community. This weakens ties and makes newly relocated talent susceptible to returning home much too soon.  

4. For global talent, reception and retention should be synonymous with attraction.

Work in Estonia shared their feedback from exit interviews with people who had left the country after trying it out. Some said it was the weather or dark nights – that’s not something the Estonia team can fix. But other feedback indicated that living partners had trouble finding jobs. That was the impetus for the spouse programme, which has successfully placed partners with other companies in the country. 

For more insights on international place marketing, you can follow C Studios on LinkedIn. C Studios is DCI’s Netherlands-based joint venture with OCO Global focusing on FDI and talent marketing in Europe and beyond. If you’re looking to get on the map in target markets overseas, reach out to Steve Duncan, Managing Director, C Studios, at [email protected]. 

Written by

Steve Duncan

Managing Director, C Studios