Posted by: practicalglobalrelations | February 22, 2010

PR Differences: Scandinavia vs. the U.S.

Last week, I listened to a guest speaker, Frans Grandjean, who spoke to the class about situational communication. Frans Grandjean is the director/co-owner of Communiqué, a Danish affiliate of Edelman. Communiqué is the fourth largest Danish public relations company.

Grandjean highlighted three easy rules to follow when practicing situational communication:

1. Never underestimate organizational communication (In other words, be humble)

2. Never hide behind written communication (personal)

3. Do not overlook organizational conflicts (interacting)

Grandjean specifically caught my attention when he started discussing the differences between how public relations works in Europe and in the U.S. – a topic of interest to me. He explained one thing he has noticed while visiting several Edelman offices in the U.S., which was that business here is a lot less patient, mostly due to quartly accounts – something not as popular for European PR firms. His overall view of office environment in the U.S. is “tough.” People work harder, longer hours and are generally tolerant of their workspace, i.e. office cluterness. This part of his presentation started me thinking about my experience in France, witnessing a completely different work-life balance. The French generally have more of a focus on being home with their families rather than working a 40-60 hour work week. Most businesses are closed on Sundays, including grocery stores, because they value that day to be not only a religious day, but a day to be a family.

These differences in work life in the field of public relations also apply to the different countries in Europe, as well as in capitals and providences. One region might house more firms because there are larger companies in that area with more demand; whereas another region might be small enough to where they do not carry a ton of work. For instance, he used a comparison that it is a lot harder to get something published in the New York Times than the Register Guard.

Another interesting point he discussed was that up until recently, public relations in Scandinavia was just press. This means that they did not plan events, distribute fliers, etc. Grandjean said that this region recently took note of the successful public relations practices and techniques being used in England and the U.S. and decided to change to this fresh, new concept of PR. In a global world, these differences tend to disappear.

These images are products of Google Image.



  1. It’s interesting how culture greatly influences one’s work schedule. Grandjean points out how our office environments are tough; however, there are many countries (including Korea, Japan, etc) statistically log more hours than the average US employee.

    Great to know these customs too – Scandinavia sounds like a nice place to work!

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