Leave it to the Nordens to take on the—perhaps redundant—task of rebranding itself.
The (generically-named, but still important) Nordic Council of Ministers, a geo-political inter-parliamentary forum formed after World War II to bolster cooperation among Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden—as well as the autonomous areas of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and the Åland Islands—has commissioned a “creative consortium” led by—who else—the Bjarke Ingels Group to create new “place branding” in an effort to promote’s the region’s shared values.
According to the page for the initiative, titled Branding and Positioning of the Nordic Region:
The Nordic countries share values such as openness, trust, innovation, sustainability, and humanity. An ambitious project will now fly the flag for these and other Nordic values, and show that our countries are stronger together than on their own.
BIG will work with Danish advertising agency Mensch, U.S. and Danish tech company Area9, and New York-based graphic design studio Ole Lund Creative to deploy their winning concept, “Traces of the North,” which, according to a press release, “builds on the idea of curating ‘Nordic narratives’ around the world, facilitated by new and sophisticated technology.”
Christina Tønnesen, CEO of Mensch elaborates:
Thinking in Nordic terms has been a really fascinating process. Although the narrative of the democratic Nordic Region currently enjoys plenty of momentum, there will always be potential for making the brand even stronger. Our ambition is to present a more multi-faceted image of the Region. We want to create a living manifestation of the Nordic brand, the Nordic mindset, and Nordic 'traces' in the world.
We’re looking forward to seeing what these other traces might be. So far, we’ve got the following:
Sweden: IKEA, Nobel Prizes, meatballs, Swedish Fish, fashion
Denmark: Legos, butter cookies in tins, Bjarke Ingels, fine wood cabinetry
Norway: fjords, the midnight sun, oil, skiing, nature hikes, trolls
Finland: Marimekko, birch trees, saunas, vodka, coffee, Santa Claus, Angry Birds
Faroe Islands: reindeer, sheep, whaling
Iceland: Björk, elves, skyr, handball, raw puffin heart
Greenland: ice caps, glaciers, polar bears, kayaks, igloos