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Two women have a stand-up meeting at the Covendum co-working space in Stockholm

Photo: Fond & Fond

Categories: Your life in Stockholm

Building a brand in Stockholm: crucial do's and don'ts

Publish date: 30 November 2023

Before launching your business in Stockholm - it’s critical that you find your ‘baseline’ and avoid one-off activities.

When you’re starting out and launching a new business, there are endless guides on how to set up a social media account, how to develop a ‘sales funnel’ and how to measure and track visitors to your website. But how to prioritise and what to focus on (or not), is much harder to determine. Have we lost focus on our core and do we spend most of our time, budget and energy on activities?

As a Brit moving from London to Sweden, life has constantly been, both professionally and privately, a case of risk/reward. Following a number of years as a consultant within the media industry, creating and launching new products and services, I decided to take a big leap and launch my own business here in Stockholm.

Stockholm from above
Henrik Trygg

Known as Europe’s Silicon Valley, Stockholm is a hotbed of creativity and tech innovation accompanied by an extremely successful startup culture. As a city it’s both accessible and metropolitan, attracting great minds from all over the world who flock to work for world shaping brands such as H&M, Spotify and Electrolux. For me, the blend of community, internationalism and Swedish realism made perfect sense for me to successfully create and launch a new business here.

That being said, through my experience as a business developer, I know that the key to any success, to find and get rewards, you need to set up defined projects and plans. This became more evident when I first met my business partner Sofia. On a mutual client assignment we needed to define a project and set up KPIs and deliverables. As we began to work together, we realised that we both had a very similar experience of how organisations and startups tend to operate - focusing on sales and marketing activities with very little to no planning.

We have seen many brands and organisations that tend to forget why and for whom a particular activity was created. The starting point for these projects and activities does not come from a defined baseline but begins in ‘idea creation’ (usually during days of workshops involving multiple stakeholders), the result of which is costly (and generally ineffective) campaigns, where the activity or project is not linked properly to the brand and the business objectives/goals.

Woman in co-working office
Fond & Fond

If you are a business owner or thinking about becoming one, here is a simplified process that you can go through to find your baseline; the starting point from which all activities and projects should be found:

  • What is it that you do? Describe your business objectively and in brief.
  • What is the problem or challenge that you want to solve? Three examples could be: Where can we find new revenue streams? How can we get more brand awareness? How can we set up a production process for sales and marketing?
  • Your brand. What is your core, extended core and your brand essence?
  • Insights. Do you have any “aha moments”, like in the car industry when they realised that the purchase of a car was very much determined by the people sitting in the back seat - children.
  • Target group. Define and gather information on your target group. What are they interested in? What are the drives, triggers, wants and needs?
  • Competitors. Who are they and what do they offer and how?
  • Consumer trends and behaviours. What can we see at a global level, are there shifts within my market or product range?
  • Capabilities. What resources and capabilities does your business have?

The time you spend on finding your baseline will differ depending on your capability and resources, however, it is crucial time well spent and will allow you to define your strategy, create a concept, and then find relevant projects, activities and developments. This approach helps you avoid ‘spinning the wheel’ and spending large amounts of budget and time on activities that will not help you meet your overall objectives and/or business strategy.

Remember that much of the information is already there: you have it! It's more about gathering and structuring to give you a helicopter perspective of your situation and business which will ultimately help you hit the ground running and prioritise effectively.

Finally, has my risk paid off? Only time will tell, but once we found our baseline, the process of starting a business in Stockholm was much easier than we had anticipated. So, if like us, you’re convinced that Stockholm is the right place and want to explore further, my fellow Local Sophie Miskiw offers some sage advice on how to get your company started, summing up the practicalities perfectly.

About the author

Rachael Dixon is an entrepreneur and business developer who moved to Stockholm in 2014. With a background working with some of the UK & Sweden’s biggest media brands, she set up her own agency in 2021 with Swede Sofia Axelsson. She intended to stay in Stockholm for 6 months, but ended up loving it here, becoming a Swedish citizen in 2019. As a former rower with a need to be beside water, living in a city built on 14 islands makes all the sense in the world.

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