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Utilise the Danish strongholds to secure strong brand awareness globally

How can we strengthen Denmark’s position as a leading food nation internationally and how should Danish food and agriculture companies brand themselves on distant export markets? These questions have followed Food Nations annual insight report that was launched in the autumn 2019 and in the following article Associate Professor from Copenhagen Business School Mads Mordhorst has given his view on this topic. 

The annual insight report on Denmark as a Food Nation was launched for the first time in the autumn 2019 and was surveyed among decision makers on four of Denmark’s largest export markets Germany, United Kingdom, China and the United States.

The insight report illustrates that there is a big potential for the Danish food cluster to manifest even stronger as a leading food nation on the global scene as only 5% of the decision makers rate Denmark as a top-of-mind food nation. The associations on Denmark as a food nation are though positive and key elements such as quality, food safety, sustainability, organic, healthy and natural are ranked high. However, the global awareness on Denmark’s strongholds within topics such as innovation and technology have a potential to increase and become even stronger as solutions to global resource and food safety challenges.

Common branding to secure strong brand position

From a historical point of view Denmark have held a strong position as food nation internationally and have been able to differentiate itself from other large food producing countries. To keep the position on the competitive international market it is important that we continue to innovate and communicate the strongholds we are known for, according to Mads Mordhorst.

“Traditionally, Denmark have had a strong brand in export markets, where we became known for our security, efficiency and collaboration. To maintain the success on the export markets it is necessary to continue communicating the Danish strongholds within the agriculture and food sector internationally. For the modernized global consumers, the story about the product is just as important as the quality level of the product”

He suggests that food companies to a higher degree should use a common branding of Danish agriculture and food products, so called co-branding.

“Since Denmark is a small country, it makes sense for companies to merge their branding activities instead of just branding their own products”.

With branding under one clear narrative with a common look and expression the branding consortium Food Nation gather the Danish food cluster under one umbrella and promote it as a solid supplement to companies’ effort on the international markets.

Utilise all strongholds in the communication

Results from the insight report illustrates that decision makers to a high degree associates the Danish food cluster on quality and food safety. On the other hand, there is an unaided potential within innovation and technology and according to Mads Mordhorst, this can be utilised even more.

“In the 19th century we gained unique market access due to the Danish brand for reliability and quality, but the global consumer also needs to associate Danish food with the more newly established strongholds such as innovation, entrepreneurial and technological front-runners.”

On top of that affordability was ranked relatively low by the respondents in the survey and again the strongholds can play a central role.

“By communicating all strongholds and qualities it is possible to legitimize the prize and hence position and compete even stronger on the premium market where Danish products and solutions belong”

Dare to differentiate through strongholds

The distance between Denmark and the foreign markets might be a reason for lower brand awareness. The insight report shows that respondents from China and the United States ranks Denmark lower than the European neighbour markets Germany and United Kingdom and it is possible to see that the brand awareness follow the trade flows.

“It is important to respect that it can be difficult to position ourselves as a global market player on a distant export market and Denmark will always be perceived as a small nation abroad due to its size – even though we have some large agriculture and food companies who are among top 10 brands internationally.”

Despite the huge distances it is still possible to keep our international position and even improve it by using all the strongholds as the Danish food and agriculture sector are known for and use a strong common message says, Mads Modhorst.

“By utilising the strongholds that we are known for in the Danish agriculture and food sector and communicate with a coherent voice we can stand stronger and differentiate against foreign competitors. – A strong brand dares to differentiate and be unique.”

Get inspired to do business with the Danish food cluster

As a branding consortium for the Danish food and agricultural sector, Food Nation highlight the strongholds of the food cluster and support you with material for your international expansion. At Food Nation’s webpage it is possible to find information about the stronghold’s quality and safety, sustainability, organic production, gastronomy, health and the unique Danish way of collaborating and download free materials.

Read more about the strongholds and download white papers  and find more information about the insight report here. Food Nation is a public-private partnership established by the Danish government and leading private organisations and companies. Food Nation aim to promote and strengthen Denmark’s position as a frontrunner in global agricultural and food production.