The centenary communications relied on networks, and debate on traditional and social media. The focus was on creating and sharing interesting content and involving all Finns and friends of Finland in the communications.
The themes and volumes grew as the year progressed and went from gentle wake-up calls to meaningful content and the joyful flow of events. The committed network ensured that the jubilee message snowballed. In practice, all Finns (98%) were aware of the centennial year of their country’s independence.
Wake up! The centenary is about to start!
The preparation phase in 2015 focused on raising awareness of the celebrations. A comprehensive stakeholder survey was carried out among the key influencers, to explore their hopes and views on the centenary. The operations got under way that year: the programme application process, launched in the spring, and the funding application process in the autumn mobilised the most eager parties, and awareness of the project quickly spread. Regional activities increased awareness across Finland.
By late autumn, the centenary programme had a form, content, and visuals that could be communicated to the public. The wake-up phase culminated in the launch of communications just before Independence Day in 2015. This formed the basis for how the topic was handled in public, and special attention was paid to the content and phrasing.
Relevant for everyone
Interest in the centenary began to grow significantly in 2016. The focus of the communications was on motivation and signification. The network was equipped with content and materials with which to communicate the centenary programme. Common ground was established for the jubilee year, and its significance was enhanced.
Stakeholder workshops were organised in spring 2016, and these were attended by influencers and representatives of various organisations. The aim was to draw the networks’ attention to the centenary and the new way of setting up celebrations. In 2015 and 2016, representatives of the Secretariat met with the management of all major national and regional media.
Significance was enhanced by increasing programme communications, where examples and participants were used to demonstrate the scale and diversity of the celebrations. As the volume increased, more resources were allocated to communications and a ‘Finland 100 newsroom’ was set up to provide daily content. The stream of articles, videos, comments, newsletters, social media updates, and online content accelerated. The team formed with the communications partner grew to include around 10 people.
An important media and stakeholder event in terms of communications was held in Helsinki in September 2016, when there were a hundred days until the beginning of the centenary. Marking the date and the actual countdown clearly increased awareness and expectations for future events. The media started to publish reports on the preparations, and the Finland 100 channels grew busier. The centenary could be seen on the horizon.
An avalanche of communications
The celebrations kicked off at the successful Finland 100 opening, and the subsequent enthusiasm was enormous. To guarantee balanced content and to maintain interest, communications related to the centenary were divided into three themes. In the spring, it was Finland’s strengths that were highlighted, while communications in the summer focused on the thousands of cheerful events. Preparations for the culmination accelerated in autumn, when the focus turned to Finland’s history, stories, and important events.
The goal was to offer all Finns and friends of Finland the opportunity to be engaged in all forms of activities right from the start. The Finland’s faces app and the programme for small companies were launched at the Finland 100 opening. The Finland 100 opening on New Year’s Eve broke records in terms of reach, followers, and attractiveness. The abundant and high-quality programme both in Finland and abroad increased the hype.
As the spring progressed, the communications highlighted the strengths of Finnish society: democracy, equality, and education, and related programme contents. Early in the summer, large and exceptional public events offered plenty of opportunities for participation and new experiences.
The project’s only actual media campaigns were carried out online, on television and in the cityscape around the time of the jubilee. The Finland 100 organisation had many responsibilities related to the main events held in the Helsinki region on Independence Day, which increased the pressure on the communications team.
After the climax and thank you messages, the channels went quiet and the Finland 100 organisation moved into the background.