The most pessimistic town in Finland

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An original territorial marketing initiative

Project summary: 

The project developed a new type of territorial marketing based on pessimism, a landmark feature of the Puolanka village.

By turning pessimism into a positive brand, the project used wicked humour for territorial marketing purposes. Local youth were actively involved in association activities and producing social media content.

Project results: 

The project brought tangible benefits to local tourism and other businesses, local people, Puolanka’s cultural production and the marketing of the municipality.

The project managed to turn the negative into positive and to gain visibility and new visitors for the municipality of Puolanka by coming up with a new type of territorial marketing. At the same time, this helped develop and increase cultural activities and a sense of belonging and community. The project also improved the town’s services and created employment opportunities for young people. Follow-up activities were designed and implemented using further LEADER funding.

The project gained strong social media coverage which led to dozens of newspaper articles published in different countries. It attracted the attention of international media and the project is now part of an international study on smart shrinkage.

  • Instead of imposing things on young people, ask them how they want to get involved.
  • Have the courage to do things your own way.
  • Having fun is the key to getting people involved, actively participating and staying active – when you are excited about the things you do, you succeed and when you succeed, you get even more excited.
  • Everybody’s involvement is important, whether they are beginners or experts – encourage people to improve their skills instead of always doing the same things you already know well.
  • Use social media in a creative way and think how to involve other people in sharing your message: e.g. funny, “instagrammable” sights or signs, like the road signs outside of Puolanka, which spread easily on social media.