Danish Spin Doctors in Asia

It is rather unusual for a Danish communication company to expand towards the East and a first that a Danish PR agency opens offices in places like Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Shanghai. However, according to Corporate Spin’s Area Manager Mr. Steffen Egelund, it’s a natural development.

“Most Scandinavian media these days focus more and more on activities and events happening in Asia. So much so that there are now 7 permanent Danish correspondents in Asia compared to mostly freelance based journalist just a few years ago,” Mr. Egelund explains.

“The journalists also appear to be more critical – hence misunderstandings about Scandinavian companies are inevitable. That can be damaging to the image of these companies back home while they in fact are doing really well in this part of the world according to the standards in which they are operating here in Asia.”

Corporate Spin is owned by Mr. Svend Gundbak who also owns the lobbying company Gundbak PA. The new Public Relations arm, Corporate Spin, has been a separate unit since August 2004 under daily management by Manager Mr. Nikolaj Bøgh. Mr. Gundbak himself has as a “spin doctor” been traveling in Asia the last 3 years for clients and saw a growing potential in this market.

Corporate Spin Asia offers traditional PR in Asia but the added benefit for a Scandinavian company operating both here and back home is that Corporate Spin can advise on strategies that will also look good with Scandinavian eyes back home. This normally benefits the overall image with the public as well as with employees and shareholders.

One example of such a scenario is United Plantations in Malaysia which a few years back was attracting too much negative attention in the Danish press. Corporate Spin does not normally go public on case stories about clients but ScandAsia.com has been allowed to publicise this particular story.

“At the time we got involved, United Plantations had a somewhat questionable image in the Danish press despite the fact that here in Malaysia this particular rubber plantation is on the forefront of the industry. The owner and then CEO Tan Sri Dato Sri Borge Bech Nielsen has for almost a lifetime been one of the cornerstones in modernising and developing the entire industry,” Mr Egelund points out.

“To overcome this lukewarm Danish perception we linked them up with WWF and United Plantations has since then received numerous awards for being the world’s most environmentally friendly rubber plantation.”

Corporate Spin Asia has on a number of other occasions helped Scandinavian companies with businesses at home as well as in Malaysia, Singapore and parts of China getting their communication right by suggesting strategic solutions that pleases a critical press back home. In fact, Corporate Spin seems to be so successful that they are in expansion mode, not only when it comes to number of employees but also in terms of numbers of offices.

The coming months will for Area Manager Mr. Egelund involve a lot of traveling as Corporate Spin Asia presently are working on opening three new offices, namely in Tokyo, Hong Kong and in New Delhi. Both openings are planned to take place before the end of 2005 and should keep the sporty Area Manager and ex PR advisor for Danish European Parliament member Gitte Seeberg (Conservative) busy. When not working, which does not appear to be often, Egelund likes to both run and play squash but he hasn’t found time to hit the drums yet, one of his other favourite pastimes.

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