The Swedish American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago regularly brings business leaders to the city to create and nurture trade and business relationships between Chicago and Sweden.
On Tuesday, April 3, SACC Chicago invited communications and media professionals from Sweden for “fika” and discussion with like-minded Chicagoans at Slack and Company. The special guests from Sweden were here to seek inspiration on issues related to communications, media and politics.
“It’s a good start for cooperation over the borders,” said Fredrik Andersson, representing Prime Group, a Swedish public relations and public affairs firm.
Large parts of the discussion focused on labor unions, since the Swedish union paper Arbetet (The Work) was represented by Publisher Johanna Kronlid and Editorial Chief Editor Martin Klepke.
Arbetet is the publication of LO, the central organization for affiliates with workers within both the private and public sectors. The magazine, previously known as LO-tidningen, is a weekly publication that reaches 85,000 readers every week.

Benefit of unions
Kevin Lampe, vice president of Kurth Lampe, a strategic communication firm, admired the communication between labor unions and workers in Sweden.
“I think you communicate much better with your workers,” said Lampe to his Swedish counterparts.
Kitty Kurth, president of Kurth Lampe, said the lack of communication has left many workers unaware of the benefits of labor unions in America.
“People don’t know what labor unions can do for them because they are not advertised to the general public,” she said.
Colleen Snell, director of Client Services for Slack and Company, focuses on helping companies be visible in the digital world and participate on social platforms.
“Direct marketing is taking on a new shape with direct response online and through other digital channels,” said Snell.
The development of social media platforms gives a company access to fans and followers that in turn can keep track of the company and communicate, ask questions or make comments.
According to Petronella Panérus, CEO of Scholz & Friends Stockholm, the fast-paced transition from print to digital media brought changes and new challenges.
“The customers are not coming to us anymore, we have to come to them,” said Panérus.
“The tradition is to tell the members what they need, not to ask,” added Kronlid. “It’s changing, and we have to start listening to the younger generation.”

Text & Photography: Erik Kinnhammar

For more info on SACC-Chicago, see SACC-Chicago