The Friendliness Project

Category B01. Corporate Image, Communication & Reputation Management
TitleThe Friendliness Project
Entrant LERNIA Stockholm, SWEDEN
Media Placement LERNIA Stockholm, SWEDEN
Production 2 LITKA Stockholm, SWEDEN
Name Company Position
Elias Wästberg Lernia Communications Manager
Katarina Devell Lernia Brand Manager
Per Frykebrant Juno PR PR Consultant
Caroline Jungsand Juno Public Relations Founder
Ellinor Irving Juno Public Relations PR Consultant
Camilla Söderlund Juno Public Relations PR Consultant

Why is this work relevant for PR?

With the deck of cards that lead to friendship we managed to tap into a current and relevant discussion and provide a simple solution to complex problem. The deck of cards became a tool that could be used by all Swedes in order to make a positive change for integration. The solution makes a difference in the long run and also highlights Lernias work and values, as well as separating them from their competitors. Using earned media and strong content we created engagement and managed to raise the awareness and influence public dialogue of the issue in Sweden.


Lernia is one of Sweden’s biggest education and staffing companies. They educate 35.000 people each year, many of which are immigrants who take part in the Swedish for Immigrants course (SFI). Lernia also hires almost 4.500 people every year, many of which have a foreign background. It gives them a unique position on the Swedish labour market in terms of recruitment, education and staffing that lead to integration and diversity. However, few people know what separates Lernia from their competitors. We needed to increase brand awareness and strengthen Lernias position as a force of integration on the labour market in Sweden. We also needed to create an emotional connection to the brand that could help them stand out when compared to its competitors.

Describe the creative idea

Research shows that friendship at the workplace is key for successful integration of immigrants. Unfortunately, Swedes are the worst in the world at making new friends according to a global survey. Newly arrived immigrants attend Swedish For Immigrants (SFI) to learn the language and get tools to integrate. But in order to get good conditions for integration we therefore needed to create more friendships at workplaces. The solution: Interaction For Swedes (IFS), a take on the SFI course but aimed at Swedes. We wanted to attack the problem of their lack of social skills in a simple but effective and useful way. The course consists of a simple deck of cards with 36 research-based questions designed to lead to interaction and friendships. The questions gradually become more personal thus making you feel closer to the person you are talking to, a method established and developed in American psychological research.

Describe the strategy

Sweden has welcomed the most immigrants in Europe relative to its population making integration a highly relevant issue. To spark interest we wanted Swedes to reflect upon their role in the integration of immigrants. To add news value and credibility we made a survey and collaborated with a well-known psychologist in both the course and launch. As the target audience are both B2B and people participating in their educations we needed a broad approach. By making a deck of cards we created engaging and easy to use content - the questions were divided into three parts, perfect for a coffee break at work. Our strategy was to tap into the discussion about integration using a trickle-down PR-strategy. For a broader result, media segments not common to Lernia, like lifestyle and health media were contacted with customized content. Lernia is present all over Sweden, so local media was also especially important.

Describe the execution

Two weeks prior to the launch we contacted key media in relevant segments to give them background material and a heads up. This was important as we wanted the discussions about this important subject to filter down. To get the discussion started the deck of cards was distributed to Lernias own offices all over the country and hundreds more of their client’s workplaces. At the same time we also made it available on Lernia’s home page where anyone who was interested could order the deck of cards to their own workplace. On launch day we did a broad media outreach, where we approached national and local media, as well as media in other segments. We launched the initiative with an experiment, where we filmed the first eight that conducted the course. The film was distributed in social and digital channels to further explain the issue and get the discussion going.

List the results

The campaign exceeded all its objectives. Brand awareness increased from 12 to 18 percent and brand knowledge went up from 26 percent to 34 percent. There was a substantial increase in people saying they would prefer Lernia over other comparable options, an increase from 5 to 9 percent. Lernia also recognized a substantial increase in business leads during and after the campaign period. The campaign was featured in all targeted media segments, both nationally and locally, with an overall reach of 7 300 000. Lernia strongly increased its visibility in media – they had three times more press clippings during the month of the campaign than the same month the year before. The project sparked a societal discussion about integration as right wing media opposed the initiative. The film about the project got a considerable high reach of 4 625 500 views, as well as a high completion rate – 52 percent on the longest version of the film. We reached over one million people on Facebook and Instagram. The demand for the deck of cards from workspaces as well as the public exceeded our wildest expectations and we had to reprint it repeatedly. In the global survey about friendship after the campaign, Sweden climbed one spot on the list and is no longer the world’s most unfriendly country