Safer expansion to the US for Norwegian brands

In Norway, the question “what to do after the oil production ends” has been part of debates for years. We are convinced that the answer lies in many and strong Norwegian brands.

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That is why we want to assist Norwegian companies and products to succeed in the world's largest market: the USA. With our MAAX program (Minnesota Agency Atlantic Crossing), we’ll repeat the Atlantic crossing of former emigrants and will be your pilot in the start-up phase.

Business & Brand Strategist Jan Villard's 14-day research trip in the USA has proven to be highly valuable, as he had the opportunity to connect with key representatives of the Norwegian-American business network. This experience has strengthened his belief that establishing the right network of contacts and maintaining a physical presence can unlock tremendous expansion opportunities for Norwegian companies.

Large, open and welcoming. But it's easy to slip

Many Norwegian companies strive to and may create great success in the US, but it is time-consuming and associated with large investments and high risk. We have spoken to a number of companies that have established themselves in the US market, some that are on their way and some that have considered taking the big leap.

In order to succeed, the operationalization of processes, utilization of programs and relationship building are absolutely essential. In short, you must be present in the same time zone to be successful. We can assist with this by being your "country manager for hire".

The most typical challenges associated with launching in the US:

  • Operationalization and progress in a start-up phase affect daily operations at home.
  • Presence – it’s hard to get anywhere if you don't spend a lot of time in the US.
  • Networks exist, but it requires time and patience to fully utilize them.
  • The time difference lengthens and slows down processes.
  • Strategy and the need for insight, the adaptation of brand and value proposition, as well as planning initiatives for impact.
  • Legal issues must be taken seriously – a so-called "gentleman's agreement" will not do.

MAAX aims to reduce risk and ensure progress and operationalization in the assessment and start-up phase.

Norway, yes way

It is a fact that Americans are interested in Norwegian products and that they like doing business with Norwegians. Today, as many people of Norwegian descent live in the USA as in the whole of Norway – and Minnesota has the most of them. Few Norwegians are prouder of their Norwegian heritage than those who live in this state.

Minnesota is the best state to soft launch in the USA for Norwegian brands. You are more than welcome, and we will help you succeed!

Tim Walz, Governor of Minnesota

Important memberships

BARN – Norway House. Norway House is an important ‘concierge’ for challenges and opportunities throughout the United States. They give us access to ‘Norwegian’ senior mentors with globalization experience who have been successful in the USA. Furthermore, you will receive invaluable introductions to strategic partners, service providers and funding.

The MAAX program requires BARN membership.


In addition, we recommend membership in The Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce – which has over 100 years of history for Norwegian-American business networks. NACC is one of the most important points of contact in the United States.

A new wave of immigrants is on its way

Minnesota. You will not find a stronger connection to Norwegian culture and identity anywhere else. Created by Norwegian emigrants between 1820 and 1920 with two empty hands, but with a proud identity, cultural heritage and great ambitions.

Minnesota will remind us of the way to stronger brands that take a bigger place in the world. We must be true to a clear identity, have the will to take visible responsibility and think long-term.

It is time to take the journey again.

"Country manager for hire" - responsibilities and tasks

We can be your ‘Country Manager’ in the USA as an operational resource with an extensive mandate in the right time zone. The tasks are individually adapted but usually include:

  • Preparation of a launch plan. Assess opportunities and risks in the US and establish an adapted and realistic plan for launch.
  • Market insight. Establish insights about target groups, government relations, distribution, media, etc.
  • Strategy. Adapt strategy to the brand and communication (traditional Norwegian communication often doesn’t cut it in the US)
  • Distribution. Strategy and ensuring the right channels from the start.
  • Communication. Marketing plan and execution of marketing activities.
  • Legal issues must be handled. IPO, customer and supplier relations etc.
  • Program and network. Get the most out of BARN*, NACC, Innovation Norway and others who can contribute to our success.
  • Financing – search for investors, present and build relationships. Apply for relevant financial support schemes.
  • Operations. Establishment of a branch office and recruitment of initial organisation/management when the time is right.

Jan Villard

Business & Brand Strategist and Partner at Minnesota Agency – and our/your man in America from Q1 2024.

Jan Villard
Tel.: 900 30 250