Vaidas Matulaitis: “For Estonians, Lithuania is close, but still far away”

Vaidas Matulaitis is a Lithuanian marketer living in Estonia. He is the founding partner of marketing agency Stereo and Member of the Board at World Lithuanian Community.
How easy it is for Lithuanian companies to enter the Estonian market?
For the Lithuanian companies, the Estonian market is hard to enter, it is very protectionist.
It does not help to have a Lithuanian origin. The perception of Lithuania is at least neutral or even a little bit on the negative side.
The Nordic countries, like Sweden and Finland, have very positive image in Estonia.
For example, Latvia and Finland are exposed in Estonian media a lot. But there is not too much talk about Lithuania. Lithuania is pretty close, but still far away. I even have heard the saying that “Lithuania is a country beyond Latvia.”
The problem is that Estonians do not know Lithuania enough. If you do not know the country, you cannot trust their companies either.
Lithuanian company entering Estonia has to make an effort and take more time as compared to Nordic businesses, for example.
What are the biggest differences between Estonia and Lithuania when it comes to marketing?
I would point out three main things.
Firstly, Estonians are verbal people, words are important for Estonians. Lithuanians are visual people. Even the same brands, like Telia, take different approach. In Estonia the campaign would have a clean picture and one sentence, usually using some wordplay or humor. In Lithuania, the same campaign would be very visual, with lots of images.
Secondly, the sense of humor. I once read a research paper about the usage of humor in advertising. Estonia is among top 3 in Europe, Lithuania, is on the bottom end regarding the usage of humor in advertising. Estonian humor is sarcastic, ironic. In Lithuania, the irony in ads is a big no-no.
Last but not least, the color coding. The world of the colors is different. Look at our flags: Lithuanian flag has African colors. Our national color is “Lithuanian green” and we use it a lot in advertising. In Estonia, the dominant color is blue.
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