Helena Renström Speaker Profile

Helena Renström, marketing manager at Skellefteå municipality, has a PhD in marketing from Hanken School of Economics, in Helsinki, Finland. She has over 20 years of marketing experience working both as a university teacher and researcher, as well as a practitioner in both private and public sector with board experience from several different organizations.

Skellefteå has been nominated Placebrander of The Year three times and Helena has been nominated communicator of the year in public sector in 2017.

Helena Renström has done talks at Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting (SKL) on social media campaigns as well as challenging gender stereotypes in communication. She has been in panel discussions held by Sveriges Kommunikatörer in Almedalen. She has also held seminars at Teknologisk institut, Nordic Media Programme and has presented for various municipalities interested in learning more about place branding and development.

She has published in the International Journal of Bank Marketing, Managing Service Quality, Principles and Practice of Marketing and has presented papers at several international academic conferences within the field of services marketing.

Based in Skellefteå, Sweden.

Speaking topics:

  • Place development
  • Citizen involvement and engagement
  • Industry establishments
  • Gender stereotypes
  • Place branding processes and methods


1. From zero to success – the process leading to the establishment of Europe’s largest battery plant in Skellefteå, north Sweden.

The talk will cover both the place branding process involving citizens, private and public parties, as well as the process of organizing a team working with one of the largest industrial establishment processes in Europe.

How can a municipality in North Sweden, which at the start was not even chosen among the first 20 possible locations, end up as the chosen one? What was the role of the place branding process? How did the core team work? What factors were crucial?

2. Stereotypes – breaking norms as a driving force of place development

The talk describes a campaign “Ge Plats” that received a lot of attention (both love and hate) and was nominated Placebrander of the year in 2017. The presentation includes examples of methods, pictures, statistics, as well as examples of written communication. The insights are foremost reflective and emphasize mistakes and challenges. We will also look at success factors when it comes to challenging gender stereotypes and how this relates to the leadership of a place.

3. The place branding process – a never ending story

This talk describes the different stages in developing and implementing the brand of Skellefteå, an iterative process that is continuously under development. Insights focus both on important factors for success, as well as how different challenges during the process have been handled, and the delicate act of invoking an ownership of the brand among citizens, politicians, associations, business life, co-workers etc.

#Placebranding #citizenengagement #genderstereotypes #breakingnorms #placebrandingmethods

Ideal audiences:

Municipalities, destination companies, organizations working with how to engage citizens, companies or other parties in the development of a region, municipality or city.


“Helena is a committed, good and sincere speaker. Her talk is interesting and thought-provoking on norm-breaking communication.”

Lotta Pettersson, responsible for the SKL conference on diversity and inclusion in communication

Interested in booking Helena as speaker? Please get in touch here.