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Study: Investments in the Dubai Expo Have a Desirable Impact on Finland’s Country Brand

An empathy study, conducted by Business Finland, Haaga-Helia university of applied sciences, and NayaDaya Inc., revealed the strongest images of Finland among the Dubai Expo visitors from hundred countries. Through emotions, the analytics showed the rising significance of sustainability, innovations, technology, and caring for people.

The brand of Finland was explored among the visitors at Dubai Expo 2020 through the empathy study and analytics, a Finnish science-based innovation. Emotion data was collected in November 2021 from two groups consisting of visitors either entering the pavilion or leaving it after their visit, a total of over 2,000 people.


The study unfolded Finland’s most important brand images. Instead of stereotypical sauna, sisu, and Santa Claus, the top ten factors in both groups included nature, people, education, beauty, culture, and happiness. The images that rose to the strongest elements after visiting the Finland’s pavilion were sustainability, technology, innovations, and caring for people. Also, elements of the pavilion architecture – calmness, design, and atmosphere – added weight. Tourism, snow, and lifestyle lost most importance.


Happiness, the theme of Finland’s pavilion, has been strongly visible. Among the pavilion visitors, it lost some relevance to more concrete things. However, human perspectives, especially caring for people, became more common. For example, maternity support was mentioned several times.


“The study is indicating a clear positive change in the topics we have chosen to emphasize in the Finland pavilion communications. Overall the results are giving a very positive result on the impact of the Finland pavilion,” says Severi Keinälä, Commissioner General of Finland pavilion.


It’s expected that people visiting the World Expo tend to have positive attitudes toward different countries. But what is more difficult to predict, is how people actually feel, what are the root causes behind their emotions, and how those emotions influence their behavior and engagement. When the goal is to truly understand brands and people, emotions should be noticed and science should be utilized,” says Jaana Haapala, Brand Strategist, Global Customers at NayaDaya Inc.


The method for empathy studies and analytics is based on the scientific theory[1], research[2], and the algorithm[3] that predicts behavior. The science-based model[2] includes ten positive and ten negative emotions and an option of “no emotions”.


The most common experiences toward Finland among the Dubai Expo visitors were positive, engaging emotions: interest, love, joy, admiration, and pleasure. Negative emotions were extremely rare in both groups – signs of disappointment or other negative reactions were close to zero.


“Empathy analytics is about identifying what is significant, how behavior is affected, and where to re-focus efforts. Stepping into the shoes of other people is the best way to build sustainable competitive edge and to improve return on investment. We are delighted to see that the pavilion of Finland at the Dubai Expo has reached its goals very well,” says Timo Järvinen, CEO and Co-founder at NayaDaya Inc.


NayaDaya Inc., the empathy analytics company responsible for the study, is one of the Finland’s In-Cooperation Partners at Dubai World Expo 2020.


Facts about the study:

  • Emotion data was collected at Dubai Expo 2020 through an online survey November 6-23, 2021

  • The survey was conducted with the help of the Finnish pavilion’s guides, students from the Haaga-Helia university of applied sciences

  • A total of 2,010 people responded to the survey: 1,006 visitors entering the Finlands’ pavilion and 1,004 leaving it after their visit

  • The background variables were age, gender, home country, and knowledge about Finland before the Expo

  • The data was analyzed with the NayaDaya® Empathy Analytics, based on the scientific emotion theory[1], research at the University of Geneva, Switzerland[2] and algorithm[3] that predicts behavior and engagement

[1] Scherer, K.R., Fontaine, J.R.J, & Soriano, C. (2013). Components of Emotional Meaning. Oxford University Press.
[2] Pre-existing scientific research independently conducted and published by the Geneva Emotion Research Group at the University of Geneva.
[3] The Emotional Value Index (EVI) algorithm and indicator developed by NayaDaya Inc.

Report: Impact on Finland’s Country Brand at Dubai Expo 2020 – Empathy Study and Analytics


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Thank you to everyone who participated! Watch the webinar recording here.


Please contact:


Severi Keinälä, Commissioner General, Business Finland, tel. +358 40 594 9944, severi.keinala[at]businessfinland.fi


Timo Järvinen, CEO, NayaDaya Inc., tel. +358 40 505 7745, timo.jarvinen[at]nayadaya.com


Finland, in collaboration with 120 Finnish companies, is participating in Expo 2020 Dubai. Finland is one of the leading countries in terms of innovation and technology know-how. The Finnish pavilion presents globally leading clean technologies, a circular economy with sustainable use of resources, sustainable energy and digital solutions, mobile communications, machinery, education, health and wellbeing, travel and Finnish design. Further information at https://www.finland-dubaiexpo2020.com.


Business Finland is the Finnish government organisation for innovation funding and trade, travel and investment promotion. Business Finland's 750 experts work in 44 offices globally and in 16 regional offices around Finland. Further information at https://www.businessfinland.fi/en/do-business-with-finland/home/.


NayaDaya Inc. is an empathy analytics company that helps companies and organizations to focus their efforts in a responsible and effective way, through stepping into the shoes of people. The scientific NayaDaya® Empathy Analytics is based on data, emotions, and the algorithm that predicts behavior. Further information at https://www.nayadaya.com.