Region branding: The case of the Baltic Sea Region

  • Andersson M
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This paper examines the potential for the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) to create and maintain a brand. Providing an initial and overall look at the issue, it poses the question: Can a region with ten countries really successfully engage in brand-building? This question is tackled by building upon the literature on branding and place branding, but also by drawing upon research on the region conducted in social science disciplines such as economic geography, history and cultural history. Empirical sources included interviews and observing conferences and presentations. This study argues that the BSR faces a number of challenges, as suggested by place-branding theory, the most notable being a lack of one single decision-making authority and a lack of unity of purpose among its potential stakeholders. Two possible and somewhat similar strategies that take these challenges into account are presented. It might be possible to compensate for the lack of decision-making authority, but it would take a strong unity of purpose in terms of a unifying core idea or brand story. The kind of unifying element that is needed might be that the region possesses a common identity to some degree or have strong joint interests. A swift review of whether this is the case indicates that a region is indeed being formed, but as yet, it is too early to speak of a coherent region with a common identity, at least in the traditional sense.

Author-supplied keywords

  • lack of decision-making authority
  • region branding
  • regional identity
  • the baltic sea region

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  • Marcus Andersson

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