New ways of thinking and "doing" place branding are emerging, and the Nordics are again at the forefront. But what distinguishes "Nordic" place branding from other approaches? Which new strategies and priorities are Nordic place brand researchers proposing?
TPBO spoke with Cecilia Cassinger, Andrea Lucarelli and Szilvia Gyimóthy, editors of the new book, "The Nordic Wave in Place Branding: Poetics, Practices, Politics" (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019).
What is the Nordic wave in place branding?
Cecilia: We wanted to unpack the Nordic brand narrative in a way that would be of value for practitioners of place branding. In the book, we deal with the poetics of the region, practices of placemaking, and the political consequences of Nordic place branding. Nordic countries often score exceptionally high in place brand rankings and are considered successful examples of branding. We wanted to show the success, but also what lies behind it, and the less successful examples.
Andrea: It is a metaphor we use to describe and conceptualize current and past research in place branding in the Nordic Region, and research about the Nordics as region, idea and brand in itself. I think the metaphor encapsulates very well the impact such research has on place branding internationally. The Nordic wave is not like a tsunami, which might be devastating, but more like a refreshing and nutrient-rich, sometimes icy wave.
Szilvia: The wave is an allegory for an emerging movement sweeping across place branding practices and place branding research which - both in scale, shape and content - is distinct from the previous schools (or waves) of place branding.
What characterises place branding in the Nordic region?
C: The Nordic region is peculiar in its endeavour to construct itself both as an attractive market to invest in and a moral example for others to follow when it comes to, for instance, human rights issues. However, as the authors in the book demonstrate, the Nordic region struggles with human rights issues in conflicts around indigenous representation and land areas in, for example, Sapmi and Greenland.
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