Sustainable Involvement

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Marie Halgaard Nielsen
  • Maria Wael Andersen
4. term, Communication, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis is written within the subject area of Mediated Communication at Aalborg University and takes its point of departure in a communication model elaborated by the writers: The Concept Guide. The model consists of the six phases: ’Take-Off’, ’Lookout’, ’Insight’, ’Creativity Lab’, ’Execution’ and ’Evaluation’, which guides the communicator through the process of developing communication concepts. The thesis takes the new project of the municipality of Frederikshavn: Energy City, as its starting point. It is the vision that the city of Frederikshavn should be entirely supplied with energy from renewable sources within the areas of electricity, heat and transportation, before year 2015. By this, the municipality of Frederikshavn wishes to demonstrate a full scale and interconnected energy concept as well as to market and brand Frederikshavn as a city which focuses on development within the area of renewable energy technology. It is the purpose of this thesis to develop a creative communication concept, which not only informs the citizens about the Energy City, but also involves them directly in the project. Based on a socio-constructive method, a theoretic account of the principal themes of the above-mentioned assignment is provided. The tendencies within place branding are illustrated in an experience economic perspective, and based on theory about organisational culture, identity and image, the challenges of new identity place branding are illustrated. Within the same theme, the human consequences of a society which is increasingly satisfied with attention - namely the saturated self - are discussed. In the next theme, focus is moved to the so-called ‘Risk Society’ and the consequences, challenges and opportunities in a society permeated by existential risks. The discussion is varied by including cultural theory treating human myths of nature which constitutes a structuralistic contribution to the analysis. Lastly, with a view to identify special circumstances related to communication from public senders, a theory about public communication is presented. An analysis of three focus group interviews, including a representative cross section of the citizens of Frederikshavn, provides an insight into the attitudes, values and conduct of the citizens in relation to subjects such as Frederikshavn as a city and renewable energy- and not least, it provides an insight into the citizens’ readiness to act in relation to Energy City Frederikshavn. Furthermore, in the analysis, the relationship between the city and the citizens is outlined and so is the citizens’ use of media. While the majority of the focus group participants react positively in regard to the planned Energy City, a small group of participants dissociate themselves from the emotional debate about environment and climate. Hence, the primary insight of the analysis is that Energy City Frederikshavn finds the greatest support in regard to opportunities for branding and attraction of companies and labour. Insights from the analysis combined with a creative workshop constitute the platform for the final communication concept: ‘Sustainable Involvement’. The concept is multimedial and hence, it appeals to a wide range of people. It includes a website which is the focal point of the complete concept, a ‘Door Hanger’, events, exhibitions, The Citizens’ Energy Committee and a mobile Energy Shop. Some of these elements have involvement as their primary objective whereas others result in secondary involvement through experiences. While the activities of the concept are solely explained at an overall level, ‘The Door Hanger’ is developed as a final product. At a practical level, ‘The Door Hanger’ is the conclusion of the thesis and does, hence, meet the criteria of information as well as involvement. It partly creates attention because it stands out, and it partly informs about the Energy City in a plain language, just as it provides the citizens with the opportunity of actively participating in the debate and the development of Energy City Frederikshavn.
Publication date2008
Number of pages116
Publishing institutionAAU, Institut for Kommunikation
ID: 14614753