• Astrid Jørgensen
4. term, Communication, Master (Master Programme)
Abstract This final thesis focuses on the span between a wish to brand the Danish trades, industries and businesses abroad and the much criticised nation branding. The focus of the thesis is a joint initiative called “Creative Nation”, which was launched in October 2006 by seven major organisations from the Danish trades and industries. The aim of Creative Nation is to facilitate networks between Danish companies seeking to be branded abroad. The initiative wishes to do this by building a shared platform, upon which clusters of Danish companies can collaborate in a shared attempt to promote themselves on the OECD markets. The main challenge of Creative Nation is to convince Danish companies that participating in the initiative’s networking activities, is a profitable and rewarding thing to do. The challenge is made difficult by the fact that it can be hard to tell the difference between business related branding and nation branding. With nation branding being widely criticised, Danish companies might find an engagement in initiatives similar to Creative Nation to be risky. Not willing to be considered as “nation branding advocates”, Danish companies might refuse to participate in such joint business branding initiatives. Convincing Danish companies to participate is not just a challenge to Creative Nation, but also a challenge for future joint business initiatives with similar goals. The thesis seeks to answer the following questions: How can attempts of branding the Danish trades and industries through joint initiatives abroad be understood, when business branding initiatives like Creative Nation claim that they are in no regard related to nation branding? And, being the responsible communications manager having to make Danish companies participate, how can you deal with a possible link made between your initiative and nation branding, considering that nation branding is widely criticised? Bearing this in mind, the thesis analyses a sample of Creative Nations communication aimed at Danish companies. The analysis serves to uncover whether Creative Nation manages to distinguish their initiative from Denmark as a nation and nation branding as such. In either case, i.e. whether a distinction is maintained or not in the Creative Nation case, it is relevant to consider if the distinction should be and can be maintained in the future. Also, Denmark’s present image abroad should be taken into consideration in order to assess whether a possible confusion with nation branding will be as troublesome as the criticism of nation branding suggests. Following an analysis of these issues, a discussion is needed to consider if and how a possible confusion with nation branding could be turned into something useful and constructive instead of barely being a troublesome drag. An argument suggesting possible advantages of collaborating abroad, instead of purely branding one’s own business, will be highlighted. Finally, the discussion revises the existing understanding of nation brands as entities possessing certain core values, and turning towards a national image understanding, which implies various complex and different profiles instead of aiming at a shared and uniform nation brand built on certain core values. The conclusion succeeds analysis and discussion, and seeks to answer the questions presented in the thesis introduction. Following the conclusion, nation branding is discussed according to a governmental initiative, thus broadening the scope of the study to further and future perspectives. The closing chapter provides a critical review evaluating my own approach to analysis and discussion.
Publication date2007
Number of pages84
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 10433257