The purpose of this paper is to examine the transition of a place brand identity from a cultural anthropological perspective. More specifically, the paper analyses the ritual features and magical qualities of the development process of a regional brand in Scandinavia.
The study consists of an exploratory, longitudinal single case study of regional branding. An abductive research design was used in which the data, consisting of qualitative interviews, policy and promotional documents, were analysed with an interpretive approach.
Three place branding rituals of re-naming, managing ambiguity and instilling faith are identified as central in the transition process. These practices generate different forms of magic that facilitate transition and accommodate change.
The study suggests that the theoretical lens of the anthropological concept of the rite of passage is useful to capture the mechanisms and practices of the transition from an old to a new place brand identity.
The approach outlined in this paper is relevant for brand development and planning in that it demonstrates the ritual features and magical qualities of branding. In contrast to the linear step-by-step approach to brand planning, the study visualises brand development as overlapping phases in a process.
The study demonstrates the value of anthropological insights into transition rituals for understanding how change is alleviated in the development of place brands.
Cassinger, C. and Eksell, J. (2017), "The magic of place branding: regional brand identity in transition", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 202-212. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-03-2017-0028
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