Local identity and place branding use as a corporate branding strategy. The case of Länsförsäkringar
Abstract: This master thesis aims to contribute to the available literature on how place branding can be used for enhancing local identity and how this affects audience participation, in particular: engagement on social media. The case of two campaigns of the Swedish cooperative bank Länsförsäkringar are used to demonstrate the initial hypothesis: local identity and place branding use in campaigns as part of a corporate branding strategy increases followers’ engagement and participation on social media. To that end, essential theoretical concepts in order to understand the research approach and methods are explained in the following sections. For this thesis, the encoding/decoding theory by Stuart Hall is used as theoretical framework, along with some other key theoretical aspects such as identity theory, globalization and place branding. Two different campaigns of Länsförsäkringar are analysed following a mixed approach by carrying out a visual semiotic analysis of the materials (mainly photographies, posters or videos) with an autoethnographic and constructivist perspective, and a social media analysis by looking at the engagement that those campaigns generated on Länsförsäkringar’s social media. The findings show that the use of local identities and local place branding as a corporate branding strategy impacts positively on some types of social media engagement by appealing to the online community’s common origin, heritage and geography.
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