Branding a city using its citizens: The case of Fredericia

Susanne Henriksen

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger

Abstrakt

Executive summary: In recent years, several cities in Denmark experience a large movement of the population from the country to the bigger cities, which has made city branding more relevant than before. This thesis aims to investigate how the citizens in Fredericia can be used to brand the city. The research is guided by the research question of how the citizens of Fredericia perceive the opportunity for involvement and empowerment with regard to city branding as well as how the citizens can be used to brand the city. The theoretical foundation is comprised of city branding, the servicedominant logic, and participatory branding which entails the notions of brand co-creation, stakeholder involvement and empowerment. For the research and collection of data, the social construction paradigm is applied. Three focus groups with citizens of Fredericia were carried out in order to investigate how they perceive their current opportunity to be involved and empowered in the city. The focus groups were also used to determine how the citizens want to communicate with the municipality in the future, and if they are interested in branding the city. Additionally, an interview with a board member of the volunteer centre in Fredericia was conducted to examine their collaboration with the municipality. The press manager at Fredericia municipality was also interviewed in order to determine how the municipality perceives its involvement of the citizens. The analysis found that the participants and the municipality agree that citizens are currently consulted about their ideas, but they lack power to ensure that the municipality acknowledges these ideas. Additionally, the participants’ perception of empowerment is the same as that of the municipality; they can present ideas for activities, but it is the City Council who decides which activities will actually take place. A small gap was found in the way that the municipality encourages citizen participation because the participants do not believe that the municipality reaches out via the appropriate communication channels. In terms of using the citizens to brand Fredericia, different tools are mentioned. Dialogue was the most important element followed by examining the needs and ideas of citizens as well as encouraging for co-creation and empowerment. Tools mentioned by the participants were to encourage the citizens at citizen meetings, online forums, focus groups, workshops, multiple channels of different communication, and the use of brand ambassadors. This thesis contributes to the research field by combining known theoretical foundations with new data about a Danish city and its citizens, which has not previously been investigated.

UddannelserCand.merc.bcm Brand and Communications Management, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
SprogEngelsk
Udgivelsesdato2014
Antal sider159