Constructing a ‘green’ nation brand through storytelling: Visual and discursive impressions from the Danish case

Olivia Elena Burchea & Karen Louise Foster

Student thesis: Master thesis


Nation branding is an emergent field and is currently marked by a lack of clear theoretical frameworks to accommodate the complexities of real world practice. Particularly in terms of communicating the nation brand there are very few theoretical guidelines of how to manage the challenges that emerge in practice when following the nation branding imperatives set out in the literature. The scope of the thesis is to investigate how Denmark attempts to communicate a ‘green’ nation brand through two stories: of bicycles and windmills. The purpose of our research is to explore how Denmark’s ‘green’ nation brand is constructed visually and discursively through these two stories. The analyzed materials comprise two videos and two publications located on the internet. The materials have been analyzed by employing a mix of methods: compositional interpretation, semiology and discourse analysis. Further a storytelling framework was used with the purpose of uncovering how Denmark positions itself in a larger narrative context. The analysis revealed that Denmark attempts to create a ‘green’ nation brand through a twolayered process: the bicycle and the windmill were presented as possessing certain symbolic meanings, which were ultimately transferred to Denmark. The analysis uncovered that the two stories are structured in a very similar way, yet the ‘green’ brand is more prominent in the ‘windmill story’, whereas in the ‘bicycle story’ it was to a large extent diluted. Both stories are rife with contradictions and silences that further undermine the credibility of the brand.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages201