Investigating branding challenges, through a merger of Identity Economics, Cultural Branding & Social Creativity: A case study of Call me’s Watch Your Mouth campaign

Madeleine Tronbakken Næsborg & Cecilie Lindner Spork

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis reflects recent societal changes that have influenced the discipline of branding. It does so by discussing and combining three theoretical frameworks: Identity Economics, Social Creativity and Cultural Branding. Identity Economics focuses on how norms in social categories and identity utility influence individuals’ taste and behavior and originates from the economic discipline. Social Creativity acts a tool for companies to create engaging campaigns with relevant content, especially on social media. Cultural Branding addresses how brands need to tap into and represent broader cultural notions in order to be successful. These theories each take a different outset on recent societal changes, but all evolve around the same themes being norms, identity and culture. By combining the three theoretical cornerstones, a new analytical framework is being developed, consisting of two models that can be used to address the new branding challenges. The first model, The Interconnected Model, shows the complementarity of the theories, whereas the second model, The Hyper connected Model, puts the three theoretical cornerstones in a broader context, to highlight where the theories fit within a societal as well as an establish theoretical framework. Thereby, the research serves two main purposes: (1) to develop an encompassing analytical framework to address new branding challenges based on the three theoretical cornerstones and (2) to test this analytical framework up against the case of the Danish telecommunication company Call me and their Watch Your Mouth campaign. Through a theoretical merger of the three theoretical cornerstones 18 hypotheses are developed. Using both primary and secondary data the analysis goes through these 18 hypotheses to test their validity according to the case study of Call me. It is concluded that Call me managed to overcome recent branding challenges and has strengthen their position in the market by launching their Watch Your Mouth campaign. This is so because Call me takes outset in a norm in society, in order to create a powerful identity myth that people can buy into in order to gain identity utility. As consumers are taking part in the campaign they can derive identity value and the participation can thereby provide building blocks for identity creation. This is strengthened as Call me managed to leverage recent technological changes making their content sharable. Furthermore, Call me managed to be relevant to consumers as they tapped into a cultural flow in society that people wanted to be part of. As the campaign addresses a cultural flow it speaks to the community and not solely the individual, enabling the members to join in shared conversations making it easier for Call me to get their message across. The case study can thereby function as an illustrative case in terms of highlighting to which extend applying the ideas of the three theoretical cornerstones can strengthen a brand’s positioning and overcome recent branding challenges.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages139