Myten om Kulturel Branding

Jacob G. Blaaberg & Aleksander S. Bergstedt

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines whether cultural branding and cultural strategy is widely applicable to all types of businesses in all industries. The analysis is based on the works of Holt (2004) and Holt and Cameron (2010), which are considered to be the most influential theoretical contributions to cultural branding. The thesis analyzes whether cultural branding holds validity within branding theory, as well as within social theory. It is found that cultural branding is the last recognized stage of the branding discipline's evolution, thus providing great validity to the approach. This is further supported by the finding, that existing branding theories are unable to explain new social phenomena. Additionally, it is concluded that cultural branding possesses high social theoretical validity. Following the conclusion that cultural branding provides great strategic potential for all companies, the thesis then analyzes which issues could have a potential negative effect on the practical applicability of cultural branding. The combined conclusions of the six deducted questions serve as a valid foundation that provides the final conclusion to the problem statement. The questions revolve around a company’s access to capital, internal capabilities, organizational structure, ability to allocate decision power, type of strategy, and the company’s capability to anchor the brand internally. In order to adequately answer the problem statement, and thus draw a general conclusion for an entire industry, the thesis conducts an industry analysis, which finds that the company Graduateland can be used as a valid representative for its total trade. As a result of this, the final analysis is conducted using the company Graduateland as an example of a company in the process of applying cultural branding strategically. This is done in order to obtain knowledge on the practical applicability of the theories. The sub-analyses concludes; that Graduateland does not possess the necessary capital and liberty to apply the strategy of cultural branding optimally; that Graduateland does not possess the proper internal competencies, or knowledge about these, to collect the needed cultural knowledge; that Graduateland’s hierarchical company structure limits the company in following the main premises of cultural branding; that Graduateland’s subjective reality constrains the company’s management from allocating decision power to the employees; that Graduateland's strategy remains deliberate where only emergent strategic elements with direct economic return on investment, will be incorporated into the company's strategy; that a brand's internal anchoring greatly affects the brand's overall success, and that the lack of internal anchoring can damage the brand's legitimacy externally. The thesis concludes that cultural branding as described in the project's two main works is not widely applicable at Graduateland. Thus, it is concluded that the industry's remaining businesses will encounter similar challenges in applying cultural branding strategically as a company’s access to capital and internal competencies are the key variables. Finally, it is found that the low practical applicability of cultural branding is mainly caused by management being forced to focus on other urgent areas of their business to ensure its survival.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages160