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Snæfellsnes as a brand A Study in regional brand identity LAHTI UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES Degree programme in Business Studies Marketing Bachelor s Thesis Autumn 2013 Eero Leppänen Lahti University

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Snæfellsnes as a brand A Study in regional brand identity LAHTI UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES Degree programme in Business Studies Marketing Bachelor s Thesis Autumn 2013 Eero Leppänen Lahti University of Applied Sciences Degree Programme in Business Studies LEPPÄNEN, EERO: Bachelor s Thesis in Marketing Autumn 2013 Snæfellsnes as a brand A Study in regional brand identity 56 pages, 4 pages of appendices ABSTRACT This B.A thesis studies the creation of a regional brand. The case subject is the county of Snæfellsnes. The thesis is done with the acceptance and co-operation of Alta, an Icelandic consulting company, which is currently managing a regional development project in the Snæfellsnes region. The goal of the thesis is to form a suggestion over the region s brand identity through David Aaker s brand identity model using data collected by Alta and the thesis author as basis for the analysis. The theoretical part of the thesis contrasts the differences between commercial and regional brands and defines how a model made for defining a commercial brand functions in context with a regional brand. The practical part of the thesis looks into the Snæfellsnes regional brand, and offers a suggestion for a regional brand identity which focuses on two differing target groups. Research material focuses on the brand identity model created by David Aaker. Supporting material focuses on branding in general or regional branding in particular. Supporting data is based on surveys done by Alta on both natives and visitors about their views on the region s image. Interviews were held with Alta project leadership and people living in Snæfellsnes during the course of the creation of this thesis. Key words: Brand identity, regional branding, Aaker s brand identity model Lahden ammattikorkeakoulu Liiketalouden koulutusohjelma LEPPÄNEN, EERO: Snæfellsnes as a brand A Study in regional brand identity Markkinoinnin suuntautumisvaihtoehdon opinnäytetyö, 56 sivua, 4 liitesivua Syksy 2013 TIIVISTELMÄ Opinnäytetyö käsittelee maakuntabrändin rakentamista ja tutkii asiaa case kohteen, Snæfellsnessin maakunnan näkökulmasta. Työ toteutetaan tukemaan islantilaisen konsulttiyrityksen, Altan, johtamaa aluekehitysprojektia. Työn tavoitteena on muodostaa ehdotelma Snæfellsnessin brändin ohjaavista arvoista David Aakerin brändi-identiteettimallia käyttäen. Tukimateriaalina toimii Altan keräämä kysely koskien sekä paikallisten että vierailijoiden näkemystä ja kokemusta maakunnan tämänhetkisestä imagosta sekä opinnäytetyön tekijän toteuttamat haastattelut. Työn teoreettinen osuus selvittää miten alueellinen ja kaupallinen brändi eroaa toisistaan ja miten kaupallisten brändien identiteetin hallintaan luotu malli toimii alueellisen brändin määrittämisessä. Työn käytännön osuudessa käsitellään Snæfellsnessin maakuntabrändiä. Esiteltyä identiteettimallia hyödynnetään kahdelle kohderyhmälle kohdennetun brändin mallintamisessa. Tämän lisäksi keskustelen lyhyesti brändin jalkauttamisesta mediavalintoihin. Tutkimusaineisto koostuu brändin arvoa, identiteettiä ja johtamista käsittelevistä teoksista ja artikkeleista. Brändiä käsittelevän materiaalin keskiössä on Aakerin malli brändin identiteetin kehittämisestä. Lisäksi lähdeaineistona toimii alueellisia brändejä käsitteleviä teoksia ja artikkeleita. Brändin määrittelemisessä käytettävä tieto muodostuu kohdeyrityksen johdon sekä paikallisten ihmisten haastatteluista, sekä Altan keräämästä kyselystä. Asiasanat: Alueellinen brändi, brändi-identiteetti, brändi-identiteetin mallinnus TABLE OF CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION Snæfellsnes Svæðisgarður regional park Alta 4 2 BRAND BASICS Brand basics Brand anatomy Brand leadership cycle chronologically Brand equity Regional vs. corporate brand Aaker s brand identity model Strategic brand analysis Brand identity essence, core and extension Brand identity motivators Value proposition, credibility and relationship Multiple brand identities Overlapping brand identities Sub-branding 18 3 MODELLING A REGIONAL IDENTITY Aaker s brand identity model in regional context Regional brand as a geographic entity Regional brand as a sociocultural structure Regional brand as a person Regional brand as a symbol 26 4 SNÆFELLSNESS BRAND IDENTITY Current brand image Competition and forerunners Regional main brand identity Main brand identity goal Main brand identity proposal Main brand value proposition 36 4.2.4 Main brand credibility and relationship Main brand position Regional sub-brand identity Sub-brand identity goal Sub-brand identity proposal Sub-brand value proposition Sub-brand credibility and relationship Sub-brand identity position 43 5 PRACTICAL APPLICATION Visual and rhetorical brand Regional web portal Print Social media 49 6 IN CLOSURE 51 SOURCES 53 APPENDICES 57 1 1 INTRODUCTION This B.A-thesis is done as a part of the Snæfellsnes Svæðisgarður (regional park) project managed by Alta, an Icelandic consulting company. The two year regional park project, started in 2011, aims to establish a regional park in the rural Snæfellsnes peninsula. The aim of this thesis is to complement the project by Alta in providing a study of the anatomy of a regional brand, including a practical look into the brand of Snæfellsnes. The project lead by Alta aims to synergise the region s people, nature, businesses and local government into an entity that is recognized as a regional park by the European Landscape Convention. The product of Alta s multi-discipline project studies the social, economic, ecological assets of the area and aims for a functional policy, managed by the end-client, Snæfellsnes municipalities. The ground level goals of the regional park project are to answer problems caused by recent changes in the region s socio-economic landscape. In the long term, the successful establishment of the regional park aims to create more business opportunities, employment and interest towards the region through increased regional versatility, possibly generating new avenues in tourism, services and export. Amongst the projected goals for the park is the establishment of a mutual policy for regional communication which generates the necessity to look closer into the regional brand itself. Thus the goal of this thesis is to provide both Alta and the municipality with a comprehensive study of the birth process of a regional brand identity. The thesis opens with a look into the semantics of a regional brand, and how it differs in form and function from a corporate brand. The work of David Aaker provides the theoretical framework concerning brand identity creation. From brand identity basics the study looks into Aaker s brand identity model in context of regional brand identities. Aaker s brand identity model, made for the creation and definition of corporate brands, is then modified to suit the needs of regional brand creation. 2 From theory the thesis turns the discussed topics into practical application; Aaker s brand identity model is used to define the Snæfellsnes brand. Suggestions of the Snæfellnes brand identity are formed and directed at two different target groups. The chapter s work is based on data collected by Alta via surveys and regional meetings, complemented by interviews conducted by the thesis author. The final part of the work offers a general discussion over the application of a regional brand into choice medias. Ch. II Brand Basics An overview of the basic terminology, concepts and models used in the thesis. Q: What is a brand/regional brand? And what does it consist of? Ch. III Modelling a Regional Identity Discussion on the validity, use and changes into Aaker's identity model when used over a regional brand. Q: How do we define the identity of a regional brand? Ch. IV Mapping Snæfellsnes Practical application of Aaker's model in defining the Snæfellsnes identity. Ch. V Practical application A general view into the application of a regional brand into communication channels FIGURE 1. Thesis composition. 1.1 SNÆFELLSNES Snæfellsnes is a peninsula in western Iceland, reaching 100 km in latitude and 25 km in longitude. The peninsula has diverse natural beauty, with long beaches along the coastline, followed by green meadows and black lava fields. The 3 mountain range that splits the peninsula ends with the icy crown of Snæfellsjökull in the west. The regional population of 3900 is spread into five municipalities, consisting of five towns and surrounding farms. The southern side is less sparsely populated with farms dotting the landscape, whereas the northern side has a number of villages along the seaside. The main livelihood in the region comes from agriculture, fishing and farming the prominent sources of livelihood. FIGURE 2. A map of Snæfellsnes. (Wikimedia Commons, Map of Snæfellsnes peninsula) 1.2 SVÆÐISGARÐUR REGIONAL PARK The goal of a regional park (Svæðisgarður in Icelandic) in general is to pool local resources to identify and register the local assets in order to create synergies and define the message with which the area is portrayed. (Svæðisgarð, 2012) A regional park is an economical strategy which uses the strong assets of a region s natural and cultural assets to stimulate economic growth. (Svæðisgarð, 2012) 4 The regional park in Snæfellsnes aims to address following issues: - Loss of young people to urban areas due to lack of employment opportunities. - Lack of service diversity and loss of interest toward local services due to the ease of access to the capital region after a recent restoration of transportation infrastructure. - Untapped potential in a rapidly growing tourism industry. The goals the regional park aims to establish are: - Formulation of an agreement - Study of foreign precedents - Landscape character assessment - Sense of Place studies - Regional plan - Toolkit / logo / website - Management and marketing plans - Establisment of daily operations (Staff/HQ/charter) - Funding applications (Svæðisgarð, 2012) A part of Alta s goals revolve around creating and defining a message through which to express the region s assets. 1.3 ALTA Alta is an Icelandic consultant firm which focuses on regional planning and development. The internationally recognized team has achieved renown in both ecologically sustainable solutions and place development. As a signee of the UN Global Compact, an initiative that promotes sustainability, Alta is dedicated to uphold decrees of human rights, labour, environment and anticorruption in their projects. 5 During the creation of this thesis I ve had the privilege of working with the capable and professional people of Alta. 6 2 BRAND BASICS Central to the thesis topic is the definition and function of a brand. As all latter work in this thesis will derive from definition of the term and its dimensions, the definition of a brand and accessory terminology is a fair starting point. This chapter will begin with a look at the anatomy of a brand and continues with an overview into the process of managing one. From there the thesis will focus toward the central topic, the creation of a brand. The contemporary theoretical framework comes from David A. Aaker, whose brand identity model will be used throughout this thesis. The choice of Aaker s model as a basis for regional branding is supported by Moilanen and Rainisto. (2009, 14) 2.1 BRAND BASICS A brand is an identifiable, recognizable entity that communicates the ownership and craftsmanship of a product and its producer. A brand is an envoy of corporate expression, signifying and at best, empowering its owners expertise, products, services, values and way of life. As summed by Kotler and Armstrong, a brand is: A name, term, sign, symbol, design or a combination of these, that identifies the products or services of one seller or group of sellers and differentiates them from those of competitors. (Kotler & Armstrong 2010, 255) Another comprehensive summary is given by Aaker. to identify the goods or services of either one seller or a group of sellers, and to differentiate those goods or services from those of competitors. (Aaker 1991, 7) In their study, published in 1998, de Chernatony and Dall Olmo-Riley went through a hundred academic sources that asserted on the definition of a brand. They identified twelve general definitions, of which four most commonly used were: legal instrument a trademark 7 logo - visual identification and differentiation company brand as the extension of the company it represents shorthand a compact version of the company s offerings and value. Additionally Chernatony s and Dall Olmo-Riley s list identifies personality, consumer-brand relationship and added value as characteristic of brand functionality. Successful brands understand and complement their users lifestyle and philosophy while simultaneously providing value and expressing the brand s own message. The benefits of a functional brand are manifold. It provides emotional benefits for the customer, it effects the customer s decisions and increases the efficiency of marketing. A brand is a guarantee of quality, it differentiates itself from competition and increases turnover. (Moilanen & Rainisto 2009, 8) In short, a brand is the mainstay of successful marketing. 2.2 BRAND ANATOMY Creation of a brand revolves around three interconnected definitions that will be relevant in latter parts of this work. Brand image is the current perceived image of a brand. It is the view of customers, partners and general public. Chronologically it represents the current view as it has been shaped into by the company itself through action and marketing. (Aaker 2010, 70) Brand image describes the brand as it is currently seen. Brand identity is a construct that provides direction and purpose in the active development of a brand. Chronologically brand identity looks into the future. It draws from current brand image but simultaneously aspires to develop the brand. (Aaker 2010, 68) Brand identity defines the character of a brand as it should be. In the latter parts of the thesis, we will focus on the process of brand identity creation. Brand position is the stance taken towards communicating a brand. Brand position is the visible part of a brand, the characteristics that are voiced publicly to the target audience. Brand position communicates values and differentiates the brand 8 identity from other brands. A successful brand position strives to enforce the positive, competitive advantages a brand has in a competitive market. (Aaker 2010, ) Brand Identity -The purpose, character and goal of a brand Brand position -The defined value proposition communicated towards target audience Brand Image -The actual perception the target audience has of the brand FIGURE 3. The relation of terminology 2.3 BRAND LEADERSHIP CYCLE CHRONOLOGICALLY Brand leadership is the continued task of maintaining, developing and strengthening a brand. Definition of brand leadership as a whole is necessary to 9 understand the place of brand identity creation in the larger picture of brand management. In broad strokes, the process of brand leadership begins with the assessment of current brand image. From there a brand manager can begin to define the brand identity. From a formed brand identity a brand position can then be projected outwards.. Brand Image Brand Position Brand Identity FIGURE 4. Simplified brand leadership cycle. In this simplified view the process of brand management is a continuous process, a cycle, where reassessment of brand image is followed by possible changes in brand identity. Brand position then is changed to address the shifts in brand identity. The simplified cycle of brand management in figure 4 sums up the general outlook of brand management. The cyclical nature of the process requires an active, capable presence that can follow, react and even proactively manage a brand, to keep it available, expressive and relevant. 10 The details of brand management are left intentionally vague in the thesis as the detailed discussion of brand management in a regional environment would warrant a detailed study, outside the scope of this thesis Brand equity One central requirement for successful brand management is the measurement of brand equity. Brand equity measures the added value a brand gives over a service, product or concept it endorses. While this thesis will focus hereon on the process of brand identity creation for a regional brand, the concept brand equity is nevertheless a necessary concept to understand in the larger whole of successful brand management. I have provided a short summary of Aaker s thoughts on brand equity measures and their usage over regional branding in the appendix I. 2.4 REGIONAL VS. CORPORATE BRAND Differentiation between commercial and regional brands is necessary. Much of the work in latter chapters revolves around modifying an existing brand tool into a functional model for developing a regional identity. The central difficulties in defining regional brands stems from their size and scope in relation to corporate brands and the general lack of readily available models for regional brand creation. The vagueness of a regional brand s scope and size is a consequence of both the quantity of possible contexts a regional brand can be used in and in the vast amount of background a regional brand can draw from for its brand identity. As marketable entities, crude similarities can be drawn between a geographical region and a corporation; they are both entities with a distinct history and culture with a range of social and economic associations. But where a corporate brand stands for commercial products and services a regional brand stands for culture, geography, history, people, events while simultaneously representing possible regional services and products. A regional brand is by definition a brand, a vessel of communication, but by definition requires a larger scope than a corporate brand. 11 Similarly the vagueness and size of a regional brands market size and target segments are issues that this thesis will return to when we look more closely into the functional tools that will be used in creating identities, measures and leadership. Depending on the target segment (i.e. natives vs. tourists) the target groups can have varying parameters of size, origin and motivation. The study of the benefits of regional brands has seen a rising interest in recent years. The existence and necessity for brands in national and regional context has been identified necessary in differentiating regional assets and bolstering regional communication. Messely, Dessein and Lauwers (2009, 4) recognize the necessity of regional branding as a part of territorial competing. While national regions can share similar governmental bodies, landscape and infrastructure, there is a need to compete for investments, tourism, residents and political power, often on a global scale. 2.5 AAKER S BRAND IDENTITY MODEL David Aaker s concept of defining and building a brand identity is used throughout this work as a basis for creating a functional regional brand. The base model will first be presented and explained as it is used to define brand identities for commercial brands. In latter chapters, this work returns to Aaker s model, first to review its functionality over regional entity, then to use it to define the regional brand identity of Snæfellsnes. In Aaker s model the creation of a brand identity consists of three processes. Strategic brand analysis consists of the preliminary analytical work, where customers, competition are defined and the assets and opinions that form the current brand image are collected. (Aaker 2000, 43-45) A strategic identity system is the key toolset that is used to open and apply the results of brand analysis. The final part of the model is the identity implementation sys
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