Unpacking Nordic branding: the value regimes of Nordicness

Lars Pynt Andersen, Frank Lindberg & Jacob Ostberg (2021)

Journal of Place Management and Development 14(3), pp. 362-378.

Abstract. This paper aims to develop place branding theory toward the accommodation of a multifaceted understanding of value and value negotiation by Nordic branding actors by way of answering the following question: How is Nordicness appropriated by Nordic branding actors and what value regimes are drawn on in the process?
Using field data from a selection of branding actors and sectors in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, a qualitative analysis of Nordic branding performances is used to unpack the negotiations of valuation of worth.
The analysis identified three principle orders of worth behind Nordicness (civic, green and inspired) that are negotiated through compromises between orders of industry and domestic and by contesting the orders of fame and market. The findings indicate how Nordicness is performed as principle worths and tensions and how these are rendered meaningful as propositions of “value as difference” as they are performed in practice by brand actors.
Several studies focus on how place branding “adds value;” however, few studies have been aimed at unpacking how a “value universe” is negotiated as a more complex understanding of worth or “value.” This study thus opens up for branding heterogeneity, which signifies awareness of competing notions and orders of worth among small- and medium-sized enterprises and other central stakeholders; this could further inspire interdisciplinary, value-based research into the potential contingencies of (product) branding and place branding in other contexts and regions.