The process commonly called globalization is associated with, among other things, an increasing economic connectedness and dependence between places, as well as the long-distance migration of people from and to all corners of the world. The analysis in this article considers these two ways in which economic globalization brings the world together by relating these processes to two different senses of the word brand: place branding (defined as ‘competitive identity’) and what we may call social branding, or the construction of social identities based on ethnic appearance. It does so by considering the case of the Åland Islands, a Swedish-speaking, autonomous region belonging to Finland. The article attempts to offer insights into some of the ways in which competitive identity can be linked with a kind of social change (represented by the notion of ‘brand promise’) that increases tolerance and inclusiveness. Through its comprehensive nature (linking culture, identity and economy) and its focus on behavior, the notion of competitive identity allows us to see how ‘place branding’ might open up ‘possibilities for becoming’ that reflect evolutions in the ways in which Ålanders define themselves; the concept also ties such evolutions in identity to the broader economic activities that help to produce a place’s image and that set the stage for future economic activity.
Jansson, D. (2012). Branding Åland, branding Ålanders: Reflections on place identity and globalization in a Nordic archipelago. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 8(2), pp. 119–132.