Exploring regional branding processes: stakeholder participation and its effect on support for the Region brand

This blog entry introduces preliminary results of a survey conducted among organizations involved in the development and repositioning of two Dutch region brands. We measured stakeholder participation in branding processes and to what extent this can increase investment and support for the region brand. Below we provide a quick description of the two cases.

Smart Delta Drechtsteden region brand

Image: smartdeltadrechsteden.nl

Stakeholders involved in the (re)development of the brand were invited to complete the survey via the mailing list of the Smart Delta Drechtsteden working group. A total of 84 surveys was included in the analysis. Similarly to the SDD case, most respondents belong to public organisations, a limitation that we consider when interpreting the results. Below are some highlights.

  1. Participation in decisiomaking about the brand was high when it comes to getting information, however much lower when it comes to co-decision, involvement. Further analysis also shows that public actors are more involved than non-public actors.
  2. Investment in the region brand (in branding jargon: brand citizenship behavior) was moderate to high, as on a scale from 1-10, most scores are around 6, with the statement “embraces the Smart Delta Drechtsteden brand” scoring 7.07. Since the process is fairly recent, the question ‘Has directors/executives who often support Smart delta Drechtsteden in public’ scored lower.
  3. Similarly, the reported level of cooperation with other actors in the branding process was low, as well as the level of communication with the leading organization (SDD), which may be also due to the short span of the initiative.
  4. Respondents more involved in decisionmaking scored higher on questions related to support for the brand (brand citizenship behavior) and also displayed higher willingness to cooperate with others in the network around the brand.
  5. Repondents reported high levels of identification (place attachment) with Drechsteden region, however, the level of dependency to the region for the conduct of their activities (place dependency) was low.
  6. Participants also reported that they considered that the region brand brings value (brand equity) to the region at large and to their organizations in particular. The perceived value is higher for those organizations with higher dependency to the region. Similarly, the more engaged stakehoders are in decisionmaking about the branding process, the more value they see in the brand

Zeeland Land in Zee region brand

Stakeholders involved in the (re)development of the brand were invited to complete the survey via the mailing list of the Provincie Zeeland. A total of 89 surveys was included in the analysis. Most respondents belong to public organisations, a limitation that we consider when interpreting the results. Below are some highlights.

  1. Participation in decisiomaking about the brand was high when it comes to getting information, however much lower when it comes to co-decision, involvement. Further analysis also shows greater involvement of public actors (they have more contacts in the network of stakeholders).
  2. Willingness to invest in the region brand (brand citizenship behavior) was moderate (averaging 6 points out of 10). The least supported form of investement was financial invesment, altough many respondents reported to embrace the brand and advocate for it (averaging 7 out of 10). This might be in part due to the fact that the brand has a longer history on its development.
  3. Willingess to cooperate with others was relatively low. However, respondents more involved in decisionmaking scored higher on questions related to support for the brand (brand citizenship behavior) and also displayed higher willingness to collaborate with others in the network around the brand.
  4. Repondents reported high levels of identification (place attachment) with Drechsteden region, however, the level of dependency to the region for the conduct of their activities (place dependency) was low.
  5. Participants also reported that they considered that the region brand brings value (brand equity) to the region at large and to their organizations in particular. We see a similar result in terms of higher perceived value for those organizations with higher dependency to the region, and for those more engaged decisionmaking about the branding process.

We have created four Factsheets (2x SDD and 2X Zeeland) illustrating these points. You can find them below:

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