The Construction of Brand Denmark: A Case Study of the Reversed Causality in Nation Brand Valuation
Henrik Merkelsen: Department of Strategic Communication, Lund University, Sweden Rasmus Kjærgaard Rasmussen: Department of Communication, Business and information Technologies, Roskilde University, Denmark
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
In this article we unpack the organizational effects of the valuation practices enacted by nation branding rankings in a contemporary case where the Danish government employed branding-inspired methods. Our main argument is that the use of nation branding was enabled by the Nation Brands Index via its efficient translation of fuzzy political goals into understandable numerical objectives. The Nation Brands Index becomes the driving force in a powerful bureaucratic translation of nation branding which in turn has several reordering effects at organizational level. We thus demonstrate how the Nation Brands Index permits bureaucratic expansion in central government administration as it continuously maintains and reconstructs problems solvable by the initiation of more nation branding initiatives and projects and hence more bureaucratic activity.
Nation branding; measurement; reputation; risk; bureaucracy
No. of pages:
Publication type:

Volume 3, Issue: 2, Article 5, 2015

Henrik Merkelsen, Rasmus Kjærgaard Rasmussen
The Construction of Brand Denmark: A Case Study of the Reversed Causality in Nation Brand Valuation:

Anholt, Simon. 2002. “Foreword.” Journal of Brand Management 9 (4): 229–239. DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.bm.2540074

Anholt, Simon. 2006. “Why Brand? Some Practical Considerations for Nation Branding.” Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 2 (2): 97–107. DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.pb.5990048

Anholt, Simon. 2007. Competitive Identity. The New Brand Management for Nations, Cities and Regions. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Aronczyk, Melissa. 2008.“‘Living the Brand’: Nationality, Globality, and the Identity Strategies of Nation Branding Consultants.” International Journal of Communication 2: 41–65.

Aronczyk, Melissa. 2009. “How to Do Things with Brands: Uses of National Identity.” Canadian Journal of Communication 34: 291–6.

Blichfeldt, Bodol Stilling. 2005. “Unmanageable Place Brands?” Place Branding 1 (4): 388–401. DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.pb.5990036

Callon, Michel. 1986. “Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: Domestication of the Scallops and the Fishermen of St Brieuc Bay.” In Power, Action and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge, edited by John Law, 205-224. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Callon, Michel, and Bruno Latour. 1981. “Unscrewing the Big Leviathan: How Actors Macro-structure Reality and How Sociologists Help Them to Do So.” In Advances in Social Theory and Methodology. Toward an Integration of Micro and Macro-sociologies, edited by Karin D. Knorr-Cetina and Aaron Victor Cicourel, 277–303. Boston, MA: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Christensen, Lars Thøger, Mette Morsing, and George Cheney. 2008. Corporate Communications: Convention, Complexity, and Critique. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.

Danish Broadcasting Corporation. 2006. Former foreign minister Ellemann-Jensen in the talkshow ‘Debatten’. DR2. 16 February 2006.

Danish Government. 2006. Debatoplæg: Danmarks omdømme [Discussion paper: Denmarks reputation]. Copenhagen: Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs.

Danish Government. 2007. Action Plan for the Global Marketing of Denmark. Copenhagen: Ministry for Economic and Business Affairs.

Danish Government. 2010a. Handlingsplan for offensiv global markedsføring af Danmark 2011-2012 [Action Plan for the Global Marketing of Denmark 2011–2012]. Copenhagen: Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs.

Danish Government. 2010b. Status på implementering af handlingsplanen for Offensiv global markedsføring af Danmark 2009 [Progress report for the implementation of the Action Plan for the Global Marketing of Denmark]. Copenhagen: Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs.

Danish Government 2011. Action Plan for the Global Marketing of Denmark. Progress Report 2011. Copenhagen: Ministry for Economic and Business Affairs.

Danish Government. 2012. Evaluering af Handlingsplanen for offensiv global markedsføring af Danmark 2007-2012 (Copenhagen Economics) [Final evaluation of Action Plan for the Global Marketing of Denmark 2007–2012). Copenhagen: Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs.

Dewey, John. 1939. Theory of Valuation. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Dinnie, Keith. 2008. Nation Branding: Concepts, Issues, Practice (1st ed.). Oxford and Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Dunleavy, Patrick, and Christopher Hood. 1994. “From Old Public Administration to New Public Management.” Public Money and Management 14 (3): 9–16. DOI: 10.1080/09540969409387823

Fan, Ying. 2006. “Branding the Nation: What is Being Branded?” Journal of Vacation Marketing 12 (1): 5–14. DOI: 10.1177/1356766706056633

Fenton, Christopher, and Ann Langley. 2011. “Strategy as Practice and the Narrative Turn.” Organization Studies 32 (9): 1171–1196. DOI: 10.1177/0170840611410838

Frost, Randall. 2004. “Mapping a Country’s Future.” BrandChannel June 2013. Available from http://www.brandchannel.com/features_effect. asp. Accessed June 2015.

Gertner, David. 2011. “Unfolding and Configuring Two Decades of Research and Publications on Place Marketing and Place Branding.” Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 7 (2): 91–106. DOI: 10.1057/pb.2011.7

Hacking, Ian. 1990. The taming of chance. Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/cbo9780511819766

Hansen, Hans Krause, and Mikkel Flyverbom. 2015. “The Politics of Transparency and the Calibration of Knowledge in the Digital Age.” Organization 22 (6): 872–889. DOI: 10.1177/1350508414522315

Helgesson, Claes-Fredrik, and Fabian Muniesa. 2013. “For What It’s Worth: An Introduction to Valuation Studies.” Valuation Studies 1(1): 1–10. DOI: 10.3384/vs.2001-5992.13111

Helm, Sabrina. 2007. “One Reputation or Many? Comparing Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Corporate Reputation.” Corporate Communications: An International Journal 12 (3): 238–254. DOI: 10.1108/13563280710776842

Jansen, Sue Curry. 2008. Designer Nations: Neo-liberal Nation Branding—Brand Estonia. Social Identities 14 (1): 121–142. DOI: 10.1080/13504630701848721

Kaneva, Nadia. 2011. “Nation Branding: Toward an Agenda for Critical Research.” International Journal of Communication 5: 117–141.

Kaneva, Nadia. 2012. “Nation Branding in Post-Communist Europe: Identities, Markets, and Democracy.” In Branding post-communist nations: Marketizing national identities in the “new” Europe, edited by Nadia Kaneva, 3-22. Routledge, 2011.

Kaneva, Nadia, and Delia Popescu. 2011. “National Identity Lite.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 14 (2): 191–207. DOI: 10.1177/1367877910382181

Kavaratzis, Mihalis. 2009. “Cities and their brands: Lessons from corporate branding.” Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 5 (1): 26-37. DOI: 10.1057/pb.2008.3

Kavaratzis, Mihalis, and Mary Jo Hatch. 2013. “The Dynamics of Place Brands: An Identity-based Approach to Place Branding Theory.” Marketing Theory 13 (1): 69–86. DOI: 10.1177/1470593112467268

Kjellberg, Hans, Alexandre Mallard, Diane-Laure Arjaliès, Patrik Aspers, Stefan Beljean, Alexandra Bidet, Alberto Corsin, Emmanuel Didier, Marion Fourcade, Susi Geiger, Klaus Hoeyer, Michèle Lamont, Donald MacKenzie, Bill Maurer, Jan Mouritsen, Ebba Sjögren, Kjell Tryggestad, François Vatin, and Steve Woolgar. 2013. “Valuation Studies? Our Collective Two Cents.” Valuation Studies 1 (1): 11–30. DOI: 10.3384/vs.2001-5992.131111

Klein, Naomi. 2000. No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (1st Picador USA ed.). New York, NY: Picador.

Lamont, Michèle. 2012. “Toward a comparative sociology of valuation and evaluation.” Sociology 38 (1): 201-221. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-soc-070308-120022

Latour, Bruno. 1986. “The Powers of Association.” In Power, Action and Belief. A New Sociology of Knowledge?, edited by John Law, pp. 264–280. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Latour, Bruno. 1999. Pandoras Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. 2006. Challenges of Globalisation. Opening Remarks by the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Per Stig Møller First Meeting of the Advisory Board on Globalisation. Copenhagen 31 March 2006.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. 2009. Denmark in dialogue with the world: Danish public diplomacy in practice [Danmark i dialog med verden—eksempler på dansk public diplomacy i praksis]. Public Diplomacy and Communication, pp. 1–33.

Olins, Wally. 2002. “Branding the Nation—The Historical Context.” Brand Management 9 (4–5): 241–248. DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.bm.2540075

Pamment, James. 2014. “Articulating Influence: Toward a Research Agenda for Interpreting the Evaluation of Soft Power, Public Diplomacy and Nation Brands.” Public Relations Review 40: 50–59. DOI: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2013.11.019

Porter, Theodore M. 1995. Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Rasmussen, Rasmus Kjærgaard. 2014. Nation Branding in Practice. An Analysis of the Danish Government Administration’s Interpretation and Organization of the “Action Plan for the Global Marketing of Denmark 2007-2010.” PhD Thesis, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Language and Communication, Odense.

Rasmussen, Rasmus Kjærgaard. Forthcoming. “Re-thinking counter narratives in organizational analysis: master narratives-as-authoritative texts.” In Counter-narratives in and around Organizations, edited by Timothy Kuhn, Sanne Frandsen, and Marianne Lumholt. London: Routledge.

Rasmussen, Rasmus Kjærgaard, and Henrik Merkelsen. 2012. “The New PR of States: How Nation Branding Practices Affect the Security Function of Public Diplomacy.” Public Relations Review 38 (5): 810–818. DOI: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.06.007

Rasmussen, Rasmus Kjærgaard, and Henrik Merkelsen. 2014. “The Risks of Nation Branding as Crisis Response: A Case Study of How the Danish Government Turned the Cartoon Crisis into a Struggle with Globalization.” Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 10 (3): 230–248. DOI: 10.1057/pb.2014.13

Ren, Carina, and Can-Seng Ooi. 2013. “Auto-communicating Micro-Orientalism: Articulating ‘Denmark’ in China at the Shanghai Expo.” Asia Europe Journal 11 (2): 129–45. DOI: 10.1007/s10308-013-0346-6

Ren, Carina, and Szilvia Gyimóthy. 2013. Transforming and Contesting Nation Branding Strategies: Denmark at the Expo 2010. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 9 (1): 17–29. DOI: 10.1057/pb.2012.25

Shore, Cris, and Susan Wright. 1997. “Policy. A New Field of Anthropology.” In Anthropology of Policy. Critical Perspectives on Governance and Power, edited by Cris Shore and Susan Wright, 1. London: Routledge.

Special report. 2006. Denmark’s International Image Q1 2006. The Anholt Nation Brands Index. Simon Anholt and GMI, Inc.

Stöber, Birgit. 2008. “Place Branding—How the Private Creates the Public.” In Critical Perspectives on Private Authority in Global Politics, edited by Hans Krause Hansen and Dorte Salskov-Iversen, pp. 169–187. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Szondi, Gyorgy. 2010. “From Image Management to Relationship Building: A Public Relations Approach to Nation Branding.” Place Brand Public Diplomacy 6 (4): 333–343. DOI: 10.1057/pb.2010.32

TimesOnline. 2006. “70,000 gather for violent Pakistan cartoons protest.” 15 February. Retrieved from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article731005.ece, accessed October 2012.

Vatin, François. 2013. “Valuation as Evaluating and Valorizing.” Valuation Studies 1 (1): 31–50. DOI: 10.3384/vs.2001-5992.131131

Wartick, Steven L. 2002. “Measuring Corporate Reputation: Definition and Data.” Business & Society 41 (4): 371–392. DOI: 10.1177/0007650302238774

Widler, Janine. 2007. “Nation Branding: With Pride against Prejudice.” Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 3 (2): 144–150. DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.pb.6000055

Volume 3, Issue: 2, Article 5, 2015

Henrik Merkelsen, Rasmus Kjærgaard Rasmussen
The Construction of Brand Denmark: A Case Study of the Reversed Causality in Nation Brand Valuation:
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
  • Meri Fri & Ville-Pekka Sorsa (2018). Nation Branding as Sustainability Governance: A Comparative Case Analysis. Business & Society, : 000765031875832. DOI: 10.1177/0007650318758322
  • Henrik Merkelse & Rasmus Kjærgaard Rasmussen (2016). Nation branding as an emerging field – An institutionalist perspective. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 12(2-3): 99. DOI: 10.1057/s41254-016-0018-6
  • ont-family:"Verdana";font-weight:normal;font-size: .7em;color:black;} p {font-family:"Verdana";font-weight:normal;color:black;margin-top: -5px} b {font-family:"Verdana";font-weight:bold;color:black;margin-top: -5px} H1 { font-family:"Verdana";font-weight:normal;font-size:18pt;color:red } H2 { font-family:"Verdana";font-weight:normal;font-size:14pt;color:maroon } pre {font-family:"Lucida Console";font-size: .9em} .marker {font-weight: bold; color: black;text-decoration: none;} .version {color: gray;} .error {margin-bottom: 10px;} .expandable { text-decoration:underline; font-weight:bold; color:navy; cursor:hand; }

    Server Error in '/ej/JournalArticleGoogleScholarCitations' Application.

    Runtime Error

    Description: An application error occurred on the server. The current custom error settings for this application prevent the details of the application error from being viewed remotely (for security reasons). It could, however, be viewed by browsers running on the local server machine.

    Details: To enable the details of this specific error message to be viewable on remote machines, please create a <customErrors> tag within a "web.config" configuration file located in the root directory of the current web application. This <customErrors> tag should then have its "mode" attribute set to "Off".

    <!-- Web.Config Configuration File -->
            <customErrors mode="Off"/>

    Notes: The current error page you are seeing can be replaced by a custom error page by modifying the "defaultRedirect" attribute of the application's <customErrors> configuration tag to point to a custom error page URL.

    <!-- Web.Config Configuration File -->
            <customErrors mode="RemoteOnly" defaultRedirect="mycustompage.htm"/>

    Export in BibTex, RIS or text