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Nation branding at world

expositions. Swedens brand


architecture at Expo 2010.

Emma Bjrner

Master dissertation 30 hp
Spring term 2010
Supervisor: Per Olof Berg
Title: Nation branding at world expositions.
Swedens brand architecture at Expo 2010.

Nation branding at world


expositions. Swedens brand
architecture at Expo 2010.
Emma Bjrner

Abstract
The objective of this master dissertation has been to develop a preliminary, conceptual
framework for describing Swedens participation at the Shanghai World Expo 2010, and to
study the use of branding and nation branding in a world expo context. The research focus is on
nation branding and world expositions, as well as the Swedish pavilion and the purposes,
intended communication, contributions and activities of Sweden and Swedish actors at Expo
2010. The method used in this thesis is of a case study character, the main component consisting
of qualitative interviews. Problems proposed in nation branding research are related to the
various actors connected to branding initiatives and their distribution of conflicting messages.
Umbrella branding and brand platforms are suggested solutions to reach synergy in joint
communication efforts and nation branding. The empirical study can be interpreted as showing
that a common platform with shared keywords and theme, adapted to the context of Expo 2010,
has been created for Swedens presence in Shanghai 2010. Within the frame of this thesis, the
author develop the concept of brand platform further, supplying it with additional dimensions,
and concluding that the brand platform for Sweden at Expo 2010 create structure and
synergistic benefits elements needed in branding initiatives, for nations as well as companies
and regions.

Keywords
Nation branding, world exposition, Sweden, Expo 2010 Shanghai, brand platform

Stockholm University School of Business


106 91 Stockholm
Telephone: +46 (0)8 16 20 00
www.fek.su.se

Table of content
1. Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 5
1.1 Problem formulation .......................................................................................................... 6
1.2 Purpose and research questions .......................................................................................... 7
1.3 The method in brief ........................................................................................................... 7
1.4 Thesis structure ................................................................................................................ 7
2. Literature review ................................................................................................................. 8
2.1 Background: World Expositions ........................................................................................... 8
2.1.1 Purpose and development ........................................................................................... 8
2.1.2 Significant world expositions ........................................................................................ 9
2.1.3 Swedens participation at world expos ........................................................................... 9
2.2 Branding the nation......................................................................................................... 10
2.2.1 Brand, branding and nation branding .......................................................................... 10
2.2.3 Clear, differentiated profile ........................................................................................ 11
2.2.4 Strategic branding ................................................................................................... 12
3. Method ............................................................................................................................... 12
3.1 Interviewees and verbal sources ....................................................................................... 14
3.2 Presentation of the organizations ...................................................................................... 13
3.3 Analysis and reporting phase ............................................................................................ 15
3.4 Credibility ...................................................................................................................... 15
4. Case study / Empirical result ............................................................................................. 16
4.1 The world expo and Swedens participation......................................................................... 16
4.1.1 Shanghai World Expo 2010........................................................................................ 16
4.1.2 The Swedish organization .......................................................................................... 16
4.1.3 The Swedish pavilion ................................................................................................ 17
4.1.4 Swedens communication platform ............................................................................. 18
4.2 Perceptions of official Sweden and actors ........................................................................... 19
4.2.1 Purposes, intentions and goals ................................................................................... 19
4.2.2 Program, activities and contributions .......................................................................... 20
4.2.3 Communication about Sweden and its actors ............................................................... 21
4.2.4 Swedens communication platform ............................................................................. 22
4.3 Using World Expos to brand nations .................................................................................. 23
5. Summary and Analysis ....................................................................................................... 24
6. Discussion and Contributions ............................................................................................. 26
7. Sources .............................................................................................................................. 28

Appendices
Appendix 1: World Expositions
Appendix 2: World Expo in Shanghai 2010
Appendix 3: The Swedish participation
Appendix 4: Program highlights

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Preface and acknowledgments


A great interest in international marketing, nation branding and China was an important reason
for choosing to focus my master thesis on nation branding at world expositions as well as
Swedens participation in Shanghai 2010. Another contributing reason for my choice of study
area was due to a work opportunity in the Swedish pavilion at the World Expo 2010 in
Shanghai. I was hired as a guide but also came to work as a VIP Officer, for seven months
during 2010. My position in the Swedish pavilion has given me insight in, and an understanding
for, the Swedish organization at Expo 2010 as well as its branding and nation branding efforts.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to my supervisor Professor Per Olof Berg for his
encouragement, guidance and support during my pressured schedule conducting this master
dissertation. My thanks are also extended to those interviewed for this thesis and their
contributions to my study. I very much appreciate the great willingness these people have
shown me, to share with me their knowledge in the field of nation branding and world
expositions. I would also like to send my thanks to Mikael Andhn and Andrea Lucarelli as well
as my fellow students who have all helped me during the writing of this thesis.
Emma Bjrner
Shanghai, May 2010

This report is a part of the research program on Metropolitan Branding, funded by the
Swedish Science Foundation and hosted by Stockholm University, School of Business. The
conclusions drawn and the findings presented are however the sole responsibility of the author.

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1. Introduction
Today, the world is one market and competition between places is global. Nations compete for
skilful workforce, foreign investments, tourism income, and much more. The challenge of
building a nations wealth has become a critical business arena, and, to be competitive, nations
are trying to develop their attractiveness and promote their uniqueness. According to scholars in
the field of marketing and nation branding, nations today must focus on generating and
maintaining competitive advantage as well as manage and control their nation branding
(Anholt, 2007; Moilanen and Rainisto, 2009; Kotler, 2002; Olins, 2003). Nation branding
means to define what makes a country unique and then making sure that the unique pictures
reach the target groups. Nation branding involves promoting a nations image to an
international audience and should address the image and message to further a countrys
political, social and economic gains as well as create competitive advantage (hrvall, 2005;
Fan, 2005). According to Dinnie (2008), the purpose of nation branding is to fulfill three major
objectives, namely to attract tourists, to stimulate inward investment and to boost exports.
Even though the application of branding techniques to nations by many scholars are seen as a
relatively new phenomenon (ibid), the idea of branding the nation is not new: Although the
technologies are new and infinitely more powerful and pervasive than ever before, and the word
brand is also new, the concepts which it encompasses are as old as the nation itself (Olins,
2003; Fan, 2005). According to Bolin (2006), nations have marketed themselves since at least
the world fairs of the 19th century. World expositions have been important events in that they
have functioned as promotional institutions for nations and often acted as platforms for
countries to show their competitive edge and impress with the most advanced inventions of their
time (ibid; Bjrck, 2010).
Universal expositions imply the large, public exhibitions arranged since the mid 19th century.
The very first world exposition was held in 1851, in the Crystal Palace in London. Since then
more than 60 word expositions have been arranged, in total attracting about 800 million visitors.
The rapid pace and changed conditions of the contemporary world have changed the character
of world expos. The focus for world exhibitions in the 19th century was on nations presenting
technology, news and regions conquered. Today news spread fast and inventions and
discoveries are hard to keep quiet about (Sweden Expo Committee, 2010; Bjrck, 2010).
According to Ekstrm (2010), the contemporary world expositions are more focused on creating
business relations, as opposed to earlier times when the purpose was broader.
From May 1st until October 31st, the largest world exposition ever is held in Shanghai, China.
The theme for Expo 2010 is Better City, Better Life and a focus is consequently on the
aspiration to create better living conditions in cities. Almost all nations of the world will be
present and exhibit their countries unique qualities. The overall aim of the Swedish
participation at Expo 2010 in Shanghai is to strengthen a positive image of Sweden
internationally and to promote the competitiveness and creativity of Swedish trade and industry.
The purpose is also to reinforce Swedens attractiveness for tourism and investment as well as
for research and cultural exchange (Sweden Expo Committee, 2010). On the opening day of the
Swedish pavilion and the World Expo 2010, Annika Rembe (General Commissioner in the
Expo Committee) was quoted in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, saying: The purpose
is to strengthen the image of Sweden in China and to create a platform that enable Swedish
companies to develop and create new business opportunities (DN, 2010-05-01).

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On the opening day of the Swedish pavilion 107 partner companies where sponsoring Swedens
participation in Shanghai. Swedish companies have appointed staff to the Expo Committee
organization, participated in the creation of the Swedish pavilion, and played a role in the
selection of the keywords for Swedens participation at Expo 2010 in Shanghai. This have
resulted in an exhibition and a pavilion that integrates messages about Sweden with examples of
innovative solutions, products and services founded by Swedish companies, regions, and
organizations, incorporated in the theme for the exhibition, Sprit of innovation (Nina Ekstrand,
2010-04-29; Expo2010.se). Ekstrand says that, Swedens participation in Shanghai can be seen
as a platform for dialogue, comprising the pavilion, the exhibition, VIP and promotion, the
program (seminars, workshops, street performances, etc.) and communications.

1.1 Problem formulation


Due to the increasingly global competition that countries face today, the use of branding
techniques on nations is growing in frequency and nations are making more and more conscious
efforts to brand their countries. Many nations are today dedicating immense energy, attention,
and money to create prestige and influence domestically and externally. A lot of countries have
moreover made conscious and deliberate attempts to construct a national identity which is clear,
consistent and ideologically rooted (Dinnie, 2008). According to Olins (2003, p. 166), the
process of brand-building has begun in many nations and is today unstoppable. The issue is
rather where and how to do it successfully and effectively. In relation to these arguments, I find
it appealing to explore how brand building function in a world expo setting, a setting that put
emphasis on nation branding and at the same time have an increased focus on business.
Various challenges face those involved in branding of nations, regions and businesses. One such
challenge involves how to achieve unified messages, synergy between actors and thus a more
powerful message. According to Kavaratzis (2005), place promotion and nation branding efforts
where in earlier times intuitively and randomly carried out, lacking a focused, integrated and
strategic implementation, whereas increased integration and a more strategic nation branding
approach has been apparent during the last three decades. Also Anholt (2007, p. 2) shed light on
the problem that many countries (and in it various actors, agencies, ministries, organizations and
companies) seldom promote their products and services in a coordinated way, and consequently
send out conflicting messages about the nation. The result, Anholt states, is that no consistent
picture of the nation emerges and its overall reputation stands still or moves backwards.
Many scholars, among them Therkelson and Halk (2008), emphasize the importance of that
different, associated actors all should be coordinated and managed within a common branding
initiative/branding production. I find it interesting to research how these branding initiatives are
organized in a world expo context. A challenge when there is the large group of actors that are
participating in the branding production is that these actors often are different from each other
and have varying objectives, resources and capabilities. In the opening of the Swedish pavilion
there where more than 100 partner organizations sponsoring and hence participating in
Swedens presence at Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Studying and exploring how coordination and
synergy in the branding initiative can be achieved in a world expo setting, and by Sweden at
Expo 2010 in Shanghai, appears to me as an interesting field of research.

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1.2 Purpose and research questions


The purpose of this master dissertation is to develop a preliminary conceptual framework for
describing Swedens participation at Expo 2010 in Shanghai. I aim at describing the Swedish
pavilion and its context. I also aim at studying the official Sweden and Swedish actors
(companies and regions) purposes of their presence at Expo 2010, their intended communication
and branding efforts as well their planned programs and activities. In the extension I aim at
studying the use of world expositions to brand nations and its related actors. The research
questions established for this master thesis are:
How is the Swedish participation at Expo 2010 structured?
What are the purposes and intentions of the official Sweden and Swedish actors?
How are the activities and contributions organized?
What are the intended communication and messages about Sweden and Swedish actors?
How can countries make use of world expos in branding and nation branding efforts?

1.3 The method in brief


I have chosen a case study approach as the method for this master dissertation, since a case
study research enables the researcher to answer how and why type questions, while taking
into consideration how a phenomenon is influenced by the context within which it is situated
(Baxter and Jack, 2008, p. 556). A case study approach also appears appropriate due to my
focus on a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context (Nordin, 2009). The
respondents that have been selected for this study have been strategically picked out based on
their competence and work field. Interviews have been conducted with representatives from the
official Sweden (Invest Sweden, Visit Sweden, Swedish Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Swedish Trade Council) and from companies and regions (SKF, Ericsson, SEB, Atlas Copco,
Envac, Stockholm Business Region). Scholars with knowledge in the field of world expositions
and nation branding, as well as people with insight into the creation of the Swedish pavilion at
World Expo in Shanghai 2010, have also acted as informants. In addition to the interviews I
have used information achieved during the training of the guides working in the Swedish
pavilion, and material supplied by the Swedish Expo Committee and its cooperating parties. In
my position as a full-time employee as guide and VIP officer in the Swedish pavilion, working
in the Swedish pavilion for 6 months, I have moreover been able to access useful information
about, as well as gain an in-depth understanding of, Swedens participation at Expo 2010.

1.4 Thesis structure


This thesis begin with a Literature review, first supplying the reader with a background about
world expositions, and secondly putting focus on the concepts of nation branding. A more
thorough description of the chosen and applied Method is thereafter given, including a
presentation of the organizations and interviewees. The Case study and Empirical results are
then presented, in three parts. Firstly, a description of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, and
Swedens participation here, is supplied. Secondly, I present the official Sweden and Swedish
actors perceptions about their and Swedens purpose for participating in Expo 2010, their
intended and desired communication efforts, as well as their activities and contributions in the
pavilion. Thirdly, the result related to nation branding at world expos is presented. Thereafter, a
Summary and analysis relating the result with the literature review is put forth. Discussion and
contributions then follow, exploring the concept of branding architecture in relation to nation
branding and world expositions. References and appendices are lastly presented. The
appendices purpose is to give the reader a broader understanding of the context and the topic.

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2. Literature review
2.1 Background: World Expositions
Universal exposition or world expo is the name given to the large, public exhibitions arranged
since the mid-19th century. The International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) defines world
expositions as: An exhibition is a display which, whatever its title, has as its principal purpose
the education of the public: it may exhibit the means at mans disposal for meeting the needs of
civilization, or demonstrate the progress achieved in one or more branches of human endeavor,
or show prospects for the future (1928 Paris Convention, Article 1). The International
Exhibitions Bureau is a large international and intergovernmental organization in charge of
overseeing the calendar, the bidding, the selection, and the organization of world and
international expos. The mission of BIE is to maintain the integrity and quality of expos so that
they may continue to educate the public and promote innovation in the service of human
progress. BIE works in order to ensure that expos not only provide a benchmark for the human
progress, but also propose a road map for the way forward (BIE, 2010).
2.1.1 Purpose and development
To some degree, the Industrial Revolution gave birth to the world expo, as the original intent
was to display the achievements of different countries industrial revolution. According to Bolin
(2006, p. 189), the rise of the world fairs was an important feature of the modern state. Many of
the worlds most famous buildings (e.g. The Statue of Liberty) and ideas can be traced to the
world expositions. The international exhibition history was in many ways also a reflection of the
nation creating process that continued throughout the 19th century. The social modernization
process was manifested in the exhibition fields, and a new demand for the nation as a unifying
point of identification was apparent. As a response to the need for the nation, during the late 19th
century a large amount of symbols and traditions were constructed, in order to highlight a sense
of belonging in a time of rapid change (Ekstrm, 1994, p. 273-4).
At the earliest expositions national business corporations operated as signifiers in the process of
displaying the nation, its culture, history and future prospects, and the interests of the nation
and the corporations went hand in hand. Ford and Singer, for example, were cultural products of
the United States, a part of the national heritage and evidence of progressive modernization
(Harvey, 1996, p. 100). Throughout the 19th century, the universal exhibitions focus was to a
large extent on modernization, the marketing of commodities and the change towards a modern,
capitalist world with increased production and exchange (Sweden Expo Committee, 2010;
Harvey, 1996, p. 50). Ekstrm (1994, p. 233) states that the exhibitions during the 19th century
were motivated in particular by a strive towards an educating, mobilizing effort to bring the
audience to a level of cultural development as well as to create agreement on the industrial
project and the world picture that was its foundation. Also Harvey (1996, p. 56-57) put
emphasis on the connection between the modern state and the world fairs, claiming that, in the
mid 19th century, the modern state was a recent phenomenon, and one which the cultural
complexes of the universal exhibitions were precisely designed to promote.
According to Bolin (2006, p. 189), the world fairs have historically been events that have
functioned as promotional institutions in which nations could impress with the most advanced
inventions, and the most refined cultural and artistic expressions, of their time. World
expositions in the contemporary world have become sites of promotion for both industrial and
post-industrial economies as well as a display of the radical effects of human progress and
innovation (Harvey, 1996, p. 24, 50). In terms of economic and cultural impact, the World
Expos are measured as one of largest events in the world (Sweden Expo Committee, 2010).
Today, world expos are constantly taking new forms. Every expo has a main theme, but the
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different pavilions (including theme pavilions, national pavilions and corporate pavilions) are
free to plan, design and build their pavilions based on their backgrounds and understanding of
the theme (Expo.cn 3).
2.1.2 Significant world expositions
The very first world expo was held in 1851, in the Crystal Palace in London, and was called the
Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations. Ten countries were invited to
participate in the 160-day event, which attracted around 6.3 million visitors (Expo.cn 3). Since
then more than 60 world expositions have been arranged, in total attracting about 800 million
visitors. Every fifth year a larger exposition, lasting for a period of maximum six months, is
held. A smaller exposition (called International Expo) is arranged between the two world expos,
lasting for maximum three months (Sweden Expo Committee, 2010; Bjrck, 2010).
The 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris is seen as one of the very successful world expos. The
theme was The Evaluation of a Century and displayed was technological achievements of the
19th Century. The exposition attracted 48 million visitors, which greatly exceeded the number of
visitors in previous expositions. After the 1900 Expo in Paris the impact of the industrial
revolution started to fade and technology was not as much in the centre of world expos (Expo.cn
3). Another significant world exposition in the course of the world expo development is the
Chicago Expo in 1933. 47 countries participated at the world exposition in Chicago and 38
million people visited the site. The theme was Century of Progress and for the first time large
corporations, including motor companies like GM, Ford and Chrysler, where allowed to have
their own pavilions, which was welcomed by both entrepreneurs and visitors (ibid). In the 1958
Brussels Expo the theme was A world view A new humanism which symbolized a shift
from an emphasis on technology centered ideas to humanism. In 1970, Japan and Osaka was the
host for the world expo, attracting 76 countries, 4 international organizations and in total 64
million visitors. This was the largest number of visitors in the expo history as well as the first
world expo held in an Asian country (Expo.cn 3).
2.1.3 Swedens participation at world expos

Since 1933 Sweden has participated in all world exhibitions, except the one in New York 1939
and in Port au Prince 1949. During the very first world exposition in London, Sweden exhibited
products from the iron industry, among other things steel, ore, pig-iron, rod iron and smithery.
At the 1992 world exposition in Sevilla, Swedens theme was The Light of Inspiration and the
main theme for the expo was The Era of Inventions. This was to materialise the belief that
Swedes have long been, and also will be, active in the field of inventions and creativity (Expo
Committee, 2010; Bjrck, 2010; Terra Scaniae, 2010). In Lisbon 1998 Swedens theme was
Climate North (Swedish: Klimat Nord) and the main Expo theme was The Oceans, a
Heritage for the Future. In Hannover 2000, Swedens theme was The bridges of knowledge
(Swedish: Kunskapens broar) emphasizing learning through experience, cooperation, a holistic
view and commitment. Various actors participated and the setup was very ambitious, Lind
(2010) states. In Aichi 2005, Sweden shared a pavilion with the Nordic countries, under the
theme Oasis in the north. The national profile of Sweden was rather weak, but the pavilion
was popular and the number of visitors exceeded the expectations (ibid).

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2.2 Branding the nation


According to Kavaratzis (2005, p. 329), todays world involves fierce competition for resources,
business relocation, foreign investment, visitors and residents. Von Kirchbach (2002, p. 6)
argues that, in a world of increasingly liberalized trade, strategy must concentrate on
generating and maintaining competitive advantage. Also Kotler (2002, p.253), emphasizes the
need for nations to create sources of competitive advantage and Olins (2003, p. 158) argues that
globalization has changed the game once again. Historically, countries inward investment
was restricted to a few markets, tourism was limited and brand export mainly embraced
traditional products to traditional markets. Today countries are instead competing on hard,
quantifiable issues such as exports, imports and tourism (ibid). Related to the concept of
competitive advantage of nations, Porter (in von Kirchbach, 2002, p. 6) notes that, national
prosperity is created, not inherited, moreover defining competitive advantage of a nation as its
capacity to entice firms (both local and foreign) to use the country as a platform from which to
conduct business. Kavaratzis (2005, p. 329) states that place administrators have recognized a
valuable ally within marketing practice and theory, when trying to attract desired target groups
and compete with other countries. According to Kotler (2002, p.253), there are many reasons
why nations must manage and control their nation branding, and thus attracting tourists,
factories, companies and talented people as well as to find markets for their exports.
Wstberg (2006, p. 17) states that the nation branding business is growing and emphasizes that
all nations, due to globalization, are in competition with one another. According to Kavaratzis
(2005, p. 333) the whole foreign affairs policy of countries should be thought of as a branding
exercise. Olins (2003, p. 169) states that, a successful brand will be seen as a key national
asset, moreover claiming that no country in todays contemporary world can ignore the way
the rest of the world sees it. Olins also maintains that politicians are realizing that every nation
has an identity, which they either can try to manage or it will manage them. Moilanen and
Rainisto (2009, p. 1), states that building a nation brand can be seen as an investment with very
strong positive returns when it succeed. Some positive effects mentioned are increased
possibility to attract companies and investments, support for the export industry, promotion of
the tourism industry, increase of citizens identity and self-esteem and promotion of public
diplomacy. In contrary to these arguments, Anholt (2008, p. 1) maintains that there appears to
be no evidence to suggest that marketing communications can influence international public
perceptions of country, region or city.
2.2.1 Branding and nation branding
Nation branding means to define what makes a country unique and then making sure that the
unique pictures reach the target groups. Nation branding involves promoting a nations image to
an international audience to further a countrys political, social and economic gains and create
competitive advantage (hrvall, 2005; Fan, 2005, p. 9). Fan (ibid, p. 5) argues that nation
branding still is in the infant stage, moreover stating that the topic itself remains as a
complicated and somewhat confused construct. According to Dinnie (2008) the application of
branding techniques to nations is a relatively new phenomenon, but one which is growing in
frequency given the increasing global competition. Even though nation branding can be seen as
a fairly new concept, Olins (2003, p. 152) emphasizes that the idea behind branding the nation is
not new: Although the technologies are new and infinitely more powerful and pervasive than
ever before, and the word brand is also new, the concepts which it encompasses are as old as
the nation itself.
Branding is about the relationship with people, intellectually and emotionally. Brands have
moreover, by many scholars been considered a marketers major tool for creating product
differentiation, as they stimulate beliefs, evoke emotions and prompt behaviors (Cayla and
Arnould, 2008; Kotler, 2002, p.249-50). Anholt (2006, p. 3) maintains that, owning a famous
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brand is the best possible precursor to building a profitable business. Branding a nation is
however not the same as branding a company or branding products, but many of the techniques
are similar: People are people whether they work in a company or live in a nation and when
businesses create loyalties with the workforce, suppliers, communities, customers and investors
they use similar techniques to those of nation builders (Olins, 2002, p. 247). In Fans (2005, p.
7) viewpoint, a nation cannot be seen as a product in the conventional sense as it does not offer
any tangible product or service, but rather represents and encompasses a wide variety of factors
and associations such as place, natural resources, people, history, culture, political and
economic systems, social institutions and infrastructure. According to Moilanen and Rainisto
(2009, p. 3), branding models and procedures made for company products can not be directly
applicable when branding complex and multidimensional entities such as countries. Olins
(2003, p. 167) similarly states that nation branding is far more complex compared to product
branding, involving much more co-ordination. Olins however also maintains that the essentials
are the same, stating that both commercial and national brand-building are concerned with the
creation of clear, simple, differentiating propositions often built around emotional qualities
which can be readily symbolized both verbally and visually.
2.2.3 Clear, differentiated profile
Most people around the world today are too busy with their own lives and countries to spend
time to form informed views about the nearly 200 countries in the world: We make do with
summaries for the vast majority of people and places [] and only start to expand and refine
these impressions when for some reason we acquire a particular interest in them Anholt (2007,
p. 1). Olins (2003, p. 150) states along the same lines that, most people know very little about
nations other than their own and when they know anything at all their beliefs are often formed
by myth, rumor and anecdote, almost always leaning towards grotesque caricature which can be
bruising to trade, tourism and inward investment.
Kotler (2002, p. 245-5) among others emphasize that an image needs to be simple, distinctive,
appealing, close to reality and believable in order to be effective. Many nations are today
working hard to differentiate themselves from other countries, establishing a distinct profile and
promoting their uniqueness. According to Fan (2005, p. 10), it is however a major challenge to
communicate a single image or message to different audiences in different countries. This is
also a concern of Kavaratzis (2005, p. 330), who claims that activities of place promotion and
nation branding have in earlier times been intuitively and randomly carried out. Different
organizations have moreover had varying interests regarding the promoting of a place or nation,
lacking a more focused, integrated and strategic oriented implementation. Also Moilanen and
Rainisto (2009, p. 19), discuss place marketing and the challenges that the branded destination
as a multidimensional and complex entity implies. They state that the large groups of actors that
participate in the branding production often are different from each other, due to their
objectives, resources and capabilities. Therkelson and Halk (2008) states along the same lines
that places are created by a multitude of associated actors, have several target groups, numerous
suppliers and countless product offers. These should all be coordinated and managed within the
branding initiative. Also Anholt (2007, p. 2) see a problem in that many countries, and in it
various actors, agencies, ministries, organizations, companies etc., seldom promote their
products and services in a coordinated way, and consequently sending out conflicting messages
about the nation. The result, Anholt (ibid, p 3) states, is that no consistent picture of the nation
emerges and its overall reputation stands still or moves backwards.

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2.2.4 Strategic branding


Kavaratzis (2005, p. 330), see a shift towards increased integration and a more strategic nation
branding approach during the last three decades. The need for strategic approaches in nation
branding has been emphasized by many scholars. According to Kotler (2002, p.259), countries
should develop an umbrella concept that covers and is consistent with all of the nations
separate branding activities. Also Fan (2005, p. 9) argues that the nation brand ideally should
act as a national brand umbrella in the global marketplace, seeking to differentiate the
countrys products from international competitors. According to Moilanen and Rainisto (2009,
p. 11), creating a country branding program needs integration, cooperation and coordination.
According to van Riel (1995), communication strategies must be well planned. Harris and de
Chernatony (2001) similarly claim that, internal consistency and congruency are vital to a
successful external communication of identity. Additionally, Cayla and Arnould (2008) argue
that, the consistency of brand messages increases the clarity and credibility of a brand in the
minds of consumers.
In Anholts (2007, p. 2) perception, one of the primary skills of governments in the twenty-first
century is to discover what the worlds perception of their country is, and develop a strategy for
managing it. According to Olins (2003, p. 166), managing a branding program for a nation in
the twenty-first century is going to demand a high level of political, managerial and technical
skills. Communicating a uniform message about a place in a multitude of contexts should pave
the way for a strong place profile that stands out among place messages. Developing one as
opposed to several place branding profiles moreover result in economies of scale and pooling
(Therkelson and Halk, 2008).

3. Method
I have chosen a case study approach as the method for this master dissertation, since case study
research enables the researcher to answer how and why type of questions, while taking into
consideration how a phenomenon is influenced by the context within which it is situated (Baxter
and Jack, 2008, p. 556). A case study approach appear appropriate also since I aim at
investigating a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context with the purpose of
gaining an understanding of actors, interactions, sentiments and behaviors (Nordin, 2009). A
hallmark of a case study research is the use of multiple data sources, a strategy which also
enhances data credibility. Potential data sources may include, but are not limited to,
documentation, archival records, interviews, physical artifacts, direct observations, and
participant-observation (Patton, 1990; Yin, 2003; Baxter and Jack, 2008, p. 554). I have used
various sources for data collection, the main source being qualitative interviews with
representatives of the official Sweden (Swedish Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish
Trade Council, Invest Sweden and Visit Sweden) and Swedish actors (companies and regions).
Interviews have also been conducted with researchers knowledgeable in the field of world
expositions. Insights have furthermore been supplied by representatives and organizations active
in the project of the Swedish pavilion. In addition to the interviews I have used information
achieved at the training of the guides working in the Swedish pavilion and material supplied by
the Swedish Expo Committee and its cooperating parties. In my position as a full-time
employee as guide and VIP Officer in the Swedish pavilion, working in the pavilion for about 6
months, I have moreover been able to access useful information about, as well as gain an indepth understanding of, Swedens participation at the world expo in Shanghai 2010. The choice
of a case study research approach is suitable also since it enables me as a researcher to gather
data from a variety of sources in order to describe the case (Baxter and Jack, 2008, p. 556).
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A danger when gathering data from various sources, like I have done within the frame of this
thesis, is that the collection of overwhelming amounts of data can come to require a lot of
management and analysis (Baxter and Jack, 2008, p. 554). In order to limit my scope I have
consistently returned to the purpose and frame of questions established for this thesis, and made
constant attempts to limit the research area to these. By using a case study approach, the method
used in the research for this thesis is consequently of a qualitative (as opposed to quantitative)
character. A certain feature of qualitative methods is that they start from the perspective and
actions of the subjects studied (Alvesson and Skldberg, 2000). This is appropriate in my study
since the focus is on Swedish actors purposes, reasoning, actions and communication at the
World Expo 2010 as well as nation branding at world expos. Quantitative studies typically
proceed from the researchers ideas about the dimensions and categories that come to enact the
central focus for the research (Bryman, 1989, in Alvesson and Skldberg, 2000) which appear
inappropriate for my research since my purpose is of a more exploratory character, aiming to
study various, non-predictable ideas about Swedens participation at the world expo in
Shanghai.

3.2 Presentation of organizations


When referring to the official Sweden and Swedish actors the following are referred to:
Official Sweden

Invest Sweden is a governmental agency assisting and informing foreign investors


about business and investment opportunities in Sweden.
The Swedish Institute (SI) is a public agency that promotes interest in Sweden abroad
through active communication and cultural, educational and scientific exchange.
The Swedish Trade Council (STC) help Swedish companies grow internationally.
Visit Sweden work to increase knowledge about Sweden as a tourist destination through
the branding of Sweden.
The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) is together with the Swedish missions
abroad responsible for Swedens relations with other countries.

Swedish actors (Companies and regions)

Atlas Copco is a world leader in industrial tools, compressors, construction and mining
equipment.
Envac is a global leader in automated vacuum waste collection.
Ericsson is a world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and related
services to mobile and fixed operators globally.
SEB is one of Europes leading banks.
SKF is a leading global supplier of products, solutions and services within rolling
bearings, seals, mechatronics, services and lubrication systems.
Stockholm Business Region is the official investment promotion agency of Stockholm.

In addition to these organizations, also Futurniture (Jakob Lind) and Springtime (Carin Lembre)
have offered useful information regarding Swedens participation at Expo 2010. Futurniture is a
communications agency, cooperating with Springtime, Tengbom and Eastwei to create the
concept and design of the Swedish pavilions exhibition at Shanghai Expo 2010. Springtime is
the lead agency in charge of the Swedish exhibition (Expo2010.se, tema och utstllning). In the
initial phase of my research met Jakob Lind (in February 2010) for a briefing about world expos
as well as the work of Futurniture and Springtime in connection to Expo 2010.
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3.1 Interviewees and verbal sources


The interviewees have been chosen strategically based on their competence and work field. I
have also consulted people involved in the Swedish Expo Committee for their recommendations
about suitable people (with insight in and knowledge of Swedens participation at Expo 2010)
to interview. The respondents that have been interviewed for this thesis are the following:
Name

Organization

Position

Date & length


of interview

Karin Serenander

The Ministry of Foreign


Affairs in Sweden (MFA)

Deputy Director

10-02-10
45 min

Staffan Bjrck

The Ministry of Foreign


Affairs in Sweden (MFA)

Senior adviser

10-02-23
45 min

Jerker Nilsson

The Swedish Institute


(SI)

Coordinator

10-02-26
40 min

Cecilia Schartau

The Swedish Trade


Council (STC)

Project leader

10-03-18
30 min

Sren Pettersson

Invest in Sweden
Agency (ISA)

Senior Investment Advisor

10-03-10
40 min

Bo Sderstrm

Visit Sweden

Information Director

10-02-36
30 min

Monica Ewert

Stockholm Business
Region (SBR)

Director of Communications

10-03-11
30 min

Jan Jonsson

SKF

Manager Corporate
Communications Projects

10-02-18
15 min

Henry Stnson

Ericsson

Senior Vice President


Communications

10-03-02
15 min

10

Jonas Trnblom

Envac

Director of Marketing and


Communication

10-02-26
30 min

11

Annika Berglund

Atlas Copco

Senior Vice President


Corporate Communications

10-02-23
15 min

12

Katrin Lindholm

SEB

Project leader Marketing

10-02-17
15 min

13

Anders Ekstrm

Royal Institute of
Technology (KTH)

Research leader

10-03-09
50 min

14

Brita Lundstrm

Royal Institute of
Technology (KTH)

Researcher

10-03-16
30 min

In addition to the above interviewees data for this thesis have also been gathered from the guide
training sessions in Stockholm (January 2010) and in Shanghai (April 2010) and hence from the
people in the table below:
1

Staffan Bjrck

MFA

Senior adviser

10-01-27

Jerker Nilsson

SI

Coordinator

10-01-27

Cecilia Schartau

STC

Project leader

10-01-27

Sren Pettersson

Invest Sweden

Senior Investment Advisor

10-01-27

Carin Lembre

Springtime

Consultant and project leader

10-01-27

Jakob Lind

Futurniture

CEO

10-01-27

Nina Ekstrand

Expo Committee

Deputy General Commissioner

10-01-27, 04-29

Annika Rembe

Expo Committee

General Commissioner

10-04-07

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3.3 Analysis and reporting phase


The data collection and analysis often occur concurrently in case study research, and also in the
context of this study (Baxter and Jack, 2008, p. 554). There are various techniques for analysis,
such as pattern matching, linking data to propositions, explanation building, time-series
analysis, logic models, categorical aggregation, direct interpretation and cross-case synthesis
(ibid; Yin, 2003). Within the frame of this thesis I aim at linking the data collected to the
proposed research questions and have an explanatory approach when studying Swedens
purposes, intentions and efforts in Shanghai as well as the concept of nation branding at world
expositions. In the analysis and discussion phase I aim to relate the literature review to the
context of branding Sweden at the world expo in Shanghai. In the analysis and discussion I
furthermore aim at exploring the concept of brand architecture and Sweden as a brand platform
at Expo 2010. In order to keep a clear focus in thesis thesis, I have concurrently returned to the
purpose and the research questions, throughout the work process and during the analysis phase
of the case study (Yin, 2003). A danger associated with the analysis phase is that each data
source is treated independently and the findings reported separately, which is not the purpose of
a case study. As a researcher one should instead ensure that the data are converged in an attempt
to understand the overall case (the context in which the phenomenon is occurring as well as the
phenomenon itself) not the various parts of the case, or the contributing factors that influence
the case (Baxter and Jack, 2008, p. 555). To give the reader a proper understanding of the
related context and overall case, I have in the literature review included research and
information related to world expositions and nation branding, and thus the context in which the
phenomenon is occurring. In the first chapter in the case study I moreover present information
related to the World Expo 2010, Swedens organization as well as the perceptions of the official
Sweden and Swedish actors (the phenomena itself). The goal has been to describe the case study
of this master dissertation in a comprehensive manner, and thus enable the reader to feel as if he
or she had been an active participant in the research, an approach suggested by various scholars.

3.4 Credibility
Data credibility can be enhanced by using multiple data sources, which has been the case in this
study. It is moreover suggested that researchers plan for opportunities to have either a prolonged
or intense exposure to the phenomenon under study within its context so that, among other
things multiple perspectives can be collected and understood (Patton, 1990; Yin, 2003; Baxter
and Jack, 2008, p. 556). In the frame of this thesis I have used interviews, seminar notes from
the guide training and freshly published material related to Swedens participation at the World
Expo 2010, in Shanghai. This, along with my presence in the Swedish pavilion at the Expo site,
has created possibilities for a thorough, in-depth perspective into my research area and topic. In
order to reach high quality of the research, most interviews conducted for this thesis have been
done in person. The majority of the interviews have moreover been recorded and then
transcribed, in order to not miss out on crucial parts and to avoid misunderstandings. The
interviews that have been conducted by telephone (the interviews with the majority of the
Swedish actors) have been transcribed right after the interviews. The written transcriptions
where then e-mailed to the interviewees, giving them the possibility to revise. As data are
collected and analyzed researchers a process of member checking can be integrated. The
researchers interpretations of the data are then shared with the interviewees, who have the
opportunity to discuss and clarify the interpretation, and contribute new or additional
perspectives on the issue under study (Baxter and Jack, 2008, p. 556). When conducting the
interviews that have been done in person, I have informed the interviewees that I will supply
them with the parts from the interview that I would like to include in the thesis, in order to
double check that I have understood and interpreted the person correctly. This method has
opened up for a possibility for the interviewee to make additions to the original interview and
clarify potential misunderstandings and/or misinterpretations.

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4. Case study / Empirical result


4.1 The world expo and Swedens participation
In this part I aim to describe the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, the Swedish organization, the
Swedish pavilion and its main components (e.g. the exhibition, VIP and communication).
Sweden's communication platform is moreover introduced.
4.1.1 Shanghai World Expo 2010
In November 1999, the Chinese government officially decided that Shanghai would bid for the
2010 World Expo, and in December 2002 Shanghai won the bid. The World Expo 2010 is
expected to be the largest Expo ever and is held in Shanghai from May 1st until October 31st. It
is anticipated that Expo 2010 will attract about 70 million visitors, or on average 400 000
visitors per day, of which 95 percent are expected to be Chinese (Expo.cn 1; Sweden Expo
Committee, 2010). The theme of Expo 2010 is Better City, Better Life, representing a central
concern of the international community and a common wish for sustainable development and
better living conditions in urban environments. The theme of Expo 2010 will be embodied in
several ways including nation and theme pavilions, zones, squares, facilities, itineraries, forums
and events for visitors around the world. The site for the World Expo is found in a central part
Shanghai, near the waterfront on an area of 5.28 square kilometers. Expo Shanghai online is the
online edition of the physical World Expo 2010 including virtual pavilions, 3D exhibitions,
events and interactions (Sweden Expo Committee, 2010; Expo.cn 2; Expo.cn 3).
4.1.2 The Swedish organization
The Swedish government decided in June 2007 that Sweden was to participate in Expo 2010. In
the autumn the same year, the Swedish government appointed the former finance mayor Carl
Cederschild to be the Chairman of the Committee of Sweden participation in World Expo in
Shanghai. The government together with the chairman appointed six members of the
Committee. The Committee then elected a Commissioner General to lead the daily operations.
The Swedish Expo Committee has since its formation acted as a decision making body
responsible for finance, personnel management, preparation and implementation of the Swedish
participation at Expo 2010. The Expo Committee is moreover linked to an advisory body, the
National Committee, which meets two to three times per year (Expo2010.se). An organization
chart of the Swedish organization is shown in Appendix 3: The Swedish participation.
The Swedish government allocated SEK 70 million to Swedens participation at Expo 2010
under the condition that the equivalent amount was contributed from the Swedish business
community. The Swedish business community had at the opening of the Swedish pavilion,
contributed with SEK 80 million. Swedens participation at Expo 2010 is consequently financed
by a partnership between the Swedish government and business community, adding up to a total
budget of SEK 150 million. Partners of the Swedish pavilion are categorized into four groups,
namely Official Partner (co-founder of the Swedish participation), Official Sponsor (contributor
of goods or services to the Swedish participation), Official Organization (governmental or semigovernmental organization or autonomous business association supporting the Swedish
participation), and Official Supplier (contracted supplier to the Swedish participation) (Sweden
Expo Intranet, 1).

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In contrast to earlier Swedish involvements in world expositions, it is clearly emphasized that


co-financiers will be able to use the Swedish participation at Expo 2010 as a base for
strengthening their relationships in China. One of the primary purposes of Swedens
participation at Expo 2010 is to promote trade and Swedish companies with business interests in
China. All potential co-financiers that have expressed an interest for Expo 2010 have been
interviewed and invited to take part in the Swedish participation in Shanghai. Packages have
been available for enterprises and organizations that wish to use the Swedish pavilion as a
platform for their business contacts (Expo2010.se, Partners). According to Nina Ekstrand (Expo
Committee), Swedens participation at Expo 2010 is the largest cooperation ever between the
Swedish government and the Swedish business community. Cooperation with the member
organizations of the national network for promoting Sweden abroad (NSU) is also an integral
part of Swedens involvement in Expo 2010 (Expo2010.se, Partners).
4.1.3 The Swedish pavilion
The main focus for Swedens participation at the World Expo in Shanghai is on nation branding
and creating business opportunities: The Swedish participation aims to strengthen a positive
image of Sweden internationally, to promote the competitiveness and creativity of Swedish
trade and industry, and to reinforce Swedens attractiveness for tourism and investment as well
as for research and cultural exchange, says Annika Rembe (Expo Committee). She also
stresses that it is important that the Swedish participation in Expo 2010 is for all of Sweden,
including various geographical parts of Sweden, a wide range of business sectors and
organizations of different kinds.
The expected number of visitors to the Swedish pavilion per day is 16 000. The three target
groups that have been identified for Sweden's participation at Expo 2010 are the official China,
the Chinese business community and the young urban society. The total area of the Swedish
pavilion is 3000 square meters. The facilities include a general exhibition section, a VIP area (of
600 square meters), a shop, a caf, an information desk, office space and areas for staff. The
pavilion and the interiors are designed by Sweco Architects, in close collaboration with the
Expo Committee, and should reflect the meeting between city and nature. The Swedish
exhibition is designed and constructed by the communication and PR company Springtime, in
close collaboration with Futurniture. The exhibition will, in an eye-catching way that is
sensitive to changing trends, present communication between people, authorities and the local
environment as the basis of an open and harmonious community. It will also present the
innovative and sustainable nature of Swedish companies, regions and organizations (Sweden
Expo Intranet, Swedens program; Expo2010.se, The Swedish Pavilion).
Various Swedish companies where invited to assist in creating the Swedish pavilion, resulting
in an exhibition that integrates messages about Sweden with examples of innovative solutions,
products and services founded by Swedish companies, regions, and organizations, incorporated
in the theme for the exhibition, Sprit of innovation (Ekstrand, Expo Committee). The VIP
section of the pavilion is used by the Swedish companies and regions, the official Sweden and
the Expo Committee for corporate hospitality, making business contacts, etc. A program of
different activities will be arranged in the VIP section, including lectures, seminars, film
screenings, receptions and dinners. The companies co-sponsoring the Swedish participation can
invite their business contacts to their events in the VIP area, which have a large auditorium
along with a number of meeting rooms and lounges. The kitchen in the VIP section offer
Swedish culinary specialties and a selection of Chinese dishes. On the top of the VIP section
and the Swedish pavilion there is a bar for VIP use only (Expo2010.se, Corporate Offers;
Sweden Expo Intranet, VIP Guidelines).
In addition to the activities arranged in the VIP section, various other events are on the program
in the Swedish pavilion and in connection to it. Street by Sweden for example, is the daily
cultural program from May until October, consisting of music, dance and other performing acts,
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taking place among the visitors and guests of the Swedish pavilion. Business, Science, Culture
and Society are the four program dimensions, and the venues are Swedens pavilion, the Expo
Area and the creative city of Shanghai. The purpose of Swedens program and activities at Expo
2010 is to strengthen and deepen the Expo participation 2010. (Sweden Expo Committee;
Sweden Expo Intranet). More information about the program is supplied in Appendix 5:
Program highlights.
Keywords in the Swedish participation at Expo 2010 are Innovation, Communication and
Sustainability, and the theme is Sweden Spirit of Innovation. The background of the
communication of Swedens participation at the world expo is the assignment of defining
and visualizing Sweden as a nation, producing the right conditions and providing a platform for
dialogue, meetings and relation building. In order for the theme to be as effective as possible, it
should permeate all aspects of the Swedish participation (Swedish Expo Committee). Annika
Rembe (Expo Committee) points out that, during the world expo 2010, Sweden shall
communicate the story about Sweden and the Spirit of Innovation, and also include the Swedish
companies and their stories. Important is also to create a dialogue and share interests as well as
learn, understand and share experiences. The communication should lead to a positive and
balanced image of Sweden as an innovative and open country with a strong commitment to
development that prioritizes people and the environment. Another purpose of the
communication is to create an understanding of and interest in Swedish values. Building an
effective platform for co-financiers (government and business) to develop business and bilateral
relations is another aim that the communication efforts shall assist. Communicating the Swedish
nation brand should also lead to a network of individuals or groups with an interest in Sweden,
called Friends of Sweden, says Rembe.
4.1.4 Swedens communication platform
From 2005 to 2006, a platform for Sweden as a brand was developed in close collaboration
between the organizations in the Council for the Promotion of Sweden (NSU). During the
development phase, between 500 and 600 people were involved at some point, both through a
number of workshop series and through surveys and studies of Swedens image. In May 2006,
the Council for the Promotion of Sweden adopted this platform as the foundation to be applied
in work with Swedens image (Brand Sweden, 2008). The main values and key words of the
platform are Open, Innovative, Caring and Authentic. The purpose of the communication
platform is to act as a point of departure in order to create a more powerful presentation of
Sweden abroad. It should also enable and encourage Swedish actors to cooperate (SI, 2009).
Wstberg (2005) states that, in order to brand Sweden, synergy between the information and PR
about Sweden is essential. Bergman (2009) similarly emphasizes the importance of Swedens
unified communication platform for the official Sweden and Swedish actors. In the creation of
the Swedish exhibition at World Expo 2010, Swedens communication platform has formed the
basis and acted as a guideline for the messages and communication (Ekstrand, 2010-01-27).

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4.2 Perceptions of official Sweden and actors


In this chapter the perceptions of the Official Sweden and the Swedish actors are presented.
First their purposes, intentions and goals with Swedens and Swedish actors participation at
Expo 2010 are put forth. Secondly, some activities, events and contributions are presented.
Thirdly, the communication and messages about Sweden and companies/regions are discussed.
4.2.1 Purposes, intentions and goals
Jerker Nilsson, at the Swedish Institute (SI), states that the world exposition in Shanghai is a
unique venue to market Sweden at, partly because it is China that is in focus, but also because
about 70 million people are expected to visit Expo 2010: Almost all countries will participate
at the world expo. If Sweden can distinguish itself we can have a significant effect. Cecilia
Schartau, at the Swedish Trade Council (STC) also highlights the need for Sweden to
differentiate itself from other nations in the information flow and noise. According to Karin
Serenander, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), one purpose with Swedens participation
at the World Expo 2010 is to inform about Sweden: Who we are, where we are and what we
have to offer. Staffan Bjrck (MFA) similarly says that, we want to present what Sweden is
and what we stand for: We would like to create a general positive image of Sweden, both in
terms of business and tourism. Its marketing on a high level.
Serenander see Expo 2010 as an important platform for Swedish companies to create new
contacts and relations which in the extension can create business opportunities and consequently
more jobs and success for Swedish enterprises and business life. Bjrck (MFA) emphasizes the
importance that the Swedish pavilion has in creating meetings between Swedish and Chinese
businesses, in order to create contacts that can generate trade in the future. Schartau (STC)
would like the Swedish participation at Expo 2010 to offer opportunities for Swedish companies
to meet interesting mayors, policy makers, decision makers and people in a large and important
economy like China. The goal is also to, for as many Swedish companies as possible, make sure
that they get something concrete out of Swedens participation at Expo 2010: Something
measurable, some valuable contacts, new ideas and exchange. Bjrck states that, the intention
is that the Swedish companies shall invest in their participation in the VIP area since it is there
that they can improve their networks in China, create relations with future customers and
maintain relationships with existing customers.
The primary purpose of Invest Sweden is, according to Sren Pettersson, to generate Chinese
direct investments to Sweden. Another aim is to create alliances between the Swedish and
Chinese market. Bo Sderstrm, at Visit Sweden, thinks it is important to not have too high
expectations on the World Expo, at least not in terms of tourism. He does however hope that the
World Expo 2010 can result in an increased awareness of Sweden and would also like to see
more concrete results such as collecting addresses to people interested in Sweden, which Visit
Sweden and other organizations can use and follow up on.
An important purpose for Atlas Copcos presence at the World Expo 2010 is to help strengthen
the image of Sweden. Annika Berglund explains that other purposes include marketing Atlas
Copco towards its customers and to express and show cooperation towards employees and
colleagues. Henry Stnson describes Ericssons purpose as twofold: Firstly, we are present at
the World Expo because of loyalty and to help make sure that we, in a united effort, sell and
market Sweden in China. Secondly, we want to continue establishing the image and increase the
knowledge of Ericsson. SEBs (and Investors) overall aim is to be a part of the image of
Sweden and Swedish industry. Katrin Lindholm at SEB emphasizes the importance of Swedens
presence at Expo 2010 and says that SEB want to take its responsibility and help to make
Swedens participation possible.
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Jonas Trnblom states that for Envac it is important to be seen in the World Expo context, with
the theme Better City, Better Life and Spirit of Innovation, as well as to support the Swedish
participation at Expo 2010. It is also essential to be able to invite important, Chinese decision
makers and have discussions and build relations with them in Shanghai. The purpose of SKFs
participation at Expo 2010 is, according to Jan Jonsson, to strengthen SKFs position on the
Chinese market and communicate with customers in China. SKF also want to communicate
with their employees in China, build relations with them and give them a chance to learn more
about Sweden. Monica Ewert, Stockholm Business Region, explains that the aim and purpose to
participate at Expo 2010 is based on an interest from Stockholm City to get closer to the
Chinese market and present Stockholm as an interesting destination for innovation and visits.
The aim is also to promote Stockholm as The Capital of Scandinavia and thus attract visitors
and investors to the region.
Sren Pettersson (Invest Sweden) regards Swedens participation at Expo 2010 as a giant
marketing project: At a World Expo, everything is gathered in one place and the whole world
is watching you. And in todays global world, more people are watching than ever before.
According to Annika Rembe (Expo Committee) an important reason to participate in a world
expo is due to businesses need for a platform: Having an official platform is especially
important in China, since the Swedish companies are more well-known than Sweden. The
global brands, the industries and the companies are a part of brand Sweden. Jan Jonsson (SKF)
similarly points out that, The Swedish pavilion at the World Expo is an explicit platform in
order to communicate and build relations. Henry Stnson at Ericsson states that, in a country
like China, where relationships is one of the most important factors in life and business, there is
a reverse logic if we did not participate it would be perceived as odd by our Chinese
subsidiary. For Atlas Copco, participating at Expo 2010 is important due to China being such a
large and important market. Participating at a world exposition is an important strategic,
marketing tool: Its about building relations, have fun and at the same time be serious, says
Annika Berglund, adding on that, Expo 2010 attract enormous amounts of people, and give us
a chance to show Atlas Copco together with other, Swedish, strong companies and brands. It is
also an opportunity to invite our partners to a unique milieu.
4.2.2 Program, activities and contributions
The official partners, organizations and sponsors are arranging various activities in the VIP
section at specific, defined dates (Expo Committee). Atlas Copco has, for example, invited 6000
visitors to the pavilion consisting of the most important customers, suppliers and universities.
Ericsson will meet customers and also arrange innovation seminars to which people from all
over the world are invited. Stockholm (City and Business Region) have three days in June,
namely Stockholm Business Day, Stockholm Innovation Day and Stockholm Education and
Alumni Day. SEB are in the end of May arranging what they call Chinas challenge, inviting
companies in Asia with connections to the Nordic countries. In the end of June, SEB will
discuss the Nordic market and investment possibilities with Asian banks and financial
institutions. Both SEBs activities include dinner, entertainment and mingle, which is very
important in order to build relations, Katrin Lindholm maintains. SKF are, during two days in
May arranging effective client meetings and customer conferences. In September, SKF will also
arrange family and student days as well as a joint seminar with SEB and Investor. Relationship
building and a long term approach are in focus for SKFs activities. In the end of June, Envac
and its sister company Stena Metall will organize an international waste handling conference in
the Swedish pavilion to which Chinese decision makers will be invited.
Nina Ekstrand (Expo Committee) points out that many Swedish companies give examples of the
brand of Sweden and are showing how Sweden is innovative by supplying their innovations and
products to the exhibition. Jonas Trnblom states that Envacs waste handling technology will
be exhibited in the Swedish pavilion as one of many examples of a sustainable and innovative
product and solution. Atlas Copcos contribution to the Swedish pavilion is a large drill that is
very quiet and can function well in a city environment. According to Annika Berglund the drill
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conveys that it is possible to develop products with high productivity but that are quiet and
suited to urban environments and hence that there does not need to be a contradiction between
city and industry relating to the Expo 2010 theme Better City, Better Life. In one of the
rooms in the Swedish exhibition, regions have been given the chance to present innovative,
creative and brave ideas and/or projects. A contribution from Stockholm to this exhibition room
is the moon house, described by Monica Ewert (SBR) as both an exciting story and an
innovation. Visit Sweden is contributing to the Swedish pavilion by providing pictures to be
used in the exhibition. Bo Sderstrm states that Visit Sweden also is contributing with the
tourist related information of the two web sites www.sweden.cn and www.expo2010.se.
4.2.3 Communication about Sweden and its actors
Sren Pettersson (Invest Sweden) thinks it is important to highlight what we know is big in
China, for example that Sweden was the first country to recognize China and the fact that
Chinese people are familiar with JO Waldner, ABBA and the Nobel Prize. Pettersson says that,
there are many facts, people, concepts etc. to use in order to make people understand Sweden
better, because many times they do not know that these things are Swedish. Staffan Bjrck
(MFA) states that the Swedish pavilion try to showcase what Sweden is good at related to the
theme of the whole Expo and hence urban environment and the technology that makes it
possible to create energy-efficient cities. Cecilia Schartau (STC) thinks it is important to
emphasize Swedens ability to have a holistic view and communicate how we work in Sweden
making 1 plus 1 equal 3: The key message for the recipients of the message in China is to
demonstrate the economic development that Sweden has experienced, while at the same time
drastically decreasing our CO2 emissions.
Invest Sweden want to communicate the benefits of the Swedish market as well as how Invest
Sweden can help companies to invest in Sweden. Pettersson states that Invest Sweden would
like to strengthen the message that it is cost efficient to invest in Sweden, that Sweden is a good
link to the north of Europe and that we have technology, Science Parks and a whole lot of
clusters. Schartau thinks that it is important to show that Sweden is a small country with many
competent companies and a lot to offer and that Sweden has made a journey from being one of
the most oil-dependent countries in the industrialized world in the 1970s with many
environmental problems to today being a forerunner in combining sustainability with economic
growth. Henry Stnson, at Ericsson, put emphasis on that Sweden has an incredible industrial
tradition: Although we are so few people we have so many big companies. Sweden and the
Swedes have over the years demonstrated a great ability to create and build new things. At the
World Expo 2010 it is important to show that much of what we are doing can create a
sustainable world, which is in line with the overarching theme of the exhibition.
Monica Ewert (SBR) states that, we have understood that Chinese are good at research and
development. What Sweden is good at is that we have taken ideas from the idea and conception
stage to implementation, by cooperating with many others. I think this to a large degree depends
on that we have a holistic approach (which is incredibly important to be able to create new
companies and to make innovations flourish) and that we are good at collaboration. It can be
exciting to bring this forward in China. Katrin Lindholm (SEB) maintains that, important
messages to communicate, for both Sweden and SEB, concerns CSR and possibilities to create
necessary conditions for sustainability, as well as the human perspective and with it human
rights: Openness is also important, which in Sweden for example can be exemplified by
deregulation of credit markets. Jonas Trnblom (Envac) emphasizes the need to communicate
sustainability as an important component of what Sweden is good at: Sustainability is one of
those things that really characterize Sweden. And this is particularly true for urban
development. When it comes to marketing its always easier to enhance and reinforce rather
than create. Moreover, its easier to build on something which is positive.
Ewert describes Stockholm as the locomotive of Sweden: We want to reflect the diversity,
nature, the clean water and respect for people. The main values that SEB would like to
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emphasize include quality, long-term approach, innovation and tradition and that SEB is a
forward looking and international company, Katrin Lindholm states. SKF want to communicate
messages related to innovation and sustainability, says Jan Jonsson. SKF put large emphasis on
sustainable solutions, one example being the bearing whose primary mission is to reduce
friction which leads to decreased energy expenditure: We also wish to convey that SKF has
grown into a knowledge enterprise, to a knowledge engineering company focusing on
comprehensive solutions and energy conservation. Henry Stnson, at Ericsson, explains that
Ericsson is focusing their communication on a number of different messages related to
innovation. Atlas Copcos main target group is their customers: To them, we want to
communicate and prove that Atlas Copco can offer productivity-enhancing and sustainable
solutions. Another important target group for Atlas Copco is future employees: To this group,
we want to communicate that Atlas Copco is a company that values and invests in health,
security and skills development.
4.2.4 Swedens communication platform
Karin Serenander (MFA), says that the main purpose of the Swedish communication platform is
to have a common ground and point of departure regarding what to communicate abroad and to
do it in a similar way: When having a shared communication platform for a country and
getting all parties involved in nation branding to incorporate these values into everything they
do, then we can really work in a joint effort to emphasize the innovative Sweden, our strengths
and the things that are unique about Sweden. Jerker Nilsson (SI) states that, the communication
platform is about having a similar ground and a strong common denominator as well as the
same point of departure. A communication platform can create synergy and cooperation
between the official Sweden and Swedish companies, organizations and regions. Many Swedish
companies perceive a value in emphasizing that they are Swedish, Nilsson states. In todays
globalized world, where you have to make fast decisions and there are endless amounts of
information to obtain, it is important to work together or otherwise your messages will
disappear in the information flow, Nilsson maintains. If many actors influence in their
respective areas, the picture of Sweden can be adjusted. It is not about creating a dream picture,
but about emphasizing the core values of Sweden, and to do it together: If looking globally,
Sweden is rather small and unknown. The goal is not for everything to be undiversified, but that
we travel on the same road. You may reverse a little, make a turn at some point, but you all keep
the same direction, says Nilsson. Bo Sderstrm, says that Visit Sweden use Swedens
communication platform at Expo 2010 in the same way as they always do: We compare our
campaign(s) towards the platform and test it against the values of the platform, using the
platform like a filter.
Atlas Copco have not adapted their communication to the brand of Sweden, but Annika
Berglund states that the companys values are in line with Swedens brand and communication,
especially regarding innovation. Neither Ericsson, nor Envac or Stockholm Business Region use
Swedens communication platform in their communication at Expo 2010. Monica Ewert (SBR)
however experience that Stockholm is a Sweden in miniature and hence there are many
similarities between Swedens and Stockholms communication platforms. Katrin Lindholm
(SEB) states that the values that form the basis for Swedens communication platform are taken
into account when communicating at Expo 2010. SEB have been given material about Swedens
communication platform from the Expo Committee and have also read about the main values
when communicating the image of Sweden, at the Swedish Institutes web site. Jan Jonssson at
SKF states that, Swedens image and the messages in the Swedish pavilion are in line with
SKFs values and the way we work.

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4.3 Using World Expos to brand nations


In this part I present the opinions of researchers and people knowledgeable about world expos
and nation branding, in order to enhance the understanding for these concepts and their
relation, historically and in the contemporary world, and also draw parallels to Sweden.
Anders Ekstrm, at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), says that the history of world
exhibitions to a large extent is about nation branding. Brita Lundstrm, also at KTH, states that,
during most world expos there has been an intention in telling the story of Sweden and promote
the image of Sweden. Lundstrm however emphasizes that the metaphorical language used to
describe and promote Sweden has depended on the time period: For example in the 1960s one
talked about Sweden as a display window. Today nation branding is more commonly used.
According to Staffan Bjrck, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), nation branding as a
phenomenon has been around at world expos for a very long time and Sweden has for many
years used symbols that symbolizes the Swedish culture. In Shanghai Pippi Longstocking and
the dala horse are some symbols used.
Jerker Nilsson, at the Swedish Institute (SI) states that a world exhibition is a scene where you
in one place can compress what you want to say and say it to many people. According to
Ekstrm (KTH) world expositions are arenas where nations show what they are good at, and do
it in competition with others. It is also an event that brings people together from various parts of
the world. Karin Serenander (MFA) thinks it is valuable that Sweden participates in world
exhibitions and thus places in which many countries can gather along with other nations,
especially in todays globalized world, with an information and communication speed which
forces you to select certain information in order to understand and follow what is going on in
the world. Serenander states that Sweden can benefit from its participation at Expo 2010 by
among other things learn from what other countries exhibit and what ideas they have regarding
marketing their culture and business life: It is like a chain or a larger pattern. Everyone learn
from each other which create both inspiration and knowledge.
Jerker Nilsson (SI) states that, at a world exhibition you make a great effort to brand your
nation, but so do everyone else: You have to be present at the World Expo since it is an
important arena, but at the same time the scene is very cramped, since every country is doing
the same thing. You need to stand out, and have something that differentiates you from others.
Ekstrm states that world exhibitions of today are more focused on creating business relations,
as opposed to earlier times when the purpose was broader. In Ekstrms opinion, the more
focused you are towards business, the more stereotypical the images of the nation will be due to
the demand that it should be easy to access images and exchange pictures with each other in a
friction free way.
When looking at world expos in a long-term perspective, it is interesting to see how
stereotypical the pictures of the nations are, Ekstrm states, adding that, the same, stereotypical
images come back again and again. Over the years and the world expo history, there have been
similarities in the Swedish pavilion and the presentation of Sweden. Swedish inventions and
innovations have been apparent for a very long time. It is a very strong story of Sweden, and a
story that comes back over and over again (Lundstrm, KTH). In Ekstrms point of view, the
Swedish pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai is very conventional if looking at the world expo
history. Once again Sweden is put forth as the home land of innovation and engineering science,
which was the image used at the world expos to promote Sweden already in the 19th century.
Ekstrm says that, we sometimes have a preconception that the global or international have the
effect that nations are not so important anymore. Ekstrm thinks the latest world expositions
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act as very good examples and proof of that it is the complete opposite. The globalization
process support the need for national stereotypes, since the trade over large distances creates a
demand for simplicity, not for complex images of regions. A rather new phenomenon in the
world expo context, Ekstrm states, is that PR firms take a larger responsibility for the creation
of the exhibitions and thus the pavilions. According to Staffan Bjrck (MFA), world exhibitions
today are more focused on image creation than they historically have been. Bjrck moreover
predicts that the current emphasis on the environment and making the world a better place, as
well as the focus on image creation, will stay and even increase in coming years.

5. Summary and Analysis


In this chapter I summarize the empirical findings and relate these to the literature review. The
purpose and research questions established for this thesis act as the point of departure.
Olins (2003) argues that no country in todays contemporary world can ignore the way the rest
of the world sees it. Neither can nations today ignore the impact world expos have. As pointed
out by Sren Pettersson, at Invest Sweden, at a world expo, everything is gathered in one place
and the whole world is watching you. You have to be present since it is such an important
arena, says Jerker Nilsson (SI), adding on that the world exposition in Shanghai is a unique
venue to market Sweden at. World expositions have throughout the history functioned as
promotional institutions for nations and often acted as platforms for countries to show their
competitive edge and impress with the most advanced inventions of their time (Bolin, 2006;
Bjrck, 2010). Even at the earliest expositions national business corporations operated as
signifiers in the process of displaying the nation, its culture, history and future prospects and
the interests of the nation and the corporations moreover went hand in hand (Harvey, 1996).
Ekstrm (KTH) argues that in the contemporary world expos have come to increasingly focus
on creating business relations.
The purpose of nation branding is to attract tourists, stimulate inward investment and boost
exports (Dinnie, 2008). Important purposes of Swedens participation at Expo 2010 are to
strengthen a positive image of Sweden internationally and to promote the competitiveness and
creativity of Swedish trade and industry. Purposes to participate at Expo 2010 proposed by
Swedish actors include strengthening the companys position in China, build relations with
important customers and employees, and give employees a chance to learn about Sweden. The
Swedish actors proposed desire to communicate with customers in China and building relations
with Chinese decision makers, customers and employees, is in line with the Swedish
governments emphasis on that the co-financiers should be able to use the Swedish participation
in Expo 2010 as a base for strengthening their relationships in China (Expo2010.se, Corporate
Offers). One of the Swedish actors interviewed states that, in a place like China, where
relationships is one of the most important factors in life and business, it would be perceived as
extremely odd if not participating at the Shanghai World Expo 2010. For the companies and
organizations another important intention expressed is to be a part of the Swedish image, assist
in strengthening the image of Sweden and out of loyalty help to sell Sweden in China.
The Official Sweden emphasize the importance of presenting an overall positive image of
Sweden, and communicating what Sweden is and stand for as well as Swedens location and
unique offer. It is also perceived as important for Sweden as a nation brand to be distinguished
and differentiated from other countries as well as from the information flow and noise. Parallels
from these statements can be drawn to Olins (2003) emphasis on the importance of creating a
clear, simple, differentiating proposition, and to hrvalls (2005) claim that nation branding
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means to define what makes a country unique and then making sure that the unique pictures
reach the target groups. The need for clear messages can moreover be related to Ekstrms
argument, that the globalization process support the need for national stereotypes, since the
trade over large distances creates a demand for simplicity, not for complex images of regions.
This claim can also be interpreted as a need for synergy between actors in the branding
initiative.
According to the Swedish Expo Committee (2010), the background of the communication of
Swedens participation at the world expo is to define and visualize Sweden as a nation,
producing the right conditions and providing a platform for dialogue, meetings and relation
building business. In order for the theme to be as effective as possible, it should permeate all
aspects of the Swedish participation. Nina Ekstrand (Expo Committee) explains that numerous
Swedish companies were invited to assist in creating the Swedish pavilion, resulting in an
exhibition that integrates messages about Sweden with examples of innovative solutions,
products and services founded by Swedish companies, regions, and organizations, incorporated
into the theme for the exhibition, Sprit of innovation. This can be related to Moilanen and
Rainistos (2009) ideas about the creation of a branding program, which needs integration,
cooperation and coordination. The Swedish actors who are using the VIP section arrange
different activities there, including lectures, seminars, film screenings, receptions and dinners.
In addition to the VIP events various other activities are on the program in the Swedish pavilion
and in connection to it, such as music, dance and other performing acts, incorporated into the
program dimensions of business, science, culture and society (Sweden Expo Committee, 2010).
Another tool created in order to have a similar ground and a strong common denominator as
well as the same point of departure, is Swedens communication platform. In the word expo
setting it shall enable and encourage Swedish actors to cooperate. A communication platform
can create synergy and cooperation between the official Sweden and Swedish companies,
organizations and regions. The communication platform is about emphasizing the core values of
Sweden and to doing it together (Nilsson, SI; Ekstrand, Expo Committee; SI, 2009). Most of the
Swedish actors interviewed for this thesis do not however use Swedens communication
platform as a base and point of departure in their communication at Expo 2010. They do
nevertheless state that the values of their company or region to a large extent are in line with
Swedens communication platform. This finding can be interpreted as need for additional
dimensions to create structure and coordination in the common branding initiative, such as a
more encompassing brand platform.
The official Sweden and the Swedish actors regard the world exposition in Shanghai as a giant
marketing project as well as a unique platform in order to communicate and build relations. In
relation to these statements, it is worth noting Michael Porters (in von Kirchbach, 2002, p. 6)
definition of competitive advantage of a nation as its capacity to entice firms (both local and
foreign) to use the country as a platform from which to conduct business. Ekstrand states that,
the Swedish participation at Expo 2010 should be a platform for dialogue, including the
pavilion, the exhibition, VIP and promotion, the program (from seminars and workshops to
street performance), and communications. In contrast to earlier Swedish involvement in world
expos, it is clearly emphasized that co-financiers will be able to use the Swedish participation in
Expo 2010 as a base for strengthening their relationships in China (Expo2010.se, Sweden's
Participation). Annika Rembe (Expo Committee) says that it is important that the Swedish
participation at Expo 2010 is for all of Sweden and emphasizes the importance of having an
official platform, especially since the Swedish companies are more well-known than Sweden.
The global brands, the industries and the companies are a part of brand Sweden. Jonsson, at
SKF, points out that, The Swedish pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai is an explicit platform in
order to communicate and build relations.

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6. Discussion and Contributions


In this chapter I relate the concept of brand platform and brand architecture, applying it to
Swedens participation at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.
As already touched upon in this thesis and expressed by various authors, a problem facing many
countries in their nation branding activities is a lack of coordination (Anholt, 2007). Another
concern expressed, is the large group of actors that are participating in the branding initiatives of
nations and their several target groups, multiple suppliers and countless offers, as well as their
varying objectives, resources and capabilities (Therkelson and Halk, 2008; Moilanen and
Rainisto, 2009). The suggestion from the research community is that actors are coordinated
within a common branding initiative and that nations develop umbrella concepts that are
consistent with all of the nations separate branding activities. Within the frame of the Swedish
participation at Expo 2010, many interests and objectives are combined in a common context. In
the empirical study conducted for this thesis the word platform has been mentioned numerous
times, by representatives from the official Sweden, the Swedish actors and the Expo Committee.
The concept brand platform is in the marketing literature often referred to as a model defining
brand identity, incorporating elements such as values, vision, promises, key messages,
positioning statements and tag line (Brandchannel). Swedens communication platform is (by
the official Sweden and other organizations relating to it) interchangeably referred to as
Swedens brand platform. When I in this chapter reason about brand platform I enlarge the
traditional concept and include additional dimensions. The empirical study carried out within
the frame of this thesis demonstrates that Swedens communication platform, in the context of
Expo 2010, is being used to a fairly limited extent by the Swedish actors (companies and
regions). The communication platform can hence be seen as one part in the brand platform, but
yet only one part. I argue that additional, important parts are needed in order to give a thorough
description of the branding initiatives of Sweden and Swedish actors at the World Expo in
Shanghai 2010.
Since nation branding still is a relatively new field of research, one is encouraged to search
within other disciplines for theories that may be adapted to this field (Fan, 2005). In order to
describe Swedens participation at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, develop a preliminary
framework for this, and enlarge the notion of brand platforms, I include the concept of brand
architecture into this master dissertation, and explore the use of brand platforms and synergy
effects in the context of branding at world expositions. Brand architecture is a key concept in
brand theory but has only recently (and increasingly) been used in the context of place brand
management (Dooley and Bowie, 2005). As discussed earlier in this thesis, there are differences
between branding products or companies and branding nations (as nations are more complex),
but the essentials are however the same (Moilanen and Rainisto, 2009; Olins, 2003). It can
consequently be seen as feasible to apply brand architecture to the area of branding and nation
branding at world expositions.
In order to develop a preliminary conceptual framework for describing Swedens participation
at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, I have, within the frame of this thesis, chosen to view and illustrate
Swedens participation at Expo 2010 as a brand platform (Model 1, below). This brand platform
can be seen as an instrument forming the base and foundation for the branding of Sweden and
Swedish actors. The first dimension of the brand platform is the core, which can be likened to
the traditional description (the definition often used in the marketing literature) of a brand
platform. The core includes the Swedish theme (Spirit of Innovation), the key words
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(Innovation, Communication, Sustainability) as well as Swedens communication platform and


its values (Innovative, Open, Caring, Authentic). The second dimension of the brand platform is
the manifestation/expression and thus the Swedish pavilion, choreographed by four
components, namely the Exhibition, VIP and promotion, Program and activities and
Communication. The third dimension is the context, consisting of the World Expo 2010 and
what it symbolizes (Better City Better Life, largest exposition ever, unique venue for nation
branding, the whole world is watching, etc.), as well as world expositions and what they
represent (promotional institution for countries, platform, inventions and innovations, an
increased business focus, etc.).

Model 1: Swedens participation at Shanghai World Expo 2010 illustrated as a brand platform.

In the brand platform model presented above, synergy effects between the three dimensions and
influence from the producers (the parties participating in the creation of the Swedish pavilion)
are apparent. The context (world expositions and the Expo 2010 in Shanghai) offer a
framework, positive connotations, and different values linked to the phenomena of world
expositions and Expo 2010. The expression/manifestation is produced in a joint effort between
the Swedish Expo Committee and its cooperating partners and the Swedish actors and the
official Sweden. The manifestation is moreover influenced by the core as well as the context
and the values related to these. Also the core is created in a joint effort by the involved Swedish
parties. As such, the core enacts an important component in the architecture of Swedens brand
platform at the World Expo in Shanghai 2010, and consequently a crucial basis for messages,
expression, communication, etc.
Brand architecture as it is described in brand theory is used to design and manage a portfolio of
brands, providing each brand with purpose, relevance and clarity. When applying brand
architecture to nation branding, the nation is commonly seen as the umbrella brand. The purpose
of the brand architecture is then to create order and structure on an otherwise non-correlated
number of sub-brands, in order to achieve synergistic benefits and to advance the overarching
nation-brand (Dooley and Bowie, 2005; Dinnie, 2008). Viewing the nation brand of Sweden as
an umbrella brand is possible also in the context of Sweden at Expo 2010. I do however find it
more appropriate to, in this context, regard the brand platform of Sweden at Expo 2010 as the
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umbrella brand (or bland platform as it is referred to here). The nation brand of Sweden and the
Swedish actors can rather be seen as sub-brands functioning in synergy with each other, using
the brand platform of Sweden at Expo 2010 as their base (Model 2, next page). Synergy effects
can be achieved between Sweden as a nation brand and the Swedish actors and the brand
platform, and result in increased relevance and clarity for the actors. In addition, there can also
be synergy effects between the various Swedish actors.

Brand platform
Core, expression
and context
Synergy

Synergy

Nation branding

Branding actors

Sweden at
Expo 2010

Swedish brands
at Expo 2010

Synergy

Model 2: Brand architecture related to Swedens participation at Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

In brand architecture, there are three basic brand portfolio structures, namely monolithic,
endorsed and branded. The endorsed brand architecture is regarded as suitable in a nation
branding context and can enjoy the best of both worlds as it benefits from the power of the
parent or umbrella brand. The endorsed brand can at the same time establish a structure of its
own individual brand identity (Dinnie, 2008, p. 200). In the context of Expo 2010, the Swedish
actors express a desire to communicate various messages, ranging from Swedes ability to
cooperate and have a holistic view to Swedens industrial tradition and Swedens competence in
sustainability. As already touched upon, various authors (e.g. Anholt, Moilanen and Rainisto,
Therkelson and Halk) see a problem with too many actors communicating different messages,
since the consequence is that conflicting messages about the nation easily are sent out. In the
endorsement brand strategy the umbrella brand and its sub-brands are perceptually linked, but
only enough to transfer more general values such as credibility, reputation and quality. The core
values that distinguish each brand are however not at risk of being diluted (Dooley and Bowie,
2005). Jerker Nilsson, at the Swedish Institute states that the goal with Swedens
communication platform is not for everything to be undiversified, but that we travel on the same
road. You may reverse a little, make a turn at some point, but you all keep the same direction.
In the context of Sweden at Expo 2010, the various actors can similarly be seen as balancing
between communicating their own messages (keeping their own identity) and at the same time
sticking to the common, shared ideas and values. The brand platform can be seen as base
foundation perceptually linking the nation of Sweden and Swedish actors to each other,
transferring positive values and achieving synergistic effects. Swedish companies can assist in
branding Sweden, and Swedish actors can benefit from being connected to Swedens nation
brand, resulting in a win-win effect for both parts. Swedens nation brand and Swedish actors
can moreover benefit from a base foundation of common values, a unified expression as well as
a unique context, since these dimensions can lead to a structured and organized approach as well
as clear messages elements needed in branding initiatives, for nations, companies and regions.
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7. Sources
Literature and articles
Alvesson, M. and Skldberg, K. (2000) Refexive Methodology, SAGE Publications Inc.
Anholt, S. (2006) Editorial Is place branding a capitalist tool? Place Branding, Vol. 2, Issue 1, pp- 1-4.
Anderson, D. (2003) Visitors Long-term Memories of World Expositions, p. 401-420. University of British
Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Baxter and Jack (2008) Qualitative Case Study Methodology: Study Design and Implementation for
Novice Researchers, The Qualitative Report, Vol. 13, Issue 4, p. 544-599.
Bolin, G. (2006) Visions of Europe: Cultural technologies of nation-states, International Journal of
Cultural Studies, 2006, Vol. 9(2), pp. 189-206
Dinnie, K. (2008) Nation Branding Concepts, Issues, Practices. Elsevier Ltd.
Dooley, G. and Bowie, D. (2005) Place brand architecture: Strategic management of the brand portfolio,
Place Branding, Vol. 1, Issue 4, pp. 402-419(18)
Fan, Y. (2005) Branding the nation: What is being branded?, Journal of Vacation Marketing, Vol. 12, No.
1, pp. 5-14.
Glover, N. (2009), Imaging Community: Sweden in 'cultural propaganda' then and now, Scandinavia
Journal of History, Sep2009, Vol. 34 Issue 3, p.246-263, 18p
Harey, P. (1996) Hybrids of Modernity Anthropology, the nation state and the universal exhibition,
London: Routledge. New York: Routledge.
Kotler, P. (2002) Country as a brand, product, and beyond: A place marketing and brand management
perspective, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 9, No. 4-5, pp. 249-261.
Moilanen, T., Rainisto, S. (2009) How to brand nations, cities and destinations A planning book for
place branding, Palgrave Macmillan, Cromwell Press Ltd.
Olins, W. (2002) Branding the nation the historical context, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 9, No.
4-5, pp. 241-248.
Olins, W. (2003) On brand. Thames & Hudson Inc.
Therkelson, A., Halk, H. (2008) Contemplating Place Branding Umbrellas. The Case of Coordinated
National Tourism and Business Promotion in Denmark, Scandinavia Journal of Hospitality and Tourism,
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Von Kirchbach, F. (2002) A countrys Competitive Advantage, The Magazine of the International Trade
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Wstberg, O., Bercs, J. Clifton, R., Davidson, H., Johnston Y., Lodge, C., Melissen, J., Morgan, N.,
Norrman, K-E., Pant, D., Porritt, J., Rainisto, S. (2006) How has place branding developed during the
year that Place Branding has been in publication?, Place Branding, Vol. 2, Issue 1, pp. 617

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Additional verbal sources


Bergman, L. Phone conversation, Analyst at the Swedish Institute, 2009-11-19
Nordin, F. Master course, Case Study Methods, Stockholm University, 2009-11-12
Wstberg, O. Sverigebilden, Speaker at SIs conference, 2005-06-08

Reports, brochures and information material


Brand Sweden The road to an updated picture of Sweden abroad, 2008, Brochure by The Swedish
Institute (ISBN 978-91-520-0963-5)
Ds 2008: 82. Sverige i vrlden Rapport frn Globaliseringsrdet, Utbildningsdepartementet,
Regeringskansliet, 2008.
Sweden Expo Committee (2010) Material supplied during the guide training for Expo 2010, in
Stockholm, January 2010: Swedens participation in Expo 2010

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DN, 2010-05-01: Shanghai stller ut fr hela vrlden, retreived 2010-05-02:
http://www.dn.se/kultur-noje/nyheter/shanghai-staller-ut-for-hela-varlden-1.1086211
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Svenska Institutet (2009) Gemensam Plattform fr Sverigebilden, www.si.se/Svenska/Innehall/Sverigei-varlden/Sverigebilden-utomlands/Gemensam-plattform-for-Sverigebilden, retrieved 2009-12-05
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Appendices
Appendix 1: World Expositions

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Appendix 2: World Expo Shanghai 2010

Location of the expo site in Shanghai, the official Expo 2010 logo and the Haibao mascot

Expo Boluevard

Performance Center

China Pavilion

Expo Center

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Appendix 3: The Swedish participation

Organization chart of the Swedish organization at World Expo 2010

The Swedish pavilion and the Sweden Expo 2010 logo

The VIP floor in the Swedish pavilion

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Appendix 4: Program highlights


Some highlights in Swedens program during the World Expo in Shanghai:
May 1

Spirit of Innovation Day, Inauguration of the Swedish pavilion

May 9

60-year anniversary of Swedens diplomatic relations with China

May 9

EU Parade, Bollns Spelmanslag

May 23

Sweden's National Pavilion Day

May 24

Spirit of Innovation Forum

Jun 6

Sweden's National Day

Jun 19

Royal Wedding in Sweden

Jun 25

Nordic Energy and Climate seminar

Jun 25-26

Midsummer Flower festival with Gunnar Kaj

Jul 1-2

Symbio City Forum

Aug 4

Pippi performances at the Swedish pavilion

Aug 4

Children's culture seminars

Aug 11-12

CSR Forum

Sep 19

Election Day in Sweden

Oct 13-14

H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria visits Shanghai

Oct 13-14

Sustainable Care Forum

Oct 18

Orphei Drngar concert at Expo Centre Auditorium

Oct 31

Grand Finale

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