Cluster brand as a competitive advantage. Case: Airport cluster Finland

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School of Business | Master's thesis
MSc program in Corporate Communication
MSc program in Corporate Communication
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Objective of the Study: The objective of this study is to explore the phenomenon of cluster branding. This study investigates cluster brand as a competitive advantage that impacts the success or decline of the cluster. The research questions examine three aspects: (1) cluster branding as a process, (2) the concrete tools that can be used in cluster branding and (3) the perceived benefits of cluster brand. The study aims to produce a generic model for cluster branding, which can be used as a tool to guide the cluster branding process. In this study, cluster is defined as a geographic concentration of interconnected actors in a particular field that compete but also cooperate and have formed a network to serve a common purpose. Methodology and theoretical framework: The research approach in study was qualitative. The research method was a single case study, conducted by using Airport Cluster Finland as the case cluster. The data was collected through ten interviews with the stakeholders of the case cluster. The theoretical framework was built on cluster development theories in order to understand why and how cluster are formed. In addition, different approaches on branding were integrated into the theoretical framework in order to spot the elements suitable for cluster context. Findings: The findings showed that a strong cluster brand creates value for the cluster stakeholders. The cluster brand is significant especially for small and medium-sized companies. A strong cluster brand increases the credibility of the companies that belong to the cluster. Based on the findings, the cluster branding process can be divided into four phases; (1) justifying existence & attracting members, (2) identification, (3) building credibility & creating awareness and (4) maintaining brand image. Concrete tools for cluster branding and the main challenges in the process were also identified.
cluster branding, cluster development, cluster, branding, branding tools, cluster branding process
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