CAN INTERREGIONAL BRANDING STRATEGIES WORK? IMPACT OF THE “BALTIC SEA REGION’S UMBRELLA BRAND” ON THE BALTIC COUNTRIES IN AN ECONOMIC CONTEXT
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According to the “Vilnius Declaration”, the Baltic Sea Region should become one of the most prosperous, innovative and competitive regions in the world by 2020. Achieving this goal is a challenge, because the Baltic Sea Region consists of countries that considerably differ in size and economic development. As Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Audronius Azubalis said: “The Baltic Sea Region continues to be amongst the most competitive and innovative areas in the world. However, there are still significant disparities in a competitive advantage in different parts of the region”. The Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which are in focus of this research, are characterized with limited economic power and country size, what could make providing successful national brand more difficult. But strengthening such an umbrella brand could have highly beneficial effects for Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, because the development of an own successful nation brand associated with quality and competence usually takes a long time. The research aim of this paper is to evaluate whether the “umbrella” brand of the Baltic Sea Region is associated with positive economic connotations and can benefit Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. To this aim, content analysis is used. Articles in themes of economics, business and finance from the independent weekly newspaper “The Baltic Times”, covering all three Baltic countries are analyzed and screened for the key word “Baltic Sea Region”. Standard techniques are used to evaluate whether the key word is mentioned in a positive or negative context. The findings imply that the Baltic Sea Region is often mentioned within a positive context. The mentions relate e.g. to the region’s economic potential and the possible benefits of a stronger cooperation among the individual countries. However, the research results do not indicate that there are already substantial positive spillover effects (benefits from “umbrella brand”) from one country to another.
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