The role of social capital in the institutionalization of regional place marketing activity
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CitationHalme, Juha. (2021). The role of social capital in the institutionalization of regional place marketing activity. Place branding and public diplomacy, [Published online 01 Mar 2021], 10.1057/s41254-021-00201-x.
This paper aims to study the outcomes of the regional level place marketing projects, which contribute towards the fruition of long-term place marketing or branding goals. It applies a theoretical framework based on institutional and social capital theories. Hence, it highlights the role of networks, norms of behavior and values, and trust regarding the institutionalization of regional place marketing activity. Two ERDF (European Structural Development Funding)-funded regional place marketing projects carried out in eastern Finland are explored. The empirical material consists of 23 semi-structured interviews of steering group members of the projects and documentary data on the later developments of the place marketing activity in the regions. The findings show that social capital generated during the projects contributed to the institutionalization of place marketing activity by reinforcing the will to do place marketing together, forming information-sharing practices, and expanding and strengthening stakeholder networks. Results indicate that social relations and structures that are formed during the place marketing collaborations can extend the lifespan of regional place marketing activity beyond short-lived projects, while there remains a need to develop this perspective into a measurable variable.