Place branding, brand communication, communication geography, sustainability, activism, cities
Cecilia Cassinger is Associate Professor at the Department of Strategic Communication. She holds a PhD in business administration with a focus on marketing. Her research interest is primarily brand communication of places (i.e. countries, cities, regions) and public organizations. She currently conducts research on the role of strategic communication in creating sustainable urban environments.
Prior to joining the Department of Strategic Communication in 2013, I worked as a lecturer at Essex Business School (University of Essex, UK) and before that I received my PhD from the Department of Business Administration, Lund School of Economics and Management (Lund University). My doctoral dissertation Retailing retold: Unfolding international retail image construction in everyday practice examined the spatial and temporal situatedness of how consumers construct images of organizations in Sweden and China, using the global retailer IKEA as a case in point.
Area of research
My research interests are in marketing and brand communication. I am interested in the social consequences of the shaping of public principles and common interests according to a marketing and brand logic. I work interdisciplinary with overlapping concepts and themes in place brand communication, communication geography and organizational communication. My focus is on the processual and constitutive nature of communication and how meanings of geographical locations and organizations are negotiated by actors in time and space. Another related research interest is the transformative potential of everyday (non-strategic!) practices, and the conflicts that arise when people's experiences are appropriated for strategic purposes (for example in branding processes). I am currently working in three interdisciplinary research projects on the significance of communication for social sustainability in cities (see below).
Ongoing and recent research projects
- Place brand communication
I have worked with, or am currently working with, the branding of cities, regions, and nations. The studies deal with place branding as an instance of strategic communication and examine place branding strategies by means of cultural and practice-based approaches. I conduct research in two projects connected to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11 on urban sustainability. The projects explore the role of place brands and strategic communication for achieving environmentally and socially sustainable urban environments.
The first project "The Geography of Fear" examines strategic communication of safe urban milieus and visitors' experiences of safety in 10 Swedish cities. The project is funded for two years by the R&D Fund of the Swedish Tourism & Hospitality Industry (BFUF).
The second project "Rethinking urban tourism development: dealing with sustainability in the age of overtourism” deals with how strategic communication can mitigate conflicts between tourists and locals in cities that suffers from overtourism, and the role of media in the era of overconsumption. As part of this project, I am also researching how place brand communication can be used to generate new narratives of city that will drive sustainable change and contribute to resilient communities. The project is funded by Formas during four years.
- Sharing economy and the digital city
The research project follows the process of digitizing services for increased citizen participation in a municipality. The project is funded by Plattformen, Helsingborg city and is conducted together with Mia Larson at the Department of Service Management and Service Studies, Lund University. Together with Larson I also studied the development and visualization process of a digital sharing platform in adventure tourism (funded by BFUF, 2016–2018).
- Visual social media in organizational communication
The project examines social norms and conventions of how non-strategic actors (eg employees, citizens, consumers) shape images of organizations with weak brand reputations on the visual platform Instagram. The research is carried out together with Åsa Thelander (ISK) and has had various financiers.
I lecture on undergraduate and postgraduate level within the following subject areas: qualitative methods, digital marketing communication, brand communication. I also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate theses. From 2016 to 2019, I was director of our undergraduate programs, BSc in Strategic Communication and BSc in Strategic Communication and Digital Media.
- Long-standing interest in modern Chinese language. Between 1997 and 2002 I studied Chinese at Lund University and Capital Normal University in Beijing. I conducted fieldwork for my doctoral theses in Shanghai and have also taught at the Nordic Centre in Shanghai.
- Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education and Associate status with the Higher Education Academy, UK, since 2011.
- Doctoral dissertation earned a distinguished paper award in the EDAMBA doctoral thesis competition, 2011.
- Member of the editorial board for Journal of Place Management and Development.
- Associate editor for Organisation & Samhälle, published by the Association for Business Administration (FEKIS), Sweden.
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