Cluster Marketing and Branding | Webinar

A Summary of the Second ECCP Expert Talks Webinar: Cluster Marketing and Branding

This video was recorded thanks to the European Cluster Co-operation Platform. See article here

Guest experts: Marcus Andersson, co-founder and CEO of Future Place Leadership; Merete Daniel Nielsen, Director, Cluster Excellence Denmark; Bianca Dragomir, Cluster Manager AVAESEN and European Cluster Manager of the Year 2016-2018.

Marcus Andersson’s presentation “Cluster Marketing and Branding” started with the key question of why a cluster brand is important and he underlined the benefits for a cluster as identified from the research workdone by Future Place Leadership. The fact that global cluster organizations placed identity and branding first among their top priorities shows how important the theme is. Participants were invited to read the “Cluster Initiative Greenbook” for more detailed information on the subject.

Further on, Marcus outlined the main subjects in his presentation:

  • the difference between branding and marketing – a clear distinction between these two concepts is to be made,  as they are interrelated but different concepts,
  • main challenges in creating a cluster brand and
  • smart marketing – how to ‘cut through the noise’ in competing with others who also wants to communicate, how to get your targeted audience’s attention, while disposing of limited resources which makes it important to be innovative in this undertaking.

Participants were also invited to read the Future Place Leadership’s publication “Cluster Brand Management Handbook” for other related topics on the subject. The company was also presented in what their activities’ scope is, the focus of their studies/researches and customer basis, main publications.

Before addressing the first subject Marcus emphasized three key words in branding & marketing, which are:

  1. identity- the very foundation of a brand,
  2. inclusiveness-or bringing on all members of the cluster to help build the brand and become its ambassadors, and
  3. innovation in the process of branding and especially marketing.

The difference between marketing and branding was revealed as the difference between a rather tactical/operational endeavour aimed at selling a product more efficiently (marketing), versus a more strategic one, aimed at  improving the overall image and reputation of a cluster, branding being not only about marketing but about what the organization does as a cluster.

Marcus elaborated more on the cluster brand management or how a cluster manages its reputation and achieves a distinct position based on its identity and what it does most effectively, detailing the concepts of cluster identity and strengths and their importance in building a brand.

The challenges to branding & marketing lie in the ownership and control of a brand – the cluster is not owning the brand itself (but its members/stakeholders) and has therefore limited control on all aspects of a brand. Marcus pointed out that it is important to think of a brand as a relationship between all members of a cluster and the rest of the world.

Solutions to these challenges were also proposed: defining the cluster’s identity by amplifying what it does best rather than creating new competencies, aligning at all times actions and words, and promoting partnership, inclusiveness and dialogue between cluster members.

Smart and innovative marketing was then addressed as the final part of Marcus’ presentation, with few tools for cost efficient marketing such as storytelling, digital marketing, co-created marketing, content marketing, inbound marketing and creative & humoristic campaigns and events. For each of these tools Marcus explained the concept, exemplified each of them with real life cluster-implemented methods as well as offered measurable results.

Marcus thanked the audience for the attention and wrapped up his presentation in few lines, also offering the link to the book published by Future Place Leadership for other successful marketing activities to be considered by participants as well as extending an invitation to the next Cluster Branding & Marketing Master Class training on 20-21 March 2019 in Brussels.

Lucia thanked Marcus for the interesting and inspiring presentation accompanied by very concrete examples, reminding the audience that questions are possible after all three presentations are made and inviting the next speaker – Merete –  to make her presentation on how clusters, individually and  collectively are working with communication from the perspective of a national cluster  network.

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