Vormsi saare kommunikatsioonistrateegia lähtealused
This Master’s thesis is a practical communication project aiming at identifying the basis for the identity-focused communication strategy for the island of Vormsi. Identity-focused communication strategy is defined in this work as the combination of a place brand strategy and a communication strategy, with the focus on determining the communicative identity. The thesis focuses on (domestic) tourism and to a lesser extent also touches upon attracting new residents to the island. Vormsi is defined as the island entity, not the municipal unit throughout this work. The theoretical section of this thesis outlines the definitions of concepts vital to this work (brand strategy, place branding, communication strategy). The research about the theoretical concepts of place branding, place marketing and mainstream branding concluded that different authors use different terminology as well as refer to different notions while addressing these concepts. The author of the thesis defines the notions and the corresponding terminology used in this work. The empirical section of this thesis consists of three original studies – the survey of the image of Vormsi among young people, analysis of media coverage and expert interviews. In addition to the above mentioned the empirical section includes a secondary analysis based on the report of the Vormsi residents’ survey. The studies indicate that the island of Vormsi holds a generally positive image. On the other hand, there is some skepticism about the future among the island’s residents. Tourists, who appreciate the island’s uniqueness and do not much interfere with the everyday life of the islanders would be welcome on Vormsi. In the future, the island’s residents would prefer to see the tourism develop and number of residents (including children) increase. The significant role of the representatives of municipal authorities in media representation transpired from the media analysis. The expert interviews give good insight to keywords characterizing Vormsi (i.e nature, Aiboland heritage, silence, idleness) as well as to what is unique to Vormsi compared to other places (i.e plenty of space, sparsely populated). The studies and analysis of the state of the Vormsi island also bring out the problems (too few tourists who match the desired profile, the number of residents too small). This thesis aims at trying to find solutions by laying out the basis for developing an identity-focused communication strategy (including developing the place brand and strategic communication). The last section of this thesis comprises the author’s suggestions to form the basis for the identity-focused communication strategy for Vormsi. The basis defines the core values, brand vision, positioning, most important target groups, main messages to these audiences and measurable communication objectives. The basis is built around the core values of the Vormsi island. The author lists natural riches, Aiboland cultural heritage, opportunities to enjoy freedom and silence and discover oneself, natural living environment combined with innovative long distance working solutions as the core values of the island. The unique combination of the above mentioned values makes Vormsi a place of distinctive and attractive aura for natureand culture loving people and young families, both visitors and potential residents. The place branding and communicative actions can contribute to increasing the number of tourists on the island, but also many other development measures are necessary to offer suitable conditions for tourism. After defining the bases, practical steps for developing a comprehensive communication and brand strategy are laid out. These include among others a workshop to determine the core values, mapping the competitive situation for positioning and devising the core visual identity based on this basis laid out in this work. This thesis aims to offer Vormsi practical underlyings for a place brand and communication strategy. In the author’s view Vormsi possesses significant potential as a tourism destination as well as quality living environment. Therefore the island deserves a place brand laid on solid basis to best promote the island’s values and uniqueness. The place brand is viable only if developed and communicated (within and outside the island) in a strategically planned manner.
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