DEFINITION OF PLACE BRANDINGPlace branding
(also known as
destination branding, place marketing
) is arelatively new umbrella term encompassing nation branding, region branding and city branding.The term was first developed by Philip Kotler
and could refer to a city, country or a touristdetination, and to their competition for tourists, visitors, investors, residents and other resources
.Place Branding is based on a strategic approach to public relations, stating that a change of image isan ongoing, holistic, interactive and wide-scale process, requiring much more than a quick changeof logo or slogan
. In other words, brand management for a city, country or a tourist destinationdoes not merely consist of attaching new labels, but consolidates the essential characteristics of theindividual identity into a brand core
.As Gary C. Sherwin pointed out, brand development was nota logo or tag line, but instead a commitment to a community-wide strategy on what distiguished thecommunity from others, as well as a community-wide effort to effectively communicate and createthat unique destination experience to the customer. Rather than being advertising-based, this brandeffort focused on delivering an exceptional experience that was memorable and emotional. As partof this holistic process, the creation of a brand sets social, economical and cultural processes inmotion which can nuance, strengthen or correct others' perceptions. The routine development of mechanisms leading to a strong and consistent brand is highly important for place branding
. Nowadays, the conideration of a place as a brand becomes common and even the most importantexperts of branding included “place” in their definitions. For instance, De Chernantony andMcDonald defined a brand as: “An identifiable product, service, person or
augmented in sucha way that the buyer or user perceives relevant unique added values which match their needs mostclosely.”
Starting from the assumption that places are increasingly seen to be products, as subject to brandmanagement practices as a book or a hat. The principle that cities and regions can be branded is anatural extention of corporate brand theory. Although, more and more nation are using place branding approach to develop their economy and tourism, there ramain foundamental differences inthe implementation of marketing theories in the place environment. Some of the difficulties are dueto the broad definition of the entity to be branded (city, regions, or country), understanding the roleof government, the challanges of aligning internal stakeholders (residents, business owners,frontline workers etc...) and the difficulty of sustaining brand consistency and resources over time.Researchers also exposed that the place branding concept emerged from contemporary society is probably the strongest tool society will ever have to protect and maintain its identity and fight thetrend of standardisation.A place, like any other product, is evaluated not only by its functional aspects but also by itssymbolic faetures, which implies a place embedded with symbolic meaning
. In this respect, isinteresting to consider how, from a consumer point of view, a place will always mean somethingeven do, the country is not managed under a branding conceptual framework.Even if we assume that a place could actually be managed like a brand, there is a huge resistence tothe application of these techniques. In fact, very often people do not accept that branding or anyother marketing concept should be applied to places because they immediatly establish a negativelink between marketing and the commercialisation of nation or local culture
Available on http://wikipedia.org
Branding territory: Inside the wonderful worlds of PR and IR theory, Millennium, 31, 2, 249–269, by Peter Van Ham, 2002
Caldweill, N. and Freire, J. (2004). The differences between branding a country, a reagion and a city.
MacCannel, D. (1999). The tourist: A new theory of Leasure Class.