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About this book

The Place Branding Yearbook 2010 examines the case for applying brand and marketing strategies and tactics to the economic, social, political and cultural development of places such as communities, villages, towns, cities, regions, countries, academic institutions and other locations to help them compete in the global, national and local markets.

Table of Contents


Multidisciplinary Perspectives


Chapter 1. An Organizational Perspective on Space and Place Branding

Today, it is commonplace to say that we live in what has been called a society of organizations (Perrow 1991), one in which questions of power and control exercised by organizations become crucial. One consequence of this is the ubiquity of theories of organization that focussed on what economists had glossed as the “firm” — without really attending too much to what actually transpired within the great variety of organizations that this term might cover — as well as those many organizations that it might not cover. Economics was interested in the idea of a free market. Initially, the firm was seen as the home of hierarchy — the alternative to markets (Williamson 1975). But the more society, economics and organizations were studied, the greater became the gloss on what occurred within the firm: to accommodate networks, alliances, communities of practice, human and non-human assemblages, rhizomes … until the idea of free market exchange became the exception, not the norm. This shift in perspective has important implications: free market models, known as neoclassical economics, implied that rational actors made decisions based on economic calculations. The social and the political were eliminated from the economic, as well as the cognitive, limits that produce “bounded rationality” (Simon 1982). Against the sterility of the models thus produced, organization theory, which began its career fixated on bureaucracy, developed various antithetical models. Central to all of these are notions of nonnecessity and of choice.
Stewart R. Clegg, Martin Kornberger

Chapter 2. A Political Perspective on Place Branding

We live in a world where the consequences of intangibles have become frighteningly tangible. The big challenges facing us today — climate change, global recession and violent extremism, to name but three — are complex in nature, but clearly have one thing in common: none of them can be tackled in conventional ways. What George W. Bush dubbed the “war on terror” self-evidently cannot be won with conventional weapons because it is a battle of values and identity, played out in the media as much as on the battleground. Climate change cannot easily be slowed down with legal or fiscal solutions alone because it is an international problem that is intimately linked to people’s lifestyles and behaviors. Recession is as much about consumer confidence as it is about toxic debt.
Simon Anholt

Chapter 3. Place Marketing as Politics: The Limits of Neoliberalism

Place marketing of cities is commonly seen as helping localities attract the groups they need for their future, whether they are investors, house buyers, developers or tourists. The argument in this chapter is that place marketing should also be regarded as a political activity that resonates with the dynamics of a particular class settlement. Each political era constitutes a class settlement in the sense that it is constructed around a particular relationship between labor and capital. Since the 1970s, place marketing has been associated with the transformation of industrial cities during the transition from social democracy to neoliberalism, a politics that gave coherence to place branding in the form with which we are all familiar. While urban place marketing is concerned with the economic health of a particular city, it is none the less inextricably linked to the dynamics of the neoliberal settlement which strengthened capital and weakened the working class. This settlement is multifaceted, spanning measures to destabilize the working class, to create a global financial infrastructure that permitted the out-movement and privatization of industry, to weaken the welfare state, to promote hypermobility for capital and labor through globalization, and to oversee the creation of a business-friendly environment at the national, regional and local levels.
Aram Eisenschitz

Chapter 4. Knowledge Theory Perspectives on Place Branding

For Christmas 1998 my parents followed a long tradition of giving me a book related to Welsh culture. That year it was The Land and the Sea, a collection of the works of Kyffin Williams, published to celebrate his eightieth year. I have admired his work from when I first saw a portrait painted by him, of a much loved headmaster a quarter of a century earlier. He is an artist who has a profound understanding of place, both in his landscape work and his formal and informal portraits of the people of his native land, the Brythonic Kingdom of Gwynedd which dominated what is now Wales from the fifth to the thirteenth centuries. The Romans knew it as Venedotia, or the land of Venus, and I had the privilege of growing up there, walking its hills and sailing its coast. To sit on the summit of Tryfan as the sun descends over the Glyder ridge and Y Garn, casting shadows on to the precipitous slopes of Pen yr Ole Wen is a profound experience, not just of the aesthetic beauty of the landscape, but of one’s place, one’s identity, one’s place of belonging. There is a welsh word, Cynefin, which means all of that and more and has no equivalent in the English language, where it is crudely translated as habitat or place. In his preface to Kyffin Williams’book, Nicholas Sinclair connects the word Cynefin to the interaction between human beings and their environment that is the essence of the author’s work. I took that word as the name for a model that is the basis of this chapter, created to understand the different types of system within which we operate: ordered, complex and chaotic.
David Snowden

Chapter 5. Country Images:Why They Influence Consumers

Wines from Chile, oranges from Spain, autos from Germany and rock stars from the USA. What makes them special? This chapter examines the impact of the country of origin of products on consumers’ product evaluations. The relevance of this topic was recognized as long ago as the 1960s in one of the earliest papers on international consumer marketing (Dichter 1962), which argued that a product’s country of origin may have a “tremendous influence on the acceptance and success of products” (p. 116). A review by Verlegh and Steenkamp (1999) further supports the importance of country-of-origin effects on consumer behavior. Unlike academic relevance, the practical relevance of country of origin has not gone undisputed. Kenichi Ohmae, for example, asserted that consumers “don’t care about country of origin … [and] don’t worry about where the product was made” (Ohmae 1989, p. 144). More recently, this concern was echoed by Usunier (2006), who argued that the large amount of academic interest in country-of-origin effects does not reflect the limited relevance of this concept for consumers and companies. Usunier argues that country-of-origin research thus provides an excellent illustration of the “relevance gap” that characterizes much of today’s research on management. In this chapter, I shall discuss the background of country-of-origin effects, and demonstrate their practical relevance to the academic and business audience.
Peeter W. J. Verlegh

Individual Place Case Studies


Chapter 6. Case A: The Role of Nokia in Branding Finland – Companies as Vectors of Nation Branding

This chapter discusses how a product brand can create leverage for a nation brand; that is, the country of origin of the product. Traditionally, countries have been considered to function as umbrella brands for product brands – for example, France for French perfume, Italy for Italian sports cars, and Japan for Japanese electronics. But can a product brand also boost recognition, exposure and credibility for a nation?
Ulla Hakala, Arja Lemmetyinen, Juergen Gnoth

Chapter 7. Case B: Branding Nonmetropolitan Illinois – A Normative Decision Analysis

An empirical fact about rural communities is that they tend to be branded by state officials as “escape destinations” for urban residents tired of city living. For example, the positioning statements of rural Illinois include themes such as “There’s a Place outside Chicago called Illinois”, and “Illinois: A Million Miles from Monday.” Since this practice ignores the complexity of rural place identity, this chapter utilizes residents’ perceptions to brand rural communities.
Adee Athiyaman, Christopher D. Merrett

Chapter 8. Case C: Creating Desert Islands – Abu Dhabi

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) covers an area of 83,600 sq km (77,600 sq km excluding its islands). The UAE’s emergence followed the United Kingdom’s announcement of its withdrawal from its commitments “East of Suez” in 1968. In 1969, Abu Dhabi and Dubai agreed on a union which formed the nucleus of the UAE at its establishment in 1971 (Govers and Go 2009). The vast majority of the UAE area is uninhabited desert. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven emirates within the confederation and accounts for more than 85 per cent of the total land mass of the UAE. Abu Dhabi is the country’s capital, the seat of the federal government and the richest of the emirates as a result of its abundant natural resources. Dubai is the second largest of the emirates and the leading commerce and tourism center. Other principal towns include Al Ain, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast, part of an archipelago of 200 islands within the emirate. Other islands, such as Sir Bani Yas and Dalma, are located approximately 250 km west of Abu Dhabi and 100 km east of the border with Saudi Arabia. These have played a historic role in the evolution and growth of the southern Arabian Gulf as a trading center.
Geert Reitsma, Stephen E. Little

Chapter 9. Case D: In the Shadow of Bangalore – Place Branding and Identity for Chennai

Across the world, individual cities are striving for visibility at the first tier of their nation’s urban regions. In the high-growth economies, new competitors are emerging to challenge the existing first tier of cities for a place in the global economy. Such dynamic metropolitan areas have been identified as the nodes in an economy of flows (Castells 1987) and the location of creative and artistic sectors that enhance inward migration and economic development (Florida 2002; Markusen and King 2003).
Stephen E. Little

Chapter 10. Case E: A Public–Private Partnership to Foster Science, Higher Education and Innovation – The Case of Switzerland with swissnex Boston

Countries are engaged in a worldwide competition for the limited resources available. As Anholt (2002) states, “Globalization is turning the world into a gigantic supermarket” (p. 234). Countries compete with each other in such areas as exports and attracting the limited pool of tourism, foreign direct investment (FDI) and human talent. Science, higher education and innovation are key determinants of national competitiveness (Schwab 2009, p. 4). The agility with which a country adopts existing science and technology can enhance the productivity of its industries and firms. Specifically, access to and usage of information and communication technologies (ICTs) have critical spillover effects to other industries in a given nation. Providing an environment that fosters science and technology is crucial for a nation’s competitiveness (Porter 1990). The same is true for higher education, where education increases the efficiency of workers. Education and training are crucial for economies that want to move up the value chain beyond simple production processes and products (Porter 1990). Innovation is also vital for a nation’s competitiveness as it approaches the frontiers of knowledge. Firms from developing countries can improve their productivity by adopting existing ICT. However, firms from developed countries need to improve their productivity through innovation in a supportive business environment (Porter 1990; Schwab 2009).
Pascal Marmier, Marc Fetscherin

The Future Evolution of Place Branding


Chapter 11. Social Media and Immersive Worlds: Why International Place Branding Doesn’t Get Weekends Off

On 29 December 2008, as tensions heated up around renewed conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Palestinian militants, the Israeli Consulate of New York City made an unusual announcement. They would be taking questions about the conflict the next day via Twitter – the purported first-ever Twitter press conference (Cohen 2009). Twitter is an asynchronous messaging tool in which users post notes using a maximum of 140 characters. People can “follow” other Twitter users by visiting their Twitter page. Most Twitter pages are publicly viewable on the internet, thus making them available to millions.
Joshua S. Fouts

Chapter 12. The E-branding of Places

In our book Place Branding (2009), we argue that successful place branding requires the bridging of three gaps. First, the strategy gap – that is, the projected place image (sponsored and mediated marketing communications) and product offering that need to be aligned with the place identity. If they are not, the place brand is at risk of being contrived as spin and marketing gibberish. Second, a place brand satisfaction gap, building realistic market expectations – promises that can be delivered. This is being complicated by the fact that perceived images are significantly impacted by media reporting, word of mouth and mouse (Web 2.0), as well as the cultural, social and individual background of the receiver. Third, the place brand performance gap, which requires the promised place experience to be delivered – in this sense, actions speak louder than words.
Robert Govers, Frank M. Go

Chapter 13. News Coverage of Foreign Place Brands: Implications for Communication Strategies

How are foreign place brands represented? Who has the power to represent foreign place brands? And what is left unrepresented of foreign place brands? Place brands of cities and regions are represented variously by government agencies, tourist offices, but also by vicarious means – that is, via the literature, the movies, music or the internet. For the potency of the latter’s influence, consider, for example, how the movie Crocodile Dundee boosted tourist arrivals to Australia. These forms of representation shape the perception of particular place brands and consumers’ attitude towards them (Lippman 1922), thereby impacting the environment in which enterprises conduct their trade. While the literature on place brand representation and popular culture continues to expand, in recent years little academic research attention has been devoted to the topic of how the media impact on foreign place branding practice. This observation justifies this chapter, which looks at how decision-makers can leverage agenda-setting methodology and enquiry to influence the formation of the media agenda. In particular, it argues that the challenges confronting decision-makers go beyond the national framework. In an age of “international integration”, economic activities and communications also move beyond geographic boundaries. Within such a framework the media play an important role in influencing the public awareness of foreign place brands. Because of their remoteness we tend to have only limited direct contact and knowledge of foreign place brands. Consequently, our knowledge about them tends to be strongly influenced by media coverage. The news about foreign place brands flows into the living rooms of households and the boardrooms of companies. News diffusion follows the specific rules of the media system. In particular, these rules are guided by the processes of selection, condensation and framing, which, in turn, modify the media image of foreign place brands.
Roland Schatz, Christian Kolmer

Chapter 14. Place Branding and Intellectual Property

In the era of “mobility” as the overarching paradigm of social and economic organization and the fittest framework for social science enquiry (Urry 2007), it is relevant – above sectorial considerations – to look at places as being “mobilized” by tourism (Crang 2006; Ooi 2002) and at the development of tourist brands as a vehicle to identify affirmation and communication within a global context.
Antonio P. Russo, Giovanna Segre

Chapter 15. Website Analysis: Brand Africa

Tourism represents a promising service sector that could significantly support the development of African economies. African governments targeting foreign tourists are firmly supported by international organizations. The United Nations, for example, has identified the tourist sector as a means in the “war on poverty” and will contribute towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 (UNWTO 2005). A major barrier, however, is Africa’s troublesome image. Africa has in fact two dominant images in the outside world. In the western mass media, the continent is overwhelmingly associated with corruption, violent conflicts, hunger and disease. These media glimpses led The Economist (13–19 May 2000) to conclude that Africa is a “hopeless continent”.
Jeroen van Wijk, Frank M. Go, Robert Govers

Chapter 16. Orchestrating the Innovation Process of Place Branding

Within a networked world, locations, including nations, regions, cities, towns, increasingly apply place branding to compete with each other to win business from the world’s major corporations, investors, residents and tourists. But the dynamics of the network factor imply that, to remain competitive, place branding practice needs to apply innovative governance, for the attainment of balanced relationships among the various enterprises and organizations on the one hand, and consumers as equally important participants on the other. To achieve a competitive advantage, place branding can learn much from the networked world of corporations. Researchers (for example, Trueman et al. 2004; Kavaratzis 2004; Rainisto 2003) have pointed out significant similarities between place branding and corporate branding. Some descriptions of corporate branding have features close to those of place branding; for example, Knox and Bickerton (2003, p. 1013) state: “a corporate brand is the visual, verbal and behavioural expression of an organisation’s unique business model”. Strategic and relational elements are often building blocks for corporate brand building and success. Similarly, these are essential elements for collectively generating a unique set of associations, or place branding, in the public mind (Aaker 1996). Thus the approach practiced in corporate branding can, to some extent, also be replicated for place branding, even though there are large differences such as in terms of complexity, the involvement of many different stakeholders, limited management control, and the heterogeneity and experiential nature of the “product”. Similarly, innovative approaches used in enterprise building or renewal can also be extended to place branding.
Murthy Halemane, Felix Janszen, Frank M. Go


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