The purpose of this paper is to focus on the role of stakeholders in the creation, development and ultimately ownership of place brands. The paper contributes towards laying the foundations of a participatory view of place branding. It establishes an urgent need to rethink place branding towards a more participation‐oriented practice. This is based on the centrality of stakeholders in the creation, development and ownership of place brands. The role of stakeholders goes well beyond that of customers/consumers as they are citizens who legitimize place brands and heavily influence their meaning.
The paper highlights a turn towards stakeholder‐oriented place branding in recent literature. This is contrasted to a critical evaluation of place branding practice where stakeholders are paid “lip service” regarding their participation, rather than being given opportunities to get more fully involved in the development of their place brand.
An emerging discussion is identified on the significance of stakeholders. This is integrated with additional arguments for stakeholders' participation found in the political nature of place branding, in the concept of “participatory branding” and in the changes that on‐line communication has brought about.
The participatory approach introduced here re‐evaluates the role of both stakeholders and place brand managers. It also implies a significant change in the perceived role of analysis within the place branding process. A re‐direction of branding budgets is also suggested.
The paper provides a clear description of the role of stakeholders in place branding. It brings together for the first time in an integrated manner several arguments for stakeholders' participation. These lead to the conclusion that effective place brands are rooted in the involvement of stakeholders and substantiate the call made here for participatory place branding.
Kavaratzis, M. (2012), "From “necessary evil” to necessity: stakeholders' involvement in place branding", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 7-19. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538331211209013Download as .RIS
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