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My city – my brand: the different roles of residents in place branding

Erik Braun (Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Mihalis Kavaratzis (School of Management, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK)
Sebastian Zenker (Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 8 March 2013

11121

Abstract

Purpose

This paper deals with the importance of residents within place branding. The aim of this paper is to examine the different roles that residents play in the formation and communication of place brands and explores the implications for place brand management.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on theoretical insights drawn from the combination of the distinct literatures on place branding, general marketing, tourism, human geography, and collaborative governance. To support its arguments, the paper discusses the participation of citizens in governance processes as highlighted in the urban governance literature as well as the debate among marketing scholars over participatory marketing and branding.

Findings

The paper arrive at three different roles played by the residents: as an integral part of the place brand through their characteristics and behavior; as ambassadors for their place brand who grant credibility to any communicated message; and as citizens and voters who are vital for the political legitimization of place branding. These three roles make the residents a very significant target group of place branding.

Originality/value

Residents are largely neglected by place branding practice and their priorities are often misunderstood, even though they are not passive beneficiaries but are active partners and co‐producers of public goods, services and policies. This paper highlights that only meaningful participation and consultation can produce a more effective and sustainable place branding strengthening the brand communication and avoiding the pitfall of developing “artificial” place brands.

Keywords

Citation

Braun, E., Kavaratzis, M. and Zenker, S. (2013), "My city – my brand: the different roles of residents in place branding", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 18-28. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538331311306087

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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