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Exploring the dimensions of place branding: an application of the ICON model to the branding of Toronto

Giannina Warren (Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, Middlesex University, London, UK)
Keith Dinnie (Department of Marketing, Branding and Tourism, Middlesex University, London, UK)

International Journal of Tourism Cities

ISSN: 2056-5607

Article publication date: 6 March 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore the place branding dimensions of a city undergoing a concerted effort to build a distinctive brand for itself.


A qualitative, exploratory approach is adopted, applying the ICON model of place branding to the multistakeholder city branding strategy of Toronto. A combination of interviews, participant observation, content analysis and professional reflection inform the study.


Toronto’s emergence as a creative city with global standing has been achieved, in part, through a holistic and collaborative approach that is integrated, contextualized, organic and new.

Practical implications

Place and destination promoters are offered a practical application of the ICON model of place branding, informing future initiatives and offering insight into good practice.


Viewed through the lens of the ICON model, the paper provides insights into the collaborative and innovate practices that characterize effective city branding.



Warren, G. and Dinnie, K. (2017), "Exploring the dimensions of place branding: an application of the ICON model to the branding of Toronto", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 56-68.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, International Tourism Studies Association

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