Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Place Management and Development, Volume 7, Issue 2
In this issue, we have four academic papers and also a research agenda to further our understanding of place management and development in retail areas, such as high streets and town and city centres.
To begin, we have a paper by Stella Kladou and John Kehagias, entitled “Developing a structural brand equity model for cultural destinations”, which investigates the structural relationship between five brand equity dimensions in the context of tourism destinations. Utilising Aaker’s (1991) four brand equity dimensions model, and incorporating cultural brand assets (Kladou and Kehagias, 2014) as a fifth dimension, the authors test six hypotheses through surveys of international tourist visitors to Athens. Cross-referencing their findings with a previous study conducted in Rome, the authors are able to draw conclusions which may serve to help practitioners build up coherent and successful branding activity for their destinations. This study contributes to the somewhat limited literature concerning structural relationships between all five brand equity dimensions and consumer decision-making models in a tourism context. Moreover, the study contributes to the under-researched dimension of cultural brand assets.
Our second paper, by Henk Hofstede, is entitled “Balancing between thick and thin regional identities: The case of De Achterhoek, The Netherlands”. It investigates the competitive marketing strategy of a region in an attempt to combat population decline and attract new residents and investors. The article examines how the adoption of common promotional place marketing terms, such as “innovative”, serve to “thin” notions of regional identity in De Achterhoek. The thinner attributes stressed by politicians and promotional literature could be relevant to any other region. Nevertheless, some thick elements, related to the region’s history and geography, are selected, providing authenticity and some differentiation. The author suggests that intertwining thin with thick elements would allow more effective allocation of regional marketing resources.
Our next paper, entitled “Matching tourism type and destination image perceptions to a country context”, by Stella Kladou (our second paper from this author in this issue!), Antonios Giannopoulos and Ioannis Assiouras, looks at whether it is beneficial to match country destination image with different types of tourism. Their research serves to demonstrate that people’s perception of a country’s destination image varies depending on the type of tourism associated with that given country, i.e. business, educational, sporting, leisure, cultural and so on. Their study uses destination image research, within a country image context, in an attempt to transfer the concept of country-of-origin effect to the field of tourism. By taking a “match/mismatch” approach, the authors present a rationale for tourism managers to either accentuate/exploit or back away from borrowing from the country’s destination image in their tourism marketing efforts. The research demonstrates that those country destination images and tourism types which offer a high degree of similarity (i.e. they match) provoke a keener willingness to visit amongst those surveyed.
Our fourth paper is “Prediction of citizen satisfaction with local government based on perceptions of physical disorder” by Hector Nigro and Sandra Gonzalez Cisaro. Their paper draws from well-established literature in geography; on the relationship between physical and social disorder and perceptions of place, and in marketing; and on the measurement of customer satisfaction and service quality.
The paper measures perceptions of citizen satisfaction with various aspects of their local government, including the services it provides, as well as general assessments of its leadership and management. The research focuses upon perceptions of physical disorder, as untidy, unkempt neighbourhoods can have a profound effect upon citizens’ quality of life. Interestingly, the research demonstrates that the local authority’s response to physical disorder, in terms of the services it provides, has fairly little impact on citizens’ overall satisfaction with their local government. Of much greater importance are feelings of loyalty to the administration and people’s expectations of how the mayor and team will manage the affairs of the city in the future. This is really interesting at a time when many local government administrations are spending more effort and budget on measuring key performance indicators, rather than demonstrating leadership and building trust.
Finally, in our normal “place in practice” slot we take the opportunity to publish, what we feel, is a much-needed research agenda to build our understanding of what influences the way retail centres manage and develop. Town, city centres and high streets are an important element of everyday life for many communities; however, it is not clear how they deal with and respond to forces of change, such as Internet shopping.
We are currently leading High Street UK 2020, an Economic and Social Research Council-funded project, which aims to help 10 high streets in the UK plan for sustainability. As part of the project, we have undertaken a comprehensive literature review of the factors influencing UK high street performance. However, when we presented a long list of 166 influencing factors to our 10 high streets, they identified 12 more! These, they felt, were very important and merited further investigation. Therefore, we have presented these as a suggested research agenda in our final article. We very much hope that our international network of researchers, academics, practitioners and policymakers will be interested in studying these, not least because they have been directly identified by our research-user community. Please get in touch with the editorial team if you would like to propose or discuss a study in one of these areas. We look forward to hearing from you and we hope you enjoy this issue of the Journal of Place Management and Development.
Cathy Parker, Gareth Roberts and Simon Quin