Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Place Management and Development, Volume 8, Issue 2
Welcome to Volume 8, Number 2 of the Journal of Place Management and Development (JPMD). It has been a busy few months for us, as JPMD sponsored the 3rd Institute of Place Management (IPM) and Branding Conference at Poznań University of Economics (Faculty of Management) on the 6th-8th May 2015, in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, Poznań University of Economics and Stockholm University (Stockholm Programme of Place Branding). Expertly chaired by Dr hab. Magdalena Florek, Senior Fellow of the IPM, the winner of the JPMD Best Paper Prize went to Menique Stuart and Andrea Insch for “Understanding Resident City Brand (Dis)Engagement”. The best papers from the conference will be published as a Special Issue of the JPMD, Volume 8, Issue 3, which will be available later this year (2015). However, in the meantime, we have included a conference report as a part of this issue of the JPMD, so you can read more about the conference and our reflections upon it.
In other news, the IPM website and membership services are being transformed. The IPM surveyed its members earlier this year and a number of recommendations were made, including increased prominence and accessibility for the research published through the JPMD. Please take a look at the new IPM website (http://www.placemanagement.org). You will now find a link to a summary of the latest issue of the JPMD and its articles on the home page. Finally, as we announced in our last Editorial, Professor Dominic Medway of University of Manchester has now joined us as an Academic Editor. Dominic also attended the IPM Conference in Poznań, which gave him an opportunity to meet many of the authors, reviewers and the Editorial Board of the JPMD. Based on his conversations with the JPMD community, he will be announcing his plans for the academic future of the JPMD in Volume 9, Issue 1.
Turning our attention to the content of this issue, Janne Lindstedt’s paper, “A deliberately emergent strategy – a key to successful city branding”, looks at the strategic planning aspect of the branding process and outlines the benefits of a deliberately emergent approach to strategy formation. The author suggests that given the increasing popularity of brand thinking among practitioners all over the world, scholars should be encouraged to pay more attention to the application of brand co-creation in place branding strategies. The paper dictates that the deliberately emergent branding strategy could be considered a key means of achieving this co-creation, enabling local stakeholders to make their voices heard and resulting in increased credibility of the branding process.
To support this suggestion, a qualitative case study focusing on 2011 European Capital of Culture (ECoC) Turku, Finland, is conducted. In this study, branding of Turku – which was based on a deliberately emergent strategy – is examined both during and after the ECoC project. The research conducted highlights the ownership conflicts that can so often beset branding activity, and posits that for a brand to be truly representative, the involvement of local stakeholders is of utmost importance. A key feature of the paper is that place brand co-creation – that is a joined up and inclusive approach to creating place brands – is dependent on an understanding that place identity is shaped in a continuous, dynamic process and indeed, as the author suggests, is that process. By taking this view, it becomes clear that a traditional, top-down approach to branding strategy is insufficient and is not feasible in the context of brand co-creation. Subsequently, those responsible for shaping the identity of a place should, logically, play a role in the creation of any activity that seeks to brand it.
The paper highlights a requirement for all stakeholders, whether they are residents or public/private sector bodies – who may otherwise act independently in the branding process, to work together to create representative brands that resonate as intended. Based on the findings of the Turku case, any delineation from this inclusive and emergent approach is likely to result in brands that are unrepresentative, and ultimately not fit for purpose. Subsequently, the paper should be of great interest to practitioners involved in the creation of place brands.
In their paper “Places, users, and place uses: a theoretical approach to place market analysis”, authors Kirill Lvovich Rozhkov and Natalya il’inichna Skriabina develop a theoretical approach to place market analysis that aims to identify the ways in which specific places are used and to further enable the identification of distinct segments and products.
The paper provides an interesting and engaging view of place, suggesting that place use can provide the means to ascertaining the true place product, and once the place product is identified, market segmentation can then take place in an informed and strategic manner. To support the research, typology construction is selected as the main study method. Eight polar place demand patterns are classified on the abstract level using a set of binary variables of spatial behaviour (migration, natural growth and settling). Based on this typology, eight abstract places are deductively described. In conjunction with this deductive study, the authors conduct focus groups, with the results showing considerable similarity in the interpretation of the achieved types. Taking the research further, interdependent typologies of place demand are subsequently produced, identifying place product and place use patterns that allow ways of using specific places to be identified. As a result, distinctive segments and products can be distinguished as particular, consistent combinations of the achieved types.
As the authors themselves suggest, the typologies obtained expand the scope of competitive analysis and planning in place marketing. By identifying specific place uses/products which can be matched with particular segments of user, a more controlled and targeted marketing strategy can be produced. Although academic in nature, this research has real practical potential and should be of interest to academics and place marketing practitioners alike.
Our third paper “Exploring barriers to the implementation of city development strategies (CDS) in Iranian cities: a qualitative debate” by Mohammad Javad Maghsoodi Tilaki and Massoomeh Hedayati investigates the implementation of CDS as a method of strategic urban planning. The dominant comprehensive planning system in Iran is criticised for being unrealistic, time-consuming, top-down and unrepresentative of people or non-governmental organisations. Therefore, CDS is proposed as “novel thinking” – a way of promoting worthy goals such as increasing quality of life or reducing income inequity, while being more flexible, more reflective of individual cities’ specific situations and more inclusive. The CDS approach is widely supported by organisations such as UN-Habitat, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Basically, CDS supports the creation of a city vision and a corresponding action plan, an approach which will be very familiar to the readers of JPMD.
Through a review of the literature relevant to urban planning and development in Iran, along with key informant interviews conducted with 11 experts, the authors conclude that “the present conditions are not suitable to employ CDS […] because the urban planning process has deviated too far from the goals of achievement and efficient performance”. The paper also identifies the five main barriers to adopting CDS or any other “novel thinking” in strategic planning; these are the centralisation urban planning decision-making, a lack of coordination and unclear relationships between agencies involved in urban development, a lack of financial resources at local level, an abundance of conflicting legislation at local and national level and a lack of public participation […] all of which will be very familiar to the readers of JPMD.
Many approaches to city development and other laudable aims, such as reducing poverty or improving quality of life, are proposed, supported and therefore “internationalised” – such as CDS – but this article reminds us that context is everything, in terms of whether these approaches will be successful or even whether they can be implemented at all. Also, the very fact that the frustrations/barriers identified in the article are, in some respects, common across contexts (developed/developing world) makes us question to what extent our place management research, practice and policies are focusing on the most pressing issues. Understanding and tackling even just one of the barriers to CDS identified in this paper would seem a sensible start. We welcome more honest, context-specific research of this nature. We feel we have a lot to learn from this approach.
Next, we have a research note from Kathryn Swanson entitled “Place brand love and marketing to place consumers as tourists” where place brand love is explored as a related but separate concept to place attachment. While other aspects of branding such as image, identity and communities have been transposed to a place context, brand love has, thus far, been ignored in place marketing. The research note argues that place brand love is a useful avenue for future research and practice, as it is emotional and passionate and, therefore, may represent a more meaningful interpretation of how people feel and think about certain places.
Our Place in Practice article in this edition is “Major event and city branding: an evaluation of Liverpool as the 2008 European Capital of Culture” by Yi-De Liu and it looks at public perceptions of some of the initiatives that Liverpool undertook to celebrate its year as European Capital of Culture in 2008. Drawing on street survey responses from more than 600 visitors, the article examines the different perceptions of various branding initiatives based on visitor origin, as well as overall perceptions of the Liverpool 08 branding and the impact of the “Look of the City” campaign that accompanied it. The article explores the positive developing relationship between (major) event branding and city branding, highlighting how events can help distinguish locations. The analysis of the street surveys should be of interest to anyone seeking to use an event as part of their city branding initiative. There are some lessons that emerge about the relative branding value of cheap to initiate concepts, such as banners and lamp-post decorations, compared with more costly but, potentially, more impactful initiatives.
Finally, we publish two reviews in this issue. Our first is a book review by John Byrom of Rethinking Place Branding: Comprehensive Brand Development for Cities and Regions edited by Mihalis Kavaratzis, Gary Warnaby and Gregory J Ashworth, published by Springer. John’s review is favourable, concluding that those “interested in the future development of the place branding discipline – be they scholars, students or practitioners – will find much to interest them in the book”. The second review is, as we promised at the beginning of the Editorial, “Reflections on the 3rd IPM Conference” by Cathy Parker, which provides constructive feedback on how we can improve our research in place management, marketing and branding.
Dominic Medway, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK, and
Cathy Parker, Simon Quin and Gareth Roberts, Institute of Place Management, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK