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Place branding scholars and practitioners: “strangers in the night”?

Mihalis Kavaratzis (School of Management, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 12 October 2015




The purpose of this paper is to deal with the widely acknowledged gap between place branding theory and practice. It makes a direct attempt to address fundamental questions regarding the relationship between place branding scholars and practitioners. The article reports on the special session “Theory meets Practice” that was organised at the Institute of Place Management Conference in Poznan, Poland, in May 2015.


The article raises and attempts to answer questions such as whether the two groups of place branding scholars and practitioners engage with each other’s work, whether they share an understanding of place branding and whether they set the same set of priorities for the advancement of the field. Both academic views and practitioners’ approaches are elaborated upon. Furthermore, the example of a project where both academics and practitioners worked together is used to illustrate the discussion.


The article provides a series of answers regarding the current relationship between place branding theoreticians and practitioners. It also provides an assessment of the motivations and benefits of working more closely together. In this way, the article initiates a discussion that might help place branding theory and practice come closer together.


Despite the importance of the issue raised in the article for the development of place branding as a discipline, this is one of the first attempts to directly handle this topic. Another novelty of the article is that it is written in cooperation with both academics and practitioners, thus being a direct result of the relationship discussed.



The author acknowledges the participation of Helen Donnellan (Leicester City Council), Magdalena Florek (Poznan University of Economics), Adam Mikolajczyk (BestPlace Institute), Cathy Parker (Manchester Metropolitan University), Simon Quinn (Institute of Place Management) and Rosa Roma (Barcelona City Council).


Kavaratzis, M. (2015), "Place branding scholars and practitioners: “strangers in the night”?", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 266-270.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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