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You can’t govern if you don’t measure: Experts’ insights into place branding effectiveness assessment

Magdalena Florek (Department of Commerce and Marketing, Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poznań, Poland)
Marta Herezniak (Department of International Marketing and Retailing, University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland)
Anna Augustyn (Department of Economics and Management, University of Bialystok, Białystok, Poland)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 23 September 2019

Issue publication date: 27 September 2019




The purpose of the study is to verify the theoretical assumptions based on literature review regarding the issue of brand effectiveness evaluation and the potential measurement framework, as well as to provide insights into the nature of effectiveness measurement of city brand strategies. The findings are considered important foundations for designing a place branding measurement system, which is the next step and final purpose of the author’s research project.


A total of 12 international academic experts from eight countries (in four continents) were individually interviewed. A semi-structured individual interview was applied as a research method. Sampling was purposive and the respondents represented the fields of marketing, place branding and public management. The standardized set of 19 open-ended questions was categorized into four themes (city brand effectiveness, methodology, measurement process and indicators).


The measurement of effectiveness of city branding should be treated as a strategic endeavor; however, it is a complex issue where political, social and methodological challenges overlap. Barriers to the development of a well-functioning measurement system include: too narrow understanding of what brand is, lack of knowledge or culture of measurement, conflicting political interests, reluctance to involve internal stakeholders, insufficient funding and complexity of the brand itself. The reliable measurement system should be characterized by attributes such as simplicity and durability, stakeholder inclusion, political rationale, adjustment to the specificity of the city and the independence of the measuring body/institution.


Up-to-date, common standards or universal measurement frames of the place branding measurement system do not exist. No discussion can be found in the literature on how such a system should be designed and implemented. Opinions of the experts interviewed provide important insights into the components and conditions of the reliable measurement system that would meet both methodological standards and practical needs. Further studies and analyses are however necessary to eventually compose the optimal city brand measurement system.



This research was financed by the National Science Centre, Poland, research project no. 2015/19/B/HS4/00380 toward the conceptual framework for the measurement of city brand strategy effectiveness. Theoretical developments and empirical insights from Polish district cities.


Florek, M., Herezniak, M. and Augustyn, A. (2019), "You can’t govern if you don’t measure: Experts’ insights into place branding effectiveness assessment", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 545-565.



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