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Place branding: are we wasting our time? Report of an AMA special session

Dominic Medway (Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Kathryn Swanson (Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Lisa Delpy Neirotti (Department of Management, The George Washington University School of Business, Washington, DC, USA)
Cecilia Pasquinelli (GSSI Cities – Gran Sasso Science Institute, L’Aquila, Italy)
Sebastian Zenker (Department of Marketing, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to report on a special session entitled “Place branding: Are we wasting our time?”, held at the American Marketing Association’s Summer Marketing Educators’ conference in 2014.


The report details the outcome of an Oxford-style debate with two opposing teams of two persons – one team supporting and one team opposing the motion. The opening speaker of each team had 10 minutes to put their case across, and the closing speaker had 8 minutes. Teams took to the stand alternately, matching up against each other’s arguments.


The outcome of the debate points towards a need for place brands to develop as more inclusive and organic entities, in which case it may be best for place practitioners to avoid creating and imposing a place brand and instead help shape it from the views of stakeholder constituencies. This shifts the notion of place branding towards an activity centred on “curation”.


The use of a competitive debating format as a means for exploring academic ideas and concepts in the place management field.



Medway, D., Swanson, K., Delpy Neirotti, L., Pasquinelli, C. and Zenker, S. (2015), "Place branding: are we wasting our time? Report of an AMA special session", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 63-68.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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