Place branding & place marketing 1976–2016: A multidisciplinary literature review

  • Renaud VuignierEmail author
Original Article


This contribution offers a systematic and complete overview of the scientific literature in the field of place marketing and place branding research. A total of 1172 articles published between 1976 and 2016 in 98 different journals were analyzed and meticulously classified into categories and subcategories according to disciplinary approach, method used and perspective adopted. This literature review thus provides a detailed overview of the state of the art and reveals various trends and developments in this emerging field of study. Among other things, it demonstrates that the field suffers from a lack of conceptual clarity, diverging definitions and a weak theoretical foundation, which means it addresses a very broad range of research topics. In addition, the field lacks empirical evidence and explanatory articles, meaning that the numerous hypotheses concerning the effects of place marketing activities on attractiveness remain unsubstantiated. The review also underscores the literature’s lack of interest in the political and institutional contexts of places, although this information is crucial in terms of public management. Moreover, this work notes that the rhetoric of consultants is given pride of place, with the publication of numerous prescriptive articles focused on sharing best practices. Finally, this study notes the existence of a significant number of critical articles.


Place marketing Place branding Literature review State of the art Public management 



The author would like to warmly acknowledge Edith Skewes-Cox and Stephen Jones for their valuable assistance with editing and translation. He also wants to offer his gratitude to the two student assistants Lisa Raval and Mathieu Gobet who provided assistance with the downloading, printing and storage of the articles during the systematic phase. His thanks are also due to Prof. Martial Pasquier who supported him in the conception and production of this literature review.

A preliminary version of the present literature review, in the form of a working paper in French and in English (Vuignier 2016a, b), presents in more detail certain steps and reflections of the researcher while carrying out the review.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP)University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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