From city marketing to city branding: Towards a theoretical framework for developing city brands
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Cities all over Europe include more and more marketing techniques and methods in their administration practice and governing philosophy. The transfer of marketing knowledge, however, to the operational environment of cities proves a cause of difficulties and misalignments, mostly due to the peculiar nature of places in general and cities in particular as marketable assets.
In this paper, city branding is suggested as the appropriate way to describe and implement city marketing. City marketing application is largely dependent on the construction, communication and management of the city's image, as it is accepted that encounters with the city take place through perceptions and images. Therefore the object of city marketing is the city's image, which in turn is the starting point for developing the city's brand. The most appropriate concept to understand marketing applicability within cities is the recently developed concept of corporate branding, which with the necessary modifications is applied to cities.
The core of the paper is a theoretical framework to understand the city's brand and its management, which was developed through a review of the literature on both city marketing and the corporate brand. City branding provides, on the one hand, the basis for developing policy to pursue economic development and, at the same time, it serves as a conduit for city residents to identify with their city. In this sense the relevance of and need for a framework describing and clarifying the processes involved in city branding are equally strong for facing increasing competition for resources, investment and tourism on the one hand and for addressing urgent social issues like social exclusion and cultural diversity on the other. The framework focuses on the use of city branding and its potential effects on city residents and the way residents associate with and experience their city, and it is based on a combination of city marketing measures and the components of the city's brand management.
KeywordsCity branding city marketing corporate branding city image city branding variables
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