Beyond the logo: Brand management for cities


A city's brand is increasingly considered an important asset for urban development and an effective tool for cities to distinguish themselves and improve their positioning. The introduction of corporate-level marketing concepts and, especially, corporate branding has significantly contributed towards the development of a city branding theory. In practice, however, there is an evident confusion of a wide branding strategy with one of its components, namely the design of a new logo and slogan or, at best, the development of a promotional campaign. This paper first describes the rise of city branding and the reasons of its popularity and, after a short review of the basic elements of corporate branding, it goes on to identify essential similarities between these two forms of branding. It finally detects the need to adapt any branding tools to the needs of cities and addresses the necessity of a comprehensive city brand management framework.

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Correspondence to Mihalis Kavaratzis.

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1was educated at St. John's College Cambrige (BA, 1962), University of Reading (MPhil, 1967), Birkbeck College, University of London (PhD,.1974). He has taught at the University of Wales, Cardiff Department of Geography, Cyncoed. 1966–1969; University of Portsmouth, Department of Geography, 1969–1979. University of Groningen, Faculty of Spatial Sciences 1979– . Since 1994, he is Professor of Heritage Management and Urban Tourism in the Department of Planning, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, the Netherlands.

2was born in Athens, Greece. He studied business administration in the University of Piraeus in Greece and then obtained an MSc in Marketing from the University of Stirling in Scotland. In 2004 he joined the Urban and Regional Studies Institute (URSI) of the University of Groningen. He is completing his PhD on city marketing in Europe.

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Ashworth, G., Kavaratzis, M. Beyond the logo: Brand management for cities. J Brand Manag 16, 520–531 (2009).

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  • place branding
  • city branding
  • corporate marketing
  • city-brand management