Journal of Brand Management

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 14–26 | Cite as

Asian city brand meaning: a Hong Kong perspective

  • Bill MerrileesEmail author
  • Dale Miller
  • Gloria L. Ge
  • Charles Chin Chiu Tam
Original Article


The idea of “brands doing good” is potentially intrinsic in all aspects of strategic and ethical branding. This study argues that city branding can be a site for “brands doing good”. City branding is consolidating its position in the branding literature. Two areas remain underdeveloped: the role of culture and a comprehensive answer to the question of what does a place mean to its residents? This quantitative study addresses these two gaps in the literature. Hong Kong is selected as a thought-provoking context to investigate the research issues and enables more attention to Asian city brands. The results indicate that social bonding through friends and relatives is the dominant brand association shaping city brand meaning. Additionally, a three-pronged approach to culture elevates culture to an important role in understanding the residents’ city brand meaning. The three prongs are: (1) inclusion of Confucius values as a brand association; (2) using intangible cultural heritage as a moderator in the model explaining city brand attitudes and (3) interpreting material lifestyle activities like eateries as an integral part of the city culture. The results suggest that the Hong Kong city brand does much good especially through strong social, cultural and community core brand values.


City brand meaning Intangible cultural heritage City branding Brand associations Survey translation Brands that do good 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bill Merrilees
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dale Miller
    • 1
  • Gloria L. Ge
    • 2
  • Charles Chin Chiu Tam
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MarketingGriffith University Gold Coast CampusGold CoastAustralia
  2. 2.Department of International Business and Asian StudiesGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Continuing and Professional StudiesThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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