Centre Image - 237 'Vital and Viable' Factors

As part of our series on vital and viable high streets, the High Streets Task Force is presenting 'evidence on a page' summaries of over 200 factors that influence the success of high streets. Here we address centre image: centre image is associated with functional, experiential, social and symbolic elements of town centres and high streets that are integral to consumers’ decision making processes and centre patronage.

Date added 10 November 2021
Last updated 10 November 2021

From a marketing and management perspective, the image of a town centre is one that is constantly subject to change due to multiple external factors and changing trends and behaviours. Anticipating and adapting to such change thus requires creating responsive mechanisms to improve a centre’s competitive position and overall appeal (Dennis et al., 2002) and manage the consumer’s experience.

Hart et al’s (2013) comprehensive study of town centre image identified multiple dimensions that influence image perceptions for a centre: retail assortments, atmosphere, accessibility, layout, appearance, non-retail activities, place attachment, and global impressions. 

Whereas some of the attributes of town centre image cannot be altered (e.g. location), most of them are within place managers’ control to influence. Careful consideration of these image dimensions can affect place-based decisions regarding the future of a town centre/high street. 

Centre image is one of 237 factors that have been identified as influencing the vitality and viability of the high street.

For more information and further reading, download the pdf 'evidence on a page'. The page contains information about this factors place within the 237 factors identified and: whether it is a component factor of one of 25 'vital and viable' priorities; how the factor scores in terms of influence, place management control, and priority.

To read more about vital and viable high streets, see www.highstreetstaskforce.org.uk/frameworks/25-vital-and-viable-priorities/