Place Marketing - 25 'vital and viable' priorities

Research from the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University has identified the Top 25 priorities that can influence high street vitality and viability. This resource introduces the 'Place Marketing' priority - why it matters, and what you can do about it.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

What are the 25 vital and viable priorities?

Research from the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University has identified the Top 25 priorities that can influence high street vitality and viability.

The framework was created by experts from a range of disciplines and other stakeholders to foster cross-disciplinary knowledge and broadening real-world understanding of the changing nature of the high street.

The 25 priorities are practically orientated and, given their ability to be controlled or influenced at a town level, are fairly internally focussed. For each of the priorities you will find an introduction to evidence that describes the priority, suggests what it covers, discusses how it might be implemented and the level of control associated with it.

Additionally, you will find suggestions of what the priority could mean for implementation during the COVID-19 recovery stage.

Place Marketing

Factors included in Place Marketing

Centre marketing; marketing; orientation/flow


Place Marketing





25th out of 25

3.44 out of 5



2th out of 25

3.68 out of 4

Potentially controllable

25 Priorities

12th out of 25


Very high priority



Place marketing is traditionally concerned with the development and subsequent promotion of a place product, as well as the construction of a sellable place image that can highlight local difference and enhance a place’s competitive position (Page and Hardyman, 1996). In its operational sense, place marketing addresses the importance of coordinating marketing activities to maximise value not only for target groups, but for local communities and citizens as well (Braun, 2008). Contemporary place marketing requires the widest possible stakeholder participation in terms of product development, and should become more bottom-up as opposed to top-down (Warnaby and Medway, 2013).



Why does it matter? (Influence)

Place marketing can be seen as an important instrument of the overall place management strategy, building upon the notion of place attractiveness and place satisfaction to create sellable images, messages and other forms of communication (Ward, 1998), and as a long-term endeavour to achieve policy goals related to economic and spatial development (Eshuis et al., 2014). Place marketing in its politico-economic sense is an important part of urban governance (Eshuis et al., 2013), as it is an intentional, and (mostly) organised process of construction and dissemination of a discourse of a place and place image with manifold goals (e.g. attracting tourists and visitors or generating residents’ support for a particular vision) (Colomb, 2012). Therefore, place marketing is  “predominantly concerned with fine-tuning the place to manage supply and demand, both through promotional measures and other measures aimed at improving the product-market combinations” (Boisen et al, 2018: 10).

Place marketing also interacts with other placemaking and place management activities that affect the urban design, the liveability and development of a place. Thus, place marketing benefits from an integrated approach, and should not be detached from the actual development of the place (Boisen et al, 2018). Place marketing also differs from place branding, as it favours a managerial approach that deals with promoting, selling and distributing the place product (as a whole or as parts). On the other hand, place branding seeks to incorporate symbolic and cultural information about the place into the place brand via an interactive process of place making and place brand formation that should encourage the widest possible stakeholder participation and respect the democratic rights of citizens to partake in place branding practices (Kavaratzis and Kalandides, 2015; Warnaby and Medway, 2013). As such, place branding is interpreted as part of a collective strategy-making process (Pasquinelli, 2014) that sets the tone for place marketing interventions and becomes relevant for the people who live in the place and have vested interests in its development (Ntounis and Kavaratzis, 2017).

What can you do about it? (Control)

From a place management perspective, place marketing is a strategy that influences the business of place, and supports the application of business principles, including the transition to more business-like approaches of governance and the use of management and marketing tools for improving the competitive image of a place. These strategies have produced strong and positive place images in the past, but it is important to not adopt a complacent attitude to place marketing, as the reputation of even the most attractive places can fade as user preferences shift, requiring places to refresh their appeal (Millington and Ntounis, 2017). Thus, it is important to maintain a shared vision for marketing a place by promoting participatory practices and the co-creation of an appealing narrative about the place through dialogue and cooperation, which will drive forward further interactions among stakeholders (Pasquinelli, 2014). A good place marketing strategy should build upon social narratives, localised forms of understanding, and the interactions between people and places (Warnaby, 2009), thus moving  beyond “lip service” to a “multilogue” (Kavaratzis, 2012, p. 10) that fosters mutuality in place marketing interventions. As such, place managers should understand the specific roles, rights, responsibilities and relationships (Aitken and Campelo, 2011) of all place stakeholders with the place they live, work, visit, and interact with, in order to effectively manage the supply and demand and create a welcoming place.



Place Marketing and COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis will require an overhaul of the standard place marketing activities in our high streets. Current place marketing activities will not only have to remind people what their town has to offer, but also what the town can look like in the future via cooperation with multiple stakeholders.

In initial stages of the crisis, community-led place marketing via social media is an effective way for many local people to connect to their town and businesses. Place managers should encourage such activity and practice online place marketing to remind communities of attributes of the place product.

The pre-recovery and recovery phases should be used in order to develop and deliver a comprehensive, coordinated marketing plan for the recovery, including consideration of the different audiences, messages, campaigns and assets you will use to attract people to the new town centre offer. You should work with businesses to encourage social media use to support the reopening and services provided. Additionally, increasingly focus should be given on the local market, as many people may be reluctant to travel far for essential services and social activity. Place managers should encourage the use of technology, data, social media, apps and the online marketplace, as they will play a significant part on place promotion strategies. Social media reach and measurement can subsequently improve local sentiment, so developing local social media skills and improve targeting of desired markets, starting with local residents and workers, is helpful.

Ultimately, a successful place marketing strategy will strengthen the visitor economy by taking a ‘people first’ approach and will account for concerns relating to sustainability and safety. A coordinated and integrated place marketing approach will ensure that centres are legible for visitors with a developed leisure, hospitality and culture offer, and is reflective of the character of the place.

See also

Vision and Strategy; Experience; Attractiveness; Place Management


Aitken R and Campelo A (2011) The four Rs of place branding. Journal of Marketing Management 27(9–10): 913–933.

Boisen M, Terlouw K, Groote P, et al. (2018) Reframing place promotion, place marketing, and place branding - moving beyond conceptual confusion. Cities 80: 4-11.

Braun E (2008) City Marketing: Towards an integrated approach. PhD Thesis, University of Rotterdam. Netherlands.

Colomb C (2012) Staging the new Berlin: Place marketing and the politics of urban reinvention post-1989. London: Routledge.

Eshuis J, Braun E and Klijn E-H (2013) Place marketing as governance strategy: An assessment of obstacles in place marketing and their effects on attracting target groups. Public Administration Review 73(3): 507–516.

Eshuis J, Klijn E-H and Braun E (2014) Place marketing and citizen participation: branding as strategy to address the emotional dimension of policy making? International Review of Administrative Sciences 80(1): 151–171.

Kavaratzis M (2012) From ‘necessary evil’ to necessity: stakeholders’ involvement in place branding. Journal of Place Management and Development 5(1): 7–19.

Kavaratzis M and Kalandides A (2015) Rethinking the place brand: the interactive formation of place brands and the role of participatory place branding. Environment and Planning A 47(6): 1368–1382.

Millington S and Ntounis N (2017) Repositioning the high street: evidence and reflection from the UK. Journal of Place Management and Development 10(4): 364–379.

Ntounis N and Kavaratzis M (2017) Re-branding the High Street: the place branding process and reflections from three UK towns. Journal of Place Management and Development 10(4): 392–403.

Page SJ and Hardyman R (1996) Place marketing and town centre management. Cities 13(3): 153–164.

Pasquinelli C (2014) Branding as urban collective strategy-making: The formation of NewcastleGateshead’s organisational identity. Urban Studies 51(4): 727–743.

Ward SV (1998) Selling Places: The Marketing and Promotion of Towns and Cities, 1850-2000. Taylor & Francis.

Warnaby G (2009) Towards a service-dominant place marketing logic. Marketing Theory 9(4): 403–423.

Warnaby G and Medway D (2013) What about the ‘place’ in place marketing? Marketing Theory 13(3): 345–363.