The future of place branding (special collection)

This article introduces the academic papers in a 2021 special issue all about the future of place branding. The special issue contains a collection of 8 cutting-edge academic articles which explore different aspects of place branding, covering topics such as: public value; public diplomacy; human capital; smart cities; citizen participation; and retailing.

Date added 19 October 2021
Last updated 19 October 2021

This collection of cutting-edge academic articles revolving around the future of place branding was initially planned before the Covid-19 pandemic, to mark the 15-year anniversary of the academic journal outlet: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy. As the authors explain, however, whilst the pandemic has had a significant impact on places and tourism experiences, the collection’s main themes still remain relevant, as follows:

  • More refined appreciations of place branding.
  • The relationship between place branding and sustainability.
  • Digital place branding.
  • The 'Smart City’ and how that affects city branding.
  • Stakeholder (dis)engagement.
  • The problem of over-tourism; and
  • Place branding in times of crisis.

The articles found in the special issue are summarised below:

Marta Hereźniak and Justyna Anders-Morawska; Public value-driven place branding: The way forwards?

The authors argue that we should move away from a competition-orientated and demand-driven approach to place branding, instead focusing on creating value for local residents. They assert that place branding can create public value through public value expression, enhancing social relationships, and moderating social behaviour.

Yauheniya Barkun, Ewa Glińska, and Katarzyna Dębkowska; Differentiation of regional attractiveness for gaining talents in the context of place branding theory

The article suggests place branding can be an important tool in the flow of human capital, talent attraction and retention. Focusing on place branding in Poland, the authors draw on the Global Talent Competitive Index to rank various places in the country based on their ability to attract talent, and the role of place branding in this.

Magdalena Grebosz-Krawczyk; Place branding (r)evolution: the management of the smart city’s brand

This paper focuses on the concept of the ‘smart city’, and how places might be branded based on this idea. The author presents a ‘Smart City’s Brand Management’ model, and argues that human factors, as well as citizen participation, are important in managing the smart city brand.

Niedja de Andrade e Silva Forte dos Santos; Crossroads between city diplomacy and city branding towards the future: case study on the film cities at UNESCO Creative Cities Network

This article investigates potential synergies between public diplomacy and place branding within cities, with a focus on ‘Film Cities’ in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Using a framework termed ‘the CBCD crossroads matrix’, the author identifies alignments between theory and practice, stakeholder focus, and citizen diplomacy important in place branding.

Lisa Källström, Simon Persson, and Jakob Westergren; The role of place in city centre retailing

The paper focuses on how different aspects of retailing can be leveraged in the branding of city centres, given the ongoing challenges they are facing, for instance with the rise in online shopping. The authors suggest place plays a pivotal role in marketing city centres, functioning as a ‘frame’, ‘living room’, and ‘stage’ in social media marketing activities. 

Eko Nursanty; The anatomy of place branding: relating place transformation to community identity

This article explores the key role of local communities in shaping the place identity and branding of cities. Focusing on Indonesian cities, the paper finds that the unique character of urban places, and the sustainability of place brands, is based on local community decisions and interactions within places.

Kelly Vibber and Jeong-Nam Kim; Advocates or adversaries? Explicating within-border foreign publics’ role in shaping soft power through megaphoning and echoing

The authors in this paper explore the connections between place branding and public diplomacy, looking at how places are perceived on the international stage. They identify how international students are important in shaping how a country is perceived by their social networks in their home countries. 

Marek Ćwiklicki and Kamila Pilch; Multiple case study design: the example of place marketing research

This more methodology-focused paper focuses on the use of multiple case study research when investigating place branding and place marketing. It offers a checklist so that those conducting research in this area can ensure their studies are of a high quality.

For a link to read all of the articles in the special issue, please see here [external link]