Historic England - Heritage and Place Branding Case Studies
The following case studies from 2016 pinpoint the role of heritage in the delivery of effective place branding strategies, and how BIDs build upon local heritage assets in order to develop a heritage-led place brand that has value to a variety of audiences.
The tangible and intangible cultural heritage of a place is a prime driver of local economic development and thus inextricably linked with strategies that incorporate a place’s cultural heritage assets in an attempt to enhance a place’s identity and image. The following case studies, which were mostly part of the “Place branding and heritage” report produced by Historic England in 2016, showcase how Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are using heritage as part of their overall place branding approach in order to raise the appreciation and profile of their respective towns, as well as engaging with local stakeholders and communities in the process. In fact, the majority of case studies are stressing a participatory approach towards place branding, with the BID having an integral coordinating role in the process.
From the case studies, it is evident that BIDs are embracing the importance of place branding in the development of a place’s identity, with heritage being cited as a means through which to deliver a greater substance to a brand. One of the outcomes of the wider research that Historic England commissioned highlights that where BIDs did engage with heritage, this invariably extended beyond the most obvious heritage assets in their area to include less prominent, intangible heritage assets that were integrated into a coherent local place brand.
Overall, the case studies not only highlight how place branding is used by BIDs, but also how heritage “has the potential to form a key element of place brands by providing authenticity, distinctiveness and credibility to place brands”.