European Spatial Research and Policy


Place branding is the idea of discovering or creating some uniqueness, which differentiates one place from others in order to gain a competitive brand value. This article is not about the concepts or justifications but about how it is actually done at the local level, especially as part of broader conventional place management policies. Three main local planning instruments are widely used throughout the world in various combination in diverse places, each of which is described and exemplified here. These are first, personality association, where places associate themselves with a named individual, from history, literature, the arts, politics, entertainment, sport or even mythology, in the hope that the necessarily unique qualities of the individual are transferred by association to the place. Secondly, the visual qualities of buildings and urban design is an instrument of place-branding available to local planners. This could include flagship building, signature urban design and even signature districts. Thirdly, event hallmarking is where places organise events, usually cultural or sporting, in order to obtain a wider recognition that they exist but also to establish specific brand associations. Lessons are drawn from practice about the importance of combining these instruments and integrating them into wider planning and management strategies.


place marketing, local development




ANDRANOVICH, G. (2001), ‘Olympic Cites: Lessons Learned from Mega-event Politics’, Journal of Urban Affairs, 23 (2), pp. 113-131.

ASHWORTH, G. J. (2005), ‘A Change of Heart in Groningen’, [in:] MARTINELLI, F. and ALBRECHTS, L. (eds), Strategic Planning in Europe, Rome: Italian Planning Institute.

ASHWORTH, G. J. and VOOGD, H. (1990), Selling the City: Marketing Approaches in Public Sector Urban Planning, London: Belhaven Press.

CLOHESSY, L. (1994), ‘Culture and Urban Tourism: Dublin 1991 European City of Culture’, [in:] KNOCLE, U. (ed.), Culture, Tourism and Development: The Case of Ireland, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, pp. 189-195.

ELLIOT, R. and WATTANASUWAN, K. (1998), ‘Brands as Symbolic Resources for the Construction of Identity’, International Journal of Advertising, 17 (2), pp. 131-144.

ENNEN, E. (1997), ‘The Groningen Museum: Urban Heritage in Fragments’, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 3 (3), pp. 144-156.

FLORIAN, B. (2002), ‘The City as a Brand: Orchestrating a Unique Experience’, [in:] HAUBEN, T., VERMEULEN, M. and PATTEEUW, V. (eds), City Branding: Image Building and Building Images, Rotterdam: NAI Uitgevers.

FLORIDA, R. (2002), The Rise of the Creative Class, New York: Basic Books.

GILMORE, F. (2002), ‘Branding for Success’, [in:] MORGAN, N., PRITCHARD, A. and PRIDE, R. (eds), Destination Branding: Creating the Unique Destination Proposition, pp. 57-85.

HALL, C. M. (1989), ‘The Definition and Analysis of Hallmark Tourist Events’, Geojournal, 19 (3), pp. 263-286.

HAMNETT, C. and SHOVAL, N. (2003), ‘Museums as Flagships of Urban Development’, [in:] HOFFMAN, L. M., FAINSTEIN, S. S. and JUDD, D. J. (eds), Cities and Visitors: Regulating People, Markets, and City Space, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 219-236.

HANKINSON, G. (2001), ‘Location Branding: A Study of the Branding Practices of 12 English Cities’, Journal of Brand Management, 9 (2), pp. 127-142.

HANKINSON, G. and COWKING, P. (1993), Branding in Action, London: McGraw-Hill Book Company.

HAUBEN, T., VERMEULEN, M. and PATTEEUW, V. (2002), City Branding: Image Building and Building Images, Rotterdam: NAI Uitgevers.

KAVARATZIS, M. and ASHWORTH, G. J. (2005), ‘City Branding: An Effective Assertion of Place Identity or a Transitory Marketing Trick’, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 96 (5), pp. 506-514.

KOOLHAAS, R. (1994), in New York Times, 11th, September.

MORGAN, N., PRITCHARD, A. and PRIDE, R. (eds), (2002), Destination Branding: Creating the Unique Destination Proposition, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

STABLER, M. (1996), ‘Are Heritage and Tourism Compatible? An Economic Evaluation of Their Role in Urban Regeneration’, [in:] ROBINSON, M., EVANS, N. and CALLAGHAN, P. (eds), Tourism and Culture Towards the 21st Century, Newcastle: University of Northumbria.

RAINSTRO, S. K. (2003), Success Factors of Place Marketing: A Study of Place Marketing Practices in Northern Europe and the United States, PhD thesis, Helsinki: Helsinki University of Technology, Institute of Strategy and International Business.

RITCHIE, J. R. (1984), ‘Assessing the Impact of Hallmark Events: Conceptual and Research Issues’, Journal of Travel Research, 23, pp. 2-11.

SIMOES, C. and DIBB, S. (2001), ‘Rethinking the Brand Concept: New Brand Orientation’, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 6 (4), pp. 217-224.

TEMELOVA, J. (2004), ‘Contemporary Buildings in City Promotion’, Research and Training Network Urban Europe, 10.

TRUEMAN, M. M., KLEMM, M., GIROUD, A. and LINLEY, T. (2001), ‘Bradford in the Premier League? A Multidisciplinary Approach to Branding and Re-positioning a City’, Working Paper 01/04, Bradford: Bradford University, School of Management.

First Page


Last Page