Editorial accessible for FREE: From place marketing to place branding and back
As this is the author's first editorial as board member for this journal, it felt like an obvious duty to respond to Anholt's (2010a) open invitation to the journal's community to contribute to the discussion about the definition of the field. As a trained marketer, the author is hoping to contribute some valid arguments about why and how the field of place branding needs to be distinguished from place marketing in the following pages.
FROM PLACE MARKETING TO PLACE BRANDING
Anholt (2010a) correctly illustrates that place marketing has a long tradition, and that a case for looking at places as brands can be made using historical examples. The need for ‘place branding’, as it has surfaced over the last decade and a half, can also be explained as an evolution from place marketing. Indeed, places have been marketing tourism, investment and export products for long, and there is widespread appreciation that a positive place image is a prerequisite for successful tourism, export or investment promotion. Anholt states that ‘… there is no question that the concept of brand is relevant and useful to places, both at the sectoral level and in their roles as “umbrella brands” providing reassurance, glamour or status to the products and services that are marketed under their aegis. A positive place image, in short, makes it cheaper and easier for producers to export and attract’.
Many place marketers, however, reverse this logic and argue that in order for their marketing efforts to succeed, they need to improve their respective images and hence desire a ‘place brand’, with which they often mean to argue for a ‘destination brand’, ‘appellation d’origine’ or ‘investment brand’. However, the author will argue in this editorial that this reverse logic does not apply, and that place branding, at a higher level, should be about creating an overarching brand strategy or competitive identity that reflects a nation's, city's or region's history, accomplishments and aspirations regardless of the markets to be served, that is, not to confuse place branding with place marketing.
Read more in: Quarterly journal of Place Branding and Public Diplomacy