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Regular version of the site

Article

Designing place brand architecture: the potential of a sub-brands strategy

Journal of Product and Brand Management. 2020. Vol. ahead-of-print. No. ahead-of-print.
Zelenskaya E., Elkanova E.

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the problem of place brand architecture. Despite being a well-established research domain in the field of product and services marketing, brand architecture remains an under-explored phenomenon in relation to places. The paper aims to discuss a new approach to a sub-brands strategy that builds on both the supply and the demand sides, and explores the benefits and challenges of the suggested strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on a case study of St Petersburg, Russia, using both secondary and primary data. The primary data consists of in-depth interviews with stakeholders involved in city branding and applies thematic analysis.

Findings

The results demonstrate that place brand architecture helps to design a differentiated system of sub-brands that are customer-focused and reflect the complexity of a place. The paper outlines the benefits (such as, flexibility of the sub-brands strategy and the increased credibility of the brand) and the challenges for strategy implementation (such as, higher promotional expenditure and communication risk and stakeholder misalignment).

Practical implications

This paper will be helpful for place brand and tourism managers who seek to attract new target groups and avoid various problems, such as the overcrowding of popular sights.

Originality/value

While the existing literature on place brand architecture is mainly approached from a geographical perspective, this paper proposes a new target-group-specific approach that incorporates the supply and demand sides.