Inter-Regional Place Branding. Best Practices, Challenges and Solutions
Even though places are social and political constructs, most of them are currently run in ways that parallel a business – they require management and business strategies in order to achieve defined goals. One strategy that place officials have adopted involves implementing marketing and branding strategies in order to promote the place and thereby attract residents, tourists, businesses and investments. The growth of this practice has spurred academia’s rising interest in the topic of place branding. Scholars have devoted considerable attention to the role of place branding at the city and country levels, but the regional level has thus far been largely neglected. Regions are especially important because they both compete and cooperate (within one country or between countries), in turn building so-called interregional brands with a large degree of complexity. This book examines and clarifies key aspects of regional branding with a special focus on interregional brands. It provides a theoretically well-informed but practically oriented overview of this phenomenon, including numerous cases and best practices. As such, it is aimed at both academics and practitioners in the field. In Chap. 1, Sebastian Zenker and Björn P. Jacobsen share their “Introduction to interregional place branding”. They aim to define the interregional brand and examine different concepts in order to provide clarity on the field of place branding. In doing so, they highlight the special character of interregional place branding and apply the aforementioned concepts to a particular interregional place branding case, namely the Fehmarnbelt region. In Chap. 2, Martin Boisen reflects on “Place branding and nonstandard regionalization in Europe”. The vantage point of this chapter is that every place is a brand; it follows, then, that the processes of non-standard regionalization, which are evident all over Europe, have created new places and thus new place brands. The chapter argues that traditional meta-geographies cannot be ignored when employing place brandingwithin these new types of regions. In short, the chapter is intended as a first attempt for a structured conventionalization of the different types of interregional branding. In Chap. 3, Mikael Andéhn and Sebastian Zenker present “Place Branding in Systems of Place – on the Interrelation of Nations and Supranational Places”. In this chapter, the authors challenge the assumption that places can be branded from scratch, on the basis that a place is often a “brand” long before it is formally branded. A place brand is, by definition, rooted in a system of geographical abstractions, in which each place is understood in relation and contrast to other geographical entities. Using the example of nation branding for Sudan and Slovenia, the authors identify supranational places such as “sub-Saharan Africa” or “Eastern Europe”, which carry their own highly salient and often negative meaning. In sum, the chapter explores how a place’s systematic associations influence branding efforts. In Chap. 4, Cecilia Pasquinelli contributes “Network brand and branding: A co-opetitive approach to local and regional development”. This chapter questions the common assumption that places are motivated by competition to pursue place branding. To this end, the chapter explores the issue of network branding, which is based on a co-opetitive rationale for economic development. Derived from business studies, co-opetition refers to the benefits that organizations may receive from simultaneously cooperating and competing with other organizations in value chains (including competitors). In Chap. 5, Aleksandra Khamadieva presents a “Development of a methodology for measuring the residents’ utility within place marketing”. Focusing on the important target group of residents, the author investigates which factors are most important for a place and how those can be measured. These questions become even more complicated in the context of interregional marketing and branding strategies, as two or more regions can unite in order to establish one strong place brand. The author therefore strives to explain the importance of researching this issue and proposes possible approaches. In Chap. 6, Renaud Vuignier talks about “Cross-border place branding: The case of Geneva highlighting multidimensionality of places and the potential role of politico-institutional aspects”. The author states that the issues of attracting tourists and companies have been extensively examined by place promoters, location branders, economists and other scholars. However, the analysis of residents’ role in place branding has been overlooked until recently and represents a new interest for researchers. Thus, the chapter aims to further develop the concept of place branding, both theoretically and empirically, through a case study of the Grand Genève (Great Geneva). In Chap. 7, Tony Jackson writes about “Interregional place-branding concepts: The role of amenity migration in promoting place- and people-centred development”. This chapter draws on new regionalism theory to assess the role of amenity migration in promoting place- and people-centred rural development strategies through the use of interregional place branding. It concludes with a brief review of current interregional place branding practices. The chapter considers the capacity of interregional place branding to facilitate the “territorial attractiveness” of Europe’s transnational areas and suggests that funding for its integration should be sought from the European Commission’s avowedly place-driven Cohesion Policy. In Chap. 8, Jan-Jelle Witte and Erik Braun present a study about “Crossborder place branding in Europe”. Although labelled in various ways, cross-border partnerships are being arranged in all member states of the EU and beyond, hailed as the Regionalization of Europe. This chapter explores the extent of cross-border place branding in Europe as well as differences between cases in terms of the type of cross-border region, the scale of the region and the scope of the branding initiative relative to the target audiences addressed. Moreover, the chapter provides a first measurement of the outcome, leading the authors to suggest some possible relationships between the characteristics of the cross-border branding initiatives and their outcomes. In Chap. 9, Evan Cleave and Godwin Arku focus on “Reaching a ‘critical mass’: Analysis of interregional place branding amongst communities in Ontario, Canada”. They concentrate on a cooperative approach that allows individual communities to reach a critical mass of population, resources and political infrastructure. The analysis in this chapter attempts to fill a gap in place branding literature by examining whether there are clusters of communities that currently have the potential to cooperate in their branding efforts. To this end, the authors use spatial autocorrelation of place brands amongst the communities of Ontario, Canada, to identify potential groups of neighbouring communities with similar branding agendas and compare them to existing collaborative efforts. In Chap. 10, Eduardo Oliveira presents “A strategic spatial planning approach to cross-border place branding with references to Galicia and Northern Portugal”. This chapter adopts a strategic spatial planning approach to think about potential joint place branding initiatives between cross-border regions. The case study within focuses on the extended cross-border European region consisting of northern Portugal and northwest Spain (according to the NUTS 3 classification). Employing knowledge from the strategic spatial planning literature, the chapter aims to contribute to the academic debate on interregional place branding by discussing the potential development of place branding initiatives across administrative border regions. In Chap. 11, Pantazis Pastras and Manolis Psarros write about “Challenges for interregional place branding for cruise tourism in the Black Sea region”. In doing so, the authors add another viewpoint to the discussion by focusing on tourism and destination branding in interregional place branding. This chapter explores how the development of a brand for cruise tourism in the Black Sea region is incorporated into a wider context of conditions and factors that shape interregional place branding in the same area. Not only does the chapter shed light on the interrelationship of a place and a destination brand, it also offers empirical evidence of the dynamic nature of brand-building processes, through the case of a rather complex segment of the tourism market, in terms of the interactions amongst areas, interests and policies. Finally, in Chap. 12, Anna Augustyn and Magdalena Florek present “Branding a cluster of regions: The Eastern Poland macro-region case study”. The purpose of this chapter is to analyse and provisionally evaluate the Programme of Economic Promotion of Eastern Poland. In this chapter, the authors make an attempt to evaluate the validity of the entire idea of joint economic promotion, in which regions compete with each other in many aspects but at the same time present similar offers and have limited resources to promote themselves separately. The authors also try to assess whether the midterm synergy effect was achieved after the programme’s implementation.