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Place Branding: The Need for an Evaluative Framework

Ruzinskaite, Jolanta (2015) Place Branding: The Need for an Evaluative Framework. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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This research investigation is focused on place branding. The popularity of location branding has grown significantly recently. Attributes such as the possibility to inform the world about the place, differentiate it, update its outdated image, promote the place and increase its attractiveness as well as competitiveness, etc. contributed to the raising interest in this phenomenon and has increased its application in practice. As a result of this, there is a lot of literature on the subject (Haninson, 2001, 2004; Rainisto, 2003; Trueman et al., 2004; Moilanen and Rainisto, 2009, etc.). Notwithstanding, place branding is still classed as a relatively new phenomenon and thus has many areas for research and development. One of such sectors is the evaluation of branding initiatives for places; it can not only justify effectiveness of place brand but also identify areas in need of attention based on which, urban strategies can be reviewed and amended accordingly.
Some places have long-lasting, widely accepted and successful brands (for example, New York or Oresund, etc.) while other places are struggling to find their base (for example, Randers, etc.). Very often the success of urban brands is open to much interpretation; in general, brands are being judged and criticised by media or public. In most cases it is not clear what influences and determines success or failure of such initiatives; this exemplifies the need for empirical research. Further, some locations refrain from using visual triggers (for example, Manchester) while other places have successful world-wide known logos.
Manchester has been chosen as a case study for this research investigation because of its uniqueness and a complex of issues in one case including the chronological development of city’s branding initiatives with logos, slogans and symbols along their position and importance in Manchester’s history. This research tries to determine how brand was defined in the context of Manchester city. Initiatives to brand this city probably date back to the use of the “Bee” in the nineteenth century as a symbol of industry. Most recently, the signifier “M” along summing up device “original modern” have been introduced with Manchester being a brand. All this appear to be confusing causing misinterpretations as well as criticisms by public and media. The question on how to measure the effectiveness of such branding initiatives emerges.
Investigations in the field of place branding acknowledge a lack of coherent branding model as well as a lack of guidance on evaluation of branding initiatives or how to create an evaluative model/ framework thus composing theoretical background to this study. This research tries to identify if and how the effectiveness of the branding strategies can be measured and thus supplement existing knowledge in the field of urban branding. This study presents brand evaluation framework which should help practitioners to evaluate the success of the place brand idea or it could be used as a consultation measure before developing a new brand. It is anticipated the proposed framework will contribute in designing more targeted campaigns.
Literature reviews were used in this study to understand existing knowledge and findings assisted in developing a framework for the evaluation of urban brands. The proposed framework has three vertical facets (vision, attributes and perceptions) each of them comprising of a number of variables and the middle section representing the core of the framework. The degree of match between vision and perceptions demonstrates whether efforts put on place branding are consistent with its aim. In this research, the multiple sources of evidence were used in order to help to deal with the issues of validity and reliability of the case study which was utilised to examine the applicability and relevance of the evaluative framework as well as test the effectiveness of it. The proposed brand evaluation framework is comprehensive and adaptable to any place with the possibility to use greater levels of detail if needed and acting as a guide for urban brand practitioners allowing analysis of public perceptions and assessment of branding initiatives.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Schools: School of Art, Design and Architecture
Depositing User: Elizabeth Boulton
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2015 10:23
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2016 03:13


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