City Branding: Tackling Prolonged Negative Images

Projekttitel City Branding: Tackling Prolonged Negative Images
Projekttype Anvendt forskning og udvikling
Frascati Ja
Tema Business | Kommunikation | Turisme | Undervisning
Teaser Time heals all wounds, so they say, yet some wounds take longer to heal than others.
Status Igangværende
Ejer  
- Akademi Erhvervsakademi Sydvest (EASV)
- Kontaktperson Christian Dragin-Jensen
Research and Business Development Specialist, PhD
cdje@easv.dk
41991222
Nat./Int. Internationalt
Projektperiode 01. marts 2020 - 01. juli 2021
Projektbeskrivelse  
- Projektresumé

Cities are growingly facing competition from one another on a regional, national and international level. To grow and prosper, cities are contesting across the board for their share of tourists, investors, businesses and a qualified workforce (Dragin-Jensen, Schnittka, & Arkil, 2016). In order to shape and influence what their target markets thinks of them, cities have discovered the advantages of creating and fostering a city brand. This also signifies that methods of analyzing and measuring the worth of a brand has become more sophisticated. Scientific research has made significant advancements on how to quantifiably measure the perceived image of a city, and mainstream newspapers and media outlets release annual indices on “the best places to live”, “best places to visit”, “best city in the world” and so forth. Yet these cities are usually the mega cities (the top of the pop, so to speak) which appear – New York City, London, Amsterdam, and so forth. Yet there is a distinct lack of research studies on smaller cities, who are also competing against one another. This appears to be even more the case for smaller cities trying to overcome a negative reputation.

This project will focus on the Danish city of Esbjerg, who has struggled with its image and reputation in previous decades, and has actively pursued their own city branding initiatives and strategies. By means of an historical research approach (Hassen & Giovanardi, 2018), as well as a qualitative approach of semi-structured interviews with key figures in the city branding initiatives for the city, this project will contribute to the field of city branding by identifying commonalities, alignments between place communication and place ‘offerings’ development, as well as lessons learned from unsuccessful initiatives. The project will aid city branders and marketers better understand the historical context of overcoming negative reputations, as well as receiving tools on how to work towards a successful image.

References

Avraham, E., & Ketter, E. (2013). Marketing Destinations with Prolonged Negative Images : Towards a Theoretical Model. Tourism Geographies, 15(1), 145–164.

Baker, B. (2019). Place Branding – for small cities, regions & downtowns. Independently Published.

Dragin-Jensen, C., Schnittka, O., & Arkil, C. (2016). More options do not always create perceived variety in life: Attracting new residents with quality- vs. quantity-oriented event portfolios. Cities, 56, 55–62.

Hassen, I., & Giovanardi, M. (2018). The difference of ‘being diverse’: City branding and multiculturalism in the ‘Leicester Model.’ Cities, 80, 45–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2017.06.019

Zenker, S., & Braun, E. (2017). Questioning a “one size fits all” city brand: Developing a branded house strategy for place brand management. Journal of Place Management and Development, 10(3), 270–287. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-04-2016-0018

- Baggrund og formål

Time heals all wounds, so they say, yet some wounds take longer to heal than others.

The Danish city of Esbjerg has long suffered from a poor image, struggling with shaking off reputations as a fish-smelling, rough-neck harbor town. The city has launched city branding campaigns to alter its image in order to attract students, investors, tourists, companies and a talented workforce. But how had its images and reputation come to be? And how are the city branding initiatives working towards them being altered?

This project will, by means of a historical research approach and a qualitative approach, identify key components which lead to a deterioration of image and reputation of a place, as well as identifying alignments and tools of a city branding strategy aiding in overcoming negative images, thus contributing both to researchers and practitioners alike.

- Aktiviteter og handling
  • Project planning phase
    1. Literature Review
    2. Interview planning
  • Project execution
    1. Semi-structured interviews with Esbjerg officials
    2. Historical approach: Desk research and possible meetings with Esbjerg historical archives representatives
    3. Work on peer-reviewed journal article based on results
  • Project Dissemination
    1. Contact relevant news outlets for an appearance (for example, The Place Brand Observer, Turisme.nu, JV.dk, etc.)
    2. Project page on eaviden.dk
    3. Submission to peer-reviewed journal
    4. Teaching material
- Projektets Metode
    • Two methodological approaches will be used: historical research approach (Hassen & Giovanardi, 2018) and semi-structured interviews with key representatives working with the city’s brand in Esbjerg and Randers, respectively.
  • Primary: Qualitative data
  • Secondary: Desk research data
- Projektets Forventede Resultater

This project has identified three main research gaps, which it will address:

  • There is a distinct paucity on city branding research for smaller cities (see: Baker, 2019), and even more so for..
  • Cities with prolonged negative reputations (Avraham & Ketter, 2013).
  • Hassen & Giovanardi’s (2018) historical research approach is  an novel take on evaluating city branding initiatives, and requires further testing. This approach also better identifies strategies for specific cities, and not a “one-size fits all”, as is argued by Zenker & Braun (2017). We will further strengthen this approach by adding interviews with key actors within the two cities’ branding initiatives.

 

Baker, B. (2019). Place Branding – for small cities, regions & downtowns. Independently Published.

Hassen, I., & Giovanardi, M. (2018). The difference of ‘being diverse’: City branding and multiculturalism in the ‘Leicester Model.’ Cities, 80, 45–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2017.06.019

Zenker, S., & Braun, E. (2017). Questioning a “one size fits all” city brand: Developing a branded house strategy for place brand management. Journal of Place Management and Development, 10(3), 270–287. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-04-2016-0018

- Projektets Forventede Effekt

The project’s expected results will have the following effects:

  • Better understand historical contexts of city branding initiatives for smaller cities
  • Better link strategies to overcome deteriorating city images
  • Further understanding of a underused approach (historical research approach) in city branding research
Tags
Deltagere  
- Studerende
- Medarbejdere Erhvervsakademi Sydvest (EASV)
Mathias Lenhold
- Virksomhedsrepræsentanter
- Andre
Partnere
Finansiering
Resultat
Evaluering
Formidlingsform  
- Resultatets formidling

Peer-review article at Cities journal.

- Resultaternes værdi
- Målgruppen
- Vidensprodukter Peer rev. Artikel