How Place Branding Can Support the Sustainable Development of Cities, Regions and Destinations

Most place brand strategies aim at attracting visitors, investors, talent. But can place branding also improve livability and the sustainable development of cities and regions? Exploring the links between sustainability, branding, place competitiveness and reputation is both exciting and timely. Even more so as sustainability (or better: lack thereof) is becoming a threat not just to the image, but to the very legitimacy of tourism activities in overcrowded destinations.

In our interviews with place professionals we often include a question about the links between their respective field of expertise (economic development, public diplomacy, human geography, destination marketing,…) and sustainability.

Below a few extracts and answers from our interviews, intended to offer you a snapshot of expert views on the topic.

How can place marketing and branding support sustainability and the sustainable development of cities and regions?

Andy Levine, USA:

Let’s start with a definition, courtesy of the International Institute of Sustainable Development:

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Marketing that successfully attracts investment and talent which supports the long term growth and progress of a community without mortgaging its future is the key to success.

Bill Baker, USA:

Sustainability should embrace economic, social and environmental principles. In theory it should be a fundamental strategic and operational consideration for all place brands, but in reality it is often something that slips between the cracks.

To truly adopt sustainability takes a holistic approach across all governments, organizations and residents in a location. Very often achieving this is beyond the political and corporate influence of the project leadership team to foster the degree of cross-community unity, cooperation and commitments required.

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The Editorial Team

Hi there, we hope you’ve found this article useful. Want to stay up to date on latest place branding insights, stories and examples? Sign up for our free email newsletter! You might also be interested in our services. Have a question or suggestion? Get in touch!