For the last two years, the world has been watching Brazil as it navigates the multiple, high-profile activities occurring in the country. Caio Esteves, CEO of PLUS Places for Us place branding consultancy, speaks about his role in heightening the importance of place branding in Brazil and shares his insights on blending both academic and practical applications, and the role citizens can play. He also discusses integrating urban planning with place branding and how Brazil differs from other Latin American countries.
- How place branding academics and practitioners can complement each other;
- Why it’s important for MBA programs to connect place branding (idea) with placemaking (implementation);
- Why Colombia and Peru are inspiring examples of country branding in Latin America;
- How international news coverage affects place branding in Brazil.
Caio, as CEO of Places for Us, you bring not only practical applications to the field but also theoretical knowledge from your time as an academic. How do you balance the two?
I truly believe in combining academic and practitioner approaches. Place branding is sometimes perceived negatively, as some kind of make-up, a type of design or advertising. Brazil is certainly no exception. This becomes noticeable when talking about place branding to an urban planner, for instance.
Practitioners need to validate their empirical knowledge with academic reflection. Sooner or later, at least some of the theoretical models generated by academic research need to become part of daily practice, to be of value.
Academics can contribute to the place branding discussion on the issues and enlighten them, but this knowledge must become tangible and available. It cannot be limited to university seminars, conferences or academic papers.