This interview with Gary Warnaby of Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom is the latest result of our mission to connect place brand developers, managers and marketers with place branding researchers. A fellow of the Institute of Place Management, Professor Warnaby is particularly interested in and contributes to the Institute’s expertise in managing and positioning high streets and retail destinations.
- The importance of place branding for retail destinations;
- How physical retailing places can compete with increasingly seamless digital consumer experiences;
- How to best align stakeholders behind a shared place vision;
- A golden, yet simple metric to measure place brand campaign effectiveness;
- Advice on the must-read books for any place branding professional.
Gary, what drew you toward the idea of the marketing of towns and cities? Do you remember what first stirred your interest in the topic?
My industry background is in retailing, so I got interested in the idea of marketing towns and cities from this particular perspective and in particular, in relation to retail location and network management decisions. On leaving industry and moving into higher education, I did my doctoral research on how towns and cities in the UK market themselves, with particular reference to retailing. This was of specific relevance in the UK, as more and more retail sales moved from traditional city centre retail locations to out-of-town and edge-of-town destinations, many of which are developing a broader range of attractions and attributes that go beyond retailing. As a result, this has placed them in much more direct competition with traditional town/city centre retail areas.