Today’s interview with Jordi Xifra, Professor of Public Relations at the prestigious Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, is all about place reputation and the question why public diplomacy is crucial for the brand positioning of regions and stateless nations, such as Catalonia.
- Why strategic place communications is not the same as product communications;
- The role of sports events in nation building;
- What it takes to build a unique brand position of a place;
- Why there is a need for more research surrounding the reputation of places;
- The most common mistakes when trying to create or change the image of a place;
- His thoughts on Catalonia as a public diplomacy case study.
Jordi, you are a leading researcher in public relations and strategic communications. Do you remember what – or who – got you interested in those fields?
Although my father introduced Public Relations (PR) Education in Spain in the late 1960s, I wasn’t interested at first. I studied Law and my first work was as lawyer. My PR research and teaching career really began when I started teaching a course on “Freedom of speech” in the PR School of the University of Barcelona. I found that the field of PR was not well covered. Just imagine, the lecturers who taught PR were advertising specialists!
I thought that someone should start doing research on Public Relations, so I moved from my lawyer activities to teaching PR and doing research on the field.