In this interview, Mihalis Kavaratzis, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Leicester (UK) and adviser on place marketing and city branding, describes why we need to rethink place branding and what motivated him to co-edit the book Rethinking Place Branding: Comprehensive Brand Development for Cities and Regions (Springer).
- Why place branding is like listening to the life-stories of places;
- Why places need to understand and pay attention to their brands more than ever before;
- Why collaboration and citizen engagement is the most important part in place branding;
- How branding provides a general strategic guidance for place management;
- Key challenges: Which issues city- and regional authorities struggle most with;
- The key insights from the book Rethinking Place Branding;
- How to measure the effectiveness and success of place branding initiatives.
Mihalis, what fascinates you about city brands and destination branding as research topic?
What I find fascinating is the myriads of new understandings of place management and place development that open up when we think of places as brands and place management as an exercise of attempting to influence peoples’ perceptions of places.
What place branding helps us with is the appreciation that these perceptions are results of complex processes of interactions between the physical and the mental, between the functional and the emotional, between the real and the imaginary, and between the individual and the collective.
Place branding is like listening to the life-stories of places, and this I find fascinating and extremely rewarding.