Most of us know Philip Kotler as the father of modern marketing. His groundbreaking book with Donald Haider and Irving Rein titled Marketing Places (first published 1993), has long been a must read for those in charge of city and destination marketing.
His latest book Confronting Capitalism on the shortcomings of capitalism (and how to overcome them) is well worth a read, especially since it is written by a leading marketing scholar.
In this interview, Philip Kotler – who despite his 83 years doesn’t tire traveling the world – shares his thoughts on place brands and marketing, and looks back on his distinguished career.
- Place marketing: what it is all about;
- Philip Kotler’s view on the marketing of places, and how it changed over the years;
- Which trends cities need to pay attention to;
- How the current, failing capitalist system affects the marketing and development of places;
- If cities and countries should be marketed at all;
- His thoughts on place marketing as academic discipline;
- How he ended up on an Indonesian postage stamp.
Philip, do you remember the first time you thought about marketing in connection with places, such as cities?
I traveled alone to Europe for the first time when I was 18. When I mentioned that I came from Chicago, the first remark was “Al Capone.” People in Italy, Germany, France, and other places knew the city from its gangster days. Yet other Europeans who had visited Chicago said how surprised and exciting they found the city to be.
Clearly, any well-known city will have some central images from the city’s history, or local newspapers, or dynamic individuals. I drew from this experience that most cities do little to manage their image or try to construct a new and better one.