How to Measure Place Branding Impact Through Rankings and Indices

How to measure place branding impact is a question which often leads to discussion and which we have addressed before. In this post learn which place brand rankings and indices exist and how they can help you determine whether the branding strategy of your city, region, destination or country is making a positive difference.

This overview of place brand rankings and indices is based on the presentation by place reputation advisor Robert Govers at the City Nation Place Forum 2016, which took place in London last November.

For impact measurement and rankings, Robert distinguishes between the host (supply) and the guest (demand) side.


Measuring Place Branding Impact: The ‘Supply’ Side

Place identity, product offers and marketing communications are three main aspects to keep in mind when measuring and monitoring the impact of place branding efforts.

Place identity

Indices for measuring the impact of your place branding work on place identity (local pride, achieved through local engagement):

Product offers

Indices for measuring place branding impact on product offers (economic performance, achieved through on-brand products):

Marketing communications

Indices for measuring place branding impact on marketing communications (stakeholder engagement, achieved through on-brand campaigns):


Measuring Place Branding Impact: The ‘Demand’ Side

News media image

Indices for measuring place branding impact on news media image (positive coverage, achieved e.g. through press releases):

Guest behaviour

Indices for measuring place branding impact on guest behaviour (market loyalty, achieved e.g. through web analytics):

Social media image

Indices for measuring place branding impact on social media image (positive buzz, achieved through social media engagement):

Perceived image

Lastly, indices for measuring place branding impact on the overall, perceived image of a place (image change over time, reach):


Should you use indices in the first place?

Probably yes, but being very selective of which indices you take into consideration, and by keeping in mind their limitations.

Pros of using indices and rankings to determine impact of place branding work

Benefits of using indices and rankings for measuring impact of city, destination or country branding initiatives are the reduced complexity of those rankings, which makes it easier to communicate to policy makers and the general public. Moreover, indices and rankings facilitate a longitudinal comparison – tracking place brand performance over time.

Cons of using indices to measure place branding impact

Some of the aspects which might limit the usefulness of rankings for determining the success of place branding include validity, simplicity, methodological flaws, misuse and bias, for instance if such indices are produced by consultancies with the purpose to attract new clients.


Place branding challenges

Robert Govers, in his presentation also highlighted the collision between theory and practice in place branding, and the challenges (still) associated with it:

  • Reduced, but still very complex business
  • Measurability, causality and what to claim (objectives)
  • Half-baked academics
  • Lazy journalists
  • Lazy public
  • But also, lazy policy makers and consultants
  • Or policy makers that get carried away
  • Credit and discredit are never far apart

Our thanks to Robert Govers for sharing his thoughts on this important topic.

If you’ve found this overview of place brand rankings and indices useful – or can think of someone who might – please share and spread the word.

The following two tabs change content below.
Hi, we hope you found this post useful. Want to stay up to date on latest place branding insights, strategies, stories and examples? Join our mailing list! More about our Services here.

The Editorial Team

Hi, we hope you found this post useful. Want to stay up to date on latest place branding insights, strategies, stories and examples? Join our mailing list! More about our Services here.