Place Brand Impact StoryCompetition

Recognizing Excellence in Place Branding

The Place Brand Impact Story Competition recognizes excellence in place branding that aligns with UN sustainable development goals.

Participants benefit from global recognition for good work being done, and the opportunity to develop and share unique place brand impact stories that encourage and encompass sustainability and regenerative development.

Participation is open to all cities, regions or countries and is free of charge. Entries are evaluated by an international judging panel - which also serves as advisory board for the competition.

Why Join the Place Brand Impact Story Competition?

Joining the Place Brand Impact Story Competition is a great opportunity for cities, regions and countries looking to gain international recognition for their place branding initiatives. Our comprehensive assessment, aligned with the principles of the IPBA Place Branding Manifesto and the UNSDGs, offers a unique opportunity to showcase your place branding achievements and benchmark your efforts against global standards in sustainable and ethical place branding.

Key Benefits:

Showcase Your Initiative:

Gain recognition for your work and the impact you are making. Highlight your commitment to responsible, future-proof place branding.

Advocate for Sustainable Development:

Demonstrate how your place branding initiative contributes positively to both your local community and the broader goals of global sustainability.

Collaborate with Leaders:

Join a network of leaders in place branding to exchange ideas, share best practices, and innovate together. This competition is a platform for those leading the way in sustainable and impactful place branding.

Receive Recognition:

Your efforts in advancing the field of place branding deserve recognition. This competition celebrates the achievements of those driving positive change in how places are branded and developed.

Who Can Join?

The Place Brand Impact Story Competition is open to a wide array of organizations and entities that play a key role in place branding. This includes:

  • Place Brand Management Organizations
  • Local Govts & Municipal Authorities
  • Economic Development Organizations
  • Community Organizations
  • DMOs and NTOs
  • Agencies on behalf of client

This inclusive approach ensures that the Place Brand Impact Story Competition captures a diverse range of perspectives and initiatives in place branding, aligned with the UNSDGs, reflecting the multifaceted nature of this field.

What is a Good Impact Story?

In our search for compelling submissions, we aim for stories that are not only narrative-driven but also deeply resonate on an emotional level, capturing the essence of place branding initiatives. A well-crafted story should take the reader on a meaningful journey, showcasing the unique journey of your place branding effort.

  • Compelling: Your story should captivate from the start, keeping readers engaged with a clear narrative that unfolds logically and engagingly.
  • Emotionally Resonant: It should strike a chord with readers, making your place's journey relatable and memorable through genuine emotional connections.
  • Meaningful: Beyond telling an engaging tale, your story should offer insights and lessons that contribute to the broader discourse on sustainable place branding, encouraging reflection and inspiring action.


March 2024: We will make our official announcement and open the registration form.

Submission Phase (March - 30 June): Our story submission portal will be open during this period, available to anyone eligible who has filled the registration form (needed to get access to the submission form which you can preview here).

Evaluation Period (1 July - 31 August): TPBO Impact Story Advisory Board (the judges) will review and rank eligible submissions. This evaluation will be based on the below set of criteria. Each impact story will be independently assessed by three judges.

Public Vote for Readers’ Favorite (Opens September): Allowing readers to vote their favorite story for a Readers’ Choice award, through the TPBO LinkedIn page.

TOP Place Brand Impact Stories Announced (Early October): We will officially announce the TOP Place Brand Impact Stories, sharing the news on our website, LinkedIn, and other platforms. We are currently looking into the possibility of an event for networking and celebration, stay tuned.

Selected stories will be published in the Impact Story Collection of TPBO website, and in the Place Brand Leaders Yearbook. Basic showcases will be free of charge, with more comprehensive options available upon request.

The Process - How It Works

1. Initial Eligibility Check and Submission Process:

When registering for the Place Brand Impact Story Competition, participants are asked to affirm their commitment to responsible place branding by the symbolic action of signing the IPBA Place Branding Manifesto, developed by the world's leading place branding scholars. We consider this step crucial for ensuring adherence to best practices in place branding and to make sure submitted stories actually represent a place branding initiative.

Once registration form has been received and eligibility checked, participants will receive access to our story submission portal. We encourage narrative-driven entries that highlight the initiative's impact, supported by concrete evidence and aligned with one or more specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).

A detailed guide and structured submission form will be provided to facilitate story submissions.

2. Judging and Evaluation:

Our judges evaluate submissions based on a scale from 1 (non-existent) to 10 (outstanding), focusing on five key areas:

  1. Completeness of Documentation (20%): Assesses the evidence support for the submission, such as images, web references, and data, showcasing impact on specific UNSDG targets. Scores range from inadequate to comprehensive evidence that convincingly demonstrates significant impact.
  2. Originality (20%): Evaluates the uniqueness and innovation of integrating sustainable development challenges within place branding efforts. Scores range from basic innovation to highly original and inventive strategies.
  3. Effectiveness (30%): Measures tangible outcomes and benefits of the initiative, including impact on community identity, involvement of multiple actors, and measurable results. Scores range from limited to high effectiveness in solving sustainability challenges.
  4. Transferability (20%): Examines the potential for the initiative's strategy to be adapted and applied in other contexts with similar effectiveness. Scores range from limited adaptability to high potential for universal application.
  5. Longevity (10%): Considers how well the initiative aligns with and supports the long-term place branding strategy. Scores range from weak to excellent fit in developing and maintaining the place's brand identity, reputation, and core values.

Each aspect is crucial in demonstrating how place branding initiatives can effectively contribute to sustainable development goals, emphasizing the importance of well-documented, original, effective, transferable, and long-term strategies.

3. Recognition and Awards:

After the judges identify the top contenders, the broader community can vote for the “Readers’ Choice Award” on LinkedIn.

Outstanding submissions - those with the highest scores - receive special awards to highlight their exceptional contribution to place branding.

Place Brand Impact Story Categories

We suggest you focus on one or more UNSDGs when preparing your story submission. The following might be particularly relevant (it is also possible to focus on others). Find an overview of all UNSDGs here

No Poverty

Goal 1 - Focuses on reducing poverty and is therefore especially relevant for place branding initiatives that serve economic development, creating jobs and opportunities.

Decent Work & Economic Growth

Goal 8 - Vital for place branding, emphasizing economic opportunities and sustainable growth for community well-being.

Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure

Goal 9 - Underscores fostering sustainable industry and innovation, key to place branding for economic growth and prosperity.

Sustainable Cities & Communities

Goal 11 - Aims to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, factors which are crucial for urban area branding.

Consumption & Production

Goal 12 - Essential for place brands to advocate sustainable practices and showcase their commitment to environmental stewardship.

Climate Action

Goal 13 - Given the impact of climate change on communities, environments and economies, integrating climate action into place branding is crucial for long-term sustainability.

Life under Water

GPT Goal 14 - Vital for coastal and maritime destinations to emphasize their dedication to conserving aquatic ecosystems and ocean health.

Life on Land

Goal 15 - Focuses on safeguarding and sustainably using land ecosystems, crucial for branding places based on natural landscapes and biodiversity.

Meet the Judges

Efe Sevin


Tom Buncle


Cecilia Cassinger


Brian Mullis


Robert Govers


Vicky Smith


Cecilia Pasquinelli


Martin Boisen


Steve Noakes


Viriya Taecharungroj


Joao Freire


Todd Babiak


Giannina Warren


Hjörtur Smárason


Jens Thraenhart


Ed Burghard


Magdalena Florek


Stella Kladou


Chris Wade


Albert Salman


Jonathon Day



Any organization involved in place branding, including cities, regions, and countries, is eligible to enter the competition. Agencies representing places are also allowed to submit stories on behalf of their clients, so long as they have been authorized to do so.

No, there is no entry fee required to participate in the competition.

Submissions should be made through the official story submission form, following the provided format and guidelines. The first step is to complete the registration form. Once your registration has been received and checked, you will receive the link to the story submission form.

The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2024.

Judging is based on Completeness of Documentation (20%), Originality (20%), Effectiveness (30%), Transferability (20%), and Longevity (10%). Submissions are evaluated for evidence-backed storytelling, innovative solutions to sustainable development challenges through place branding, measurable outcomes benefiting community identity, adaptability of solutions to other contexts, and how well they embody and enhance the place’s brand identity and reputation over the long term (longevity).

Winners will be announced on the competition website and through our LinkedIn page. We will also contact them by email beforehand.

Yes, participants are allowed to submit multiple projects, provided each submission is unique and focuses on a different UNSDG or place branding initiative.

Personal data provided during submission will be used solely for the purposes of administering the competition and will not be shared without consent.

Winners will receive official recognition and opportunities for promotion through The Place Brand Observer's platforms.

Currently, all submissions must be in English to ensure a fair evaluation process by our judging panel.


You have a question about our Place Brand Impact Story competition? Please write us: