Research Update on Cultural Heritage, Soft Power, and Digital Diplomacy

This Research Insight, produced in collaboration with the Journal of Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, highlights key studies from Volume 20, Issue 2, focusing on cultural heritage, soft power measurement, and digital diplomacy. We present these insights as part of our mission to bridge the gap between place brand researchers and practitioners, fostering a deeper connection between theory and practical application.

We also welcome Magdalena Florek as the new co-editor, succeeding the esteemed editor emeritus, Robert Govers.

Key Insights for Practitioners

Leveraging Cultural Heritage for Brand Equity

Evaluations of Guangzhou’s Brand Building through Intangible Cultural Heritage by Jiayin Zhang, Min Wang, and Yinbin Lin

Insight: Integrating cultural heritage into branding efforts can significantly enhance city brand equity. Practitioners should identify and promote unique cultural assets to strengthen their city’s brand identity. Read more.

Innovative Approaches to Measuring Soft Power

Measuring Soft Power via Positive Spontaneous Actions of Foreign Publics by SunHa Yeo, Hyelim Lee, and Alex Eschbach

Insight: Measuring soft power through spontaneous public actions provides a more dynamic and authentic gauge of influence. Public diplomacy practitioners can leverage these actions to refine their strategies. Read more.

Digital Diplomacy Strategies

The Implementation of Digital Diplomacy by the US, UK, and China in Kenya by Ong’ong’a Daniel Oloo

Insight: Digital tools are essential in modern diplomacy. Comparative insights from the US, UK, and China illustrate effective strategies and highlight the importance of adapting digital diplomacy to local contexts. Read more.

Building Emotional Connections in City Branding

Exploration of the Concept of Brand Love in City Branding by Davood Ghorbanzadeh, K. D. V. Prasad, and Nafisa Yuldasheva

Insight: Cultivating “brand love” can create stronger emotional bonds between a city and its residents or visitors. City branding should focus on fostering these connections to enhance loyalty and advocacy. Read more.

Utilizing Social Media for Place Branding

Decoding Nordic Cities: Uncovering Multi-level Place Experiences from Tweets by Viriya Taecharungroj and Olga Rauhut Kompaniets

Insight: Social media analysis can provide valuable insights into public perceptions and experiences, helping to tailor more effective place branding strategies. Read more.

Practical Applications in Public Diplomacy and Nation Branding

  • Public Diplomacy and Nation Branding in Action: Swiss Embassy’s Participation in the Night of Museums Event in Warsaw by Anna Kobierecka and Michał Marcin Kobierecki

Insight: Engaging in cultural events can enhance a nation’s image and strengthen diplomatic relationships. Such initiatives should be integral to public diplomacy efforts. Read more.

  • Clashes of Cultures at the FIFA World Cup: Reflections on Soft Power, Nation Building, and Sportswashing in Qatar 2022 by Yoav Dubinsky

Insight: Major sporting events offer opportunities for nation branding but also pose risks of “sportswashing.” Practitioners need to balance these to avoid reputational harm. Read more.

  • Exploring Place Branding in the Global South: The Case of Johannesburg, South Africa by Zenzile Mbinza

Insight: Place branding in the Global South presents unique challenges. A deep understanding of local contexts and inclusive strategies are crucial for success. Read more.

  • The Multiple Edges of Gastrodiplomacy: The Paradoxes of the Basque Case by Dennis Sorondo Salazar

Insight: Gastrodiplomacy can be a powerful tool, but practitioners must navigate cultural complexities and potential paradoxes to be effective. Read more.

Advancing Theoretical and Methodological Frameworks

  • Theorizing Network Diplomacy on Twitter: A Symbolic Interactionist Approach by Saif Shahin and Q. Elyse Huang

Insight: Understanding digital diplomacy through symbolic interactionism offers a nuanced view of how interactions on platforms like Twitter shape diplomatic narratives. Read more.

  • Book: Diplomacy for Professionals and Everyone by Alisher Faizullaev, reviewed by Tomasz Kamiński

Insight: This review underscores the importance of accessible and practical diplomatic strategies for both professionals and the general public. Read more.


This edition of the Journal Place Branding and Public Diplomacy offers actionable insights into enhancing city brand equity through cultural heritage, refining soft power measurement, and employing digital diplomacy effectively. It underscores the importance of emotional connections in city branding and the strategic use of social media for real-time brand assessment.

For practitioners, these studies emphasize adapting strategies to local contexts, balancing promotional opportunities with ethical considerations (sportswashing!) and navigating cultural complexities in gastrodiplomacy.

To fully leverage these insights, dive deeper into each article provided in the links.

Journal-of-place-branding-and-public-diplomacyAbout Place Branding and Public Diplomacy

Published by Springer (Palgrave Macmillan)

Place Branding and Public Diplomacy is the first and only journal to concentrate on the practice of applying brand strategy and other marketing techniques and disciplines to the economic, social, political and cultural development of cities, regions and countries.

Edited by James Pamment and Magdalena Florek | See editorial board

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