What can bring society together in the aftermath of a conflict, and in a world where opinions are strong and divided? Can place branding be used as a means to reach common ground between people with opposing views and bring them together to take pride in a shared identity?
Our key takeaways:
- Place branding is in itself an activity that brings people together. It is about building a shared vision and identity, involving locals, which unifies societies.
- Though place branding can bring people together to form an identity, the will to act on a common vision solely lies with the people.
- In moments of upheaval or turmoil, place branding might not be a priority. But after the storm has passed, it is the perfect forum to mend estranged relationships, to rekindle and reshape the brand narrative together.
- Tourism is a great facilitator for implementing place branding initiatives, as it attracts less controversy and tends to benefit the local economy.
- In the current political climate around the world, place branding has the power to unite people from across the political spectrum, people from various religious, ethnic, and economic backgrounds.
Place branding can be used to search for commonalities and common grounds, which may be found in the historic and cultural past of a place.
My current research in this area, yet to be published, explores the idea of place brands as “open systems”.
Companies, which have benefited enormously in terms of value creation and capture from branding, are closed systems. Nation, city and place brands do not conform to the idea of closed systems. Well-conceived and thoughtfully constructed place brands can support the long-term stability of societies, which are “open systems”. However, they need to be inclusive and participative, developed from within the local, cultural and social context: by the people, for the people and of the people.
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