On Sensory Branding and the Role of Psychology | Interview with Luca Petruzzellis

What does place branding have to do with psychology? This is one of the questions which Luca Petruzzellis discusses in this interview. He also introduces his work on sensory branding and looks at the growing importance of the digital world in place branding.

Luca, as Professor of Marketing at Bari University in Italy, brands and branding are among the topics you teach your students. Do you remember the first time you came across those concepts – and your thoughts back then?

The first time I came across those concepts was when I was a student. In that period, Brand Personality by David Aaker was the most important concept. I was fascinated by those aspects and my final dissertation was on city branding. The approach, however, at that time was very classic, with few influences from psychology.

How has your view on place branding changed or evolved since then?

My view on place branding has changed a lot. At the beginning it was strongly influenced by my economics studies, but it has evolved since then in that I've integrated psychology and sensory aspects.

In fact, now I am working on the application of sensory branding to places. Moreover, nowadays the digital part of a brand and experiences needs also to be considered and measured.

To your mind, what is place marketing all about – and how does it differ from place branding?

Place marketing is about developing strategies to promote and develop a place, and place branding is a strategy, probably the most important and for sure the first, within a wider marketing action.

A brand needs a marketing plan to be developed, maintained and managed.


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