Marta Hereźniak, independent advisor and lecturer at the University of Lodz in Poland, in this interview discusses city branding in Central and Eastern Europe, place branding research priorities and the meaning of place brand identity. She also shares advice on how to involve stakeholders and how to measure the effectiveness of place brands.
Marta, your focus as lecturer and researcher at the University of Lodz in Poland is on place branding and marketing. Do you remember what brought you to the topic in the first place? What triggered your interest?
Yes, I do remember it very well. Back, in 2002, as a Ph.D. candidate, I intended to write my thesis on the positioning of Polish brands in Western European markets, given Poland’s expected accession to the EU. I was looking for organizations and initiatives in the country whose mission would be to facilitate domestic companies to become more competitive internationally – not in terms of price or export volumes, but in terms of brands.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any, until, one evening I saw a commercial of a programme “Brand for Brands", initiated by The Institute of Polish Brand, a think-tank affiliated with The Polish Chamber of Commerce. This was exactly what I was looking for.
We soon started to cooperate, and I found that what I was hoping to do in my PhD thesis can be seen as a part of a bigger scheme of country branding.
Subsequently, the Chamber commissioned Wally Olins as a leading consultant in the Brand for Poland – the project I was lucky to be a part of for many years. It is thanks to him, and to Simon Anholt (whom I met later), that I owe my deep interest in place branding.
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