Martin Boisen Researcher Profile

Martin Boisen (Copenhagen, 1981) is a Lecturer in Human Geography & Planning at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He graduated cum laude from Utrecht University in 2007, and has since manifested himself as both a scholar, a lecturer and an advisor in the field.

As a scholar, Martin has mainly studied why and how place marketing and place branding originated and evolved as managerial and professional disciplines in North-western Europe, and how this relates to our general understanding of place management and place governance.

On a more fundamental level, Martin is interested in the processes wherein people make places out of spaces by attributing meaning to them, and how these meanings are re-negotiated over time.
Martin is the owner of the advisory For the Love of Place, and the Vice-chairman of The International Place Branding Association.

Which topics linked to place branding are you most passionate about, as researcher?

As a researcher I study how place management, place marketing and place branding arose and evolved as part of urban and regional governance. My research area is limited to Europe, although my interest on the topic is global.

Which hashtag describes your research style best?


Key insights from your research so far?

1) Don’t forget that it is never ‘just’ about tourism. Place branding is inherently generic and covers the total sum, spirit and meaning of the place. Don’t reduce it to a destination or a proposition.

2) The meaning of the concepts matter beyond a semantic discussion: whether you call it ‘promotion’, ‘marketing’ or ‘branding’ creates different expectations and different organisational and managerial configurations.

3) In the end a good strategy is only a good strategy if it can be implemented. The approach taken to place brand management is more important than the actual place brand strategy formulated.

4) Be aware that if you claim successes you’ll also own the failures. Be modest. Many organisations have been closed down because of external developments over which they had no influence.

5) Don’t forget to distinguish between key perception indicators (branding) and key performance indicators (marketing). It will make your organisation more transparent and less vulnerable.

Martin Boisen is also available as consultant. More about city branding, marketing and place management in our interview with Martin.