Place Branding Gathering Momentum: 2018 Research Priorities and Future Directions

Place branding is gathering momentum, write Mihalis Kavaratzis and Charles Dennis in their editorial article, introducing a special edition of the journal Place Branding and Public Diplomacy.

In the editorial – in addition to highlighting the many contributions which are part of the special issue and which were previously presented at the IPBA conference in Swansea, December 2017 –  Kavaratzis and Dennis share their thoughts on the pressing issues and future directions of place branding.

Pressing issues

Reflecting on the conference presentations and discussions, Kavaratzis and Dennis observe that there continues to exist a strong need for scholars to develop a set of clear and widely accepted theoretical foundations for place branding.

The second suggestion: a stronger focus on stakeholders – especially how to engage them, and how to keep them involved throughout the place branding process.

Third, place branding concepts and research need to accommodate critical and non-managerial perspectives. We need to listen more closely to what human geographers or communications scholars, for instance, can contribute to place branding: a topic which is likely to face increased tensions at a time where city and destination marketing organizations are already under pressure to reinvent themselves as brand builders, facilitators and reputation protectors.

The authors stress that we are now more ready to tackle such place branding challenges and priorities, and more able to approach this growing field of research and practice more holistically.

Future directions

Some of the topics which will dominate place branding research in the near future, acording to the editorial, are:

  • assessments of the popularity of place branding practice;
  • citizen involvement within wider place branding efforts;
  • better positioning tools and issues of place scale;
  • the future of place branding within digitally led innovation;
  • the soft tools of public diplomacy.


The International Place Branding Association – as a collaborative effort to bring together different disciplines and to facilitate exchange of ideas and approaches – is by itself an achievement and sign for how far we have come in recent years. It reflects the keen interest of leading scholars to connect with peers, but also practitioners, accross disciplinary or academic boundaries.

Academic collaboration is both necessary and timely, if research and theory are to keep pace with the practice of place branding, now widely used as strategic approach for place identity exercises “soul-searching” and place positioning.

Read the full editorial here.

About Place Branding and Public Diplomacy

Journal of Place Branding and Public DiplomacyPlace 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.

The Place Brand Observer has teamed up with the journal’s publishers, Springer and Palgrave Macmillan, to share with you key research insights and findings.

Learn more about the journal or read the interviews with the journal editors, Robert Govers and Nick Cull.

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