Place Rankings and Perception Surveys: How Credible, How Useful?

A frequent question asked by those in charge of developing and managing the brand of their city, region or country is whether to trust rankings and indices measuring the economic performance, brand strength or reputation of places, and how useful those really are.

We asked our panel of place branding specialists. Below are their responses (highlighted respondents are available for consulting, research or as speakers).

Our key takeaways:

  • Questioning or understanding the methodology behind rankings is important. Every ranking comes with its own limitations, which means that ideally, we take into consideration different studies for determining place image or measuring branding success.
  • The most credible rankings are those produced by reputable organizations, and which are backed by robust research (which is time-consuming and expensive).
  • Favorable place (brand) rankings can help secure bigger budgets for current or forthcoming place branding projects.
  • Most rankings are not comprehensive and limited to economic indicators. More and more important for investors and skilled workers are intangible features of a place, like the local values, identities, and cultural aspects. Those are difficult to measure and to capture in a ranking.

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The Editorial Team

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