Why City Branding Needs to Team Up with Urban Sociology | Interview with Ruya Yuksel

Ruya Yuksel in this interview looks at city branding from an urban sociology point of view, reminds us of the role of identity in connection with place brands, and explains why consistency and long-term thinking are the key to success.

Ruya, do you remember the first time you heard about city branding - and your thoughts back then?

It was around the second semester of my first masters (Marketing Management) back in London. I have always had an interest in brand identity but when it came to deciding what to research for my dissertation, I wanted to go beyond the traditional product or service branding.

Additionally, architecture, the use of urban spaces and emotional attachment to places have been fascinating topics for me for a long while. So, city branding, in a way, is the child of my academic and personal interest.

I was studying at a university specializing in a more general approach to marketing and communications, so I had to investigate place branding myself. It was the work of Dr Myfanwy Trueman (who later became my PhD supervisor) around regeneration and city branding and the research of Dr Mihalis Kavaratzis (who later became my PhD examiner) on the transition of city marketing to city branding that opened up a whole new door for me.

I was especially fascinated by the multi-and-cross disciplinary aspects of city branding, but this also posed a serious challenge to grasp the scope of this field, especially when continuing to study the topic further for my PhD.

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