Recommended Speakers

You are looking for someone who can give a keynote or lead a workshop or seminar on strengthening the identity of your community, bringing stakeholders together around a common vision, or sharpening your place profile for potential investors, visitors, talent?

We recommend the following speakers specialized in topics such as place branding, economic development, marketing, public diplomacy, placemaking, talent attraction, sustainability and tourism.

Please contact us if you wish a personal introduction to any of the recommended speakers.


“The Place Brand Observer has been very helpful in matching events and speaking opportunities to my profile. I am grateful for the appropriate mediation, because I feel that I have been able to enrich events as a result of the fact that my expertise provided added value, thanks also to the suitable search and selection processes conducted by Florian.”

Robert Govers, author of Imaginative Communities


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Andrew HoyneAndrew Hoyne

Sydney (Australia) | Place branding, Place VisioningTM, storytelling, future trends, regional development and regeneration, talent attraction, creativity and innovation, profitable placemaking.

Andrew offers keynote speeches, masterclasses, panel moderation and workshops.


Florian Kaefer

Zurich, Switzerland | Speaks about:

  • Place brand leadership: what it takes to succeed
  • Place branding and sustainability: how to connect the dots
  • Place branding, place marketing, place making – differences
  • Sustainable cities and destinations: the role of place branding
  • Other topics possible, please get in touch

Author of An Insider’s Guide to Place Branding (Springer 2021) and Sustainability Leadership in Tourism (Springer 2022).

Founder & editor of The Place Brand Observer and the Sustainability Leaders Project


Gunter Soydanbay

Günter Soydanbay

Montréal (Canada) | Speaks on:

  • Place branding: global trends and best practices
  • Story-based communication and methods of persuasion
  • Change management and stakeholder engagement

Gustavo Koniszczer panelGustavo Koniszczer

Buenos Aires (Argentina) | Speaks on

  • Country branding, especially in Latin America
  • The experience of developing FutureBrand’s Country Brand Index and Country Brand Reports
  • Real stories of methodologies, results and findings

Hjörtur SmárasonHjörtur Smárason

Copenhagen (Denmark) | Place branding, nation branding, crisis management, storytelling, media relations, tourism development, economic development, future trends.

Hjörtur offers everything from panel moderation and keynote speeches to masterclasses and up to two-day workshops on place branding, storytelling, crisis management, tourism development and innovation.


Jeannette Hanna panelJeannette Hanna

Toronto (Canada) | Keynotes, panel moderation and workshops

Place branding: neighborhoods, cities, regions. Business Improvement Districts. Cultural and event marketing. Community engagement strategies. Brand strategy and design for complex environments.


Juan Carlos Belloso panelJuan Carlos Belloso

Barcelona (Spain) | Main speaking topics include:

  • Managing the image and reputation of places and destinations
  • Cities, city branding and city marketing
  • Destination branding, marketing and promotion
  • Creating, branding and managing cultural and creative districts and destinations
  • The role of cultural and creative industries in place making, place branding and local development

Each talk, seminar or conference is adapted and specifically designed and curated according to the objectives, topics, characteristics and profile of each event and audience.


Natasha GrandNatasha Grand

London (UK) | Anything from inspirational keynotes to day-long workshops on:

  • Place identity
  • Archetypal nature of places
  • Emotional bonds to a place
  • Practical insights into the place branding process

Robert Govers panel

Robert Govers

Antwerp (Belgium) | Speaks on topics such as community reputation, image, brand, (social) media, PR, clichés and stereotypes, cities, countries and regions, identity, universal values, events, tourism, investment promotion, talent attraction, export marketing, economic competitiveness and collaboration, globalisation, strategic and action communication, creativity and innovation, research and measurement, accountability, and sustainable development.


Sebastian Zenker

Copenhagen (Denmark) | Professor in City Branding and Tourism at the Copenhagen Business School. Can give talks and workshops on:

  • City and Regional Branding
  • Participatory Place Branding
  • Crisis Management
  • Talent Attraction
  • Destination Branding
  • Tourist Behavior

Country reputation expert Simon Anholt

Simon Anholt

United Kingdom | Has worked as an advisor to the presidents, prime ministers and governments of 55 countries during the last twenty years, helping them to engage more imaginatively and effectively with the international community. He is generally cited as the creator of the ‘nation brand’ concept.

Gives keynotes and workshops on nation brands, the meaning of being a “good country”


Todd Babiak, place branding panelTodd Babiak

Tasmania (Australia) | Speaking topics: how to create a place brand using a central narrative, a “master story,” and how to make it the core of your strategy.

Todd offers keynote addresses, workshops, and seminars on the topic of narrative and using it to create, build, and maintain a unique and powerful place brand.


Tom Buncle

Edinburgh (Scotland, UK) | Speaking topics:

  • Place branding
  • Crisis recovery for destinations
  • Responsible tourism, including ‘overtourism’
  • Destination management planning
  • Travel trends

You are interested in one of our recommended speakers to contribute to your conference or workshop? Please contact us. We’ll be happy to introduce you.