As a result of globalization as a relevant phenomenon, the management of places around the world intensifies applying methods that help in differentiation of locations. In that sense, the place branding becomes one of the increasingly more important tools in reaching that goal.
According to world tourism organization studies Place branding is becoming popular nowadays (Briciu, 2013) As it is helpful in bringing more tourist, investment, attracting immigrants place branding becoming the hot topic and lot of research in this topic helping to make better branding strategies (Zenker et al., 2017). Branding is important part of Marketing and earlier used in launching new products. Nowadays this concept is applied increasingly in different geopolitical levels starting from branding shopping centres, retail district and nation etc. Based on research, scholars found a parallel between branding of places and branding of products. Methodology used in place branding comes from plethora of connected disciplines i.e. tourism management, corporate branding, place marketing etc. (de Noronha et al., 2017).As per oxford definition Place meaning is a designated space or a particular position. However, in term of place branding scope of place covered widened and covered all economic activities i.e. environment, political, immigration, trade, media issues etc. and its interaction with place. Main motto of place branding is to attract people to study, invest, work or visit the place (Briciu, 2013).
Place marketers with the help of place branding focus on building strong favourable brand which can be communicated to different stakeholders and target audience. It is important to differentiate between Place and Destination branding. While Place branding focus on multiple aspects destination branding solely depends on tourist (Zenker et al., 2017). According to Zenker place brand defined as “a network of associations in the place consumers’ mind based on the visual, verbal, and behavioural expression of a place, which is embodied through the aims, communication, values, and the general culture of the place’s stakeholders and the overall place design” (Zenker et al., 2017).
Difficulties in applying classic branding concepts to a place context:
Branding evolved a lot in recent times. However, lack of proper understanding and using classic branding concepts without doing proper investigation on the applicability to places still makes it difficult for some people those who are working in this area. On meta-analysis of this subject found that different opinions among academics for the applicability of branding to the hypernym ‘place’. A similar lack of consensus existed with regards to (potential) parallels between the branding of places and products (Kotler & Gertner, 2002), especially whether marketing concepts used in services and products could be successfully applied at all to places (see Caldwell & Freire, 2004). Different scholars have different thoughts on the definition of Place branding according to Lucarelli and Berg it is the process of development and management of target audience view of particular place with the main motive of impacting spatial behaviour for the better development and sustainability of the distinct identity of place. While other scholars argued that for successful branding strategies it is essential to manage the place actively to satisfy diverse interest of different stake-holders.
With places branding one of the biggest challenge that you have got to be consistent over time. It is important to keep the concept simple and be persistent on doing the same thing over and over again. It is very important to involve politicians very early as unlike product branding it takes a lot of time to make image and brand. You can’t flip flopping with different approaches every four years you want to get them to buy into your brand over a long period of time. The first thing with place marketing is to ask who owns the place and this is where it’s different to classic marketing and branding concepts. Regular brands have owners and they can decide to do what they want they make you a promise and tell you that your life will get better that’s the intrinsic promise of all brands now this brings to communist dictators and most places on earth do not have one single person running the place who can decide to do whatever they want to do. Places have numbers of people were important influences that brings to this point about partnership and stake holders and that’s why today it is important event to bring people together in partnership because we see as the most important success factors for places and destination branding is that you are working together in one vision and residents are the brand promoters. Shared vision and the people the government and industry coming together to work together all constitutes factors for effective place branding. So partnership of stakeholders is really key for place branding success. It is equally important to give importance to positioning sometimes a simple design can help you a lot for example Milton Glaser designed I love New York when recession was going on and it impact the market similarly Glasgow Miles and Glasgow smiles with smiley emoticons helped Glasgow a lot. But sometime building a monument also helps you a lot for example Sydney Opera house helped a lot for its branding as tourist destination.
In classic branding, we try to do lot of things to make it successful. In Place branding is to stand for a thing rather than focussing on many things as then it turns out to be wallpaper and not get much attention. When you have nothing to use or market or position what do you do build a building that actually create his own infrastructure Architecture can be absolutely key to a place in one of the key indicators or focus area for place branding.
Evaluation of Place Branding: (de Noronha et al., 2017)
Successful Story of Amsterdam Place Branding:
Amsterdam ranked 20 in 25 Most liveable cities ranking according to survey done by Monocle magazine (Estiler, 2017).
Key elements of Amsterdam successful branding strategy:
Amsterdam is one of the best example of a successful story from place branding perspective because of destination for organizing international events and one of the best transport hub.
They have designed a very good website which covered all the details which is complete guide and very helpful for everyone.
Digital tourism attractiveness architecture plays vital role in place branding. Amsterdam beautifully crafted identity is its physical logo “I Amsterdam” a short, clear, powerful and easy to remember message. You google the name and you get lots of pictures of tourist with the logo that’s what you want for branding. Cleverly designed logo did a fantastic job in both the visual side as well the verbal side. The goal you set with branding should be good but also realistic and you can only achieve this if it is authentic and goes with place core value. Authentic Dutch creative base actually captured those values very well. Best part about this logo is that it doesn’t target any specific segment and meant for all age group investors, tourist and that helps to gain its popularity within short time.
Merging with Stockholm the inward investment into tourism organization is one of the most important things which actually bringing a focus for the brand in its efforts so bringing the city brand into focus under one United platform.
Planes trains automobiles and ships connectivity, makes it easier from both tourist perspective as well as bring investors. Schiphol airport is obviously a very helpful as it provides intercontinental flights and helpful in inward investment. You can walk around city very easily a see a lot of fantastic architecture. What makes Amsterdam special is eclectic wide range of style it has both modern architecture and the classic building over water which makes it interesting from tourist point of view.
Festivals – Amsterdam hosts more than 300 festival every year. Types of festivals varies from different music festivals, sports events, film festival and conferences which caters everyone. Amsterdam music festival is one of the famous one which attract lot of young music lover from across the world (“I amsterdam – Your guide to visit, enjoy, live, work & invest in Amsterdam | I amsterdam,” n.d.)
Rome wasn’t built in a day it took time. Similarly Place branding takes lot of time. Amsterdam is doing good and attracting lot of investors and tourist because of its strong branding strategies. When someone ask one word for Amsterdam most people answers will be Tulips, canals, prostitution and Drugs which shows Amsterdam needs to go a long way in doing place branding and needs to drain out other things and needs to focus on one thing which can be done by redefinition and repositioning. Rather than focussing on many things a good thought process by focussing more on what Amsterdam has naturally.