Following the announcement of the latest report by Best Place, yet I am already looking forward to meet up again soon with good colleagues and dedicated experts such as Juan Carlos Belloso, Martin Boisen, Joao R. Freire, Raquel Goulart, Robert Govers, Björn P. Jacobsen, Mihalis Kavaratzis, Stefan Roesch, Gildo Seisdedos, and Sebastian Zenker, and discuss with them about conceptual issues and practical implications of place marketing and place branding.
On a personal note, this well-structured report gave me the opportunity to reflect on why strengthening the brand of Athens and bringing back actual results via integrated destination management & marketing efforts has probably been the most difficult project to be involved with. Together with academic knowledge and professional experience in tourism planning and development, ‘This is Athens’ project was a rather valuable asset. Above all, it helped me grasp the importance of a holistic perspective on the various elements that constitute and sustain the very essence of each place. To remember the accurate observation of Juan Carlos Belloso inside the same report, place brands incorporate emotional links and passions which are triggered by the managerial objectives and approaches of various stakeholders.
The key here is that a place brand must be true and enduring in order to be always part of changing marketing priorities. In this sense, place marketing is about ensuring that the brand message and the story of an area are strategically and methodically delivered to the right audiences through the appropriate channels, to successfully reach set targets and compete for a place in target visitors’ hearts. Interestingly, the generation of emotional links does not necessarily involve sales instruments, which is also why Stefan Roesch has a great point in identifying film productions as an ideal vehicle for place marketing.
All in all, Place Marketing & Branding 2015+ is both a great resource for practitioners and academics within the field and a call to action for more research and practical innovation.
In Toposophy, we are excited to be part of this ongoing effort and we are looking forward to add more interesting insights in the future. As such, we will certainly continue to count on the hard work of the Best Place Institute Board of Directors including Adam Mikotajczyk, Magdalena Florek and Jarostaw Gorski, whom we thank for their full commitment and ongoing assistance.