Place branding: Aligning multiple stakeholder perception of visual and auditory communication elements

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Journal of Destination Marketing and Management


© 2016 Elsevier Ltd Place branding is complex due to its interdisciplinary nature, the highly competitive market, diverse stakeholder needs, and its ability to influence national priorities. This paper looks at the role of visual and auditory branding signatures in forming place attachment within three groups of stakeholders (nationals, expatriates, tourists). While research has focused on place consumers from either tourism or government perspectives, there is a need to take an interdisciplinary lens to look at new methodologies to see how place brands can manage multiple stakeholders. This paper presents new methodology for place brand studies called causal layered analysis. From a scholarly point of view, the paper presents a unique methodology in destination branding studies that aligns multiple stakeholder views yet still roots visual and auditory signatures of stakeholder perception of the nation's brand through its heritage. The paper justifies the importance of story-telling and collecting multiple brand interpretations to create place attachment. The findings highlight the importance of resolving multiple stakeholder perspectives and the importance of the stories that can link various narratives that are important for nation branding and building, since common visuals have layered interpretations. While this study is qualitative in nature, the findings show that there is a need for more theory building in this field. From a practitioner's point of view, organizations can use the methodology for perception mapping to create a distinct place communication platform. This, in turn, can reinforce a place's identity based on both heritage and modernity.

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