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Re-branding the High Street: The place branding process and reflections from three UK towns

Ntounis, N and Kavaratzis, M (2017) Re-branding the High Street: The place branding process and reflections from three UK towns. Journal of Place Management and Development, 10 (4). pp. 392-403. ISSN 1753-8335

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Abstract

Purpose The main aim of this article is to develop a holistic understanding of place branding and reflect on its practical value and implications, by drawing evidence from the rebranding process of three UK towns (Alsager, Altrincham, and Holmfirth) that participated in the HSUK2020 project. Design/methodology/approach A comprehensive place branding process that includes the interrelated stages of research, deliberation, consultation, action, and communication is presented. The practical value of this theoretical proposition is linked to the experiences of three UK towns that participated in the HSUK2020 project. Findings The importance of research, the challenges of participation, and the role of communications in place branding processes were identified as primary issues in all towns. The results of the project demonstrate the significance of the initial research stage of the place branding process and show that the process as a whole is valuable in helping places deal effectively with identity issues. Research limitations/implications Participatory place branding processes can flourish when place stakeholders are engaged in the right context and are encouraged to work together. In addition, place brands are important cues and empower stakeholders’ participation in all stages of place brand processes. Practical implications Knowledge exchange projects that have the potential to engage a plethora of place stakeholders should be considered by practitioners for future place branding strategies. Originality/value The paper offers a refreshing practical grounding on participatory place branding concepts and theories. The value of knowledge exchange strategies for examining the field of place branding is also highlighted and can become a useful research approach for future research.

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