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City branding and museums' souvenirs. Towards improving the St. Petersburg brand: do museums sell souvenirs or do souvenirs sell museums

Trabskaya, Julia and Shuliateva, Iuliia and Abushena, Rebecca and Gordin, Valeriy and Dedova, Mariya (2019) City branding and museums' souvenirs. Towards improving the St. Petersburg brand: do museums sell souvenirs or do souvenirs sell museums. Journal of Place Management and Development. ISSN 1753-8335

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Abstract

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to identify ways to develop museum shop product, which will possess competitive advantage, and to recommend what should be done to develop such product so that it has a positive impact on the city brand of St. Petersburg. Design/methodology/approach In total, 76 museums have been studied through the observation method to describe their shops’ inventory in terms of percentages of each product. Mostly St. Petersburg museums were included in the analysis. The observation method enabled the researchers to analyse the inventory of the museum souvenir shops. The findings of the analysis enabled the researchers to reach conclusions about museums’ strategies of product development. Findings The research allowed to make the conclusion that although the museum shops in St.Petersburg demonstrate positive tendencies in the development of competitive stores’ products a lot of work is still to be done. Not all museums are characterised by availability of clear strategy for product development. They offer souvenirs (if any) which do not differ from those existing on the market according to topics and functions which are characteristic for them. Recommendations on how to make the product of museum shops more competitive were proposed. Practical implications Cities need new and fresh ways to create and promote their brands. Museums can contribute to this significantly with the help of souvenirs production. This research will provide insight into the process of how museums can do this by developing their shops’ inventory strategies. Recommendations to improve strategies for creation of competitive product were offered in the paper. Originality/value In today’s competitive conditions, museums are creating augmented products and create museum shops. Nevertheless, the role of museum shops in brand creation is underexplored. Museum shops have a high potential for creating high-quality products that may influence the museum and city brand in a positive way, as souvenirs and visual images of museum artifacts play an essential role in making an impression on tourists.

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