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An analysis of terminology use in place branding

Hanna, Sonya and Rowley, Jennifer (2008) An analysis of terminology use in place branding. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 4 (1). pp. 61-75. ISSN 1751-8040

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Abstract

The inception of place branding evolved from research within various fields including place image and marketing. The literature reports on studies focusing on the application of the branding concept to various geographical entities ranging from countries to towns and the challenges of branding the multidimensional construct ‘place’ especially in relation to stakeholder engagement. There seems to be a recognisable gap in the literature regarding the application of the term ‘place’ and its associated vocabulary: location, country, nation, city and region. While a ‘destination’ indicated tourism only, there is no agreed language for the holistic or all encompassing brand. This exploratory research attempts to identify the application of the term ‘place’ and it associated vocabulary. The application of place brand terms was examined by discipline and in relation to geographical entities using the sample population of place-branding case-study research. Content analysis was used to elicit place brand terms and geographical entities within various articles published in various disciplines. The data were analysed using the chi-square test for independence. The content analysis affirmed that the focus of place branding has shifted from the discipline of tourism to branding and business. The research also affirmed that a ‘destination’ indicates tourism only, articulated in various geographical entity forms, while the absence of ‘town’ as a possible place brand term became apparent as did the lack of case-study research relating to towns; countries and cities commanded the majority share of the case-study research. The results of the study depict the application of place brand terms in a generic manner from which guidance for the specific application of place terms may provide future consensus either implicitly or through the formation of distinctive place term definitions.

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