Policies, Practices and Positioning
Edited by Per Olof Berg and Emma Björner
Chapter 9: Branding city destinations: experiences of two metropolises in China: Hangzhou and Xi'an
The importance of place branding has been defined by many as a way to distinguish one place from another, to convey a positive and motivating message, and to add value to the place (Aaker, 1996; Murphy, 1990). Despite the growing popularity of place branding in academia and among practitioners, the literature has seen a recognisable gap regarding the application of the term place and its associated vocabulary on different geographical dimensions: location, country, nation, city, and region (Hanna and Rowley, 2008). City branding is an emerging agent for urban socioeconomic development. City brands are not only vehicles to broadcast urban identity but also instruments to increase a city's competitive capacity (Seisdedos and Vaggione, 2005). Today, a significant number of cities are involved in processes to create a new brand or regenerate their existing one. For example, in Europe the average per capita city marketing budget allocated for city branding was EUR 400,000, ranging from EUR 152,000 to EUR 10 million per year. European cities are witnessing a growing number of city branding projects, as well as a shift in the way in which city branding is carried out. Branding has become the main task of visiting delegations from tourist bureaus and tourism agencies in Europe (Seisdedos, 2006). The popularity of city branding has led to the emergence of academic research in this field in the past 30 years. A review of city branding (by Lucarelli and Berg, 2011) identified 217 articles published between 1988 and 2009.
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