Branding European Cities and Regions
Edited by Gregory Ashworth and Mihalis Kavaratzis
Chapter 8: Branding Aalborg: Building Community or Selling Place?
Anette Therkelsen, Henrik Halkier and Ole B. Jensen INTRODUCTION This chapter explores the internal and external challenges to city branding in the case of the Danish mid-sized city of Aalborg. Like many other European cities, the city has faced a transition from industry and shipyard activities towards knowledge and service-oriented production. In the midst of such transition, policy makers, private stakeholders and local institutions are articulating new visions of the city’s imagined future. Linked to such efforts is the municipality-led initiative of Branding Aalborg, a city branding campaign launched in 2004 and running to 2009. The chapter investigates central actors and processes of the Branding Aalborg initiative to understand the possible tensions between branding the city internally to its inhabitants, business communities and institutions versus externally selling the city to foreign investors, employees and tourists. In parts of the place branding literature, these widely different markets are seen as mutually supporting, and both are the aims of place branding campaigns, as internal appreciation of the place is seen as a prerequisite for external attractiveness and external demand as reinforcing local pride and place satisfaction. Though it is clearly worthwhile studying the challenges involved in integrating the different needs and place perceptions of internal and external target groups into one brand, such effort would arguably gain from being preceded by a study of the strategic preferences and choices of place marketers including the priority given to internal and external target groups, as practitioners may obviously pursue different lines of reasoning than...
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