Chapter 12: Branding Provincial Cities: The Politics of Inclusion, Strategy and Commitment
Anette Therkelsen and Henrik Halkier INTRODUCTION In recent years urban development strategies increasingly try to appeal to what Richard Florida dubbed the creative class (Florida 2002), and, in order to attract attention in the competition for ‘the right kind of citizens’ whose presence is believed to improve prospects of economic development, the image and brand of the city are clearly important (Jensen 2007; Turok 2009). Understanding why some brands have greater longevity and penetration than others, however, requires investigation not just of the communicative outcomes and reception in targeted markets but also of the processes through which the brands have been created, or what Ooi (2004) has termed ‘the politics of place branding’, because several dilemmas present themselves in the context of place branding processes. Firstly, what aspects of the city are to be highlighted and possibly developed constitutes a potential dilemma. Is holding on to an established identity that has characterized the place through a longer period of time the preferred strategy, what could be termed a strategy of continuity, or do preferences exist for a change of course towards presenting a different place identity, e.g. in line with trendy ‘creative class’ ideals through what could be called a strategy of change? What is to be branded will have consequences for who is to be included and, as an implicit consequence of this, who is to be excluded from the branding process, which constitutes a second dilemma of place branding. Though comprehensive umbrella place brands are meant to cover...
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