Chapter 14: Place Branding and Cooperation: Can a Network of Places be a Brand?
Cecilia Pasquinelli INTRODUCTION In light of distinct trends of discussion, place branding can be considered as an approach ‘to integrat[ing], guid[ing] and focus[ing] place management’, while the change of place perception and the ‘creation of place identity’ are only ‘the simplest level’ (Kavaratzis 2005: 334). Beyond any definition, it is worth considering the scale at which place branding is analysed. The existing literature focuses on cities, regions and nations, whereas a significant gap concerning brands for networks of places remains to be filled in. These consist in systems of places cooperating for development, through the pooling of resources and the pursuit of economies of scale. While cities may be strong brands thanks to their richness in assets and diversity, the areas lacking leading urban centres and characterized by minor economic patterns struggle to be ‘on the map’. Indeed, to attract and retain investors, visitors and talents, small and peripheral communities need sources of diversity to trigger economic revitalization. Concerning the rural US, Cai (2002) underlines the need to achieve a critical mass across multiple communities, thus suggesting a cooperative approach to destination branding. Accordingly, Lee et al. argue that not only ‘by encouraging a single and unified sense of identity in a rural area, the territory can be marketed as a tourist destination and for consumption of niche products’, but also ‘the region can be marketed to itself as a way of creating social capital since a stronger sense of shared identity will foster trust and cooperation’...
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