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«Magdalena Florek1, Karolina Janiszewska2 DEFINING PLACE BRAND IDENTITY: METHODS AND DETERMINANTS OF APPLICATION Place or destination branding has ...»

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Magdalena Florek1, Karolina Janiszewska2



Place or destination branding has become a very popular approach to manage and foster the

development of cities, regions and countries. To make the process more efficient, there is a need to develop tools for place brand identification. The authors present four methods that allow specification of place brand identity (they are: Brand Identity Prism, Brand DNA, Brand Code and Bull's eye). Critical analysis of the above methods is provided and one of them is applied to Poznan agglomeration – a big city with neighboring communes. Such an administrative unit causes special challenges for branding, as its process embraces more than one place and one identity.

Keywords: place brand identity, agglomeration, metropolis, Poznan.

Магдалена Флорек, Кароліна Янішевська



У статті описано, як брендування туристичних локацій стало дуже популярним підходом до управління і стимулювання розвитку міст, регіонів і країн. Щоб зробити цей процес більш ефективним, необхідно розробити засоби індивідуалізації бренду.

Представлено чотири методи, які дозволяють ідентифікувати бренд, один з них застосований до Познаньської агломерації, яка включає місто Познань і навколишні населені пункти. Така адміністративна одиниця особливо складна в брендуванні, тому що включає в себе більше однієї географічної локації і більше одного бренду.

Ключові слова: ідентифікація топографічних брендів, агломерація, мегаполіс, Познань.

Рис. 5. Літ. 25.

Магдалена Флорек, Каролина Янишевска



В статье описано, как брендирование туристических локаций стало очень популярным подходом к управлению и стимулированию развития городов, регионов и стран. Чтобы сделать этот процесс более эффективным, необходимо разработать средства индивидуализации бренда. Представлено четыре метода, которые позволяют идентифицировать бренд, один из них применен к Познаньской агломерации, которая включает город Познань и окружающие населенные пункты. Такая административная единица особенно сложна в брендинге, так как включает в себя более одной географической

локации и более одного бренда.

Ключевые слова: идентификация топографических брендов, агломерация, мегаполис, Познань.

1. Place brand identity Place marketing and recently place branding have become widely discussed approaches to support places' growth and development (e.g. Kotler et al. 1993;

Matson, 1994; Olins, 2002; Kavaratzis, 2004; Anholt, 2005). National, regional and local authorities attempt to embrace these concepts in an effort to successfully manage competitive places (Kotler & Gertner 2002) in a wide range of areas and PhD, Poznan University of Economics, Poland.

PhD, Poznan University of Economics, Poland.

© Magdalena Florek, Karolina Janiszewska, 2013


segments such as: tourists, investors, residents, students or skilled workforces to name few. At the same time place branding is often seen as a panacea and not as a well understood process for attracting desired segments and promoting places (Papadopoulos & Heslop, 2002; Kavaratzis, 2004; Parkerson & Saunders, 2005;

Anholt, 2006).

Despite a growing amount of literature devoted to place branding, there is still a noticeable lack of agreement regarding the semantic space of the notions of brand, image, identity and reputation (eg. Olins, 2003). Yet, as far as the role of differentiation is concerned, Hankinson and Cowking (1993) state that a brand is a symbol that codifies the image a producer likes to portray. A place brand should therefore be considered from: the senders' perspective – as the projection of place identity, and the receivers' perspective – as the image of a place.

According to Kall (2001), "the purpose of identity is to define the meaning, intention and reason for the brand; the identity needs to precede the image". In this way, the branding process relates directly to place management. It means that all activities undertaken by the place's authorities are aiming at regulating (changing, reinforcing or forming) buyers' perceptions about the place that is being branded. To this end, place managers utilise a range of marketing instruments that create and preserve the place brand identity.

In this particular context, the literature often points to corporate branding (Ashworth, Voogd, 1990; Balmer, Gray, 2003; Kotler et al., 1999; Rainisto, 2003;

Trueman et al., 2004). Similar to corporate identity, place identity is defined as "the sum of its characteristic features and activities which differentiate it from other entities" (Klage, 1991). It is therefore subject to planning and intentional arrangement of activities within a place. Consequently, the image is the reflection of this identity, the reaction to this message in the minds of recipients.

According to Aaker, there are three notions related to brand identity. First, the brand essence, captures the brand values and vision in an ambivalent timeless identity statement. Aaker sees this as the internal magnet that keeps the core identity element connected (Aaker, 2000). Secondly, the core identity that represents the essence of the brand and contains the associations that are most likely to remain constant over time (Aaker, 1996). Last, the extended brand identity fulfils completeness of the brand providing a consistent direction of the brand. Where core elements are timeless, the extended identity contains elements that do not belong to the timeless foundation of the brand identity (Aaker, 1996).

The biggest challenge in the branding process is to define the heart of the brand identity and its starting point, that is a brand essence. Brand essence is usually defined in one sentence or short statement that reflects the idea behind the brand concept.

Different methods are applied to find the most appropriate brand essence and its superstructure. The most popular ones are presented below.

2. Methods of defining the brand identity

2.1. Brand Identity Prism. Kapferer has developed a brand identity prism where he distinguishes the sender and recipient sides, plus an externalisation and internalisation side (Van Haaften, 2011). The six identity facets express the tangible and intangible characteristics of the brand (see figure 1) and give it a unique authority and legitimacy of values and benefits (Kapferer, 1992).

–  –  –

Figure 2. The Brand DNA (Chapman, Tulien, 2010) Values in the concept are the guiding principles that reflect a brand's core ideology.

The values determine all brand activity involving inside and outside organization decisions and actions. Successful linking of values to operational activities influences the most important strategic areas – relationships and reputation.

Brand style refers to brand personality and defines the way of presenting and delivering products and services. According to brand style, relations with the clients, staff and vendors should be described.

Differentiators are the unique and distinctive capabilities that enhance the brand to the business and customers. Brand distinctive capabilities can be a tremendous source of competitive advantage. Differentiation is a critical step if a brand is to set itself apart in the market place and occupy a distinctive position in the consumer's mind. Differentiation should be based on market areas in which the brand operates and can achieve an expert position.

Brand standards are levels of performance excellence across the internal and external organizational levels. Standards refer to four basic elements: employees, customers, processes and finance. Standards are the most tangible and measurable elements of the Brand DNA concept (Chapman, Tulien, 2010).

Defining a brand with respect to the 4 areas described above makes it possible to verify the brand's operational activity like its DNA. Owing to its reference to a living organism, the Brand DNA method seems to be also applicable in the context of a place brand identity. Each of the described elements can be developed in detail with the specific features of the place product considered. However, the method does not take into account a consumer insight. Practice shows that place management authorities lack the skills and knowledge indispensable to brand management. This is why inclusion of a consumer insight of different target groups seems to be a fundamental element of the place brand identity.

2.3. The Brand Code. Just like the Brand DNA model, the Brand Code concept relies on defining a brand as a living organism. This approach has been gaining support among academics and practitioners. The Brand Code model defines brand identity in six fundamental areas: mission, vision, values, product/benefit, positioning and styling (see Figure 3).

–  –  –

Figure 3. The Brand Code (Gad, 2001) Mission focuses on the brand's social role and the public benefits derived by the brand.

Vision defines the brand's future, indicating possible directions of development which will ensure the brand's specific position in the market and in the audience's minds. Due to its vision, a brand does not focus only on ongoing activities but is also engaged in activities ensuring its desired position in the future. Values build up brand identity and are an important identification benchmark for the audience.

Values make a brand credible and customer-friendly. Product/benefit is inherent in product features and of significance to the target group. Positioning consists in defining a brand in the context of its competitors and brand differentiation. Styling is defined by means of brand personality; it determines the communication style.

Developing the specific elements of the Brand Code results in defining the brand essence; it is the basis for developing the brand slogan which communicates the brand identity in a creative and synthetic way.

The Brand Code method contains additional elements of importance from the point of view of place brand management: the brand's social role and the vision of its future. Both elements are of special significance in the context of place brand management as decisions made by local authorities largely rely on the social aspect of the brand's functioning and the consequences of activities for future place development. However, just like with Brand DNA, it does not take into account a consumer insight which is a key for place brands and should reflect the needs and values of numerous target groups.

2.4. The Bull's Eye. The concept of the "Bull's eye" defines six key elements which

establish the brand identity. They include (see figure 4):

a) the values represented by the brand – defining reference areas important to the brand;

b) brand personality – describing the brand in the context of psychological positioning;

c) brand proposition – a generally defined brand offer for the target group;

d) functional and emotional benefits;

e) substantiation – as the basis for the benefits' credibility;

f) brand essence/core – a crucial, abridged definition of the brand differentiator which should underlie positioning.

The starting point in defining specific elements is an insight into the needs, expectations and viewpoint of the target group. Due to the large number of target groups related to a place brand, analyses should focus primarily on areas common to various groups with the significance factor included. The Bull's Eye method of brand identity results in formulating a consumer takeout – the desired way in which the target group perceives the brand.

–  –  –

Figure 4. The Bull's Eye (The Appletiser Brand Book, company internal documents, 2007) Among the presented methods, the Bull's Eye concept is the most developed method of defining a brand identity.

Bearing in mind management's poor experience in place brand management, this method seems to embrace the basic elements of identity in the most comprehensive way. At the same time, complementing the method with aspects related to the consumer insight and takeout allows better understanding of the essence of brand identity from the point of view of the target group.

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