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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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In following section, implementation of the above method will be presented by the case of Poznan Agglomeration (Metropolitan) Brand. The project "Functioning and development directions of Poznan Agglomeration" has been carried out since 2009 by the Centre of Metropolitan Studies based in Poznan. The authors were responsible for the "Marketing of Poznan Agglomeration" part of the project.

3. Characteristics of Poznan agglomeration area The Poznan Agglomeration is one of 10 agglomerations set up as a bottom-up initiative in Poland since 2005. They have various names: partnership agreement, metropolitan area, agglomeration, metropolis and metropolitan transportation association. All these entities make a big city (a metropolis; or sometimes two cities as it is in case of Polish associations) and its area of impact. By definition, such areas are characterized by a high level of development and high density of key functions of a metropolis. These areas are growth triggers with regards to production, job market, innovations, technology and social and cultural life.

Poznan, like the whole of the Wielkopolska region (one of 16 voivodeshipsregions in Poland), is famous in Poland for its traditionally high level of work discipline and robust economy. Poznan is home to 8 public universities and 17 smaller, mostly АКТУАЛЬНІ ПРОБЛЕМИ ЕКОНОМІКИ №12(150), 2013


private-run colleges and institutions of higher education, attended by 133 thousand of students. Poznan attracts tourists also with events and its numerous examples of secular and sacral architecture, representing all styles and historical epochs.

The neighboring communes strengthen the city assets in all areas: tourism, business and residents environment. Almost 10% of businesses in the region of Wielkopolska operate in the Poznan District. Among the prevalent sectors are trade and services, followed by industry, real estate services and construction. The largest growth is observed in financial services and real estate sectors. Among others, it is so due to the Poznan International Fair, which attracts traders from all over the world.

Close proximity to this large market affects entrepreneurs' decisions regarding the location of their businesses, and they choose not only Poznan but also communes around the city. Businesses operating in the area (more than 110,000 private companies) enjoy well-developed networks of institutions supporting entrepreneurship that are located in Poznan. Poznan Science and Technology Park, along with other research and development institutions, actively cooperates with entrepreneurs which form a driving force for the modern economy. Moreover, the number of companies with foreign capital participation is growing. Favorable location of the agglomeration in terms of transportation accessibility, well-developed road infrastructure and several warehouses constitute a superior logistical base (Global Arena, 2011).

The Poznan Agglomeration is quite diversified in terms of its tourist values. Most of its communes have a broad spectrum of cultural, natural, recreational and specialist values. Some of sports and recreation facilities host international sports events (Malta Sailing Regatta, the City Stadium in Poznan expanded for the EURO 2012 football championships), others are available to local residents.

More and more Poznan residents choose neighboring communes as their place to live. As a result, the development of transport and tourist-recreational infrastructure and foremost building of a common development strategy is required since nearly one million people influence the bloom of the city of Poznan and other communes.

Among these needs, common marketing strategy is one of the urgent points to be developed, in order to meet the expectations of internal and external targets of the new identity coming into being. The starting point in this area is a brand strategy and more precisely, the definition of a brand identity.

The key issue in the process of creating the brand identity for Poznan Agglomeration is to define the common areas of identity between the brand of Poznan City and the emerging brand of Poznan Agglomeration. It is also crucial to identify the relations between them.

The analysis of European cases (Florek & Janiszewska, 2010) has shown that there is a wide spectrum of possibilities in this matter – from very tied, actually identical identities, to complete independence.

In the authors' opinion, in order to bulid a strong and competitive territorial unit in the case of Poznan Agglomeration, the concept of its brand should be strongly tied to the premises of central city's brand strategy. Such close support of the city brand is motivated by the fact, that, on the one side, the city of Poznan needs the communes' potential to became a metropolis (it is one of the goal of Poznan development strategy), and on the other hand, the communes need the city to develop themselves and to fulfill the needs of their residents, who benefit from the central city's strength. What ACTUAL PROBLEMS OF ECONOMICS #12(150), 2013


is more, Poznan has a stronger and clearer image (due to brand and promotion strategy being already implemented) than the agglomeration since it is a new form of territory. The simultaneous introduction of a separate agglomeration brand strategy could result in confusion of targets' perceptions and awareness.

The city of Poznan offers at the same time a possibility to transfer its image as a strong big city in many areas (business, culture, education etc.) to neighboring communes. These in turn, make available their potential assets (among others: recreational areas, investment grounds, housing construction) to the city. In other words, we can observe a mutual transfer of benefits.

As a result, only jointly Poznan and Poznan agglomeration communes have the potential and possibility to build a new quality, and thereby a new brand – metropolitan brand. The assumption thus has been made that Poznan Agglomeration brand should be transformed into a metropolitan brand.

As already mentioned, the foundation of all activities related to a place brand is the definition of its identity, and more precisely, its brand essence. In the case of the Poznan Agglomeration, it is recommended for the relations between the city brand and the agglomeration brand to be robust and close, based upon mutual benefits with minimum autonomy maintained (although the ideal and target solution is to treat the city and the agglomeration as a single cohesive organism – a metropolis). Therefore it has been assumed that the Poznan Agglomeration brand should draw on the values and the identity of the Poznan city brand while its strength consists in the unity and cooperation with the entire agglomeration.

4. The bull's eye method for the Poznan agglomeration brand The project for the Poznan Agglomeration relies on the Bull's Eye concept which includes elements indispensable to the brand in a comprehensive way. When selecting the concept, the complex nature of the place brand was considered both in the realm of the multitude of target groups, competition and features of a place product.

At stage one of the project, four basic target groups were identified for the

Poznan Agglomeration with the respective needs and opinions as the basis for defining the insight:

– the residents of the city of Poznan – "I live in a big city but I am aware that the quality of my life depends also on the potential and opportunities offered by the surrounding communes" (recreation areas, business opportunities, accommodation – the price and quality ratio etc.);

– the residents of the agglomeration's communes – "I live a quiet life in a small commune but I am aware that the proximity and the potential of a big city (Poznan) improves the quality of my life" (the cultural and educational offers, business standards, the trade offer);

– investors – "I am looking for a place to grow my business. I am looking for competent, highly skilled employees. I appreciate experience and quality as well as a modern approach to business";

– tourists – "when I travel I appreciate good organization, efficient and competent services, comprehensive solutions".

As a consequence of the adopted assumption of strong relations between the Poznan city brand and the agglomeration, the agglomeration brand values were defined with respect to the values inherent in the city brand identity (see Figure 5).

–  –  –

Figure 5. The Bull's Eye for Poznan Agglomeration The Poznan brand is based on knowledge and skills, due to which all activities and undertakings in Poznan are organised and executed in a professional way.

Over a 1000 year old efficiency tradition is an inspiration for the initiatives in the city. The brand idea is verbalised in basic brand communication. The motto accompanying the logo for Polish market is “Poznan. Miasto know-how” (“Poznan. The city of knowhow”).

As a consequence of Poznan branding strategy the basic values of an agglomeration include: quality; a combination of competence and high qualifications; skills (for an agglomeration, especially in the context of cooperation between territorial units);

experience, popularity and success; a modern and future-oriented nature; a healthy balance between work, family and leisure (as a value characteristic of agglomeration growth). These values should set the direction for the agglomeration's growth with the activities aligned with the directions.

Similarly, the agglomeration brand personality was inspired by the identity of the city of Poznan and values like competence and resourceful. Ingenuity was developed into creativity while spontaneity was developed into activity with added features like reliability and good organization which may form the basis for benefits offered by a brand within an agglomeration (see Figure 5).

At the stage of preliminary work on the Poznan Agglomeration brand identity, the brand benefits were defined in a very general way; therefore later on they need to be identified in a more detailed fashion. From the residents' point of view, the basic functional values of a metropolis lie in the work opportunities, education, entertainment and recreation. In the emotional sphere, this place potential is conducive to ACTUAL PROBLEMS OF ECONOMICS #12(150), 2013


individual development and building a sense of identity with a place. Investors benefit from better business growth opportunities. Tourists are offered safety and high quality services in the form of well-thought and comprehensive tourist products. The offered benefits are justified by the diversity and growth of the Poznan Agglomeration in many aspects and areas (tourism and recreation, robust and dynamic Polish and foreign companies, universities, land for housing development, cultural and sports events) as well as the synergy effect resulting from joint activities of the agglomeration units which offer strength, dynamics and growth potential as well as more opportunities for all target groups.

Analyses of specific elements of brand identity resulted in defining the brand essence for the Poznan Agglomeration. The identity was defined as "competence and ability in cohesive growth" (see figure 5). The metropolis identity described in the

Bull's Eye approach was also included into the following positioning statement:

Due to reliability, European quality, experience, competence and creativity, the Poznan Agglomeration knows how to skilfully combine the potential of a big city and the communes in effective and cohesive growth toward a modern metropolis. The metropolitan character contributes to a higher standard of living of all inhabitants and possible creation of a robust image of a modern and dynamically growing successful area.

The effects of defined brand identity are captured in the desired takeouts.

Takeout relates to stakeholders' and target groups' needs, attitudes and expectations

defined in their insights:

– the residents of the city of Poznan and the residents of the agglomeration's communes – "I have a higher life standard and more opportunities for my individual development – we have a better life together";

– investors – "Poznan Agglomeration increases the popularity and success of my business";

– tourists – "Poznan Agglomeration gives me the safety and comfort feeling when I'm on holiday".

Such takeouts are also the basis for verification of brand identity activities on different levels, that should be monitored in order to track the level of concurrence of brand identity implementation.

Application of the Bull's Eye method allows a comprehensive definition, identification and arrangement of the elements in the context of all entities within a metropolis. The defined brand identity and positioning statement provides the basis for devising a cohesive marketing strategy. Moreover, the defined brand identity will be the basis for further research related to developing the system of visual identity for the Poznan metropolis to communicate the key elements of identity. Brand identity will also serve as a verification tool in planning marketing activities for the Poznan metropolis brand.

5. Conclusions Place branding is a relatively new area of marketing application. So are the methods of defining the place brand identity. The paper briefly discussed several approaches that enable to find out “the essence” of the place brand. Among these, Bull's eye method has been chosen as the most appropriate one since it takes into account the insights of place potential beneficiaries. Its application was presented by АКТУАЛЬНІ ПРОБЛЕМИ ЕКОНОМІКИ №12(150), 2013


the case of Poznan Agglomeration that is a special kind of territorial unit and an example of a complicated and complex product at the same time. From this point of view, the Bull's eye method appears to be the most adequate and useful in place brand management process. However, its appropriateness can be only verified over a certain period since the branding process needs time to prove the identity chosen and the way it was selected were the most adequate.


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