Instruments of Place Branding and Regional Dynamics: Guimarães as European Capital of Culture

Instruments of Place Branding and Regional Dynamics:
Guimarães as European Capital of Culture

Department of Planning & Environment, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen,
Groningen, The Netherlands


The concept of place branding has emerged as a powerful instrument to raise awareness and create uniqueness.  This branding process could be linked to a general increase in competition between places in order to draw attention from stakeholders to host events. Moreover, it has been implemented as a form of spatial planning and place management. The concept is thought to provide valuable tools for cities, regions and countries to differentiate themselves, by managing their opportunities and transforming them into competitive advantages, thus gaining brand value and strengthening their global market position. Three following instruments have been explored as a competitive appeal: i) personality association ii) signature building, and iii) event hallmarking. Amongst others, cultural events are used to improve overall reputation and stimulate development by attracting visitors and capital. This paper focuses on the European Capital of Culture-Guimarães as the 2012 city host (ECC-2012). First, it attempts to clarify the contribution of place branding instruments, from the organization of cultural events to a branding strategy capable of enhancing development, and discuss the links between them. Secondly, to what extent the ECC-2012 (short-term intervention) is embedded in a longer-term strategy to create a new regional dynamic of the northwest region of Portugal. Is the ECC creating momentum? Is place branding (i.e. as a spatial planning instrument) used to foster this momentum?

KEYWORDS Guimarães; Northwest of Portugal; Place Branding Instruments; Place Branding.
The Conference
18th Congress of The Portuguese Association for Regional Development
Innovation and Regional Dynamics: 12 – 16 June 2012, Faro, Algarve, Portugal

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