29 November 2012

We did it (URSI Conference) - Place Branding and Strategic Planning

Place Branding and Strategic Spatial Planning: Towards a conceptual model to brand regions

Eduardo Henrique da Silva Oliveira
Eduardo is a Ph.D. researcher at the Department of Spatial Planning & Environment, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. He was born in Braga, Portugal, and studied Geography and Planning at the University of Minho, Portugal. Then, he completed a post-degree in Tourism and Regional Development at the Portuguese Catholic University and he currently holds a M.Sc. in Marketing and Strategic Management from the School of Economics and Management, University of Minho and University Sains Malaysia. His work focuses on the theory and practice of place branding in strategic spatial planning.

Place branding aims to make a country, a region, or a city stand out in the complex and changing marketplace, enhance the place reputation and contribute to the development. A place branding strategy asserts the place’s uniqueness and factors of differentiation. This assertion of uniqueness often emphasises the historical, social, human, and cultural assets of the place. These assets are fundamental for place development and competitiveness and could integrate a wide strategy for places, such as regions. Therefore, place branding, as strategic spatial planning instrument, will contribute to improve places and act as an active force in enabling strategic change (e.g. image re-orientation; define a new position).
The scope of the present research is to explore a possible place branding strategy for regions, such as the Northern part of Portugal by linking place branding and strategic spatial planning. The argument is that place branding, as a strategic planning instrument, could contribute to a radical change, for example in their economic and social structure, manage the regional complexity and uncertainty, and reshape the response to contemporary challenges (e.g. financial and economic crisis, unemployment).
The novelty of this research lies in the theoretical approach that positions place branding as strategic spatial planning instrument and intends to contribute to the literature by discussing ‘why’ and ‘how’ place branding can be used as a tool to support strategic change in the direction of regions. Moreover, the lack of conceptual explanations of the links between place branding and strategic planning create further research opportunities.

North of Portugal, Place branding, Strategic spatial planning

Urban and Regional Studies Institute Conference
Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen
29th of November 2012