29 April 2014

My city – my brand: the different roles of residents in place branding

The Authors

Erik Braun, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Mihalis Kavaratzis, School of Management, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK

Sebastian Zenker, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Purpose – This paper deals with the importance of residents within place branding. The aim of this paper is to examine the different roles that residents play in the formation and communication of place brands and explores the implications for place brand management.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on theoretical insights drawn from the combination of the distinct literatures on place branding, general marketing, tourism, human geography, and collaborative governance. To support its arguments, the paper discusses the participation of citizens in governance processes as highlighted in the urban governance literature as well as the debate among marketing scholars over participatory marketing and branding.

Findings – The paper arrive at three different roles played by the residents: as an integral part of the place brand through their characteristics and behavior; as ambassadors for their place brand who grant credibility to any communicated message; and as citizens and voters who are vital for the political legitimization of place branding. These three roles make the residents a very significant target group of place branding.

Originality/value – Residents are largely neglected by place branding practice and their priorities are often misunderstood, even though they are not passive beneficiaries but are active partners and co-producers of public goods, services and policies. This paper highlights that only meaningful participation and consultation can produce a more effective and sustainable place branding strengthening the brand communication and avoiding the pitfall of developing “artificial” place brands.

Euromonitor partners with Esomar World Research

Euromonitor partners with Esomar World Research


Euromonitor International is pleased to support Esomar World Research, a global organization dedicated to encouraging, advancing and elevating market research worldwide. Since 1948 ESOMAR’s aim has been to promote the value of market and opinion research in effective decision-making. In partnership with Esomar, Euromonitor looks to improve and promote the quality of market research methodologies, allowing for informed, strategic decisions in today's global business environment. Euromonitor is happy to support Esomar market research events throughout the year, with topics building on the discussion for best practices and the improvement of market research.  

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28 April 2014

Eduardo Oliveira appointed new Student Representative of the RSA

We have the pleasure to announce that Eduardo Oliveira has been officially appointed Student Representative of the Regional Studies Association for a 3 years term period. We also would like to thank Julie Tian Miao for her dedication and her very much appreciated work during her tenure as Student Representative (2011-2014).
Eduardo will seat on the RSA Board as an Observer during his tenure and will be in charge of developing activities aiming at creating a stimulating environment for Students and Early Career for them to present work, network, get feedback and new ideas.
Eduardo is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. His background is in geography and planning, marketing and strategic management, and his doctorate research focuses on the theory and practice of place branding in strategic spatial planning.
We wish Eduardo the best of good luck for his tenure.
Get to know Eduardo by visiting his website: www.rug.nl/staff/e.h.da.silva.oliveira

27 April 2014

Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking 2013

Place branding is steadily gaining prominence, with more and more towns, cities, regions, and countries around the world committing resources to the development of their brands. Places are investing in branding campaigns in order to establish a reputation for themselves, and to have a competitive edge in today’s competitive arena.

Country branding is an exciting, complex and controversial phenomenon. It is exciting, as it represents an area in which there is little literature but a considerable amount of real examples. It is complex, because it encompasses multiple disciplines beyond the limited realm of conventional brand strategy. It is controversial as is a highly politicized activity that generates passionately held and frequently conflicting viewpoints and opinions.

Some of that “conflicts” have emerged as the current branding measurement scales and indices used to understand the defining characteristics of places are far from being generally accepted and clear of doubts.

Among the measurement scales and indices the new Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking © 2013 has been recently released.  For the first time a worldwide ranking measures the “search engine” appeal of countries in the fields of:



The 2013 edition of the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking, developed under supervision of José Filipe Torres, CEO of Bloom Consulting, is based on global research that measures, among other variables, the number of searches produced every year by potential tourists and investors about every nation.

Bloom Consulting, a company located in the Spanish capital of Madrid has developed a proprietary tool, the Online Search Demand (OSD ©). The OSD is able to understand the online behaviour of potential tourists and investors (see page 7 of both rankings, for more details about OSD ©) and included it in the Ranking Algorithm.

The methodology applied by Bloom Consulting establishes 6 different Country, Region and City Branding (CRC) objectives or dimensions which are represented in the Bloom Consulting CRC Brand Wheel (see figure bellow):

1 – Attraction of Investment (Trade)
2 – Attraction of Tourism
3 – Attraction of Talent
4 – Increase in Pride
5 – Improvement of Public Diplomacy
6 – Increase in Exports

Each of these six objectives, or dimensions, have different target audiences that have different needs. In other words, what attracts each particular target audience to opt for any country, region or city is completely different (see figure).

    Bloom Consulting CRC Brand Wheel objectives, target audience and respective needs

Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking © 2013 – Tourism edition

The Tourism economic performance is a very important variable in the ranking. Good economic results, whether achieved by a carefully planned strategy or not, are in part a consequence of good country branding. If one applies common sense to this variable, it is easy to understand that tourists prefer to travel to a country they like or have emotional attachments to rather  than to a country for which this is not the case.

The objective of this ranking is to classify how well each and every country is doing in terms of branding, that is, to measure how effective their brand is in the most tangible and realistic manner. For Bloom Consulting to classify the effectiveness of each Country Brand, we analysed 4 key variables for each of the 187 countries included in this Brand Ranking.

For the third consecutive year, the United States of America continues its dominance in the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking ©. This is thanks to both higher tourism receipts and international tourist arrivals (particularly in the past year) and effective Destination Brand promotion of the majority of its best assets. The U.S.A. has maintained a strong CBS Rating © reflecting the positive impact it has on the on Brand USA.

The European tourism powerhouses of Spain, Germany, France and the United Kingdom dominate the rest of the top 5. Of these countries, Germany (3) has improved 4 places from 7th last year.

You can download the full ranking here:

Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking © 2013 – Trade edition

The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) performance is a very important variable in the ranking. Good economic results, whether achieved by a carefully planned strategy or not, are in part a consequence of good country branding. If one applies common sense to this variable, it is easy to understand that investors prefer to invest in a country with a good reputation rather than to a country for which this is not the case.

Moreover, all information was calculated based on official UNCTAD international FDI statistics as Nation Branding is aimed at each country’s international audience, rather than the domestic one.

Almost every country listed in the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking © has an Investment Promotion Agency (IPA). The IPA is the official state agency responsible for positioning their respective Country Brand (from an Investment Strategy perspective). The IPA effectiveness can impact the Country Brand performance.

For the third year in a row, the United States of America are the winners of the ranking. This is no surprise though, having registered their strongest level of FDI for the past three years and also the largest online appeal in the world.

The rest of the top 5 most successful Nation Brands is split between Europe with the United Kingdom (3) and France (4) and Asia with China (2) and Hong Kong (5). China and Hong Kong have both increased due to their best year ever in terms of FDI Strategy. However, they have been penalized as neither utilizes an active Social Media platform as a component of their Country Branding Strategy. This would be the way forward if they were to challenge the United States at the top of the Brand Index.

You can download the full ranking here:

Bloom Consulting contacts
Monte Esquinza 14, 6 DE
28010 - Madrid, Spain  
+34 913 080 286 (Office)
+34 913 080 192 (Fax)

José Filipe Torres blog (CEO Bloom Consulting)

24 April 2014



Oliveira, Eduardo & Panyik, Emese (2014). Content, context and co-creation: Digital challenges in destination branding with references to Portugal as a tourist destination. Journal of Vacation Marketing, doi: 10.1177/1356766714544235.


Oliveira, Eduardo (2014). Place branding as a strategic spatial planning instrument. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, doi:10.1057/pb.2014.12.


Oliveira, Eduardo (forthcoming). Book-Review - “Good Cities, Better Places”. Journal Urban Studies.

Oliveira, Eduardo (2014). Book-Review - “ Reframing the ‘creative city’ through tailored and context-sensitive policies”. Journal CITY: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action. DOI: 10.1080/13604813.2014.939510 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13604813.2014.939510

Oliveira, Eduardo (forthcoming): “Strategic Spatial Planning approach to Cross-Border Place Branding with references to Galicia-Northern Portugal. IN: S. Zenker, S. and B. Jacobsen. Interregional Place Branding, Springer.

Oliveira, Eduardo (2014): Book Review - “Making Strategies in Spatial Planning-Knowledge and Values”, European Planning Studies, DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2013.872385 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09654313.2013.872385


Oliveira, Eduardo (2013): Conference Note - “International Conference on Sustainable Issues and Challenges in Tourism”, Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13032917.2013.861733#.UpMifcSkopo

Oliveira, Eduardo (2013): “Making Strategies in Destination Branding: What is the online tourism promotional material saying about Portugal?”, Conference Proceedings of the International Conference on Sustainable Issues and Challenges in Tourism, 3-5 October, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey [ISBN 978-975-518-354-1]. http://www.academia.edu/5071812/Making_Strategies_in_Destination_Branding_What_is_the_online_tourism_promotional_material_saying_about_Portugal

Oliveira, Eduardo (2013): “The Digital Challenge in Destination Branding: Brief Approach to the Portuguese case”, Conference Proceedings of the International Tourism Week Conference Series V - New Trends in Tourism Management and Marketing, 15th and -16th  of April, Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey [ISBN 978-605-4483-14-3].  http://www.academia.edu/5071877/The_Digital_Challenge_in_Destination_Branding_Brief_Approach_to_the_Portuguese_caseOliveira

 Oliveira, Eduardo (2013): “Place Branding and Strategic Spatial Planning: Towards a Regional Place Branding Strategy.” Conference Proceedings of 3rd   International Place Branding Conference and 2nd International Place Management Conference, February, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK [ISBN 978-0-9551732-7-1].


Oliveira, Eduardo (2012): “Instruments of Place Branding and Regional Dynamics: Guimarães as European Capital of Culture”. Paper No. 53065 Munich, Germany: Munich Personal RePEc Archive. http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/53065/1/MPRA_paper_53065.pd

Oliveira, Eduardo (2012): “A Region as Destination: Towards a Place Branding Strategy for the North of Portugal”, The 4th International Conference on Destination Branding and Marketing (DBM-IV), 5th - 7th, December 2012, Cardiff, UK.

Oliveira, Eduardo (2012): “Instruments of Place Branding and Regional Dynamics: Guimarães as European Capital of Culture”, 18th Portuguese Association for Regional Development Congress - Innovation and Regional Dynamics, 13 – 18, June 2012, Faro, Algarve, Portugal. http://www.apdr.pt/publicacoes/atas-proceedings/

Oliveira, Eduardo (2012): “Branding the green. How place branding can contribute to the development of the Northwest of Portugal as a green tourism destination”, Conference Proceedings of the International Tourism Week Conference Series IV, 19th and -21th  of April, Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey [ISBN 978-605-4483-08-2].

Articles (under review)

 Oliveira, Eduardo (under review).  “Constructing Regional Advantage: A Joint Cross-Border Branding-Strategy for Galicia-Northern Portugal”.  Early Career Papers - Regional Studies, Regional Science.

Oliveira, Eduardo (under review). The tourism potential of northern Portugal: towards a place branding strategy to support a strategic change”.
Advances in Tourism and Hospitality Research.

Articles (revised version submitted)

 Oliveira, Eduardo (revised version submitted). “Place Branding as a Strategic Spatial Planning Instrument”. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy.

Oliveira, Eduardo (revised version submitted). “Content, context and co-creation to approach digital challenges in destination branding with references to destination Portugal”. Journal of Vacation Marketing.

As co-author

Kalan, Arezou and Oliveira, Eduardo (under review): “Sustainable architecture of the Bazaar of Tabriz and its relation with the social and cultural aspects: what keeps the place so dynamic?” International Journal of Sustainable Architecture.

20 April 2014

Master Class with prof. dr. Andreas Faludi

Dear PhD researcher,

We'd like to draw your attention to a Master Class with prof. dr. Andreas Faludi celebrating his contribution to the field of Spatial Planning on the 12th of June, 2014.

On June the 13th,  2014 Andreas Faludi will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Groningen. The day preceding this festive event we organise a Master Class with a selection of PhD researchers in the field of Spatial Planning. In this Master Class, we will discuss the topic of territorial cohesion and its importance for the work of PhD researchers on different planning related topics.

The Master Class provides the opportunity for five PhD researchers to pitch the relation between their research and the work of Andreas Faludi and receive feedback from the master himself. Additionally a maximum of 20 PhD researchers have the opportunity to join the pitches and participate in a discussion with Faludi during the second part of the afternoon. We will discuss a number of statements concerning the meaning of the concept of territorial cohesion provided by the PhD researchers themselves. Andreas Faludi is asked to choose - on the spot - a number of statements for discussion.

We invite you to share your views on territorial cohesion and the links with your own research:
-          Pitch your link with Faludi´s work in 5 minutes and get direct feedback from participants, including the master himself!
-          Send in a statement about the importance of territorial cohesion and join the discussion!
The afternoon is structured as follows:
11:00 Arrival with tea and coffee and a “poster session” of all pitches and statements
11:30 Welcome by organising committee
11:35 Introduction by Andreas Faludi on the 'tipping points' in his academic work. 
11:45 5 pitches with feedback from Andreas Faludi and short discussion with the audience
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Discussion of a number of statements, selected by Andreas Faludi
15:00 Short Break
15:15 Discussion of a number of statements, selected by Andreas Faludi
16:15 Wrap up and reflection on the day
16:30 Drinks
17:30 Option to join for dinner in the city centre

The Master Class will take place at the nice location "Het Kasteel" in Groningen. The location can be easily reached by foot from Groningen train station (see for a map below).

If you are interested to participate, with an active role in either the pitch or the discussion, please send us the following information before the 5th of May 2014:
-          Your name, affiliation and contact details
-          If you want to pitch your work: think of a catchy title and send us 150 words on your research in relation to Andreas Faludi's work.
-          A one sentence statement on the importance of territorial cohesion for your work or for spatial planning in general. Optional argumentation for the thesis not exceeding 150 words. 

Send your material to k.castro.arce@rug.nl and j.f.meekes@rug.nl before 5th of May.
From the material sent in we will make a selection of maximum 25 PhD researchers for the pitches and the discussion. We will contact you before the 20th of May on selection for the Master Class.

We hope for a nice event with a free discussion, hopefully with some crazy pitches and statements that stir discussion and reflection.

Warm regards,

Jessica de Boer                                                                                                                            jessica.de.boer@rug.nl
Karina Castro-Arce                                                                                                                     k.castro.arce@rug.nl
Jasper Meekes                                                                                                                            j.a.meekes@rug.nl
Eduardo Oliveira                                                                                                                         e.h.da.silva.oliveira@rug.nl

17 April 2014


The aim of the ODU-MC is to improve the understanding of EU Cohesion Policy and its research potential among selected European PhD students and early-career researchers. Organised for the second time during the OPEN DAYS, its objectives are:
  • to present the latest developments in research on European regional and urban development and the EU cohesion policy;

  • to enable PhD students and early career researchers (ECR) to exchange views with EU politicians, officials and senior academics in the field of European regional and urban development and policy;

  • to facilitate networking among PhD students /ECR from different countries and with the wider EU policy and academic communities;

  • to raise awareness and understanding of the research potential in the field of EU cohesion policy.

The ODU-MC will be held during the OPEN DAYS-European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels (6-9 October 2014), as part of the OPEN DAYS University.

In 2014, the objective is to attract 30 PhD students/ECR, who would be selected based on the following criteria:
  1. Studies' background and current position/field of research;

  2. quality of the draft paper outline they submit;

  3. other criteria such as geographical (one participant from each EU Member State and some non-EU participants) and gender balance in the Master Class 2014.

The submitted paper (1,000 words) could refer to one or several of the thematic priorities of the OPEN DAYS:
  • The reform(s) of EU cohesion policy and its impact on regional and urban development in the EU;

  • building administrative capacity and partnerships at local level;

  • challenges for European Territorial Cooperation. 

The selected PhD students/ECR will be informed on 28 May 2014 and three of the successful candidates will be invited to present their paper on 7 October to the Master Class.

The ODU-MC is organised by the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Regional Studies Association (RSA). The ESPON 2020 programme will be involved in concept development and reach out activities to universities and research institutes in the field. The advisory board will be composed of at least one member of the afore-mentioned institutions and organisations.
The Master Class will be modular in format and, subject to agreement, is expected to include the following:
  • lecture format sessions (restricted to MC participants);

  • a ‘World Café’ session (restricted to MC participants);

  • networking sessions (restricted to MC participants);

  • attendance at other OPEN DAYS and ODU sessions;

  • participation in social networking together with OD participants.

It is expected that the ODU-MC will be run in two half-day sessions on Monday pm and Wednesday am and a full day on Tuesday.
The modules may be organised along the following lines, subject to discussions and agreements between the partners.

Monday 6 October, 12:00 – 14:00 (CoR) 
Get-together reception: light sandwich lunch in Atrium 5 – Meeting Place café

Monday 6 October, 14:30 – 17:15 (EP) 
Module 1: OPEN DAYS Opening Session (European Parliament, hemicycle)
This session would set the scene for the Master Class by outlining the current state of play for cohesion policy.

Tuesday, 7 October, 9:00 – 12:45 (CoR)
Module 2: Dialog with Commissioner Johannes Hahn (to be confirmed), followed by research presentation.

Tuesday 7 October, 14:30 – 17:00 (CoR)
Module 3: World Café

This session would take the form of managed discussions in small groups, each sitting around a table tackling issues currently facing the European Union. Each group will be allocated a table manager, possibly using DG REGIO officials according to their areas of expertise. Some tables would also include an academic. This session would take place after the participants have had time to get to know each other and their areas of research. The themes to be covered should be the ones that are not covered during the lectures, having a link to the OD University themes.

Tuesday 7 October, 20:00 – 22:00 (Bozar, Center of Fine Arts)
OPEN DAYS official reception

Wednesday, 8 October, 9:00-12.00 (CoR)
Module 4: Understanding Cohesion Policy – Lecture Sessions (lectures of 45 minutes)
The focus of these presentations would be on conveying insights into leading academic thinking and key policy issues. The leitmotif would be ‘understanding cohesion policy’, and the sessions would normally have one academic, one local, regional, national or EU official and/or one policymaker speaking on each topic and last approximately 45 minutes, including a questions and answers session. The academic would introduce the current academic thinking on the subject, whereas the policymaker would introduce examples of projects putting the theory into practice. The themes to be covered are some of the ones selected for the OPEN DAYS University themes, depending on the offer of workshops to come

Wednesday, 8 October, 14:30-17:00
Possibility to attend OPEN DAYS workshops

Participants who attend all modules will receive a certificate of having been awarded and completed the ODU-MC. ODU-MC participants will be given access to other OPEN DAYS events, such as the opening session, social events and workshops during the specified time-schedule.

Committee of the Regions, Brussels

Application procedure
There would be a maximum of 30 participants selected by a committee representing the organisers. The aim would be to include one participant from each EUMember State and some non-EU participants.  
Potential ODU-MC participants must be registered PhD students, those in their early career, defined as being within five years of the date on their PhD certificate, and be from recognised academic institutions.
The application form can be downloaded at 

Applications must be accompanied by an academic referee’s statement supporting the application. Application forms must be sent to

daniela.carl@regionalstudies.org by 16 May 2014.

Selected and non-selected applicants will be notified in writing no later than 28 May 2014. They must confirm their participation in writing to the RSA.
Those selected to participate in the ODU Master Class will have their travel and accommodation covered by the European Commission, dependent on attending all modules of the Master Class.

Regional Studies Association
25 Clinton Place
Seaford BN25 1NP
Company No 4116288; Charity No 1084165

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