– This paper aims to firstly depict the theoretical links between place branding and strategic spatial planning to provide further theoretical and conceptual foundations. Secondly, it aims to explore the roots of place branding theory and practice in Portugal, as well as how place branding has been approached (or not) in spatial development plans, strategic initiatives and policy documents by stating the territorial, spatial-economic and sectoral development trajectories for the country and its northern region.
– A content analysis of 20 spatial development plans, strategies and policy documents (of 30 identified), published by Portuguese authorities, the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, mainly for the period between 2014 and 2020, has been used.
– Empirical evidence shows that tourism-oriented promotion initiatives, investment-oriented marketing campaigns and communication strategies uniquely supported by visual elements and aesthetic values (e.g. logos and slogans) deserve more attention from authorities in charge of spatial planning and policy-making. Place branding is an absent term.