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


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Place branding has emerged as a powerful instrument to create some uniqueness, and differentiate places, which could be linked to a general increase in competition between countries, regions and cities in order to draw the attention of stakeholders to invest and 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 places 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?

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

  1. 1. 14th of June 2012Instruments of Place Branding and Regional Dynamics Guimarães as European Capital of Culture Eduardo Oliveira Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
  2. 2.  Introduction; Place branding, brief conceptual approach; Place branding as planning & management tool; Place branding & regional dynamics; Instruments of Place Branding; Event hallmarking; European Capital of Culture event (ECC); Can we do place branding with the ECC events? Guimarães 2012 - ECC; Guimarães 2012 - ECC & Words for the future.
  3. 3. Place branding, brief conceptual approach Place branding is an attempt:  To form a unique selling proposition that will secure visibility to the outside world;  To reinforce local identity;  To achieve competitive advantage (e.g.): To increase inward investment; To increase tourism revenues;  To achieve community development;  To activating all social forces to avoid social exclusion - i.e. to attempt to the inclusive growth. Efficient tool in pursuit of objectives that relate to the place management and spatial planning [1, 2, 3]
  4. 4. Place branding, brief conceptual approach “It is accepted that place marketing can be treated as an instrument of place management undertaken in pursuit of objectives that relate to the management of the place.” [4] “A place brand strategy is a plan for defining the most realistic, most competitive and most compelling strategic vision for the place.” [5]
  5. 5. Place branding as planning & management tool Place Country Region CityBranding Vision Goals Preeminent tool for urban andMeasures regional development, planning and place management As strategy to support economic & social changes
  6. 6. Place branding & regional dynamics Place Regional dynamicBranding Select strategies While many destinations depend almost Strategic networks exclusively on natural resources others are forced to develop manmade facilities. Develop places and enhance the Determine attractiveness and competitiveness of goals destinations. Implement new dynamic
  7. 7. Place branding Environment Achieve wide & cooperation Sustainability Relationships Planning tool & Development place & managementcompetitivenessImprove local values Community & inclusive engagement & development social justice Competitive & Economicattractive image regeneration Regional dynamic Anticipate a change
  8. 8. Instruments of Place branding GaudiPersonality association Barcelona Flagship building Signature districts
  9. 9. Instruments of Place branding Event hallmarking
  10. 10. Instruments of Place branding Event hallmarking “Places organise and sponsor temporary events in order to obtain a wider recognition that they exist but also to establish specific brand associations”. [6] “Cultural events are favoured largely because of there visibility and wide acceptability of cultural products as merit goods adding value and desirable brand attributes to a place”. [7]“Hallmark events alone are unlikely to have much impact upona place brand” - “Effective as instruments in a strategic policy” 7
  11. 11. Cultural EventsImprove image Urban development Attract visitor/investment
  12. 12. The European Capitals of Culture initiative: Highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures; Celebrate the cultural ties that link Europeans; Through cultural projectsPurpose by ‘multinational artists’ produced (with different cultural backgrounds) they tend to create a common European culture. initiative was set up to: The European Capitals of Culture highlight e their image in the also of their own inhabitants. Is eyes expected that the event Regenerate cities; Raise their international profile and enhance their image; Give new vitality to their everyday life by the means of cultural activities; Raise their international profile, boost tourism and enhance their image in the eyes of their own inhabitants.
  13. 13. Athens 1985 – 1st European Capital of Culture*  Project launched by the Greek Minister of Culture Melina Merkouri;  Athens as the first ECC gave emphasis Florence on contemporary art production;  Florence 1986 highlighted its own historical importance;  Berlin 1988 was criticized for having an elitist approach; *European City of Culture until 1999
  14. 14.  Glasgow 90 is deemed to have rejuvenated a city suffering from urban decay, high unemployment &Rotterdam developed a programme with the aims of crime;stimulating internationally orientated culture, building theimage of Rotterdam as a Antwerp 93 it and event city, and  cultural festival helped to challengesupporting the applied arts, such as architecture, design and some of the extremist politicalphotography [25]. tendencies; urban space projects; changed to - city of creativity;  Thessaloniki’s 97 brand itself as the metropolis of the Balkans; Stormy planning process; renovation of cultural facilities;
  15. 15.  Brussels 2000 named its TOP priority as creating social cohesion; Florence Porto 2001 made it clear that economic development was as important as the cultural programme; urban remodelling;
  16. 16.  Rotterdam developed a programme with the aims of stimulating internationallyRotterdam developed a programme with the aims ofstimulating internationally orientated culture, building the orientated culture, building theimage of Rotterdam as a cultural festival and event city, anda image of Rotterdam as cultural festival and eventsupporting the applied arts, such as architecture, design andphotography [25]. city [8].  Genoa & Liverpool have used the ECC, as a ‘trigger’ to initiate their branding exercises [9].
  17. 17. Can we do place branding with the ECC events? Tricky question?! Place Branding is a process or a strategy which takes/needs a long time to achieve the desirable result; The ECC cities have already a cultural background (an organic image which includes the arts) and the appropriate infrastructure to welcome such an event; The success of an ECC does not rely only on the organisation of this particular event but on the city itself and all the elements that compose it; ECCs is a way to add cultural value to a potential place brand.
  18. 18. Can we do place branding with the ECC events?Conceptualization: If the hallmark events can be the catalysts triggering existing processes, making trends and create conditions that already at least potentially existed. Place branding becomes a valid, necessary and highly effective form of place management.  Are most significant at the level of strategic reorientation. Events  Alone are unlikely to have much impact upon a place brand.  Relatively small and have little lasting promotional impact. [7]
  19. 19. Celebrating success, or on the way to fail? Successful ManyEvents hallmarking stories?! Failures?! The arguments To attract tourists and visitors. Attract no tourists, but visitors from the same place.Events and tourism can be mutually Interaction between event planning beneficial. and destination planning is needed. To capture attention and promote Most events are small, with a limited attractions and infrastructures. duration in time and create minor impacts. Events in big cities are more prepared to achieve success. More modestly sized places have achieved notable successes.
  20. 20. Celebrating success, or on the way to fail? Events hallmarking 6 ways for success The need for local community support; The need for a good strategic and cultural fit with the place – have to reflet the local spirit; The need for an event to be differentiated from others; The longevity or tradition of the event at the destination; Cooperative planning among key players; Media support for the event. Cultural events
  21. 21. Cultural eventsViana do Castelo Braga Guimarães Porto
  22. 22. The three goals of the Guimarães 2012 - ECC: Development of human capital – Empower the local Purpose community with new human resources and professional expertise, by encouraging their proactive involvement in the The European Capitals of Culture initiative was set up to: European Capital of Culture initiative; highlight e their imagecreative economy – Transform the Development of a in the eyes of their own inhabitants. city’s economy, based on an industrial economic model, into an internationally competitive and creative economy; Generation of a new geography – Transform a space that passively preserves memory into a space that constantly offers new and surprising cultural and creative experiences. [10]
  23. 23. [10]
  24. 24. Our argumentGuimarães 2012 ECC has the opportunity to: Promote the cultural diversity of the city & region; Development of the city & surrounding region; Attempt to urban, social and economic regeneration; Enhancing the region (e.g. image/notoriety) and its collective public heritage. The ECC Guimarães 2012 could attempt/contribute to the dynamic of the northwest region of Portugal
  25. 25. Guimarães 2012 - ECC & Words for the futureFundamental understanding/contribution to the discussion: Events are most effective as:  Instruments in a strategic policy, and As demonstration that a change already occurred and could be maintained / carry forward. Encouraging Policy instruments investment Events hallmarking Support for a change Social Economic Environmental harmony growth sustainability
  26. 26. Guimarães 2012 - ECC & Words for the futureAcademic discussionA key challenge is to ensure that the ECC initiative isembedded as part of a long-term politicalcommitment and strategy by the city to using theculture to develop itself into – and to remain – acreative, inclusive, developed, competitive city . Trigger the Yes, we can integrate it branding effort while working on a place branding strategy Positioning tool
  27. 27. Guimarães 2012 - ECC & Words for the future As a part of a potential place branding strategy; As an opportunity to create momentum, and legacy for the future in terms of development of the arts and the culture (cultural habits), together with urban regeneration and economic and social development [11]. In practice The ECC in Guimarães has the potential to enhance the reputation of the city and the northwest region, but for itself does not produce results, unless it is integrated in a wide place branding strategy.
  28. 28. References[1] Kavaratzis, M., and Ashworth, G., Place branding: where do we stand? Towards Effective Place BrandManagement-Branding European Cities and Regions, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, UnitedKingdom, 1-14, (2010).[2] Kavaratzis, M., From city marketing to city branding: Towards a theoretic al framework for developing citybrands. Place Branding, 1, 58-73 (2004).[3] Ashworth, G. and Kavaratzis, M., Towards Effective Place Brand Management-Branding European Citiesand Regions. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, United Kingdom, 1-14, (2010).[4] Ashworth, G. and Voogd, H., Selling the City: Marketing Approaches in Public Sector Urban Planning,Belhaven Press, London, (1990).[5] Anholt S, 2007, Competitive Identity: The New Brand Management for Nations, Cities and Regions, NewYork, Palgrave Macmillan.[6] Hall, C., Hallmark events and the planning process. In The Planning and Evaluation of Hallmark Events,Aldershot, Avebury, (1989).[7] Ashworth,G.J. (2009) The instruments of place branding: how it is done? European Spatial Research andPolicy 16 (1) 9-22[8] Richards, G., and Wilson, J, The Impact of Cultural Events on City Image: Rotterdam, Cultural Capital ofEurope 2001. Urban Studies, 41, 10, 1931-1951, (2004).[9] Nobili, V. The role of European Capital of Culture events within Genoas and Liverpools branding andpositioning efforts. Place Branding, 1, 3, 316-328, (2005).[10][11] Cadima Ribeiro, A Capital Europeia da Cultura 2012 vista a partir das notícias publicadas em 2011 nosjornais, URL: (accessed in 19 February 2012).
  29. 29. Thank you for your attention Eduardo Oliveira Any Questions?
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