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Conceptual Clarity - Place Branding, Place Marketing and Place Promotion

For the l

ove of Place

For the second episode of the Adapt Inc. Places Podcast I managed to speak to Martin Boisen from For the Love of Place. Martin is a Danish geographer with a MSc. degree (cum laude) from Utrecht University He lives and works from the heart of the beautiful city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Martin is a leading advisor, a respected academic and a passionate speaker. Marting is also the vice chairman of The International Place Branding Association who put on an annual conference where key issues in the field get discussed.

Conceptual clarity Our discussion with Martin centred around a key paper he co-authored that has helped the discipline move away to a stage where we can distinguish between:

  • Place promotion

  • Place Marketing

  • Place Branding

The paper titled Reframing place promotion, place marketing, and place branding - moving beyond conceptual confusion handles key issues that we discuss with Marting at length. After spending two hours in conversation I had to edit our conversation into two parts. In the first part we talk about Martin’s approach to distinguishing between the concepts before the practical discussion in Part 2 about how this conceptual clarity affects practice. Some of the key discussions in this first part include the status quo of perceived challenge of inter-urban competition: “...There are lot of basic assumptions that cities are competing for citizens and so forth. I always ask what information, those assumptions are grounded or founded on. And a lot of times, those are untested assumptions. So that does not mean that those assumptions are wrong per se. It just means that we have no idea to what extent there is actual competition. This can lead to envisioning grand strategies and spending a lot of taxpayers money.”

Part 2 will be released soon and will cover how the conceptual distinction between place promotion, place marketing and place branding can help us think about what is (non)essential practical activity. Given the unprecedented opportunity we have had with the global pandemic to see which human activity may be deemed essential we have a unique opportunity to have a realistic discussion about which place related activities are essential and which ones may not be a good way of spending (often) public money. 

Thanks to the for organising the interview with Martin.

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