Brand-driven identity development of places
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Purpose This paper aims to present an interdisciplinary approach for the development and design of place brands, which goes far beyond communication strategies and advertising campaigns. The so-called “Brand-driven Identity Development of Places” (short: BIDP) approach provides a structured three-phase model that can serve as a practical guide for the development of commercial, touristy, urban and rural places. Design/methodology/approach Longitudinal collaborative action research over a time span of 20 years plus extended case study research supported the evolution of the BIDP approach. Findings BIDP is a circular three-phase model starting with the definition of the intended place brand identity, which in Phase 2 becomes translated into concrete touchpoint experiences along the main constituents of the place, and finally materialising into the new place format. The case study of the City of Innsbruck is prototypically used to illustrate the application of the designed approach and to report achieved results. Research limitations/implications Place brand development based on translating socio-cultural meanings into touchpoint experiences to materialise and align place constituents is opening up new avenues to initiate and govern place development. At present, the approach is based on case studies in the western region of Austria and South Tyrol. Practical implications The three-phase model represents a practical tool for place brand managers, who want to renew and to develop their place format in a structured way. The BIDP model can be applied for all forms of places. Social implications. Foremost, the described place branding collaborations reassure the proposition of Olins (2002) and Schmidt (2007) that place branding is a crucial internal project that unites groups of people around a common strategic vision providing sense and direction besides reaching out to the traditional customer–stakeholder audience. Originality/value A structured model for brand-driven place development, which evolved during 20 years of longitudinal collaborative action research with executives and representatives of commercial, touristy, urban and rural places, BIDP locks into anthropological research findings where cultural meanings are considered as the main source for the construction of brand identities.