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School of Geography FACULTY OF ENVIRONMENT. Re-branding the city: changing the image of places and spaces. Rachael Unsworth. Outline. What is a ‘brand’? Why brand a place? Types and examples Process and problems The case of Marketing Leeds. Brand.

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Presentation Transcript
  • What is a ‘brand’?
  • Why brand a place?
  • Types and examples
  • Process and problems
  • The case of Marketing Leeds
product differentiation superior quality
Product differentiation - superior quality

First English registered trademark 1876

Édouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, London

brand and image
Brand and image

Not just name, logo, website, brochure

‘Something that exists in the collective mind of the consumer’

FT article 2002

why create a brand image for a city or re brand a city
Why create a brand image for a city or re-brand a city?

creates/changes awareness + creates/builds consumer demand for a product in an increasingly competitive market place


“Competition among cities is like riding a bicycle: if you don’t pedal, you’ll fall off.

However, globalization is making us increasingly uniform, so we must construct and promote our difference in order to continue existing”

Mirón, Urban Land Institute

place marketing
Place marketing
  • Assert individuality in pursuit of various economic, political or socio-psychological objectives
  • Need to attract inward investment, visitors, high skilled workers, promising students
  • Shape place identity and promote to specific markets

Kavaratzis M. and Ashworth, G.J. (2005) City branding: an effective assertion of identity or a transitory marketing trick?

major assumptions
Major assumptions
  • Places can be treated as spatially extended products


  • Places are in competition in a way that is similar to competition between companies and products
types of branding re branding
Types of branding/re-branding
  • Structural re-branding/re-positioning; re-branding using events/\'year of …......\' ; slogans
  • Creating a new image for a place that is transformed or wants to be transformed – pulling out its best assets and qualities, what makes it special
process of creating a place brand workshop at core cities conference 2007
Process of creating a place brand:workshop at Core Cities conference 2007
  • Identify visual, verbal, experiential elements of places to communicate
  • What are the main (3?) things that you want people to know about your place?
  • Develop message and consider how to put it across to different audiences – internal and external. Forge associations between place and (potential) consumers
brand identity how the owners want the brand to be perceived
BRAND IDENTITYHow the owners want the brand to be perceived


The part of the value proposition communicated to a target group that demonstrates


How the brand is perceived

Kavaratzis M. and Ashworth, G.J. (2005) p.508

examples of slogans
Examples of slogans
  • ‘B in Birmingham’, ‘Birmingham: Europe\'s Youngest City’, or ‘Birmingham, The Global City With The Local Heart’ Oct 2007: announced new exercise
  • ‘Glasgow’s miles better’
  • Kingston-upon-Hull: \'The pioneering city\'
  • \'Uniquely Manchester\'
  • Edinburgh: ‘Inspiring city’
  • Nottingham: ‘Our Style is Legendary’ changed to
problems with place branding
Problems with place branding?
  • Can cities be treated like products?
  • Do cities compete in the same way as products?
  • Do messages ring true?
  • Can everywhere be ‘world class’?
The Work Foundation: specialisms and characteristics of individual places can help cities build and sustain a distinctive identity

argues for 3 conceptions of distinctiveness: functional, physical and intangible

warns against flashy iconic developments or image campaigns not based on an underlying reality


Positive images of the city – heritage, up-market, new facilities, public realm, waterfront, sunshine


Unlikely to feature in marketing campaigns?

Ordinary scenes, social divide, dereliction, abandonment, rain

the case of leeds
The case of Leeds
  • Identifying a need for re-branding
  • The Vision for Leeds – strategic aim to ‘go up a league’
  • Marketing Leeds – troubled conception, birth and early years; growing stronger?
the need for re branding
The need for re-branding
  • Old-fashioned imagery associated with the city
  • Low recognition outside the city

Brahm report 2003

  • Not making the most of its strengths
vision for leeds 2004 strategic aim of leeds going up a league
Vision for Leeds 2004Strategic aim of Leeds: ‘Going up a league’
  • Appropriate aspiration?
    • are cities like football teams?
    • does the urban hierarchy work like ‘leagues’?
  • Leeds United sank down the rankings just as Leeds adopted this metaphor
‘If you don’t work to go up a league, you will end up going down one’

Senior Planner from Gothenburg,

Vision for Leeds workshop, July 2002

survey identity of city
Survey: identity of city

An Agency Called England asked:

‘If Leeds was a person, what sort of person would it be?’


A young male, friendly, your best friend, a really nice person to know, an ambitious person, living in a trendy apartment, driving a VW Golf GTi

divisive process of selecting brand concept from consultants
Divisive process of selecting brand concept from consultants
  • Made in Leeds v. Leeds Live It Love It

Thompson Design v. An Agency Called England

  • Key stakeholders unwilling to support ‘Made in Leeds’
marketing leeds as arm s length company
Marketing Leeds as ‘arm’s length’ company
  • Seen as separate from Leeds City Council
  • Needed to attract private funding
  • Greater flexibility in operation
launch of
Launch of
  • 26 Sept 2005
  • Victoria Quarter – champagne party
  • Introduced brand image and slogan
  • Film of famous Leeds people saying what they like about their home city
celebrity presenters
Celebrity presenters

Chris Moyles & Gabby Logan

Control imagery – a single message from all in the cityWithin this, vary content according to audience

Brand image

row over second hand city slogan
Row over second-hand city slogan

A new slogan aimed at boosting the global image of Leeds is the same as one used in a 2003 campaign in Hong Kong

after the party
After the party …

Chief Executive sacked

Debbie Green brought in

marketing leeds plan 2008
Marketing Leeds plan 2008

Key Issues

  • Raise profile of Leeds on national stage
  • Promote a strong business image
  • Promote the cultural offer
  • Position Leeds on the international stage - and co-ordinate, not duplicate!
marketing leeds plan 20081
Marketing Leeds plan 2008

Supporting current events and activities

Thought Leadership – Technical

  • Yorkshire Women in Business
  • Leeds Business Week
  • National high-profile Financial Services event
  • support for partners’ international activities
  • FT business supplement

Thought Leadership – Social Networking

  • Quarterly meeting with business and lifestyle champions
  • Networking events for business leaders

Thought Leadership – ‘The Business’ Series – Leeds as a centre of innovation:

  • Business of Culture, Environment, Financial Services, Security and Protection, Innovation, Sport

Brand extension?


work on improving the offer and promotion will look after itself
Work on improving the offer and promotion will look after itself?
  • infrastructure
  • public realm
  • quality of built environment
  • cultural activities and institutions
  • skills
  • social cohesion
  • crime reduction
resilient places with resilient populations
Buildings, infrastructure, services:

minimal costs in use – efficient, low maintenance

cope with heat, cold, excess water or drought

flexible: long life, loose fit

dispersed services

improved connectivity – transport & remote

effective, multi-purpose green infrastructure

People – households, institutions, communities, businesses:

adjusted expectations

forward thinking + contingency plans

genuine community involvement & neighbourliness

mixed use & diversity as a strength

creativity and innovation valued

appropriate use of technology

enhanced cultural activities

Resilient places with resilient populations

Attractive, adaptable, well-connected places where people can enjoy high levels of well-being, make minimal impact on the environment and suffer minimal threat to their safety, security and comfort


Ashworth , G.J. and Voogd, H. (1990), Selling the City: Marketing Approaches in Public Sector Urban Planning, London: Belhaven Press.

Boyle, M. and Rogerson, R.J. (2001) Power, discourse and city trajectories, in Paddison, R. (ed.) Handbook of Urban Studies, London: Sage, pp.402-416.

Florian, B. (2002) The City as a Brand: Orchestrating a Unique Experience. In: T. Hauben, M.

Vermeulen & V. Patteeuw, City Branding: Image Building and Building Images. Rotterdam: NAI Uitgevers.

Gold, J.R. & Ward, S.V., eds. (1994), Place promotion: the use of publicity and marketing to sell towns and regions. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.

Hankinson, G.A. and Cowking, P. (1995) ‘What do you really mean by a brand?’ Journal of Brand Management, 3(1), pp.43-50.

Hankinson, G.A. (2001), Location branding: a study of the branding practices of 12 English cities.

Journal of Brand Management 9, pp.127–142.

Hauben, T., Vermeulen, M. & Patteeuw, V. (2002), City Branding: Image Building and Building Images.

Rotterdam: NAI Uitgevers.

Kavaratzis, M. (2004), From City Marketing to City Branding: Towards a Theoretical Framework for

Developing City Brands. Journal of Place Branding 1, pp. 58–73.

Kavaratzis, M. and Ashworth, G.J. (2005)City branding: an effective assertion of identity or a transitory marketing trick? Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 96(5), pp. 506–514.

Kearns, G. and Philo, C. eds. (1993), Selling Places, Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Scott, N. (2005) ‘Brand loyalty’, Yorkshire Evening Post: Marketing Leeds Special Supplement, 27 September.

Trueman, M., Klemm, M. and Giroud, A. (2004), Can a city communicate? Bradford as a corporate

brand. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 9, pp.317–330.

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