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Investor-based place brand equity: a theoretical framework

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Purpose ‐ Many post-industrial cities are characterised by the effects of globalisation, de-regulation, regionalisation and technological developments. The application of supply-side strategies to meet the challenges arising from these effects has contributed to the homogeneity of places which economic development professionals try to escape by creating place brands. Considerable resources are allocated to such place marketing efforts ‐ so far without being able to measure the impact. The aim of this paper is to present a framework to analyse place brand equity from the foreign direct investor's point of view in an attempt to identify the place brand actuators which contribute to (more) efficient place brands. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Based on literature research, customer-based FMCG brand equity models are analysed and adapted to the characteristics of places. Findings ‐ It is expected that the behaviour of the place brand customer (i.e. the decision to invest in a certain place) depends on the assessment of the place brand values which in turn are derived from the perception of place brand assets. These findings have been included in the investor-based place brand equity (IPE) framework. Applying the IPE framework to place brands enables the development of more efficient place brands, making better use of public funds and thus increasing the acceptance of place branding efforts. Research limitations/implications ‐ The IPE framework is based on the application of (modified) FMCG approaches to places. The resulting framework will need empirical verification. Originality/value ‐ The branding of places as an attempt to attract investors has become a popular approach for place marketing professionals. Assessment of place brand equity reveals whether such approaches are efficient. Based on assessment of efficiency, suggestions for the improvement of place brands can be identified.

Keywords: Brand equity; Cities; Direct investment; Economic development; International investments

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 13, 2009


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