City Brands and their Communication through Web Sites: Identification of Problems and Proposals for Improvement

City Brands and their Communication through Web Sites: Identification of Problems and Proposals for Improvement

José Fernández-Cavia (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain) and Assumpció Huertas-Roig (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-134-6.ch002
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City marketing tries to position cities in the mind of the public, although the process of creating and communicating city brands is still at an early stage of its development. One of the main tools for the communication of these brands is now the World Wide Web. This chapter describes the results of two combined studies (qualitative and quantitative) that analyzes a sample of official city Web sites. The results show that official Web sites of cities give much attention to ease of navigation, but interactivity is much less implemented, especially between users. Furthermore, some lack of attention to the communication aspects of city brands can also be found. Finally, the chapter submits a number of improvement proposals.
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The Concept Of City Brand

The concept of brand applied to destinations, places or cities is relatively new. It started to spread with the Travel and Tourism Research Association’s Annual Conference in 1998 (Blain, Levy & Brent Ritchie, 2005). From that moment, the concept has been developed widely and has been studied from diverse perspectives, especially from the point of view of tourism. All in all, studies on city brands and destinations are still under developed and knowledge on the subject is limited. Some authors consider that it’s not correct to talk about branding or place branding in relation to territories, cities or countries. They believe that it is incorrect to associate communicational and marketing terms to realities with their own identity like cities. Nevertheless, the majority or authors appreciate that the territories and the cities do not have the same characteristics as commercial products, but agree that they can apply the same marketing strategies to the territories (Olins, 2002).

The first difficulty we come up against in the study of city brands is the confusion of concepts. Therefore, it is fundamental to distinguish between city brand and brand image (Cai, 2002). Many studies confuse the analysis of the brand image with the brand itself and the branding done by the destination.

The city brand is a new concept and is not very well defined. It is currently very much in fashion, and many people have theories, but few have dared to define it. It is a construct composed of a name, a logo, some symbols and some values that we try to associate with a city, representing its identity, with the objective of creating a position and a vision of the city in the minds of the public. Each city must have its own brand, and each city brand must be the result of a citymarketing plan and a competitive city strategy.

A very complete definition of destination brand, fully applicable to the city brand, which is based on the previous definitions of Aaker (1991) and Ritchie and Ritchie (1998) is that of Blain, Levy and Brent Ritchie (2005), which implies:

The creation of a name, symbol, logo, word mark or other graphic that both identify and differentiate a destination; that convey the promise of a memorable travel experience that is uniquely associated with the destination; and that serve to consolidate and reinforce the emotional connection between the visitor and the destination; that reduce consumer search costs and perceived risk; all with the intent purpose of creating a destination image that positively influences consumer destination choice. (p. 337)

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Mila Gascó-Hernandez, Teresa Torres-Coronas
Chapter 1
Norberto Muñiz-Martínez, Miguel Cervantes-Blanco
Cities are acquiring a key geopolitical importance in the shaping of world-wide flows and exchanges, playing a key part in modern socio-economic... Sample PDF
Identity and Marketing of Cities
Chapter 2
José Fernández-Cavia, Assumpció Huertas-Roig
City marketing tries to position cities in the mind of the public, although the process of creating and communicating city brands is still at an... Sample PDF
City Brands and their Communication through Web Sites: Identification of Problems and Proposals for Improvement
Chapter 3
Barry Mishra, Erik Rolland
City marketing in the broadest term can be defined as the strategic design of the city to satisfy the various stakeholders of the city who often... Sample PDF
A Strategic Framework for City Marketing: The SSRM Approach
Chapter 4
Al D. McCready
Indications are strong that globalization is an irresistible force, fomented by, or at the very least, enabled by technology. This chapter refers to... Sample PDF
Strategic Technology Planning for the Techno-Global Economy: Cities in the Market
Chapter 5
Juliane Chudalla, Key Pousttchi
Mobile services have great potentials in different fields, so it is interesting to have a closer look of them, and about the way they can be used... Sample PDF
City Marketing Goes Mobile: Use of Mobile Commerce Techniques for City Marketing
Chapter 6
Laura L. Matherly, Maureen Jouett
Integrating information communication technologies (ICTs) and marketing in strategic management of city government is critical to achieving... Sample PDF
Strategic Management in City Government: Integrating Information Communication Technologies and Marketing in a Causal Model to Drive Stakeholder Satisfaction and Economic Development
Chapter 7
María Isabel Huerta-Carvajal, Luis Felipe Luna-Reyes
Local governments around the world are becoming aware of the importance of identifying and marketing their local assets to promote economic... Sample PDF
City Boosterism through Internet Marketing: An Institutional Perspective
Chapter 8
Pablo Díaz-Luque
Large cities are one of the most popular tourism destinations throughout the world. Business and leisure tourists visit these areas every year and... Sample PDF
Official Tourism Web Sites and City Marketing
Chapter 9
Lluís Prats-Planagumà, Raquel Camprubí
The competitiveness of tourism destinations is a relevant issue for tourism studies, moreso, is a key element on the daily basis of tourism... Sample PDF
E-Tourism Image: The Relevance of Networking for Web Sites Destination Marketing
Chapter 10
Nicholas P. Robinson, Prescott C. Ensign
This chapter discusses the importance of making strategic investments in information communication technologies (ICTs) in order to benefit from... Sample PDF
Marketing Your City's Industries to the World: Building and Retaining Export Oriented Clusters through Strategic ICT Investments
Chapter 11
Marianna Sigala
During the last decades, the use of Web 2.0 applications for the generation, dissemination, and sharing of user-generated content (UGC) and the... Sample PDF
WEB 2.0, Social Marketing Strategies and Distribution Channels for City Destinations: Enhancing the Participatory Role of Travelers and Exploiting their Collective Intelligence
Chapter 12
José-Rodrigo Córdoba, Nicolas Jullien, Jocelyne Trémenbert
This chapter defines three different patterns to understand how city marketing initiatives are designed and implementing, and how information and... Sample PDF
Developing Patterns for Thinking About City Marketing Initiatives
Chapter 13
Peter Dobers, Anette Hallin
This chapter discusses a current example of the ongoing efforts of city managers to promote their cities, also known as place marketing or place... Sample PDF
The Use of Internet in Building the Brand of "Stockholm: The Capital of Scandinavia”
Chapter 14
Anette Hallin
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) cannot only be used practically in marketing efforts, but also as symbols, due to the images and... Sample PDF
Marketing the mCity: How a City Based ICT-Project Can Make Sense
Chapter 15
Sandra Moffett, T. M. McGinnity, M. Callaghan, J. Harkin, D. N. Woods
This chapter outlines the journey that the city of Londonderry (Derry), Northern Ireland, undertook when converting a traditional walled city to a... Sample PDF
Walled City to Wireless City
Chapter 16
Bantu L. Morolong
This chapter introduces the reader to the idea of city marketing. This idea has developed over time, globally, as cities continue to grow rapidly.... Sample PDF
Using Information Communication Technology to Decentralize City Marketing: Challenges and Opportunities
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