The Embeddedness of Branding and Marketing in City Governance in the Developing World

The Embeddedness of Branding and Marketing in City Governance in the Developing World

Joshua Mugambwa (Makerere University, Uganda), Annet K. Nabatanzi-Muyimba (Makerere University, Uganda) and Vincent Obedgiu (Makerere University, Uganda)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4165-3.ch023


City branding and marketing is gaining more attention as cities compete on a global scale in attracting visitors, investors, talents, and inhabitants. Websites are used among other mechanisms to market cities as brands. Brands exist as distinct themes, logos, slogans, symbols, and content. Using review of literature, this chapter examines the embeddedness of city branding and marketing in city governance in the developing world. Symbolic elements that differentiate city brands should be exploited in embedding city marketing.
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City branding and marketing is a perquisite for cities in the developing world. With decentralization, cities around the world are in search for viable sources of funding to supplement meager resources provided by central governments to sustain their operations. Following the decentralized governance adopted by many countries due to the Structural Adjustment Programme by World Bank, cities have become autonomous and largely self- funded. City marketing has become imperative in improving cities’ competitiveness, income generation and in engaging cities’ active players and beneficiaries in urban development and governance. City branding and marketing is grounded in marketing management taking into perspective principles of place branding and marketing. Hence, recognizing that cities are places, whose presence must be made visible by using various place marketing strategies to attract visitors, investors, talents and residents. Therefore, city and place are terms used interchangeably in this chapter.

While city marketing aims at detecting and promoting the interests of different groups based on analysis of given resources and potentials to stimulate socio-economic development, city branding is concerned with creating an impression, triggering emotions, building an image of the place based on available resources to foster city’s socio-economic development. Thus, city marketing is one of the instruments for implementation of the city’s socio-economic development strategy whereas city branding is a part of the place marketing mix. According to (P Kotler, Haider, & Rein, 1993)one of the aims of place marketing is to promote a place’s values and image so that potential users are fully aware of its distinctive advantages. Cities around the world are competing on the global market space to attract visitors, investors, talented people and inhabitants. To become globally competitive and to remain relevant in the global market space; cities world over have embarked on marketing efforts to make their presence known locally and internationally (Hospers, 2010). More efforts are also put in establishing the city as a brand (Zenker &Martin, 2011).City branding is about building competitive identities (content) and aligning them through efficient communication efforts. In particular, branding adds essence to urban governance and management that so far has been largely ignored, that is, influencing perceptions and motivating actors by means of symbolic constructions that mainly work by means of associations and emotions(Jasper & Erik-Hans, 2012).However, city branding is much more than simply logos, symbols, signs and mottos. Further, branding and marketing strategies need to change, be renewed and invigorated with time. As cities change, their identities must be rebuilt accordingly. Hence, the current trend of embedding E-Systems in city branding and marketing. Cities are also living entities and it is possible for a city to show signs of age and decay over time. They lose their original attractions and need revival through re-branding and deliberate marketing campaigns. Nonetheless, the field of city branding and marketing is still under the influence of a conventional marketing approach and campaign. Branding strategies, initially developed for businesses are now used to create powerful city brands (Rudneva, 2012).In particular, branding and advertising agencies still push in that direction.

In addition, marketing and branding of places and territories has become an attractive area for theoretical research and practical implementation due to the emergence of new technologies and modes of strategic development particularly e-governance as a way of delivering improved urban services. Until recently, management of cities in the developing world have not paid much attention to the potential impact of branding and marketing, and that partly may explain why there is continued underdevelopment of such cities. The aim of this chapter is therefore to bring city marketing and branding to the forefront of urban governance and management especially in developing world. The specific objectives of the chapter are;

  • 1.

    To examine the embeddedness of branding and marketing in city governance and management in developing countries.

  • 2.

    To assess the online (e) branding and marketing efforts undertaken by cities in developing countries.

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