The Role of Culture in City Branding

The Role of Culture in City Branding

Selda Uca Ozer (Trakya University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1793-1.ch052
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City branding means all types of image development studies for a city in order to attract more visitors, raise the quality of life and awareness of the city and provide development etc. Today, the increasing competition among the cities has made city branding a necessity. There are different strategies implemented for city branding. The mostly used strategy among those is the culture-focused branding studies. Culture has a critical importance for city branding and it is used as an international strategy for the economic, social and environmental renovation of cities. Marketing the cultural city sources and activities in an efficient way and branding the city accordingly have become increasingly important. In this chapter, the role and importance of culture which is one of the most important strategies used in city branding has been discussed in detail. Also, the cases of cultural cities which become successfully different from their rivals with their cultural heritage and the strategies implemented in these cases have been analyzed.
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Cities are becoming more popular destinations for visitors with their lively and different atmosphere comparing to rural or coastal destinations. People can travel to a city for purpose of business trip, family/relatives visiting or just for a holiday. Also, during their travel they perform many activities like shopping, visiting cultural heritage sites, nightlife, dining, sports, festivals, art, cultural events etc.

Inter-city competition and public-private urban partnerships increased as an impact of globalization and cities became vital objects of marketing in this environment (Barkham & Murray, 2012). In that context, city managers use marketing tools -branding is one of them- to improve cities (Pecot & Barnier, 2015). Cities need to be unique and more attractive in such an environment of increased competition of investment, trade and visitors (Lindblom, Lorentz & Pettersson, 2012). Since 1980s, improvement and branding of cities have become the main policies of many countries, especially those in Europe and America. Since that period, activities with high budgets were organized by considering the impacts of the elements which trigger the city development, and city development and branding were supported with worldwide organizations such as Olympics, conventions and forums (Ciftci & Ozsoy, 2008). Within this context, one of the mostly used elements is culture and the related investments. Culture is a rich and multi-dimensional concept that contains social norms and traditions, language, fashion, architecture, handcrafts, art, music, gastronomy etc. (Iliachenko, 2005). Cities with unique cultural attractions can easily be branded since they offer different experiences to visitors. Local historical places, stories and legends create an unforgettable and romantic experience for tourists visiting the cities and they stick in the mind.

The aim of this chapter is to understand the concept and the development of city branding and to present the role of culture in city branding. In this chapter, the role and importance of culture which is one of the most important strategies used in city branding will be discussed in detail. The main research questions of this chapter are; “what are the cultural presentations, values and resources and how they could be used in city branding?” The chapter will discuss these questions and at the same time different cities will be taken into consideration as case studies to focus on the cities which become successful brands with their cultural values. And, some recommendations will be proposed for the implementation.

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