IV INTERNATIONAL WEB-CONFERENCE NOVEMBER 29-30, Connect-Universum-2018 The theme of the Conference: Digital Place Brand Management: Global and Local Aspects

Dear colleagues,
The oldest Siberian Imperial Tomsk University, presently known as National Research Tomsk State University (TSU), celebrates its 140th anniversary this year. We invite you to join our research community and contribute to the fourth International Transdisciplinary Research and Practice Online Conference “Connect-Universum-2018”.
The theme of the Conference:
“Digital Place Brand Management”: Global and Local Aspects

This year, “Connect-Universum” invites researchers and practitioners from different scientific areas and professional spheres to participate in discussing the issues of developing place brands (global and local) and managing them with the help of digital and Internet technologies.

The relevance of this problem is determined by the trends of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Klaus M. Schwab), which are digitalization and globalization of economies and cultures; expanding the range of innovation  technologies that includes artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of things (IoT), and their convergence; hybridization of the ontology of the network information and communication society that blurs the boundaries between the real and the virtual (Mixed reality, MR); increasing mobility of people and capital; and an unprecedented increase in competition in all areas and at all levels.

These trends are becoming serious challenges for place managers of different levels and scales, who are facing the issues of keeping their economic independence and finding the cultural identity of the places they are responsible for. To be competitive, they need to create unique selling propositions, as well as develop new international, national, regional, municipal, and other types of infrastructures as "points of attraction" for the mobility of people and capital.
Since the Internet is the key channel for effective positioning and promoting place brands in the information and network society, it is digital brand management that becomes the main instrument of successful implementation of any place brand strategy.
Simon Anholt, who coined the term “place branding”, proposed to distinguish between “nation brands” and “place brands”:

  • Nation brand is a brand of a country, region, or city that helps develop promotion strategy of places, based on their political, economic, and socio-cultural potential, as well as on their natural and recreational resources. This is also a brand of products and services that represent local businesses.
  • Place brand is a mental construction, a set of perceptions in consumers’ imagination. It is one of the most powerful tools of communication with target audiences of brands.

Therefore, digital place branding and digital place brand management represent a purposeful development of the place image using various digital and Internet technologies. This is creating certain stable representations (associations, emotions, and value characteristics) about a place in the minds of target audiences and their online and offline management aimed at increasing the brand recognition of places in the electronic information space. The final goal is to attract investors, tourists, new residents, and skilled migrants who can provide inflow of financial resources.

In this particular case, the term “place” has a broad meaning. It is a geographical and socio-cultural areal, a country or an interstate association, a region, a city, a district, a county; a national or technological park; an industrial, agricultural or resort area; a large shopping mall, a university campus, etc.

In the digital age, a person first goes on the Internet, and then goes to certain locations and invests money (or does not go and does not invest it). Virtual / digital images of places compete for Internet users’ attention and loyalty, and the "directors" of this competition create new ways to manage people’s perception and behavior to convert people’s "mobility capital" (V.Kaufmann) into their nondigital mobility, and turn a virtual journey into a nondigital visit to a city, region, or country. Bloggers as influencers on the Internet play a particular role. Ordinary users, being members of network communities in social media, contribute to developing the image of places as well. Being residents or visiting cities, being tourists or migrants, they leave their comments, photos, videos, reviews, and geo-marks on the Internet. These trustworthy first hand "digital impressions" influence people's opinions and decisions. Along with brand managers and bloggers, Internet users become actors in developing digital brands of places. All together, they make the world open, recognizable, attractive, mobile, and global.

The transdisciplinary approach to discussing the issues of digital place brand management allows us to look at this high-tech complex practice both as effective place brand management, and from the point of its essence and role in the information and network society.

The organizers of the “Connect-Universum-2018” Conference are planning a two-day webinar discussion.

 Organizers of the Conference:

 Partners of the Conference:

Some issues to be discussed:

  •  Digital brand management in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • The hybrid ontology of the information-network society as a general context for developing a place brand and managing it: social, philosophical, anthropological, and cultural aspects
  • Smart city as a current urbanistic concept for positioning and promoting cities
  • Socio-psychological and anthropological aspects of place brand management in new media
  • Linguistic and semiotic methods of constructing a place brand on the Internet
  • Role of mobility in digital place brand management: geographical, sociological, economic, and educational aspects
  • Political and economic "barriers" in digital place brand management
  • Digital place branding as a management resource
  • Legal aspects of place brand management: Russian and international experience
  • Place marketing in the digital age: modern approaches and cases
  • Role of travel journalism and digital nomadism in promoting places
  • Cultural practices and digital place brand management (design, creative industries, and events)
  • Digital brand management as a complex high-tech practice
  • Digital brand management: the best global and Russian cases

 Other issues proposed by the participants are welcome
The organizers of the web-conference are negotiating with potential key speakers and hope for the active participation of experts, researchers and practitioners from a number of countries.
 Working languages of the Conference - Russian and English
There are three variants of participation:
1) key speaker (presenting a report or a case-study at the plenary session live online with publication of the text of the presentation on the website of the Conference and free publication in the issue indexed in the Russian Science Citation Index (RSCI);
2) speaker (all materials are posted on the website of the Conference and published in the issue if required);
3) participant of the discussion (registered online participant, provided with the opportunity to comment and ask questions).
All key speakers and speakers will be provided with personal pages in Russian and English on the website of the Conference. Key speaker status is conferred by the International Council of Experts of the Conference in accordance with the level of contribution (relevance, content, originality and creativity).
All speakers will receive electronic certificates as participants of the International Transdisciplinary Research and Practice Online Conference. 
September 15, 2018 – Conference application deadline (application forms for researchers and practitioners).
November 1, 2018 –  reports and presentations deadline.
All materials and questions should be sent to connectuniversum@gmail.com
The Program of the Conference will be posted on the website of the Conference 10 days prior the event.
Registration for the webinar on the website of the Conference will start on November 15, 2018.
If the publication in the issue of the Conference is requested (RSCI), full text of the paper should be sent not later than November 1, 2018. All texts should be formatted in accordance with the requirements.
Participation in the Conference, posting all the texts and cases on the website of the Conference, and publication in the issue of the Conference are free of charge. Printing and sending the issue to an author are at the author’s expense (the price will be announced later).
The “digital tracks” of the Conference will remain preserved on the bi-lingual website of the Conference, where one can find all materials from the previous conferences: reports on digital nomadism (2016), visual communications in new media (2014), and the influence of new media on consciousness and behavior of youth (2012).
The Conference Organizing Committee:
+7 (3822) 529 537