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

Information letter

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 third International Transdisciplinary Research and Practice Online Conference “Connect-Universum-2018”.

The Conference will be held as part of III International University Cities Forum (Tomsk, TSU, 28-30 November, 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:


The following scholars and practitioners have given their preliminary consent of participation as key speakers:
Irina Arkhangelskaya – Doctor of Philology, Professor at the Department of Literature and Intercultural Communication, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Nizhny Novgorod; Professor at the Department of Journalism, Lobachevsky University, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Dr.   Arkhangelskaya’s areas of expertise are communication theory, mass communications, public relations, and intercultural communications; she is a reviewer of the “International Journal of Communication”.

Olga Astafyeva – Doctor of Philosophy, Professor of Department of UNESCO, Institute of Administration and Civil Service, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (IPACS RANEPA); Director of Research and Education Centre «Civil Society and Social», IPACS RANEPA, Moscow, Russia. Dr. Astafyeva addresses the issues of cultural policy, contemporary socio-cultural processes, and intercultural communication. 

Sandra Braun – Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Faculty of Communication Studies, Mount Royal University Calgary, Alberta, Canada; deals with the issues of Communication Theory, Crisis Communication, Media History, Reputation Management, and others.
Roberto Bruni – Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Business Management at the University of Cassino and Southern Lazio , Italy; Doctor Bruni’s areas of expertise are marketing, tourism marketing, and place management.
Scott Cunningham  –  Ph.D., Associate Professor, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands; Associate Editor of the journal “Technological Forecasting and Social Change”; member of transdisciplinary research group on the study of city rhythms. Research interests: probabilistic models for policy and infrastructure analysis, rational models for policy analysis, decision support systems, and network analysis.
Nick Fedaeff – Russian and New Zealand surrealist artist, musician, new media professional, and traveler.
Artemiy Fominykhadvertising and branding professional, co-owner and commercial director of LOVEMEDO branding agency, Tomsk, Russia.
Dmitry Gavra – Doctor of Sociology, Professor, Head of the Department of Public Relations in Business, Higher School of Journalism and Mass Communications, St. Petersburg State University, Russia. Dr. Gavra is a communication theorist and practitioner, creator of the Institutional Theory of Public Opinion; leader of the research project “External Image of the Country in Global Information Environment”, studies the role of creative clusters in city branding.
Martin de Jong – Ph.D.,  Professor at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands; specializes in urban and infrastructure development, transport infrastructures and eco city/low carbon city development.
Sergei Klyagin – Doctor of Philosophy, Professor, Head of the Department of Theory and Practice of Public Relations, Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia; specializes in communication studies, public relations, and advertising. Fellow of the Russian Communication Association (RCA), National Communication Association (NCA), European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA); Editorial and Publishing Council member of the Russian Communication Association, Editorial Board member, Russian Journal of Communication (US).
Dean Kruckeberg Ph.D., APR, Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA; Fellow of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Chair of the National Professional Freedom and Responsibility Committee (PF&R); member of the President’s Advisory Council and National Board of Directors of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC); author and co-author of award-winning books on public relations.
Irina Kuzheleva-Sagan – Doctor of Philosophy (Doctor Habilitatus), Head of the Department of Social Communication, Faculty of Psychology, National Research Tomsk State University (TSU), Tomsk, Russia; Head of the Laboratory of High-Hume New Media Technologies; leader of the research team “Organization of Social Space 4.0 as a Condition for the High Quality of Human Life in the Digital Era”; Dr. Kuzheleva-Sagan’s areas of expertise are methodology for scholarly knowledge about public relations and image studies, issues connected with digital nomadism, and others.
Marina Lipetskaya – Director of the Center for Strategic Research “North-West” Foundation, St. Petersburg, Russia; Ph.D. holder in Geographical Science, expert on regional strategic planning; author of various scientific publications; Dr. Lipetskaya researches the issues of urban development, predicting the resource and technology markets, and formation of human capital and knowledge economy.
Steve Millington – Director of the Institute of Place Management Special Interest Group for Place Making and a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University (IPM), UK; Trustee of the Manchester Geographical Society; expert in place management and street regeneration; participant of the project High Street UK 2020.
Sergei Samoilenko – MA in Communications, Instructor at the Department of Communication at George Mason University, USA; Scientific Advisor at the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA); Chair for the Washington Department on University Relations at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
Marina Shilina – Doctor of Philology, Professor at the Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Design, Faculty of Marketing, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Moscow, Russia; researches communication in datified society: the Internet of things, the Internet of skills, smart city, and data art. Prof. Shilina is a regular speaker at international conferences on branding, and a tutor of international projects on digital urbanistics; a co-editor of the special issue of the “Russian Journal of Communication” (Routlege, UK, 2017), devoted to Data Turn in Russia.
Katerina Tsetsura – Ph.D., Gaylord Family Professor of Public Relations and Strategic Communication at Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma, USA. Dr. Tsetsura is internationally known for her work in global public relations and media transparency, geobranding, and strategic planning; a co-author of “Transparency, public relations, and the mass media: Combating hidden influences in news coverage worldwide” (2017, Taylor & Francis).
 We are negotiating with other potential key speakers and experts who will take part in this 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

Presentation of the Russian Edition of the book “Knowmad Society: Education Futures  edited by John Moravec will be broadcast live online at the «Connect-Universum-2018» Conference.  Dr. Moravec was one of the key speakers of the previous web-conference (2016), devoted to the issues of digital nomadism. When presenting his report, he kindly agreed to give the right of the first translation of his book into Russian to the Department of Social Communication of Tomsk State University. This project was implemented successfully: The book was issued by the Publishing House of Tomsk State University at the beginning of September, 2018 as part of the series “First Time in the Russian Language: Monographs of Outstanding Foreign Researchers” (translation – Snezhana Nosova, scientific editing – Irina Kuzheleva-Sagan). During the on-line presentation, the full version of this book in Russian will be available for free download to the participants of the Conference «Connect-Universum-2018» (29-30 November, 2018).
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. 
The Conference application deadline has been extended until 25 September, 2018 (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