Place brand positioning: perspectives from value co-creation and strategic narrative

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The place image is a broader result of a system of communications, information, perceptions, coming from the place and subjectively identified and differently recognized by the actors interacting with the place during the time. Place image comes from direct and indirect experiences, communications and information of the users; the world complexity is made by a multitude of stimuli and information that affect people perception and reduce the opportunity to build a clear positioning for companies and of course for place brand. The place branding strategy supports place to build and provide a place identity, diffusing and communicating right characteristics, values and meanings that should identify the place value proposition.

Different countries and cities around the world are working on place branding strategies, reorganizing the place value proposition, providing a desired place identity and identifying a strategic path to involve place actors (internally and externally) in integrating resources. So, they are working to respect and achieve the place final purpose (increasing a sustainable wellbeing and quality of life of people). Following marketing and business research, the place branding strategy should involve place actors to interact and collaborate (value co-creation) in stimulating the emergence of specific place brand positioning that should emerge as in line with the place identity in terms of values, characteristics and meanings. The place brand positioning helps users to recognize the place with its specific characteristics and elements of identity although it is strongly influenced by the emerging place image. For this reason, around the complexity and confusion of the entangled world and societies, specific communication, education and narrative (specifically using advanced technologies and web communication) are relevant to affirm the place brand identity and the relative positioning.

Building on business marketing and sociological literature, we explain how the value co-creation and the strategic narrative seem to be useful frameworks to affirm the place brand positioning. In particular, the value co-creation approach permits to stimulate the actors interaction inside and outside the place involving subjects to integrate resources favouring the place. The strategic narrative, eventually supported by technology and web communication, could represent a tool to stimulate actors and values around the place identity in order to affirm the place brand positioning.

Keywords: place brand, identity, image, positioning, strategic narrative

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