Saturday, March 29, 2014

Branding Clusters and Cities

San Diego Lifestyle: Purchase Picture by Murad Abel
Economic development is an important part of keeping the nation moving forward on its economic and social goals. The way in which clusters and cities are branded is important for helping its citizens understand their place within it all while helping people of other places formalize a concept of the area. A paper by Brian Crombie discusses the benefits of branding cities and clusters for greater growth (2011).

Clusters are branded in much the same way as products and services. Branding can apply to any mass communication that include companies, political parties and nations to create success on the market (O’Shaughnessy & O’Shaughnessy, 2000). Branding is a process of creating greater awareness of the offerings of an area. Such brands should do the following (Crombie, 2011):

-Target opportunities in high growth sectors such as life sciences, sustainable technology, life sciences, financial resources or advanced technology.
-Create a supportive business environment.
-Provide a brand that attracts business, investments and jobs.

A strong brand is, “distinctive by its positioning relative to the competition, and by its personality, which comprises a unique combination of functional attributes and symbolic values” (Kavarvztiz, 2004, p. 65). It provides an extra nudge to ensure people are aware of its businesses, cluster, and opportunities.

Brands should give a name and image to the social system and social capital within the area (O’Shaughnessy & O’Shaughnessy, 2000). People should be able to formalize what an area stands for and what it can provide on different planes such as core competencies, its people, and its lifestyle. When done well it creates a total image of the area that can be useful for helping people believe in that brand.

Each cluster and city has an image. Some images are well known while others are not known at all. Each brand should accurately reflect the area but also push to enhance those aspects that are most beneficial for growth. When people can formalize the image of an area and have adequate information to understand that area they are more likely to invest, grow businesses, and train people around that image.

Crombie, B. (2011). Branding cities and clusters for economic development. ISM Journal of International Business, 1 (3). 

Kavaratzis, M. (2004), From City Marketing to City Branding: Towards a Theoretical Framework for
Developing City Brands. Journal of Place Branding, 1

O’Shaughnessy, J. & O’Shaughnessy, N. (2000). Treating the nation as a brand: some neglected issue. Journal of Macromarketing, 20 (56).

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