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Cities invest large sums of money in ‘flagship projects’, with the aim of not only developing the city as such, but also changing the perceptions of the city brand towards a desired image. The city of Hamburg, Germany, is currently investing euro575 million in order to build a new symphony hall (Elbphilharmonie), euro400 million to develop the ‘International Architectural Fair’ and it is also considering candidature again for the ‘Olympic Games’ in 2024/2028. As assessing the image effects of such projects is rather difficult, this article introduces an improved version of the Brand Concept Map approach, which was originally developed for product brands. An experimental design was used to first measure the Hamburg brand as such and then the changes in the brand perceptions after priming the participants (N=209) for one of the three different flagship projects. The findings reveal several important structural differences for the brand image dimensions of the city contingent upon the type of flagship project. Hence, this study shows (i) that different flagship projects have different image effects for the city brand and (ii) provides a novel method for measuring perceived place brand image effects of both ongoing and future flagship projects.

Publication information

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Brand Management
Volume20
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)642-655
ISSN1350-231X
StatePublished - Sep 2013

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