My Place Is Not Your Place: Different Place Brand Knowledge by Different Target Groups

Sebastian Zenker, Suzanne C. Beckmann

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose – Cities increasingly compete with each other for attracting tourists, investors, companies, or residents. Marketers therefore focus on establishing the city as a brand, disregarding that the perception and knowledge of a city differ dramatically between the target audiences. Hence, place branding should emphasize much more the perceptions of the different target groups and develop strategies for advanced place brand management. The aim of this paper is to assess the important discrepancies between the city brand perceptions of different target groups with the help of network analysis.
Design/methodology/approach – In two empirical studies, the important discrepancies between the city brand perceptions of different target groups are assessed with the help of network analysis. Study 1 consists of 40 qualitative in-depth-interviews and study 2 uses an online qualitative open-ended-question survey with 334 participants.
Findings – Structural differences for the city brand perceptions of two different target groups and the differences between perceptions of an external and internal target group are highlighted. The results and the managerial implications for place marketers are discussed.
Research limitations/implications – The study investigates the brand associations for the city of Hamburg brand with two target groups and this limits the generalizability of the results. However, the focus was on measuring for the first time the difference in the place brand perception of different target group and the results helps to understand how an advanced place brand management could deal with this challenge.
Originality/value – Place branding is increasingly popular in urban management. This paper highlights the challenge of diverse target audiences in this process and discusses implication for an advanced place brand management.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Place Management and Development
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)6-17
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Place Branding
  • City Brands
  • Brand Knowledge
  • Brand Perception
  • Network Analysis
  • Target Groups
  • Place Brand Management
  • Brands
  • Marketing
  • Germany

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