From city promotion via city marketing to city branding: Examining urban strategies in 23 Chinese cities

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Abstract

City promotion, city marketing and city branding are all frequently mentioned and examined in the literature on urban governance. Based on the goals and characteristics of different city branding strategies, this study identifies a growing level of sophistication from city promotion via city marketing to city branding and proposes that the degree of urban development of cities is positively related to the use of branding strategies. This proposition is tested among 23 Chinese cities: 21 cities in Guangdong province and two in the Special Administrative Regions – Hong Kong and Macao. The results show a positive correlation between the use of city promotion, city marketing and city branding strategies and a city's level of urban development. Only the largest and wealthiest cities, and those with the strongest tertiary sector report on the use of policies which indicate city branding. The strength of the primary sector is significantly and negatively related to all three identified forms of branding strategy. Furthermore, significant positive statistical inter-relationships exist between the different branding strategies, which confirm the existence of complex relations and overlaps between them. Our findings suggest that local governments should align their city branding strategies with their development goals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103269
JournalCities
Volume116
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • China
  • City branding
  • City marketing
  • City promotion
  • Progression proposition
  • Urban governance

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