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Conferência Ibero-Americana de Place Branding

Como se relacionam os stakeholders internos com o place branding de Porto e S. João da Madeira?

“How internal stakeholders relate with the place brand: the case of Porto and São João da Madeira” é o título do trabalho a apresentar na 1ª Conferência Ibero-Americana de Place Branding, que se realiza entre 1 e 2 de outubro de 2020, em Lisboa.

Este artigo insere-se no âmbito do doutoramento em curso em Análise Económica e Estratégia Empresarial, a decorrer na Universidade de Vigo.

How internal stakeholders relate with the place brand: the case of Porto and São João da Madeira: Abstract

As far as the competitiveness of the cities declines, inhabitants move away, consumers spend less money and businesses start closing or falling. Literature refers the use branding strategies to invert this trend.

Regardless their dimension, cities have been embracing branding strategies to promote themselves, retain citizens, attract new residents and investors, competing for more tourists, achieving new investments and job creators. Place branding is one of the main interests to both academics and policy makers, as cities are competing for global attraction of tourists, investors, and talent, simultaneously with the pursuit of urban development, regeneration, and quality of life. In this context, most relevant literature recognizes the importance of stakeholders’ engagement, but studies reveal that they are not sources of influence regarding the decision-making processes, mainly due to «top down» administrative procedures instead of «bottom up». Additionally, city authorities often overlook the needs, interests, and values of one of the most important stakeholders – the residents – despite their role as loyal supporters and ambassadors of the city brand. According to the literature when the stakeholders are involved in branding it results in a clearer brand concept and contributes to attract new inhabitants, visitors, and companies. There is a link between branding and multiple stakeholders by means of the internal stakeholders for they are of of key importance in the co-creation of the place brand co-creation and its long-term success. Research in place branding also suggests that collaboration, participation, and the role of stakeholders in the branding process is an increasing subject of investigation.

How the internal stakeholders of two cities with different dimensions relate to the place brand

The purpose of this research is to analyse how the internal stakeholders of two cities with different dimensions, located in Portugal – Porto and São João da Madeira – relate to the place brand. These cities were selected for being recognized by attracting population, business, and tourism.

To pursue this task, an extended literature review of place branding management frameworks was conducted. A qualitative case study approach was pursued, by means of 24 interviews with representants of internal stakeholders conducted in both cities addressed to their most relevant internal stakeholders.

The results demonstrate how an adopted place branding strategy influences the quality of life in the city, the level of engagement of its internal stakeholders and it affects their relationship with the local institutions. When cities all over the world face an enormous pressure – by the year 2050, 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas – place brand managers are due to find how the place brands can benefit from a close collaboration with residents, workers and employers to build more sustainable cities for the future. Therefore, the results of this research are very encouraging to develop further research and to give cues to the policy makers to adapt the necessary policy measures to fulfil the cities interests.

This paper contributes to knowledge by enhancing the significance of internal stakeholders’ role in the place branding management process.