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Also known as place promotion or destination branding, place branding is a marketing concept that has to do with the promotion of a geographical location by creating an image that induces consumers to think of that place when they want to buy certain products or engage in certain types of activities. The idea behind this type of branding effort is to generate additional interest that induces people to think of that location first when and as they want to be involved with certain activities as part of a vacation or other event. While the concept itself has been around for many years, the designation of place branding has only come to the forefront since the beginning of the 21st century.
In order to effectively make use of place branding, it is important to identify specific characteristics that relevant to a given geographical area. Those characteristics may have to do with natural resources, recreation, industry, the arts, or any other number of factors that could be identified as reasons why people would want to visit the city or area. For example, cities and communities that are situated along a seashore will often highlight their sandy beaches and ample fishing opportunities as part of their public relations strategies. The end result is that people who want sand and surf or to enjoy deep sea fishing begin to associate that area with those recreational events.
Place branding is a great way to increase tourism and bring additional funds into the local economy. Once a city or community has the reputation of being the place to go for certain activities, the tourist industry within that area can create a number of job opportunities for local residents, bring in additional industries that help support the influx of visitors and in general enhance the economic outlook for the area. For example, if a community establishes a reputation as being the birthplace and ongoing unofficial headquarters of a specific music genre, devotees of that genre will often visit the area, prompting hotel chains to build facilities in the area, even as restaurants establish a presence as a way of generated profits from that influx.
It is important to note that place branding requires careful planning if the effort is to be successful. Attempting to build a reputation that associates a location with certain characteristics only works if those features are a recognizable and prominent part of the community. This means that attempting to build a brand as the home of the best peaches in the area will only work if an abundance of peaches are actually grown there, and they are of relatively high quality.