Patterns of place promotion, place marketing and/or place branding in Dutch municipalities

Boisen, M., Groote, P., Terlouw, K. & Couwenberg, O., May-2018, In : Place Branding and Public Diplomacy. 14, 2, p. 78-88 11 p.

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This paper analyses the different degrees to which place promotion, marketing and branding policies are institutionalised, based on a relatively straightforward and generally applicable methodology in order to stimulate international comparative research in the field. A consensus has emerged over the last decades among scholars and practitioners on the growing importance of place promotion, place marketing and place branding for local authorities. However, few comparative studies have paid specific attention to the extent to which local authorities have applied these instruments. In addition, to our knowledge, no comprehensive studies exist that cover all local authorities within a specific country. We aim to fill this gap. This paper systematically compares how in Dutch municipalities place promotion, place marketing and/or place branding is organised. It also analyses the reasons behind these differences in the institutionalisation of place promotion, marketing and branding using regression and cluster analyses of some key statistical characteristics of Dutch municipalities. The results of these analyses are clearly interpretable, which is a first indication of the validity of our relatively straightforward classification system to determine the popularity and institutionalisation of place promotion, place marketing and/or place branding by local authorities. As this classification is designed to be applicable to other studies, it hopefully stimulates further comparative research within and between national contexts. Based on a simple content analysis of automatically selected online resources, a comprehensive dataset was compiled that includes all 390 Dutch municipalities as of January 1st, 2016. The municipalities have been classified based on whether or not place promotion, place marketing and/or place branding has been a recent local policy issue, whether there is an identifiable, mandated entity responsible for the application of these instruments, and, if so, whether or not such an entity is internally or externally organised (viewed from the vantage point of the municipal organisations). Finally, we have classified the extent to which these mandated entities have an integrated mandate to employ these instruments towards more than one market segment (e.g., residents, businesses/investments, tourists/visitors). This paper presents one of the first comprehensive analyses on the national level of the (spatial) patterns of the popularity and institutionalisation of place promotion, place marketing and/or place branding by local authorities. Additionally, detailed analyses and combinations with official data from Statistics Netherlands and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency enabled us to determine to what extent certain spatial attributes produce these (spatial) patterns: such as population size, population development and the dependence on tourism for the local economy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-88
Number of pages11
JournalPlace Branding and Public Diplomacy
Issue number2
Early online date15-Dec-2017
Publication statusPublished - May-2018


  • Local governance, Place branding, Place marketing, Place promotion, The Netherlands

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