Vienna's Branding Campaign Strategic Option for Developing Austria's Capital in a Top Tourism Destination

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

"In the mid "90s the use of marketing became frequent within in local communities, as a response to problems such as deep changes occurred in companies strategies and governmental policies, determined by the process of globalization and regionalization process. This is an important moment for urban marketing, as it starts to be placed and perceived in the larger context of local and regional development. This expansion of "urban marketing" concept determined the change of its perception by the business community, local administrations and non-profit organizations" (Stanciulescu, 2009). However, urban branding is a new concept as few authors refer to it. Thus, in 2001, Hankinson stated that "compared to urban marketing, there are few articles in the academic literature on promoting places as brands". The results of conducted research in the small municipalities of Berlin have shown that branding was considered relevant, but was not always understood and applied effectively. Trueman et all. (2001) showed that it would be necessary to conduct an analysis of the city as a brand that would take into account a wide range of stakeholders. The new economic growth models are connected to other more dynamic factors, as: human capital, knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship (Plumb and Zamfir, 2011). Moreover, Rainisto (2003) said that "urban brands resemble the corporations' umbrella brand and may benefit from a place's image value".

Nevertheless, two important questions remain: how can a city become a brand and how can it be seen as a brand? The following definition of the brand can be an appropriate answer: "a brand is a distinctive product or service through its personality and position over competition, a unique combination of functional features and symbolic values. The key to successful branding is to create a relationship between the brand and the consumer, so that the functions and values of the brand to fold up the consumer's needs" (Hankinson and Cowking, 1993). "One of the first advantages of branding is that the loyalty of the clients is enhanced. We speak both of the behavioral and emotional loyalty. When branding is in place, clients are more likely to remain loyal to their brand, even when the promise of another brand is appealing or our brand is facing quality problems on the short- run" (Barbu, Ogarca, Barbu, 2010). Similar to brands, the cities satisfy Junctional, symbolic and emotional needs" (Ashworth and Voogd, 1990), and the attributes that meet those needs must be orchestrated in an urban single proposal (Ashworth and Voogd, 1990).

According to Parkerson and Saunders (2005), among the objectives of urban branding are also included the increase of visitors' number by enhancing the attractiveness, stimulation of business investment and improvement of the living environment for residents and students. Thus, the two point out that "the basic motivation is economic".

Karavatzis (2004) explains that the first purpose of branding was to attract investments, which was heavily criticized for generating social conflicts. "Urban branding is understood as a means of achieving both competitive advantage to enhance domestic and tourism investment, and the community's development, the reinforcement of local identity and identification of citizens with their city, by activating all the necessary social forces to avoid social exclusion and anxieties".

Mommaas (2002) is more virulent when he states that urban brands benefit only of an economically oriented management, and not of one that is oriented towards social and cultural objectives; they serve only to external rich groups. He also adds that city brands should improve the urban pride and the sense of community.

In conclusion, we can state that branding is an optimal starting point for the city marketing and a solid framework with which the management of the urban image can be achieved.

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