Laura Ripoll-González e-mail(Login required) , Libby Lester e-mail(Login required)

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Laura Ripoll-González e-mail(Login required)
Libby Lester e-mail(Login required)

Abstract

379
This paper examines stakeholder communication and interaction dynamics in place branding processes in order to inform alternative participatory place branding models. The paper draws from critical communications and branding theory to argue that place brand identities are the result of mediated messages in the public sphere. Consequently, place branding processes need to be observed as communicative exchanges. Through a case study of Australia’s southern and only island state of Tasmania, the research employs participatory action research combined with the method of sociological intervention to explore stakeholders’ communicative interaction patterns and engagement in place branding processes. Participants representing formal and informal stakeholders engaged in communicating meaning about places were invited to participate in a series of interviews and focus group discussions that allowed a unique self-reflective process and analysis of practices and power-geometries. The proposed quasi-real scenario led to an understanding of the impediments for communication and to scoping alternative modes of engagement towards effective stakeholder communication to support the development of resilient place brand identities. The findings of the exploration contribute to theoretical development of the field by providing an analysis of the nature of stakeholder interactions and communication patterns, impediments and opportunities for greater communication and collaboration towards a common purpose. On a practical level, the study can also inform the development of participatory models of place brand development. Finally, the method proposed here can serve as a practical tool to foster stakeholder engagement in processes of cocreation of place brand identities.

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