City-branding as a tool for image management. The case of Zaragoza (Spain)

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""How important is image management for a territory? From all kind of perspectives: tourist, business, social… the perceived image is a main key for the development of a territory. In case of cities, which some authors consider them as
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  CITYBRANDING AS A TOOL FOR IMAGE MANAGEMENT.THE CASE OF ZARAGOZA (Spain)Abstract: How important is image management for a territory? From all kind of perspectives: tourist,  business, social… the perceived image is a main key for the development of a ter  ritory. Incase of cities, which some authors consider them as having the highest level of competitiveness and development currently (Seisdedos, 2004; De Elizagarate, 2008), imagemanagement is fundamental to compete in a market which is increasingly more demanding.But it is important to know that a city doesn't have just one image, but we can find differentperceptions that we can classify in two big groups: the perceived from the residents and theperceived from the outsiders, who have enough information to have an opinion on it, and thatopinion will make them potential tourists. Therefore, the responsible for image managementhas to have in mind all those perceptions to be able to control its reputation and its position inmarket. A tool that is being used recently in many cities is branding, which helps theadministration to convey the wanted image to the different targets, trying to be congruent withthe population identity.Through this paper we try to analyze the importance of the image for a city and the use of branding to manage it, thanks to the study of case of Zaragoza (Spain) and some of the actionsdeveloped there. Keywords: Image, branding, city 1.   Introduction Increasingly, globalization, along with the crisis, has created a place market hardlycompetitive. Therefore, the different territories try all the time to convey a good image,whether new or strengthened, for which they have been developing promotional strategiesbecoming in some cases the creation of brand images, which are discussed below. Theconsumers of these images are on the one hand, the residents of the territory, and on the otherhand outsiders but potential visitors such as businessmen, students, tourists (Mons, 1992).   Cities have become the most important economic units and this fact has created a highlycompetitive city market. Thus, cities compete to attract not only visitors but also residents,students, investors, etc.., which takes the local governments to invest more efforts and to paymore attention to the development of marketing actions (Font, 2000). This situation makes usto discuss about citymarketing, which has given rise to the phenomenon of citybranding.Florian and Sanz (2005) show us the following definition of city marketing "process of managing of the city resources which aims to promote the acceptance of items of value itincorporates, paying attention to the needs of the different target audiences"(Gomez, 2000).As we will see in this paper, it is increasingly common to find cities choosing branding as a  marketing tool to manage the image that they want to convey to their different targets bothinternally and externally.As quoted by Friedmann (2003), it is increasingly clear that competition is harder betweencities (Meffert, 1989) and only the most competitive ones will survive and progress (Abarca,2003). Therefore, as said before, the current local authorities compete with each other toattract investment, visitors, businesses, etc. 2.   The concept of image: A literature review Many scholars have attempted to define the concept of image. The following table listsdifferent definitions adapted to a destination or territory: Author/s, year Definition of image Crompton, 1979, Kotler et al, 1993 A set of beliefs, ideas and impressions thatpeople have of a place or destination.Fridgen, 1987 It is a mental representation of an object or placewhich is not physically before the observer.Assael, 1984 Total perception of a product that is formed byprocessing information from various sources overtime.Lawson and Baud-Bovy, 1977 The expression of all knowledge, impressions,prejudices and emotional thoughts an individualor group has of a particular object or place.Oxenfedt, 1974-75, Dichter, 1985 An overall or total impression which is formed asa result of the evaluation of individual attributeswhich may contain both cognitive and emotionalcontent.Mazursky and Jacoby, 1986 A set of cognitions and affects that represent anentity to an individual.Dobni and Zinkhan, 1990 Perceptual phenomenon which is formedthrough consumers' reasoned and emotionalinterpretation. Source: Compilation based on information supplied by Baloglu y McCleary (1999) Another example we find on numerous occasions is the one collected by Marrero and Tanda(2003) citing Kotler, Haider and Rein (1992), who understand the city's image as "the sum of beliefs, ideas and impressions that a person has of a city. The images represent asimplification of a large number of associations and pieces of information connected with thelocality. They are a product of mind that comes to processing and essentialize huge amountsof information about that place".According to Luque et al (2009) image is formed from the messages that the differentconsumers receive of a territory. Thus, communication plays an important role since theimage may arise from a controlled and intended message -as quoted by Luque- different  theorists reflected (Capriotti, 1992, 1999, Dowling, 1993; Rodríguez del Bosque, 1995,Westcott, 2001), while it is possible that the Administration (manager of the image of aterritory) consciously or unconsciously give up that control and accept the image createdspontaneously by the different audiences. This implies that image always exists, whether it iscontrolled or not, hence the different entities or organizations -whether public or private- feelthe need to plan and carry out communication actions towards their different consumers inorder to manage that perception. The same author states that image is the basic background tothe direct or indirect relationship between the territory and its different types of customers.They -residents, investors, tourists, etc.- will act conditioned by the perceived image.Luque also points out (quoting Bacon, 1976) that image is modified as the subject is gettingmore information and knowledge about the territory, so that their perception is increasinglybased on a larger number of elements. Thus, we realize that the actions developed related tothe communication of the image of an area are important as they will be influencing thedifferent audiences the brand is directed to, so the information sent to these actions beingperfectly planned, segmented and communicated is essential.Moreover, as indicated by Kotler, Haider and Rein (2002), we cannot forget that the imagesthat people have of a place don’t show necessarily their attitudes toward that place. Twopeople can have the same image of a city but different attitudes, since they have differentviews on what those images represent (for example: climate). Two different images can becreated from the same place, even though the conveyed message is the same for both of them.We can link this analysis to the description of the components of the image of a city accordingto Riebel (1993) 1 :- Cognitive component: how a city is perceived, i.e. the ideas people held about it.- Emotional component: feelings that a city causes.- Behavior component: predisposition to act in a certain way related to a city.But as indicated by Tamagni (2010), for a person to form an image of a place, he/she must atleast have heard of it. We should also be aware that the image is not static but it is continuallychanging as a result of the new stimuli people received from that place or personal changes.For all these reasons it is important to note that the image that the different subjects have of aterritory doesn’t always match up with what their managers want to convey. At the same timewe see that the importance lies on the communication actions, whose responsibility lies withthe local government in the case of cities. Thus the image of a territory, as described byMarrero and Tanda (2003), should be managed in such a way that it serves as a strategicplanning tool positioning. This should adequately represent the identity of the residents, tryingto attract the attention of visitors, as we explain over this epigraph. a.   Types of images With everything described so far, we see that image is formed subjectively, i.e. it depends onevery person and his/her relationship with the territory. Thus, the perception will be differentfrom a resident and from a nonresident. As indicated by Friedmann (1995), cited by Marrero(2004), we can talk about external image as perceived by outsiders, and internal image as 1   Citado por Friedmann, R. (1996) en “Identidad e imagen corporativa para ciudades” del número 9 de laRevista Chilena de Administración Pública.  perceived by the residents, also treated in some papers as identity (Seisdedos, 2004, 2006) oras Krakover Stern (1993) stated in his article when he quotes Relph (1976, 1986) speaking of "place identity" or "sense of place".Therefore, if we discuss about internal image , we see that this concept is closely related tothe identity. Thus, Friedman describes the identity of a city with the following chart: Source : Marrero, M. y Tanda, J. (2003) “Identidad e Imagen aspectos esenciales a considerar en los Planes Estratégicos de Ciudad”. Fuente srcinal: Fuente: Friedmann, R.(1996) “Identidad e imagen corporativa para ciudades”. Revista Chilena de Administración Pública, p.10. Furthermore Balmer and Greyser (2002) identify five types of identity. Adapted to a territory,we describe the following variants: -   Actual identity, created by the current characteristics of the territory: elements,services, products, quality, supply, etc.. It also takes into account the characteristics of the population. -   Communicated identity, "controlled" by the administration through advertising,public relations, promotional activities... On the other hand, it also considers"uncontrolled" communication as word of mouth or some media. -   Planned identity, related to specific concepts such as brand image or reputationof the administration from the perspective of different stakeholders. -   Ideally identity, being the optimal positioning in the market or markets in aparticular moment. This usually depends on the strategic plans and managementcapabilities, as well as the general context it competes in. The specific characteristicsof the ideal identity also depend on specific external factors that may affect theterritory both positively and negatively (as a terrorist attack or a victory in a sportscompetition, for example).  -   Desired identity, which is the one that the public administration responsible forthat territory has, i.e. its vision. Although it may coincide with the ideal identity, itscreation is different: the ideal identity is created normally by a process of analysis andresearch, and the desired one is related to a subjective perception, which depends onthe personality and characteristics of every person, instead of a rational assessment.But the internal image is not only related to the identity, but is an essential aspect incitybranding and citymarketing actions. As described by Hankinson (2004), citizens are alsoconsumers of the brand of their city. They are also part of the reality of that brand andtherefore it is necessary for them to support the brand and its values. This is only possible if the target visitor audience segments are compatible with the general characteristics of theresident population. If the department of management does not care in the selection of thedifferent targets, it can potentially destroy the culture of that place and, therefore, destroy oneof the key features of its brand. This is a problem that affects the tourism market in particular,in which visitors having direct contact with the residents is frequent, though that relationshipis not always direct. Conflicts can occur when the economic aspirations of the destination andthe socio-cultural needs of the residents do not match up or are not managed in a right way. Insuch cases, the relationships with the stakeholders can be crucial to the success of the brand.Focusing now in external image , many scholars discuss about destination image on a touristlevel, and so we will consider external image in that way in this paper, although actually theexternal image is not only related to tourism, since we talk about external image perceived bypotential residents, potential students, potential investors... It is also clear that the imageperceived from outside will be a main key for tourists attitude. As quoted Pike (2002)referring to Chon (1990), the destination image plays a crucial role in the decision of thetraveler as well as in the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the trip, since it depends onthe comparison between the expectation of the destination  –  based in the image-, and theexperience lived there.Moreover, Bigné et al (2001) explain that the influence of the image on the choice of destination has been considered in different models of various authors: Crompton &Ankomah, 1993; Gartner, 1989; Goodall, 1988; Kent, 1990; Mathieson & Wall, 1982;Moutinho, 1987; Schmoll, 1977, Stabler, 1990. Furthermore, it is considered that thedestinations having strong positive images have a higher probability of being included andchosen in the decision making process, as referenced Alhemoud & Armstrong, 1996; Echtner& Ritchie, 1991; Johnson & Thomas , 1992; Telisman-Kosuta, 1994, also cited by Bigné et al.But according to other writers (Ashworth & Goodall, 1988; Bordas & Rubio, 1993, Cooper etal., 1993, Mansfeld, 1992) cited by Bigné et al, the image doesn’t influence only in theselection of a destination, but also affects the behavior of tourists in general. b.   Brand image As noted above in this paper, an important tool of image management is territorial branding,as we will see. Thus the concept of brand image arises, being different from those previouslyanalyzed. For example, Keller (1993) defines brand image as the perceptions about the brandreflected as existing associations in consumers ’ memory, which is a point of view with greatsuccess since other definitions have been based of it (Rynes, 1991, Biel, 1992). This generaldefinition is applicable to a territory since it already has an image of identity before theimplementation of a brand, so the memory of the consumers is essential to the assessment andacceptance of the brand. We could relate this concept to the brand extension definition
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