Place branding: The problem of representation and brand-identification

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The article is a critical analysis of the conceptual apparatus in the field of branding and marketing areas. The author discusses the various definitions of «brand» and «brand territory», their diversity and its causes. The aim of this work is clearing the theoretical and practical definition of the territorial brand through the redefinition and extension of the conceptual apparatus. This approach can remove the resulting misunderstanding of the subject activities and «contradictions » in its definition, as well as to expand its theoretical base. Verifying the conceptual and terminological apparatus is not only «theoretical» and «academic» in nature, but has practical importance, which contributes to a more precise determination of the activity of the developer and the customer in the framework of specific project activities and qualitative development of branding in Russia. The article introduces the concept of «brand-identification» to minimize the confusion among the different parts of the same structure – the brand and to address methodological and terminological confusion among developers and customers of regional branding through differencing essentially single and at the same time different parts of the communicative system: the brand and its visual identity (brand identification). The author uses the concept of representation of the territory, image of territory, existing in the minds of consumers and target audience. The image of territory is formed as the scope of project activities through advertising, design, marketing, branding, PR, and is implemented, and reproduced in the information-communicative space of the modern information society. The image of the area and its representation (and the idea of it) is the struggle and unity of the real and the ideal (desired) image of reality. A critical analysis of the attraction’s semiotics by D. Maccannell is the theoretical basis of representation of the territory. It defines a tourist attraction as a sign through the relationship among sight, marker and tourist. The article defines the problem of analyzing the identity (and identification) of the territory with respect to the image areas and not to the real territory, the representation «assigns» identification function, the image becomes inseparable in the popular consciousness from reality. The author draws the conclusion about the necessity of differentiation of concepts «brand» and «brand-identification». The brand of the territory is defined as the representation of areas by means of information and communication tools. Brand-identification of the territory is one of the structural elements, and «attributes» of the brand territory. Representation of territory is a more general concept which can be understanding at the level of conceptualization of place branding, brand identity is more applied, and corresponds to the appropriate level of operationalization.


Place branding, brand, brand identification, communications, place marketing, marker, representation, territory

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IDR: 140236883   |   DOI: 10.24411/1995-0411-2018-10402

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