The Lazarus Touch of Heritage: Place Branding, a Multi Stakeholder Study: An Abstract

Varsha Jain*, Preeti Shroff, Altaf Merchant, Subhalakshmi Bezbaruah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In today’s globalized world, geographic locations have emerged as hubs of cultural influences, historic uniqueness and economic development. Each geographic location possesses distinct characteristics, emanating from the cultural, historic, community and people traditions, which can be moulded into a brand experience. Hence, the concept of place branding is garnering attention from academic as well as governments and industry experts. Place branding refers to the development of geographic locations as a unique brand with distinctive traits, given the national and cultural identity aspects. However, unlike the product/service brand, the place brand is a multilevel concept. The growth prospects of tourism, competitive ecosystem and the multilevel experiential dimensions make place branding an important research area. The existing academic research analyses place branding based on functional–utilitarian, cultural–subjective and community–experience related aspects as distinctive elements. However, the current research landscape on place branding is beleaguered with challenges arising from the lack of a commonly acknowledged description, issues related to considering a place as a branded entity and lack of a common framework. Henceforth, this paper aims to develop a framework for place branding, highlighting the interactions across the subjective, utilitarian and experience-based elements, and the vital role of brand heritage by putting people and their intangible living heritage at the center. The study was conducted in the context of the historic city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India (UNESCO recognized First Heritage City in the country). The rich legacy, multiethnic communities and multiple-religious (Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Parsi, Jain, Sikh etc.) dimensions of Ahmedabad were the important criteria for selection. The study adopted a qualitative approach—the methods employed were in-depth interviews of 34 selected city residents, and multi-sited ethnography covering 18 sites that have high historic and heritage legacy. Content and thematic analysis of the data collated from the study resulted in four vital themes: the meaning of heritage, place as an element of brand heritage, people as an element of brand heritage and enablers of a heritage place brand. The study resulted in a cohesive model for place branding, with a clear dynamic of the subjective, utilitarian and experience-based elements. The insights of the study contribute significantly to academics, industry and future research avenues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Marketing Science
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
ISSN (Print)2363-6165
ISSN (Electronic)2363-6173


  • Brand heritage
  • Heritage place brand
  • Historical
  • Place branding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing
  • Strategy and Management


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