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Business, Management and Economics » "Advancing Insights on Brand Management", book edited by Paolo Popoli, ISBN 978-953-51-3598-2, Print ISBN 978-953-51-3597-5, Published: November 8, 2017 under CC BY 3.0 license. © The Author(s).

Chapter 9

Management of a City Brand: An Examination on Three Stakeholders’ Attitudes

By Funda Bayrakdaroğlu
DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.69458

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City brand benefit pyramid.
Figure 1. City brand benefit pyramid.
Research model.
Figure 2. Research model.
Findings of SEM concerning resident stakeholders.
Figure 3. Findings of SEM concerning resident stakeholders.
Findings of SEM concerning entrepreneur stakeholders.
Figure 4. Findings of SEM concerning entrepreneur stakeholders.
Findings of SEM concerning visitor stakeholders.
Figure 5. Findings of SEM concerning visitor stakeholders.

Management of a City Brand: An Examination on Three Stakeholders’ Attitudes

Funda Bayrakdaroğlu
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Nowadays, cities mean more than just being a geographical border. Many researchers and practitioners evaluate cities under “brand” category; therefore, they adapt all kinds of branding techniques developed for products to cities. Thus, city branding has become a commonly studied topic in the literature within theoretical and practical contexts. The understanding of stakeholders’ needs lie behind the success of city branding. The three basic functions of cities, i.e. “to live, to do business, and to visit,” point to the fact that the stakeholders in city branding are composed of residents, entrepreneurs, and visitors. However, it is observed in the city branding literature that limited stakeholder groups are in focus. According to the limitedness in the literature, the purpose of this study is to analyze the attitudes and behaviors of stakeholder groups composed of residents, entrepreneurs, and visitors toward a city brand. Data of the study were acquired via face-to-face questionnaires with 1145 respondents of which 481 were residents, 342 were entrepreneurs, and 322 were visitors. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was employed as a research method. The findings of SEM show that the city brand elements that affect the attitudes of residents, entrepreneurs, and visitors toward the city brand are different.

Keywords: city marketing, city branding, stakeholders, residents, visitors, entrepreneurs

1. Introduction

Branding methods, which have conventionally been applied in order to differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ offerings, are employed in many fields at the present time. Many of the most known cities and countries in the world have realized the need for branding and struggle to increase their preferability in global competition. Therefore, cities are not only geographical borders that combine people to continue their lives, but also a city may refer to a “branded product,” which affects many stakeholders and is affected by them at the same time.

In consideration of the elementary idea of marketing as to meet the needs and wants of consumers, every city should develop a stakeholder management system that enables to consider the needs of city’s own consumers. However, the answer to whom or which organizations constitute the stakeholders is diversified. The reason is that a city may be a destination to be seen, a place to live, or an area to set up and run a business. So, multilateral structure of stakeholders in city branding is very understandable. The multilateral structure of cities implies that the expectations from the city and the attitudes toward that city may vary. From this point of view, it can be stated that three main stakeholder groups are composed of residents, visitors, and entrepreneurs depending on three certain functions of a city as “to live, to visit, and to do business.”

Consumers develop attitudes toward a city brand—likewise a product, a person, or an object—according to the stakeholder group which they belong to. The examination of stakeholders’ attitudes toward the city brand makes a sophisticated stakeholder management, which underlies the success in city branding, possible. Therefore, the present study focuses on attitudinal differences among three basic stakeholder groups (residents, visitors, and entrepreneurs) toward Muğla city brand in consideration of various city brand elements. Hereunder, the first section devotes attention to the literature review of city branding and its connection with three stakeholder groups. The next section expands on data collection and findings regarding residents, visitors, and entrepreneurs’ attitudes.

2. City branding

With the global integration that is defined as globalization, territorial limits disappeared, economic, political, and social relations have accelerated and capital circulation moved beyond national borders. Beyond doubt, cities were affected mostly from the quick spread of globalization [1]. In other words, in the context of global intercity competition, cities’ major goal is to increase their competitiveness, in which the positioning and attractiveness of a city have a critical function [65]. As a result of these, many of the most known cities in the world struggle to be a center of attraction and try to develop successful strategies in order to be the best managed and liveable city and to be capable of competing with others.

When the competitive pressure both in local and foreign markets is taken into account, the growing importance of adaptation of branding techniques to cities in theoretical and practice dimensions can be understood better [2]. Moreover, even if there are some unique features of city branding which differ from product branding, strategies devoted to product branding can be applied to cities to a great extent and those concepts of branding form a basis for branding of cities [3]. Accordingly, nowadays marketing and brand management are not only proper for products and services, but also they are handled for city marketing and city branding [4].

City branding is generally associated with city marketing. In spite of close relationship between these two concepts, some differences draw attention. The application of city marketing, which is defined as “the coordinated use of marketing tools supported by a shared customer-oriented philosophy, for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging urban offerings that have value for the city’s customers and the city’s community at large” (p. 43) [5], can be possible through city branding. Hereunder, the applicability of marketing to cities must be considered with city branding [6]. In plain language, “city branding is merely the application of product branding to cities” (p. 508) [7]. O’Leary and Iredal who made a mention of the concept first refer it to “a set of activities which are designed to create positive attitudes and behavior towards geographic places” (p. 156) [8]. According to another definition, city branding is “indicator of activities put forth by the cities which pretend to be a center of attraction for existing and potential customers and aim at creating a positive perception in the minds of people by adding value to every kind of output concerning the city and city-dweller with the application of product and service branding strategies to cities” (p. 97) [9]. Various researchers have contributed to the explanation of city branding concept with their definitions which are presented in Table 1 [10].

One of the most comprehensive definitions was suggested by Zenker and Braun as “all associations which are visually, verbally and behaviorally formed in the minds of consumers and shaped by general design of the city through the aims, communications, values and culture of its stakeholders” (p. 5) [11]. As seen in the definitions, it is quite clear and common that city branding is generated in the minds of people [12].

Once a city has created its own brand, it can achieve various advantages like serving as an attractive place for visitors, a peaceful urban life for residents, and an accelerating industrial and trading area for investors and entrepreneurs [13]. For this reason, the importance and meaning of creating a city brand must be addressed through the stakeholders in a city.

2.1. Stakeholders in city branding

Core of the marketing underlies understanding of needs and wants of (potential) consumers. Aaker [14] states that the most important obstacle is to define the consumers with the products and services of the organization instead of consumers’ needs and wants. Levitt [15] describes this with the concept of “marketing myopia.” The philosophy of city branding also corresponds with “customer-orientation” [13]. Besides, according to Kavaratzis and Hatch [12], the most essential part of city branding is the stakeholders of city. Satisfying the varying needs of stakeholders in an optimum way—the primary objective of city branding—accords with this as well [16]. Moreover, every city embodies different “capitals,” which give strategic strength to the city and carry it a step further. These are intellectual and social, environmental, technical, financial, culture and leisure, and democratic capitals [17]. Integration of these capitals in the city has transformed city branding to very interactive field for stakeholders rather than handling the city solely to create an attractive place for visitors [18].

Defining the stakeholders in city branding as “all the people and organizations that are important for the functioning of the city” (p. 49) is the easiest answer but not the most satisfying one [5]. Depending on “Stakeholder Theory” of Freeman [19], stakeholders can be described as parties who affect the city brand and also affected by it. Even if stakeholders are labeled as “city’s customers” [5], “city’s owners,” “city’s users,” and “city’s managers” [20], what’s certain that the complexity and the quantity of city branding stakeholder groups are more multifaceted in comparison to product branding. What is meant by the quantity and the complexity challenge of city branding is the large number of stakeholders and the limited understanding of branding among key stakeholders [64]. Accordingly, the stakeholders grouped with various labels and different categories are shown in Table 2 [5].

ResearcherCity branding definition
Nickerson and Moisey (1999)City branding is building up a relation between people and the image of their city.
Hall (1999)The essential goal of city branding is to “provide a consistent and focused communication strategy.”
Cai (2002)City branding means to choose a consistent brand factor combination by establishing a positive image in order to gain a recognition and differentiation with the city as the destination. The brand factors include names, terms, signs, logos, design, symbol, slogan, packing or the combination of the above; among them, name is the priority.
Rainisto (2003)City branding is a method to increase the attraction of the city; the essential point is to establish city recognition.
Julier (2005)City branding is considered an effort to create and enrich the city’s qualities.

Table 1.

Different definitions in the literature regarding city branding.

City’s users (Van den Berg et al., 1990; Ashworth and Voogd, 1990)ResidentsCompaniesVisitors
Target markets of city marketers (Kotler et al.,1993; 1999)Residents and employeesBusiness and industryVisitorsExport markets
City customers (Rainisto, 2003; Kotler et al., 2002)New residentsProducers of goods and services, corporate headquarters and regional officesTourism and hospitalityOutside investment and export markets
General customer groups (Braun et al., 2003)(Potential) residents(Potential) companies(Potential) visitors(Potential) investors

Table 2.

Stakeholder groups in city branding.

As shown in Table 2, it is possible in city branding to refer to several meanings and different levels of involvement for stakeholders. According to Işık and Erdem [59], the success of city branding is associated particularly with the efforts of local administration (municipalities), nongovernmental organizations, and volunteers. In addition, Oğuztimur and Akturan [60] state that cities compete with one another to meet the needs of their target groups like citizens, investors, and tourists and try to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. Moreover, Hultman et al. [62] suggest examining brand administrators’ attitudes because it constitutes an important first step in defining the extent of advocacy that should accompany city branding. Hence, research on city branding should focus on various stakeholder groups as possible in order to develop strategies for cities how to build an advantageous brand [21]. At that rate, the more diverse research group related to stakeholders in city branding, the more successful city brand positioning. When the basic functions of a city as “to live, to do business, and to visit” is taken into account, three significant stakeholder groups become prominent: residents, entrepreneurs, and visitors [22]. In other words, cities struggle for attracting residents, visitors, and businesses more than ever [23]. Moreover, within consumer-based approach, it is worth to examine the relations and interactions that sometimes create synergy and sometimes conflict among these three stakeholder groups [5].

2.1.1. Residents

Residents, one the stakeholder group, are often pointed out as an important target market in city branding [2226]. If consumer-orientation is regarded as the core philosophy in marketing science, resident-oriented city brand should pay attention to the way residents create an image of the city, how they perceive and assign a meaning to it, and what kind of physical, symbolic and other elements they attach to it when they are evaluating the city [7]. According to Braun et al. [22], resident in a city have four different roles while they are interacting with others:

  • The first and most absolute role of residents as “consumers” is being an important target market. It is important to note that both potential and existing residents should be assumed as consumers and branding strategies of the city should be developed in order to influence their decision-making processes.

  • Residents are the integrated part of a city brand. This is the result of a deliberate marketing strategy but it is also a natural process as residents are the “bread and butter of cities.” Moreover, residents contribute to every phase of developing a city brand. Therefore, Freire [4] states that residents should be evaluated as a “manageable” asset.

  • Another role of residents arises with “brand ambassador” mission. This is because residents interact with visitors directly or indirectly and constitute a link for the evaluation of consistency between expectations and reality. Moreover, if the residents understand and adopt the promise of city brand, targeted behavior will occur toward that city [23].

  • The most ignored role of residents is their being “a citizen” at the same time. Residents play a key role as citizens who involve in political legitimization of the city with their votes [27]. It is necessary to pay attention to this role due to citizens’ influential political power [23].

Besides economic contributions to “residential consumers,” cities offer many social and emotional benefits like information sharing, social bonding with others, and involvement in activities [28]. One of the basic branding dimensions for cities is to pride of residents upon the city, which is convenient for living and available for opportunities [18]. Accordingly, a general answer for the question “What kind of expectations the residents have concerning the city?” is “a suitable place to live in.” A city is a place in which residents have their home, continue their jobs, raise their kids, and share their social life with their friends. Moreover, most of the residents embrace the city as a “belonging matter.” Thereby, residents expect to live in “an attractive living environment” that meets their needs and wants [22]. The attributes that make the city attractive for residents to live in or meet residents’ needs and wants can vary. According to a global research, liveability of a city depends on “cultural movements, standard of living, convenience of traffic flow, and the working age population” [29].

Kemp et al. [25] state that one of the most necessary points in building successful city branding strategy is analysis of residents’ needs. Moreover, when residents show loyalty to city brand, they establish a bond between themselves and city branding efforts, yet more they attach city brand with their self-identity, ultimately, they promote the city through word-of-mouth by serving as an “ambassador.” So, residents who have positive attitude toward city convey the uniqueness of city brand to other stakeholders [30]. Freire [4] contributes that city people is the most important component of city branding, and visitors are affected by resident stakeholders while they are deciding on destination to visit.

2.1.2. Visitors

The power of cities in attracting visitors is one of the significant economic, social, and cultural health indicators of the region [29]. This brings the visitors, who visit the city with any reason, into prominence as a stakeholder group in city branding [5, 31, 32]. Tourism researches that regard city branding as “an effort to increase the number of visits to the city” focus on visitors [3339, 61, 63].

According to tourism literature, the place visited is named as “destination,” and destinations are visited by two types of visitors: business tourists and leisure tourists [32]. With a more general classification, Kotler et al. categorize the visitors as business visitors and nonbusiness visitors. Business visitors are people who participate in business meetings, look through the lands and properties, buy or sell the products, whereas nonbusiness visitors are called “tourist” and they constitute the group who wants to see the city’s landmarks and center of attractions, historic buildings, or to visit their families and friends [31]. As it is found, this stakeholder group is not composed of tourists; hence, the groups should be titled as “visitors.”

A more detailed classification of visitors can be listed as follows [40]:

  • Conference and fair participants

  • Short-term visitors

  • Daily travelers

  • Stopovers in the city by visitors during a long trip

  • Stopovers for shopping while having a touristic trip

  • Long-term visitors who want to visit the place around the city

The attributes that visitors look for in a city vary depending on the reason of their visits. In other words, the motivation for destination choice is affected by expected benefits from the city and passes through five phases as illustrated in Figure 1 [41]:


Figure 1.

City brand benefit pyramid.

Irrespective of the visitors’ reason for being in the city, their spending on diverse products and services contribute to the city directly or indirectly. Therefore, to enhance these, spending must be targeted by increasing the number of visits and extending the period of stay because every marginal visit lowers the unit cost [40].

Moreover, even if visitors are expected to stay temporarily and not to reside in the city, Braun [5] points out that visitors may turn into a resident if they are satisfied from the visit. Depending on the visitor’s potential for being a resident, it is necessary and important to understand the expectations of visitors from a city. Tourism managers and marketers frequently face the question “What are the factors affective on city choice to visit?” For this reason, it is essential to know how visitors decide a city to visit among the other alternatives. City marketers must order the factors and benefits, which the targeted visitors look for while they are making their minds concerning city choice [42]. Besides, the factors affecting that decision vary according to the purpose of visit [5]. The reason is that there may be many brand attributes presented by the city to visitors who expect diverse benefits and value from their visits. For example, elder visitors may give importance to safety of the city, whereas young visitors may want to enjoy a vibrant nightlife [42]. And business visitors may look for potential of conference hotels and nonbusiness visitors decide by a variety of leisure time activities in the city. The cities that have high attractiveness in terms of touristic visits are examined, it is seen that some of them are preferred by its historical sites, some are visited due to its natural beauties, and some are chosen by the artifacts in the city [38].

2.1.3. Entrepreneurs

The cities that recognize with each other as a rival and adopt a competition based on a knowledge-based economy want to attract capable and qualified workforce, new investments, and lucrative businesses to the city as well as visitors and residents [43]. In this sense, within city branding, entrepreneurs and business owners constitute another stakeholder group that must be analyzed in terms of their needs and wants [3, 5, 31, 44].

Cities develop some strategies in order to preserve their economic structures concerning the business people and entrepreneurs in the city. The purposes in developing these strategies are to keep existing businesses in the city, to produce plans and services for the contribution to the expansion of businesses, to encourage entrepreneurs in the city for creating new businesses and to attract new entrepreneurs to the city [16]. In this way, cities may achieve “entrepreneurial look.” Thus, they gain entrepreneurship culture that gives them a sustainable competitive advantage over other cities [43]. If a city has an entrepreneurial culture, it can offer a lucrative business environment for both national and international businesses [16]. Indeed, these kinds of cities are remembered by successful enterprises within its scope: Munich is remembered with BMW and Atlanta is called with Coca Cola. Such kinds of successful entrepreneurships serve for attracting foreign investors and visitors, and generating income to the city, taking pride in city, and developing local businesses. This situation paves the way for new enterprises and attracts the itinerant work power from national and international markets [45].

The businesses and enterprises in the city assist cities to gain and sustain competitive advantage [43]. Therefore, one of the branding strategies concerning places is to build a city brand as “a place to do business” [46]. In that case, as residents put city’s attributes ahead in terms “living,” so entrepreneurs evaluate the city from the view of “running business.” In other words, entrepreneurs expect to find a business environment that gives the chance of success from the city they do business. The attractiveness of a city in terms of businesses depends on its being “entrepreneur friendly.” Such environment includes tax incentives, qualified labor force, economic development, succeeding enterprises, availability of procurements, easy access to markets, and high living standards [47].

Garcia et al. [3] state that entrepreneur stakeholders are ignored in the city branding literature in comparison to the others, especially when compared to visitors. Furthermore, within the city branding context, the studies that focus on entrepreneur stakeholders only handle the entrepreneurs in the tourism industry [44]. However, the competition among cities of today requires not only to limit entrepreneurs in the tourism industry but also to enhance the scope of stakeholders and to include entrepreneurs from other industries. Ritchie and Crouch [48] indicate that entrepreneurship in modern cities contribute to the development and competitiveness of places by strengthening competition, specialization, innovation, investments, growth, willingness to take risk, and production in the city.

Cities, which promise economic development for individuals and institutions, are at the forefront with their cheap land opportunities, easy accessibility, qualified work force, stable, and secure environment. Silicon Valley, Detroit, or cities in which techno parks are found call for entrepreneurs from all around the world. In Turkey, Bursa, and İzmit in the automobile industry, Denizli and Adana in textile and chemical industries, Eskişehir, Konya, Gaziantep in the food industry, İzmir-Aliağa and İzmit in the petroleum chemicals industry, and Manisa in electronic and white appliance industries have power to attract entrepreneurs [49].

3. Methodology

Even if the competition among cities dates back to old times, adaptation of planned and scientific branding strategies has been developing for most cities in the world. Within city branding, seen as an effort to increase visits at first, a comprehensive examination regarding various stakeholders who interact with the city is demanded over time. Besides, because of the three basic functions of a city as “to live, to visit and to do business,” the main stakeholder groups are found as residents, visitors, and entrepreneurs within city branding. In this context, the present study aims at examining the attitudes of resident, visitor, and entrepreneur groups toward Muğla city, which is located in southwest of Turkey and known by its touristic destinations like Bodrum, Marmaris Fethiye and so on.

According to the aim of the study, universe is composed of residents (866,665), entrepreneurs (14,025), and visitors (3,222,315) in Muğla. When considering the universe, with 95% confidence interval, the statistically targeted sample size is 384. For three stakeholder groups, totally 481 residents, 342 entrepreneurs, and 322 visitors responded to the face-to-face questionnaire. Questionnaire used for data collection is composed of two parts: demographics concerning related stakeholder group in the first and second, attitudinal items toward city brand elements take part. The items concerning city brand elements are identical in survey forms for all types of stakeholder groups and taken from the related literature [4, 32, 36, 5052].

A research model of the study designed for each stakeholder group separately is illustrated in Figure 2. City brand elements constitute independent variables, whereas stakeholders’ attitudes stand for dependent variable of research model.


Figure 2.

Research model.

Hypothesis of the study is presented below:

  • H1: The attitudes of stakeholder groups to city brand elements vary.

For data analysis, structural equation modeling (SEM) was employed. The reason of choosing SEM, in comparison to common statistical methods like variance analysis, MANOVA, factor analysis, regression analysis, etc., lies behind its strength of modeling the relation among multivariables [53]. Moreover, SEM can be analyzed through various softwares such as AMOS, EQS, LISREL, and Mplus [54]. Nevertheless, AMOS differs from other software with its user-friendly structure and powerful solution offers [55]. Therefore, AMOS 20.0 was employed for structural equation analysis in the research.

To test the validity of city brand element scale and stakeholders’ attitude scale, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted. The results of CFA for both scales fit with commonly used fit indices in SEM research. Fit indices for city brand elements scale are χ2/df = 3.241(acceptable fit), RMSEA = 0.044 (good fit), SRMR = 0.051 (acceptable fit), GFI = 0.904 (good fit), and AGFI = 0.887 (acceptable fit). Indices for stakeholders’ attitude scale show all good fit as χ2/df = 2.857, RMSEA = 0.040, SRMR = 0.009, GFI = 0.997, and AGFI = 0.985 see Ref. [55].

4. Findings

According to the findings of study and Figure 3, nature, social bonding, cultural, and shopping activities are the elements that affect positively residents’ attitudes toward Muğla city (p < 0.011 and p < 0.052).


Figure 3.

Findings of SEM concerning resident stakeholders.

General environmental cleaning, parks, and outdoor recreational areas of city affect the attitudes of residents toward city as well as livableness of it. The positive effect of social bonding on residents’ attitudes can be commented with social relation between residents—even with other stakeholders see Refs. [4, 22, 56]—in the city from where people utilize more than just living. This is because cities satisfy socialization need of people. The positive effect of cultural and shopping activities on attitudes of residents can be explained by the orientation of people to leisure activities. According to Braun [5], the existence and accessibility of spare time activities have influence on liveability of a city. In this meaning, if city has shopping alternatives, various cultural activities and festivals, or ambulatories, residents are tend to have positive attitudes toward a city brand.

As shown in Figure 4, concerning the findings about entrepreneurs, nature, business opportunities, and networking, governmental services influence the attitudes of these stakeholders positively (p < 0.011 and p < 0.052).


Figure 4.

Findings of SEM concerning entrepreneur stakeholders.

The positive effect of business opportunities and networking on attitudes is an expected result. In this direction, business opportunities like easy access to resources while doing business, sufficient commercial support, and services concerning business and networking possibilities that make cooperation easier between entrepreneurs have an impact on the attitudes within business opportunities and networking. Another effective city brand element on the attitudes of entrepreneurs is nature. It may be difficult to reasonably correlate between this element and attitudes at first, but natural wonders in the city, many touristic districts such as Fethiye, Bodrum, Marmaris, and Datça, known by their nature and majority of tourism sector in the sample, clarify the relation. Moreover, the city has huge marble reserve capacity that is nature-related source for entrepreneurs. It is assumed that nature’s being effective city brand element is just because of the reason above. The last effective element on the attitudes of entrepreneurs is governmental services. According to İlgüner and Asplund [57], services provided by the government interest residents more than other stakeholders. Furthermore, entrepreneurs in the city are residents at the same time, so governmental services’ effect on the attitudes of these stakeholders is very reasonable. In addition, governmental services include items as energy supply and security of the city that may be assumed necessary elements while doing business.

The attitudes of visitors, last stakeholder group, are affected by accessibility of city, nature, business opportunities, and networking, social bonding, cultural and shopping activities, governmental services significantly (p < 0.011and p < 0.052).

As shown in Figure 5, only local transportation does not have any significant effect on visitors’ attitudes. Nature has the major effect on these stakeholders. It is so reasonable because Muğla, especially destinations such as Fethiye, Marmaris, Bodrum, and Datça, is an attraction center for visitors condensed on sea-sun-sand besides natural beauties that enable nature tourism and alternative tourism opportunities as agro-tourism. Accessibility of city, meaning how visitors reach the city and how easy it is to come, has positive effect on the attitudes. This is because the city has two national and international airports, nine harbors, and advanced highways. Although business opportunities and networking affect the attitudes of visitors significantly, this effect is negative. This negative effect highlights the need for improvement works in the city in terms of business opportunities and networking. In order to convert these negative attitudes to positive, convention centers and business centers may be built and some promotional efforts in national and international scales must be done to announce them. Social bonding has a positive effect on visitors’ attitudes as so residents. Social bonding’s effect on both visitors and residents clears the relation between these two stakeholder groups. Many studies justify that residents play a key role on visitors’ satisfaction [4, 5, 26, 56]. Therefore, social conditions like helpful and friendly people in the city, relations with others, tolerance to different cultures, and ways of living affect positively the attitudes of visitors toward Muğla city brand. Another city brand element effective on visitors’ attitudes is cultural and shopping activities. National and international organizations as cultural events, fairs, and festivals lead positive attitudes of visitors. International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival, Yörük Culture and Art Festival, Traditional Bull Fighting and Camel Wrestling, Film and Culture Festival are just some of those. Moreover, when the findings of “Cluster Analysis in Tourism Industry in Muğla and Macro Level Strategic Planning” are considered, strong position in demand concerning shopping tourism in the city draws the attention [58]. The final element effective on visitors’ attitudes is governmental services. Especially, issues as accessibility of those services and general safety of city affect opinions of visitors toward governmental services. So, it is possible to conclude that Muğla city brand meets the visitors’ expectations from governmental services.


Figure 5.

Findings of SEM concerning visitor stakeholders.

5. Conclusion and implications

Competitiveness does not pertain to just products and services; it has also become efficient in city scale. Competition between places makes the application of brand management to cities possible. Furthermore, nowadays, brand equity of cities can be calculated. Accordingly, city branding has become one of the popular fields of present time.

When departed from three functions of a city like empowering the position of city as a destination, offering a place to set up a business and to continue one’s life, it is easily seen that three main stakeholder groups consist of residents, visitors, and entrepreneurs. In addition, these groups “consume” the same city attributes with different expectations and aims. The reason is that every stakeholder group uses its own lens and develops an attitude toward city brand.

Findings of the present study clarify that different city brand elements are effective on the attitudes of various stakeholders examined in study. Hereunder, every stakeholder group interprets the city brand in terms of own purpose of existence in the city and develops an attitude accordingly. The most salient point of the study is nature’s being the only effective city brand element on all stakeholder groups. On this basis, recommended city brand element is nature in order to attract all stakeholder groups within city brand management of Muğla. While designing slogan and logo that play significant role on city management and on brand awareness of city, natural wonders of Muğla must be highlighted. Moreover, when the contribution of products special to city is considered, it is suggested that products like honeydew honey and marble, due to city’s nature, must be promoted with videos and so on. Besides, in order to attract new residents or to increase existing residents’ quality of life, social bonding, and cultural and shopping activities must be enhanced. If the target is new entrepreneurs, city brand elements like nature, business opportunities, and networking, governmental services need to be improved. New visitors—as a stakeholder group—is in focus, city managers can make arrangements about accessibility of city, business opportunities and networking, social bonding, cultural and shopping activities.

This study has some limitations that provide opportunities for future research. The prominent limitation of the study is exclusion of some significant target groups in a city. Forthcoming research can include groups as students, nongovernmental organizations, and local administrations and confirm the findings with more empirical studies in different cities which have unique structure with the dominance of different stakeholders.


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1 Statistically significant at p-value of 0.01.

1 Statistically significant at p-value of 0.05.