The influence of place branding on perceived image: the case of Braamfotein, Johannesburg in South Africa

Mototo, Lebogang Thato
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Tourism has become one of the most significant export sectors in many developing countries and is purported to be the most viable and sustainable economic option, and in some of these (developing) nations, the main source of foreign exchange returns. It is therefore incumbent on destinations to effectively differentiate themselves especially when considering the increasingly competitive nature of tourism markets and an environment where many places that present similar features are becoming substitutionable. Contemporary urban development literature stresses the significance of place branding as an asset in the effective differentiation and positioning of places. It is noted that while many sources viewed the three main target markets for place branding as companies, visitors and residents, the role of the resident was limited to passive beneficiary as opposed to one of active engagement. Given the pervasion of the “staycation” and the concurrent rise in popularity of the Braamfontein Precinct, this paper will investigate the influence that place branding has had on the region’s perceived image by those within the precinct. Self-administered structured surveys were distributed electronically and using the street-intercept method to individuals aged 18 – 35, who were in the Braamfontein Precinct. Descriptive statistics and inferential statistics were examined. Path Modeling, Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Modeling were also carried out in order to further analyse the data. The findings with regard to presented city brand, city brand equity and city brand meaning having a positive relationship with city brand image were both supported and significant at a 5% level of confidence. The findings with regard to city brand awareness having a positive relationship with city brand image were insignificant and consequently rejected. The study presents that investment in the presented city brand that goes beyond marketing communications to include city brand properties such as facilities, scenery, heritage and transport (amongst other amenities) will result in a favourable city brand image. It is also important that regional managers do not take a unilateral approach on deciding on a brand meaning but rather a consultative one that will result in involvement and ultimately investment from the various stakeholders. Additionally, the generation of curiosity and interest in the city brand is vital to encouraging customer involvement with the precinct. Digital marketing tools can be employed in this regard; online and search advertising can be used to raise awareness. Finally, social media can be used for customer generated content, allowing for both participation on the consumers’ part and insights on the part of the regional management. This allows for engagement with consumers and provides branding opportunities for the region.
A Masters dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of the Master of Commerce (Marketing) in The School of Economic and Business Sciences, at the University of the Witwatersrand. DECEMBER 2015
Mototo, Lebogang Thato (2016) The influence of place branding on perceived image: the case of Braamfotein, Johannesburg in South Africa, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>