ISSN: 2717-4417

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Urbanism, Yazd University, Yazd, Iran.



- Citizens, tourists, students, investors, and urban management as important beneficiaries of urban branding.
- Importance of establishing a destination management organization in Iran.
- Importance of creating an urban brand for the competitive advantage of the city.
- Identification of the various labels given to Yazd with respect to heritage and history, religion and spirituality, industry and production, and the environment.
The choice of cities for life, tourism, education, and investment depends on their perceived images, and the process of creating a positive image of a city is called urban branding. Urban branding is one of the most important factors in the development of the tourism industry. In Iran, this issue has received less attention despite the high potentials of many cities for branding (Dinnie, 2013, p. 16). Therefore, the purpose of this article was to examine the various aspects of this issue in order to provide a model to facilitate urban branding in the development of tourism.
Theoretical Framework
A brand is a concept designed to develop a product (Chan et al., 2021, p. 331), and involves two definition categories. In the first category, a brand is defined as a set of related assets and liabilities and a brand name (Gómez et al., 2018, p. 191). In the second category, it is defined as a collection of perceptions that are there in people’s minds (Hildreth, 2012, p. 4). The brand of a city, like that of a product, is an external signal that evokes emotions, increases awareness, and influences behaviors (Gómez et al., 2018, p. 191), but it may be more complex because of ownership, stakeholder participation, and brand development (Herget et al., 2015, p. 120; Yang et al., 2018, p. 1).
Since official branding plans are not very common in Iran, and no official branding plan was developed in the city of Yazd, a qualitative method has been used in the present study along with the grounded theory. For this purpose, the first group was selected for in-depth semi-structured interviews, which included professionals in urban management, tourism, and academics, based on criteria such as familiarity with the concepts of branding and tourism and with the city of Yazd and availability and preparedness for cooperation. The next groups were introduced for interview by the same group. Sampling continued until no more new idea was created, and the research achieved theoretical saturation and adequacy. It should be noted that the twelfth sample achieved partial saturation, but the research process continued until the fourteenth.
Result and Discussion
Many studies concerning urban branding and tourism indicate that urban branding has a positive effect on tourism prosperity–including (Feyzi et al., 2020; Herget et al., 2015; Jojic, 2018; Mousavi et al., 2017; Shutaieva et al., 2020). The present research was conducted to facilitate branding in Yazd based on the results of these studies and in line with some others–including (Ghanbari et al., 2021; Hankinson, 2007; Menvariyan et al., 2013; Mohammadifar, 2018; Setiadi et al., 2021)which have sought to provide strategies and present a model for further prosperity of tourism through creation or enhancement of branding. Thus, it can be effective in the creation or enhancement of urban branding and monitoring of its proper implementation besides formation of a special working group on branding or establishment of a destination management organization to adopt strategies such as attracting the participation of public institutions in development and implementation of branding plans, training managers and employees to better implement branding projects, holding international celebrations and events for brand development, and developing the tourism infrastructure. This will also have positive consequences from various economic, social, environmental, physical, and urban management aspects.
- The five groups of citizens, tourists, students, investors, and urban management are the stakeholders who benefit in the short term and in the long term from urban branding if the city is properly branded. Therefore, different cities in the world need to adopt appropriate branding and competition strategies to attract the above stakeholders for life, tourism, education, and investment.
- Despite their high potentials for branding, many cities in Iran do not have urban branding administrators, and the tourism sector is even spread in organizations such as municipalities, directorates for cultural heritage, and chambers of commerce. A destination management organization must be established to enhance integrated urban management, and its branches in different cities must undertake to create or enhance an urban brand and monitor its continuity.
- In urban branding, it is important to consider the distinctive, competitive identity of the city, so it is necessary to manage several brands that are sometimes developed unofficially and unilaterally in different cities (as in Yazd), as brand confusion in cities indicates a lack of coordination between different organizations, and creates challenges that outweigh its benefits.


Main Subjects

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