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The Dilemma of Place Branding: Transitory mega-events vs. sustainable image-building

Evinc Dogan

Abstract

The aim of this study is exploring the challenges in place branding through raising a debate on the transitory nature of mega-events vis-à-vis sustainable strategies for image-building. Food and cuisine, as part and parcel of cultural values, play a significant role in marketing places. In this context, The National Tourism Organization of Serbia (TOS) strives for building a positive and memorable image of the country based on “Soul Food” campaign. On the other hand, EXPO Milano 2015 is the case of a transitory event for analyzing the ways in which Serbia’s brand image is positioned and promoted through values, narratives, and manifestations. Unlike the examples of scholarly research focusing on countries hosting mega-events, this study investigates Serbia as a participating country in EXPO Milano 2015. The success of place branding is often attributed to long-term vision rather than short-term oriented promotion activities. Similarly, legacy is an important aspect for the success of mega-events, which should be linked to branding strategies. In this respect, mega-events can be recognized as useful place branding tools, not only in terms of attracting interest but also positioning the image of the place in the minds of people based on axiological, narrative and discursive levels of meaning.

Keywords

Serbia; EXPO; mega-event; urban ephemera; brand image; gastronomy

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