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Branding

Region’s public image
Peripheral regions often cope with a negative, almost backward, public image. In the first place this image is built upon non-rational ‘images’, e.g. as a consequence of a certain language or dialect, a lack of history, etc.. In the second place it is built upon more rational thought, and therefore influenced by the factors mentioned above. It is supposed that the image of a region has a strong influence on a person’s decision whether or not to move to the region.

For a region to attract and retain talent it is important to create and portrait the right image. Image building and branding is important for this. In this heading we will deal with the choices to be made, and what messages to be framed and communicated. What other regional characteristics are featured in the way the region is portrayed to the outside world as well as to its own citizens? How does image building and branding serve to boost a region’s attractivity, not only nationally but also internationally?
This will be done focussing at two topics which came out of our studies as being important.

Cold Marketing ‘ vs. ‘Warm Marketing’

In order to attract highly qualified, many regions use the concept of ‘Cold Marketing’ which aimes at people who have not previously come into contact with a region. This is mainly done through branding activities and the design of outside images, but also by stressing regional advantages such as child care, famous companies etc. This is difficult because often the inner and outer image does not match and the information does not reach the target group. Therefore, we suggest the concept of ‘Warm Marketing’.
Warm Marketing addresses already resident high-skilled workers, or even students (through activities, etc.), and provides them during their regional stay a positive feeling of the region, in order to bind them. This idea is based on the relationship marketing – Hospers says: “(…) keeping existing customers is more profitable than acquiring new ones.” Obviously, former residents (potential return migrants) who live elsewhere are the main target group for re-attraction instruments. They are more open to their place of birth or their place of studies than others without such bonds.