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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

The Creation, Communication, and Coordination of a Place Brand: Interviews with Investment Promotion Agencies

Published: May 25, 2021


Alia El Banna, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria; Nicolas Papadopoulos, Carleton University; Leila Hamzaoui-Essoussi, University of Ottawa


Research shows a positive impact of foreign direct investment on economic growth and long-term prosperity, leading to growing interest in place branding to attract and retain investors as places compete for their attention. Yet little is known about how locations promote their place brands specifically toward the investor target market. This paper examines location promotion for investment through in-depth interviews with executives at 30 investment promotion agencies in three countries. Perhaps surprisingly, given their objectives and target audience, respondents do not limit their promotional content to ‘business’ elements but also stress cultural and other ‘soft’ features. Type of investment, investors’ assumed general perceptions of a place, and challenges in inter-regional coordination contribute to promotion decisions. Implications for research and practice are discussed.