This is a response to the article by Arsalan Kazemifar: Destination Brand Identity in the Process of Destination Branding: A case Study of Shiraz, Iran
Mr. Arsalan Kazemifar mentioned one of the most prominent factors in the development of tourism industry in Shiraz. If Mr. Kazemifar’s recommendations are realized, Shiraz will reach a competent position based on its high potential and long history. The researcher shares his experience in the city and mentions some of the strengths and weaknesses for branding the name of Shiraz. There are many emotional connections between people and the places they are living, visiting, and working. The feelings that exist in these places are considered a new aspect by which place branding and marketing can be defined. Furthermore, these processes change and develop quickly. Cities must regularly adapt themselves to the changing situation, and at the same time, the balance between the viewpoints and values of the inhabitants must be preserved.
A city might have natural and cultural features that highlights it as a unique place. Having a long history in terms of tourism as well as unique historical and cultural places enables it to enter the branding process. Without having strong and effective leadership and intelligent cooperation, however, the city would never reach its strengths based on the definition of a brand. In creating a brand that attracts the desired visitors and residents, investments of time, money, and knowledge are required. Also, the commitment of companies and organizations for creating a place branding is influential. Applying the principles of branding creates a focused strategic approach for introducing a city.
Although product branding has been around for many decades, branding of touristic places is a relatively newer concept. Many countries accept touristic branding with an open heart and perform it correctly. More recently, branding has been applied to larger cities. Place branding has become an effective positioning tool in today’s competitive world, provides a framework for decision making, and increases responsibility for beneficiaries in creating place marketing principles. Australia, Hong Kong and United States are examples of place branding forerunners. In contrast to Mr. Kazemifar’s opinion, I believe that branding the name of Shiraz is not a new process and this process had been going well before the Islamic Revolution, but after the Islamic Revolution and beginning of the war, branding Shiraz was forgotten. Branding components are quite different in comparison to contemporary political components.
Our imaginations and understandings of places have been change over time and sometimes develop little fit with reality. We have a positive attitude toward some places, even if they do not deserve it. Therefore, the brand of the city is considered as a general picture of it and all the things that associate in the mind of a person. Branding is the informed process that causes change and develops these associations in people’s minds.