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Branding Cities, Changing Societies

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Societal changes are seldom discussed in the literature on city branding. The time element isimportant because it highlights the fluctuating reality of society. The city brand messagefreezes the place but in fact, the city branding exercise is a continuous process. Societyemerges too. City brands are supposed to accentuate the uniqueness of the city, be built fromthe bottom-up and reflect the city’s identity. This paper highlights three paradoxes, pointingout that city branding processes can also make cities more alike, bring about societal changesand forge new city identities. A city branding campaign does not just present the city, it maychange the city. The relationships between the branding exercise and the city are intertwinedin the evolution of the place.

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Can-Seng Ooi

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