Cities invest large sums of money in 'flagship projects', with the aim of not only developing the city as such, but also changing the perceptions of the city brand towards a desired image. The city of Hamburg, Germany, is currently investing €575 million in order to build a new symphony hall (Elbphilharmonie), €400 million to develop the 'International Architectural Fair' and it is also considering candidature again for the 'Olympic Games' in 2024/2028. As assessing the image effects of such projects is rather difficult, this article introduces an improved version of the Brand Concept Map approach, which was originally developed for product brands. An experimental design was used to first measure the Hamburg brand as such and then the changes in the brand perceptions after priming the participants (N=209) for one of the three different flagship projects. The findings reveal several important structural differences for the brand image dimensions of the city contingent upon the type of flagship project. Hence, this study shows (i) that different flagship projects have different image effects for the city brand and (ii) provides a novel method for measuring perceived place brand image effects of both ongoing and future flagship projects.

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The Journal of Brand Management
Erasmus School of Economics

Zenker, S., & Beckmann, S. (2013). Measuring brand image effects of flagship projects for place brands: The case of Hamburg. The Journal of Brand Management, 20(8), 642–655. doi:10.1057/bm.2013.6