City Branding and Local SMEs: A Smart Specialisation Perspective


The growing literature on city branding has widely overlooked the relationship between firms and city brands. This paper analyses firms, with a focus on local SMEs as city image consumers and users, but it also draws attention to them as producers of city images. From a smart specialisation perspective, this analysis suggests that firms may contribute to a new wave of ‘innovation brands’ according to which the place-based approach to innovation is made visible and perceived locally and internationally. The city brand may represent a source of values and symbols that legitimize and help understand local smart specialization rationale, hence fostering the path of innovation at local and regional scale. 


city brand; place branding; SMEs; smart specialization; innovation

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