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2023/2024  KAN-CCMVV2320U  City and Destination Branding (online course)

English Title
City and Destination Branding (online course)

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
Course coordinator
  • Erik Braun - Department of Marketing (Marketing)
  • Sebastian Zenker - Department of Marketing (Marketing)
Main academic disciplines
  • Communication
  • Marketing
  • Political leadership and public management
Teaching methods
  • Online teaching
Last updated on 16-02-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
This course aims to introduce to the students the complexity of branding cities and destinations to residents, companies and tourists. To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes:
  • Describe and to discuss the assumptions that underlie the various marketing concepts from marketing, branding, communication, as well as from the presented consumer behaviour studies.
  • Identify and analyze the relationship between relevant models, concepts and theories from the curriculum.
  • Analyse and explain the differences between the profit, non-profit and non-traditional marketing sectors (i.e., city and destination branding).
  • Evaluate different place branding strategies and place brand management approaches for their usability in the area – especially for meausuring place brands and success.
  • Apply these models and concepts, singly or combined to fit a concrete case situation under study and critically assess the value and relevance of models, concepts and theories presented throughout the course in relation to their practical application in a relevant case.
Course prerequisites
Please note: since this is a postgraduate course, an undergraduate-level knowledge of the basic principles of marketing is expected of all students.
City and Destination Branding:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Case based assignment
Release of assignment The Assignment is released in Digital Exam (DE) at exam start
Duration 2 weeks to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the student fails the ordinary exam they have to do the re-exam with the same case, but new questions regarding the case.
Description of the exam procedure

The exam is an individual, home written assignment (written product; take-home exam) with a maximum of 15 pages. The student will receive a specific case and detailed questions regarding the case. In a 2 weeks’ time the students should analyse the case and apply knowledge gained through the course to answer these questions as written in the learning objectives.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Today cities and destinations are in strong competition for talents (residents), companies and investments, as well as tourists. Therefore, places are more and more run like ‘businesses’ and for ‘businesses’. In order to differentiate one place from another, city marketers increasingly focus on establishing the city as a brand and adopt other marketing techniques in order to better promote and ‘sell’ their place to its existing and potential target groups. Unfortunately, city marketers and consultants often underestimate the complexity and potential ethical dilemmas – due to the fact that places are complex products themselves and that the needs and wants of the different customer groups regarding a place vary widely.


City marketing therefore needs a more holistic and complex approach. It must include the understanding of all target groups and stakeholders needs. It deals with all types of place communication (not only advertisement), but even the physical communication of city planning and architecture – and it must follow a more democratic and participatory approach then ‘normal’ marketing activities.   


In the course we will explore the impact of city marketing activities for companies – talking in particular about talent attraction and tourism – and on other business fields. At the same time we will also discuss the social problems we create by making a place ‘too much’ of a business. By this means, students should not only be able understand and use strategies from city and destination branding, but also see the benefits for companies and citizens in using marketing for places.


This master course is a cross-disciplinary and research-based course, integrating findings from marketing, branding, urban planning and management, public administration and the field of tourism. The aim is to introduce the service-dominant logic of marketing to cities and translate carefully different marketing and branding concepts. Furthermore, the differences between city branding (general marketing activities for all place target groups) and destination branding (tourism oriented city marketing) will be elaborated and the idea of an integrated approach will be presented.

Description of the teaching methods
Most teaching is online through asynchronous learning (learn on students’ own schedule), through teaching videos, podcasts, and knowledge tasks. Additionally, some lectures will be synchronous online teaching (online lectures) for discussions and feedback (who will be recorded for those students who cannot attend).
Finally, the concept will be accompanied by one offline in class case workshop for exam preparation.
Even though large parts are asynchronous learning, the course builds upon the principles of active learning: students are expected to comment on readings, do group exercises, and to participate on the case workshop.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students will receive feedback in various forms during the course: For instance, through discussions in (online) classes, collegial-feedback from a voluntary home-written assignment (test-exam), and written feedback after the exam.
Student workload
Preperation 123 hours
Teaching 33 hours
Exam 50 hours
Expected literature

The exam-relevant reading will be provided via CANVAS during the course. Examples are:


  • Boisen, M., Terlouw, K., and van Gorp, B. (2011). The selective nature of place branding and the layering of spatial identities. Journal of Place Management and Development, 4(2), 135-147.
  • Braun, E., Eshuis, J., & Klijn, E.-H. (2014). The effectiveness of place brand communication. Cities, 41(1), 64-70.
  • Braun, E., Eshuis, J., Klijn, E. H., & Zenker, S. (2018). Improving place reputation: Do an open place brand process and an identity-image match pay off?. Cities, 80, 22-28.
  • Connell, J. (2012). Film tourism – evolution, progress and prospects. Tourism Management, 33(5), 1007-1029.
  • Hanna, S. and Rowley, J. (2015). Towards a model of the Place Brand Web. Tourism Management, 48, 100-112.
  • Jokela, S. (2020). Transformative city branding and the evolution of the entrepreneurial city: The case of ‘Brand New Helsinki.’ Urban Studies, 57(10), 2031–2046.
  • Vallaster, C., Von Wallpach, S., & Zenker, S. (2018). The interplay between urban policies and grassroots city brand co-creation and co-destruction during the refugee crisis: Insights from the city brand Munich (Germany). Cities, 80, 53-60.
  • Zenker, S., & Braun, E. (2017). Questioning a “one size fits all” city brand: Developing a branded house strategy for place brand management. Journal of Place Management and Development, 10(3), 270-287.
  • Zenker, S., Braun, E., & Petersen, S. (2017). Branding the destination versus the place: The effects of brand complexity and identification for residents and visitors. Tourism Management, 58, 15-27.
  • Zenker, S. and Erfgen, C. (2014). Let them do the work: a participatory place branding approach. Journal of Place Management and Development, 7(3), 225-234.
Last updated on 16-02-2023