Public relations and place branding: Friend, foe or just ignored? A systematic review

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Communication about places is typically termed place branding and is generally situated within the marketing discipline. However, in practice, place branding shares many commonalities with public relations. It involves relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, reputation management, and communication campaigns that involve no direct sale of a product. While some have noted the parallels between place branding and public relations, the intersection of these two fields has not been reviewed empirically. This study examines the relationship between public relations and place branding by exploring how scholars in each field have conceptualised and represented the other in their research publications. A systematic review of 378 journal articles, published from 1988 to 2018 in 18 selected journals from both fields, was conducted. This research shows that while there is a significant conceptual crossover between the two fields and they work together in practice, the place branding literature largely treats public relations as a promotional tactic rather than a disciplinary body of knowledge. Conversely, outside of public diplomacy research, public relations has shown little interest in places and place communication, and there is limited research applying public relations theories and concepts to places. This paper adds to current knowledge on the interdisciplinarity of public relations theories and concepts and how public relations is perceived outside its own field and suggests new possibilities for interdisciplinary research on place communication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102096
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Relations Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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