Association of Marketing Theory and Practice Proceedings 2011


Living in the Shadow of a Big Brand


Alyn Janis

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

Service Marketing/ Non-Profit Marketing/ Ethics

Publication Date



Branding associations have long been sought where alliances are aligned with product or company strategy. The same exists for place branding. Place branding has special considerations though, while products can be removed or replaced, places endure. Places also depend almost exclusively on an experience process to deliver value. (Pedersen, 2004) Places remain branded in the minds of users, even when not managed. (Mathews, 2004) Places also depend on the containing region for support of borrowed views, sounds, smells, etc. If these neighboring interests do not support a particular brand place, the experience and brand suffers. This paper seeks to illustrate the importance of managing large region brands and their interrelations. As areas grow and change, hard fought associations could be lost, brand value compromised, and region image corrupted. Education and elucidation of the populace is a continuing process. It only takes the actions of very few people to damage a place brand. The Blue Ridge Parkway has been a dominant image brand of the Appalachian mountains since its inception in 1935. As a post-depression project, it was seen as the savior of many mountain towns and communities. Asheville was one of those towns. This proposed value manifested an alignment of interests and enormous efforts were undertaken in a fight to route the Parkway nearby. Asheville has changed and with it the salient value of the Parkway. Yet the two brands, anchored in physical proximity, are forever entangled by those decisions of 75 years ago. This paper uses articles and interviews to evaluate the transformation of the relationship between these two strong place brands. In the 1930’s, business interests led regional alignment. Who controls this interest today? How does non-alignment of interests damage each brand individually and together? How does salient value change in the place brand relationship dynamic.

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