The Secret to Successful Place & Nation Branding


There is much confusion regarding the differences between nation branding, place branding, reputation management, and public diplomacy. In this episode, we try to clear the confusion by interviewing Robert Govers. Dr.Govers is the managing research partner of, chairman of the International Place Branding Association and an independent advisor, researcher, speaker and author on the reputation of cities, regions and countries. He has also been an adjunct or visiting scholar at the University of Leuven, Belgium; Rotterdam School of Management, The Netherlands; IULM University Milano, Italy; and several institutes in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He also teaches Place Branding on the UNESCO World Heritage at Work Master programme in Torino, Italy and is co-editor of the quarterly journal, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy.
Together with Prof. Dr. Frank Go, Robert is the author of: Place Branding (2009) and editor of the International Place Branding Yearbook Series (2010, 2011 and 2012) all with Palgrave Macmillan. He also co-authored over fifty journal articles, book chapters and conference papers and has delivered numerous public speeches and business publications.

Robert typically advises in areas such as economic competitiveness, place identity and image, tourism policy and strategy, educational policy, tourism and investment promotion, and major international events. This is approached from a strategic reputation management perspective referred to as competitive identity, which is based on the premise that places build reputation through substance and symbolic actions, as opposed to logos, slogans and advertising.

In the past, Robert has held positions in South Africa, The Netherlands, Belgium and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He has been involved in many consultancy projects and advisory boards for reputable organisations such as the International Air Transport Association, the European Commission, the Flemish Government and various ministries, tourism promotion boards and regional and city administrations.

Robert has both a doctoral (2005) and master’s degree (1995) from the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, The Netherlands. He is also a member of the jury for the Dutch City Marketing Innovation Award and the City Nation Place Awards.