Different branding strategies from the use of the territory of origin by commercial brands: the brand-territory matrix

Article by Cristina Mateo, Gildo Seisdedos

Place brands and commercial brands build on each other. Sometimes, the commercial brand is so powerful that eclipses the place brand. This paper intends to add value to this dialogue, gaining understanding through an insight on how commercial brands use places, and finding out how they can be implemented to build stronger place brands.
To do so, this paper delivers an analytical tool (the brand-territory matrix) and a quick overview on the different policies a place can implement to unlock these synergies.
As all matrixes, the brand-territory matrix has two axes. The horizontal axe reflects the intensity of the use of their place of origin. The vertical one is the market approach of the commercial brand. When we cross both axes, we get four types of commercial brands: Ambassador brands, Aristocratic brands, Emerging brands and Impostor brands.
Moreover, the brand territory matrix is a dynamic tool as brands may move from one quadrant to the other and these movements have quite a lot to do with the policies implemented by the territory.
In addition, this paper also addresses how places use this tool to reinforce their brands and to choose the right policies with a simple three-step method. First, getting a list of the commercial brands “living” in a certain territory, second, placing them in the brand-territory matrix, and third, analysing different policies for each group.
Impostor brands are a key element to guide entrepreneurship policies. Classifying impostor by industries is a very healthy exercise. If cities or regions find that impostor brands are around one particular sector, that could mean that there are untapped potentialities and could signal an interesting bid to be done. Emerging brands need some help to be proud about their home places. Events, iconic equipments and flagship developments are the key to unlock this situation. Aristocratic brands are the grassroots of place brands. These brands are closely linked to values, identity and patrimony of the territory. They are good allies to reinforce place authenticity, to foster tourism visibility. Therefore, cobranding with the ambassador brands plays a pivotal role for place brands as, in this case, place brands and commercial brands share a very strong common interests.
These are just a few of the different policies for each group, which can be implemented once a list of the commercial brands is placed in the brand-territory matrix. We hope that this tool can help place managers, make their places more competitive, and researchers open a debate for future seminal work in an area of foremost importance, the key for competitiveness.

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