Public branding is a new governance strategy in the public sector. Local governments, for instance, use brands to attract target groups to the city, such companies, tourists, or citizens. But how do target groups actually value this governance strategy? This article zooms in on the purpose of branding, as perceived by companies as a target group in a branding campaign. Q methodology is used to study the subjective viewpoints of 33 company owners in a neighborhood in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, that was branded as the Rotterdam Makers District. The analysis reveals that company owners prefer a transparent branding process in which they are recognized as coproducers of the brand and can add their story to the brand message that is conveyed to target audiences. These findings add to the resonating call in the literature to make more use of governance theories in the field of branding.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant number 726840 (TROPICO project - Transforming into Open, Innovative and Collaborative Governments). [Correction added on 1 October 2020, after first online publication: Acknowledgment section has been added.]
© 2020 The Authors. Public Administration Review published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The American Society for Public Administration.