Analysis of the Position of Urban Brand Components Case Study: Maragheh City

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor of Geography and Urban Planning, University of Maragheh, Maragheh, Iran

2 M.A student of Geography and Urban Planning, University of Maragheh, Maragheh, Iran



Extended Abstract
Urban branding is a valuable tool for cities to effectively manage domestic and foreign opportunities and turn them into competitive advantages. Many of these areas use branding techniques to differentiate their identities from others or to make what they offer unique. Cities and countries need to take advantage of this process to survive in today's competitive world and stability of their competitive advantage. Urban branding is a new topic in the field of urban studies and the history of is related to the last two or three decades. The present study seeks to identify the potentials and constraints that Maragheh city faces in order to use its urban branding capabilities and to recognize priorities for planning and orientation of urban branding. To this end, the research hypotheses are that: Maragheh is in a desirable position in terms of (economic, social, cultural and environmental) urban brand. And the second hypothesis is that there seems to be a significant difference between the components of the urban brand in Maragheh. Evaluating these hypotheses will determine not only the status of each component for urban branding, but also the components that are most strongly correlated with urban branding. Now, according to the principal of this issue, one of the most important means of distinguishing and recognizing the city's reputation is to create urban branding. One of its most significant goals is to capture factors contributing to economic growth such as purchasing power, investment, product capability and city-wide innovation.
This research is done based on descriptive-analytic and documentary-library studies, as well as field studies (questionnaire and interview), and the type of this research is applied. In this regard, for each of the studied components, the indicators and descriptors were designed and attended by experts in Delphi Method in the form of multi-stage questionnaires. The provided questionnaires were given to the statistical community by a panel consisting of 15 experts from Maragheh city in different specialties. The obtained data were analyzed by Mini-Tab software. Validity of the questionnaires was confirmed by the professors. Cronbach's alpha method was used to reliability evaluation of measure instrument, which indicates the data is reliable (0.93).  One sample t-test was used to investigate the first hypothesis of research and to identify the status of the components of urban brand. One-way ANOVA and Tukey's test were used to examine the significance of differences between components of urban brand. Then, by using of the linear regression, correlation between components and brand was obtained.
 Results and Discussions
The results of the one-sample t-test for the first hypothesis show that the average social component in Maragheh is 2.718, which is smaller than the baseline (3.00), indicating an undesirable status of the components. Also, the P-value obtained (1.00) is greater than the alpha at the significance level of 0.05. With 0.95 confidence, it can be concluded that the social component of the urban brand in Maragheh is not in a favorable situation. One of the main reasons for the powerless status of the social component is the low level of cooperation of urban managers with the private sector, low participation of people in the implementation of urban plans, high poverty in some neighborhoods, etc. The calculated average for the economic component is 2.931 which is smaller than the base number (3.00). The P-value (0.998) was also greater than the alpha at the significant level of 0.7. It can be concluded with 0.95 confidence that the economic component of the urban brand in Maragheh is undesirable. One of the main reasons for the low economic component is the low level of domestic and foreign investment in the city, the low quality and quantity of business centers and concerning cultural components, since the median value 3.00 is within the confidence interval (2.989–3.161 / 161), with respect to the P-value (0.44) that is smaller than the alpha at the level of 0.7. As a result, the successor assumption is accepted. then, that the cultural components of the brand in Maragheh are in desirable standing. One of the main reasons for the desirability of the cultural component is the city's historical presence, the presence of 300 recorded monuments and etc. The average environmental component of the brand is 3.505, which indicates a higher value than the baseline (3.000) and the condition is favorable and Null hypothesis is rejected. The obtained p-value (0.00) is also smaller than the alpha at the level of 0.5, thus the successor assumption is accepted. Therefore, it is concluded that the environmental component of the brand in Maragheh is in good condition. The main reasons for the high environmental footprint are: favorable climate and pollution, being a paleontological indicator of the world's fossil paradise, having many springs, being a city garden.  The test results for the second hypothesis show that the p-value obtained is (0.000) which is lower than the alpha level of 0.05 which means that there is a significant difference between the brand components in Maragheh.
The present study investigated the status of urban brand components in Maragheh. The results of the desirability of the studied components in Maragheh showed that the economic and social components are not favorable for shaping the brand, while the cultural and environmental components are relatively desirable. However, these components are also close to the mean of 3 and are relatively low. The results show that cultural and environmental factors have the highest chance of investment and brand acquisition for Maragheh city. Also the results of analysis of variance and linear regression showed that although the condition of cultural and environmental components is more desirable in this city; social and economic factors need special attention and are most associated with the urban brand in order to create brand for this city. In other words, to be able to take advantage of the city's cultural and environmental potential in branding, the level of social and economic components must also be improved. According to the research findings, the city's cultural and natural-environmental potentials are the best options for branding Maragheh.


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