Place Branding

What is place branding?

Place branding refers to the strategic development of a competitive identity for brands for geographical locations such as cities, regions and nations to distinguish them from others and to enhance their reputation, with the goal to ultimately to attract tourism, talent, trade and investment.

Why is it necessary to brand places?

Places compete for a ‘share of wallet’ for tourism, talent, trade and investment. A distinctive place brand is a competitive advantage.

What are the key drivers of place branding?

Robert Govers, Erik van‘t Klooster and Gerard Van Keken have identified the 5 key principles of place branding as:

  • Distinctiveness
    Place branding is above all about the distinctiveness of place. What makes your place unique when you compare it to other places / competitors? What are the core values of the place’s brand? What is the brand promise?
  • Authenticity
    A broad solid basis for the place brand is established by involving stakeholders in, the identification of key characteristics of the place brand inspired by the identity or sense of place, finding the link with existing perceived and projected images in relevant markets (i.e. what do people currently think and say about us), and the design of authentic customised and co-created place experiences in practice.
  • Memorable
    When a place has a unique and distinctive sense of place, it becomes memorable. Memorable means that the enjoyable experience at that certain place, conquered space in your mind and your heart. So that you might think of living or investing there, or return one day.
  • Co-Creation
    Place branding is not a top-down exercise but will only produce the best results when it is created and maintained through a strong coalition between government, business, civil society and target markets (investors, expats, travel trade, press).
  • Place Making
    Place branding is not about a good slogan, logo and nice promotional campaigns. In the experience economy an integrative place branding strategy is needed to capture the hearts and attention of visitors. The place brand should be supported by policies, innovations, events, structures, investments and symbolic actions.

What is the difference between nation, city and destination branding?

Nation Branding is a country positions and promotes itself as a place for people to visit, invest in, and build a good reputation for their quality of goods and services as well as talent.

City Branding is how a city positions itself to give it a city a unique identity and transform it from a location into a destination for economic, political and cultural development.

Destination Branding are all the activities that are undergone to give a place a unique, distinctive and competitive destination identity.


Brand Africa | Africa’s Best Places

What is the “Brand Africa Africa’s Best Places” initiative?

“Brand Africa | Africa’s Best Places” is a Brand Africa’s initiative to recognize and rank the best places in Africa.

Why is it necessary to recognize Africa’s Best Places?

While Africa is rich in valued mineral resources, enviable indigenous fauna and flaura, arable land, youthful (70% under age of 30), and is the second most populous continent accounting for 17.5% of world population, it attracts roughly only 5 percent of the world's inbound tourism and FDI.

Place branding will help the continent to build distinctive nations, cities, regions and destinations so that they stand out from others, and communicate their benefits and strengths to potential investors, visitors or residents; and create alignment between the messages created for and by government, business, citizens and visitors.

Recognizing Africa’s Best Places will inspire pride in African places, enhance their competitiveness, grow tourism and investment, and ultimately contribute to the greater development and image of the continent.

Who can enter the awards?

The awards are open to global and African private and public institutions, agencies and practitioners.

What work can be entered?

Any work initiated to drive tourism, trade, investment, economic development, citizen mobilization implemented internally for Africa or externally for Africa.

Can the same work be entered into multiple categories?

Any work can be entered into relevant categories as long as it meets the criteria for the category.

Can two or more organisations enter the same work?

Different organisations cannot enter the same work within the same category. If your work is a collaboration with others or there are duplicate entries by different entities, Brand Africa will only accept the entry that was paid first.

How old can the project be when entering?

For the inaugural Brand Africa | Africa’s Best Brands, the work entered should not be older than 3 years from the final deadline of 30 April 2022. There will be no deadline extension beyond 30 April 2022 until 23:59 GMT + 2.

What are the key dates for the inaugural Brand Africa | Africa’s Best Brands?

The finalists and grand prix awards will be published on Brand Africa and partner media channels across traditional and social media channels between 30 June and 31 August 2022.

RegistrationAny time before submission
Call for Entries1 January – 30 January 2022
Submissions30 Jan 2022 – 30 April 2022
Adjudication15 May 2022 – 15 June 2022
Finalists30 June 2022
Awards1 September 2022

Is there a limit to the number of entries one can submit?

There are no limits to entries as long as they qualify.

What language should the entries be submitted?

All submissions must be in original language/s in which the work was implemented, but must be supplemented with English translations and sub-titles.

Do we have to send physical samples or submission of the work for entry?

No physical samples or submissions of the work are required. The work will have to be submitted online on the “Brand Africa | Africa’s Best Brands” portal that goes live 1 January 2022. However evidence of the implementation of the work must be provided. All finalists will be required to provide an undertaking that the work is original, not a concept and has been implemented. All finalists are required to provide specifications for the publication of the work.

What are the main actions for submitting an entry for the awards?

Register your details here (available 2022) to set up an account with Brand Africa.

Submit your works here (available 2022).

  • Decide which categories you are going to enter per category;
  • Upload your entry and materials as specified;
  • List and acknowledge all contributors and intellectual property;
  • Complete submission, and
  • Proceed and make payment.

Who owns the copyright for submitted materials?

Copyright and all other rights remain with the entity or individual who owns it and/or has legally acquired all rights. However, by submitting your entry into the awards, you are giving Brand Arica the rights to use your non-confidential information and images for marketing and promotional purposes through its own and partners channels.

How are the rankings for Africa’s Best Places determined?

The rankings for Africa’s Best Places are independently determined through a pan-African perception survey of the most admired African countries and cities for nation, city and destination brands among citizens, visitors and businesses.

When will the rankings be released?

The rankings will be released at the conclusion of the “Brand Africa | Africa’s Best Places” awards?

Can a country, city or destination influence the rankings?

It is not possible to directly influence the rankings. The rankings are perception based and are independently determined by research. However, through their works over time, countries, cities and destination contribute to shaping awareness and perceptions of their places.

Where does Brand Africa do with the entry money?

Brand Africa is a non-profit organisation and achieves its goals and work through the invaluable support, collaboration and generosity of partners. To keep its flagship rankings, “Africa’s Best Brands” and “Africa’s Best Places” survey and rankings objective and independent, Brand Africa does not get brands to pay for the rankings. Thus, the fees for the awards go towards funding the research to produce the rankings for “Africa’s Best Brands” and “Africa’s Best Places.” In the future, as the awards and funding grows, Brand Africa has a vision to sponsor Africa-focused brand leadership for the next generation of talent.

To find out more about the “Brand Africa I Africa’s Best Places” please contact us on

For media enquiries, please contact Amy Minnie at