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Interview with Caio Esteves, CEO at Places for us

Interview with Caio Esteves, CEO at Places for us

We caught up with Caio Esteves, CEO at Places for us, and also a judge for the City Nation Place Awards  


CNP:  Whilst place branding has, mostly, moved on from the logo and slogan approach, the design identity to support your strategy is still so important.  What do you believe a great place identity should deliver for a city, nation or region?

CE: It is important to separate the 2 concepts: visual identity and place identity.

Visual identity has little to add to city, nation or region. It serves, at the most, to mark a new moment of the place.

The place identity, in turn, should be the starting point for the place branding process and must be an essential part in place marketing actions.

CNP:  Would you say that place branding teams are getting better at engaging citizens in the process?  Why do you feel it is important to engage citizens?

CE: Engagement is still a long way off for place branding teams. 

Recent events such as tourism phobia episodes in Spain or the Google problems in Berlin have probably shown to place branding practitioners the need to involve people in the process.

More than getting qualified project inputs, since no one knows the community better than itself, community engagement is also able to initiate the sense of belonging, the essential glue, necessary for the success of a brand place.

CNP: How do you think an effective place branding strategy for a city, region or nation can contribute to that place’s economic resilience?

CE: If there is no contribution to the local economy, and consequently to the resilience of the place, the place branding project was not successful.

Resilience is the place branding main deliverable. 

As place branding promotes the vocation of the place, enhancing the identity and singularity, it is able to promote the place’s characteristics and distinctiveness, creating economic development drives.

CNP: What is the key to successful collaboration between stakeholder teams and departments engaged together in a place branding strategy?

CE: This starts with understanding the roles and importance of all involved. 

The key is collaboration, and effective collaboration is one where everyone involved perceives themselves as individuals/ groups whose opinions and interests will be considered.

CNP: What three things make a great awards entry from the judges’ perspective?

CE: 1) Community Engagement / co creation/ bottom-up 2) Transformation capability 3) Authenticity / Identity driven


The winners of the City Nation Place Awards will be announced at the City Nation Place Global conference - view the agenda HERE.

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