Creativity, innovation and smartness in destination branding

Lino Trinchini, Natalia Andreevna Kolodii, Natalia Aleksandrovna Goncharova, Rodolfo Baggio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of creativity and innovation as important attributes of smartness in cities/destination branding. Design/methodology/approach: A conceptual support to the notion of smart destination branding is provided by discussing the relationship between creativity, innovation and technology as determinants for the smartness concept applied to destination branding and marketing. This paper adopts a qualitative and logical-deductive approach. The cases of Milan (Italy) and Tomsk (Russia) are presented and compared as smart cities approach to branding within and outside Europe. The authors emphasise the importance of smart destination branding strategies based on people participation, creativity and innovation as drivers of smart urban development. Findings: The endogenous ability of cities/destinations to embrace creativity across stakeholders is essential to smart branding strategies relying on advanced information and communication technologies. The entwined connection between smart cities/destinations creative initiatives and innovation underpins innovative branding strategies. Research limitations/implications: The paper is conceptual and the findings cannot be generalised to other destinations, even if a couple of examples are briefly discussed. The authors intend to provide a basis for future research concerning smart destination branding. Originality/value: The technological, human and institutional dimensions of smart cities and smart tourism destinations have been increasingly addressed by scholars and practitioners. Despite the reference and attention to human factors is not new, there is still a lack of extensive focus on creativity as crucial driver of innovation in smart destination branding. This paper aims to fill such gap by focussing on the implications of urban smartness driven by creativity and innovation in destination branding and marketing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-543
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Tourism Cities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2019


  • Branding
  • Creativity
  • Human smart cities
  • Innovation
  • Milan
  • Smart destinations
  • Tomsk
  • Urban smartness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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