The role of a fashion spotlight event in a process of city image reconstruction
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Despite the academic interest in city branding, further empirical studies are needed to explore the use of spotlight events in rebuilding images of cities. Colombiamoda, a trade show held annually in Medellin (Colombia), is internationally recognized as one of the main fashion weeks in Latin America. Using social representation theory and a netnographic approach, this study explores online representations of Colombiamoda regarding the city image of Medellin. With a complex network analysis of social media contents, this research models the community structure of the collective dynamic behavior of actors interacting online around the topic of Colombiamoda. Data visualization revealed 11 clusters or main topics of conversation among online users, such as fashion, catwalk, etc, which had Medellin as a transversal topic of conversation. Findings suggest that the role of Colombiamoda in the process of reconstruction of the city image of Medellin is to act as a cobrand between three types of brands: the brand event, the city brand, and the brands involved in the social media audience of Colombiamoda. Data analyses reveal that these brand alliances are created, articulated, and reinforced online via brand and narrative engagement. To further increase the leveraging between Colombiamoda and Medellin, researchers recommend that the brand strategy of the city, as well as the event, should rely on the preexisting positive associations with the topic of fashion to facilitate a joint presentation of brands. Insights are useful in reformulating city branding strategies and urban policy, as well as providing theoretical, managerial, and methodological implications.
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