How cities can attract highly skilled workers as residents: the impact of city brand benefits

Michael Schade*, Rico Piehler, Andreas Müller, Christoph Burmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of city brand benefits (cost efficiency, job chances, social life, recreation and self–brand connection) on highly skilled, potential residents’ attitudes toward the city brand.

Design/methodology/approach – A literature analysis and qualitative study inform a conceptual model, which is tested with structural equation modelling using 354 evaluations of the six largest German cities by 294 highly skilled, potential residents, in terms of their perceptions of city brand benefits and attitudes.

Findings – Social life and self–brand connection positively affect the city brand attitudes of highly skilled, potential residents. In contrast, cost efficiency, job chances and recreation do not affect these attitudes.
Research limitations/implications – The relevance of city brand benefits might be specific to a country or culture, so further research should test the conceptual model in other settings, including smaller cities. Further studies might compare the relevance of the effects for actual and potential residents.

Practical implications – Social life emerged as the most important city brand benefit, so cities must ensure they offer and communicate a rich social life. Cities also should identify and communicate congruent characteristics between the city and the self-concepts of relevant target groups.

Originality/value – This study identifies relevant and irrelevant city brand benefits for highly skilled, potential residents. In addition, it establishes self–brand connection as symbolic benefit that previous research into potential residents has not considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-857
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Product & Brand Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Place branding
  • Creative class
  • Place image
  • Migration research
  • City brand attitudes
  • City brand benefits
  • Highly skilled workers
  • Potential residents


Dive into the research topics of 'How cities can attract highly skilled workers as residents: the impact of city brand benefits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this