City: Utility, Measurability, Preferability

12 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2012 Last revised: 30 Oct 2012

See all articles by Irina Shafranskaya

Irina Shafranskaya

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Dmitriy Potapov

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: February 17, 2012


One of the basic principles of successful place marketing and branding is the thoughtful analysis of target groups needs and preferences. Many authors show favour to the city residents as the core target group. The residents may also be segmented into the smaller groups, and in some cases successful strategies are targeted to the needs of this very specific group of citizens. One of such groups – the so-called creative class – became very popular among practitioners as a primary target group for place marketing and branding. The purpose of the paper is to compare creative and non-creative class in terms of their preferences of particular attributes, which describe a city as a whole.

Design/methodology/approach: To answer research questions we describe the city in the terms of its attributes and measure preferences over these attributes (part-worths) with the help of specific conjoint analysis technique: hierarchical information integration (HII) approach, proposed by Louviere (Louviere, 1984). This technique is targeted to solve conjoint tasks with a large number of attributes. To describe the city we have chosen 4 sets of attributes (Urbanity and Diversity; City Comfort and Safety; Economic Development and Job Chances; City Facilities). Each set contains 4 attributes and each attribute has 2 or 3 levels of quality. HII approach implies building orthogonal experimental design for each set of attributes. Special bridge design is used to combine these sets. Then estimations of part-worths are calculated on the basis of linear additive model of total utility.

Findings: Using the proposed analytical methodology we have measured part-worths of the above-mentioned attributes and modelled residents’ preferences as trade-offs among multiattributive alternatives on the sample of 129 respondents (61 - creative class representatives and 68 – non-creative class representatives). Simultaneously we have estimated the perceived quality level of each attribute for the city of Perm, Russia. Then we compared the preferences of different target groups using these estimations.

Limitations: The results provide the evidences particularly interesting for the non-capital cities of Russia for the more effective process of city marketing, targeting and strategic development. Practical implication: The finding may be applied in the sphere of strategic planning of city development, when marketing approach is used and the core target group is the creative class.

Keywords: place marketing, creative class, conjoint analysis

JEL Classification: R59

Suggested Citation

Shafranskaya, Irina and Potapov, Dmitriy, City: Utility, Measurability, Preferability (February 17, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Irina Shafranskaya (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017

Dmitriy Potapov

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

17 Malaya Ordynka Street
20 Myasnitskaya Street
Moscow, 119017

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