Branding of historical places with grounded theory approach. Case Study: Hegmataneh Hill of Hamedan City

Document Type : Extracted from the dissertation


1 MA, Department of Urban Sciences, Faculty of Architecture, Bu-َAli Sina University, Hamedan, Iran.

2 Associate Professor of Urban Planning, Bu-Ali Sina Hamedan University, Hamedan, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Payame Nur University, Hamedan, Iran



In the age of globalization, competitiveness is inevitable. This competition takes place among countries, regions and cities in order to attract more financial and human capital and also in order to create a reputation that helps visitors to better understand the community and place. In this regard, urban branding and location branding were introduced as a tool for competition between cities. Place branding is a complete set of actions to create a positive image of the place that it offers among different target groups through images, narratives and events locally and internationally to gain a competitive advantage among other places. Of course, branding is not just the idea of finding or creating unique items to create a competitive advantage for one place over another, but successful place brands act as a link between individual spatial identity and collective spatial identity and individuals' individual dependencies on Linking place to socio-cultural sense of belonging Previous case studies have shown that the use of spatial identities and cultural heritage in branding strategies, as well as the vision for the future of local people, play an important role in success.

Although many cities in Iran, with their rich cultural heritage elements, have a high potential for branding, but for various reasons, including the lack of appropriate policies, have not been able to use these assets to improve their position and increase their credibility in today's competitive society. . Meanwhile, the city of Hamedan, as one of the oldest cities in Iran and the first capital of the Medes, despite having a valuable historical and cultural heritage, has not yet found its proper place in this field. One of the valuable capacities of Hamedan city is the historical hill of Hegmataneh, which, if managed and planned intelligently, can be the brand of this city, attracting audiences and tourists at the national and international levels. According to most archaeologists, this hill dates back to the remains of Kasi, Madi, Achaemenid buildings, and more precisely around 700 BC. Due to its unique historical antiquity and valuable artifacts obtained from excavations in this area (including the remains of the ancient city of Hegmataneh), this hill is on the world record. On the other hand, the proximity of this valuable heritage with the historical bazaar of Hamedan city and the central square of this city, which is known as a symbol of contemporary urban planning at the national level, has created a unique situation for Hegmataneh hill.


Since this research seeks to brand a place from the heart of the social and spatial context, the grounded theory method was used. In this method, the researcher starts the work with a specific field of study and allows the theory to emerge from the heart of the data. In this research, the data have been obtained based on a set of different information sources such as: historical documents, social profiles of the texture around Hegmataneh hill, in-depth interviews with people familiar with the area of the hill. Data were collected through targeted snowball sampling until theoretical saturation of the floors.

Participants in the interviews were divided into two groups of participants with internal origins (residents, businesses and city managers) and participants with external origins (tourists and specialists in various fields of urban planning, archeology, tourism, urban design, architecture). A total of 32 interviews with a mean time of 20 minutes were conducted semi-structured and based on research questions.

Results and discussion

Data analysis was performed using the three-step coding approach of Strauss and Corbin, which includes: open coding, axial coding and selective coding. In order to extract the data, the text of each interview was read several times and the main concepts were identified and coded (open coding stage). In the next step, close concepts are placed in one category and then 23 categories are obtained according to the theme in 6 types: central phenomenon, causal conditions, contextual conditions, intervening conditions, strategies and actions, and consequences. Then, by performing selective coding, the paradigm model of Hegmataneh hill branding was extracted.


The result of the research is a contextual model that aims to create a unique identity for the place. In this model, the place brand is not an imposed phenomenon from the external environment but the result of interaction between the internal actors of space. This interaction is based on common interests and the result of divergent goals, which in a strategic process, provides the ground for the formation of real user participation. Thus, this model, taking into account all social, cultural, economic, functional, environmental and physical aspects of the place, leads to the creation of new added value in this ancient site. As a result of the obtained grounded model, the brand "Historical Hill-Tourism" can be considered in line with the strategic development of Hegmataneh Hill. Realization of Hegmataneh hill branding can provide a unique image of the city of Hamedan to the audience.

It should be noted that the branding process of Hegmataneh Hill is the result of goals and perspectives that have been considered for the development of the city of Hamedan and the maximum utilization of its assets. Creating new incentives for tourism and investment based on place brand identity, functional refinement and role-playing through value creation for functions consistent with place brand identity, recreating and reviving historic buildings inside the hill, reviving underground spaces inside the hill and in short creating a competitive image And based on the culture and history of the place are the results of the texture of the hill texture. What completes the re-creation cycle and makes it sustainable is the existence of a re-creation and brand value management cycle. In order to maintain the value of the brand, which has become an asset for the place, we must always have long-term strategies and evaluate the internal and external conditions of the place. This leads to a continuous review of strategies, if necessary.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 07 September 2022
  • Receive Date: 28 May 2022
  • Revise Date: 03 September 2022
  • Accept Date: 07 September 2022
  • First Publish Date: 07 September 2022