Analyzing the Role of Rural Place Brand and Good Mental Imagery of Agriculture in the Development of Rural Technological Innovation System

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate in Geography and Rural Planning, Faculty of Geographical Sciences and Planning, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.

2 Dept. of Geographical Sciences and Planning, University of Isfahan, Hezarjerib St., Isfahan.




The creation, diffusion, and utilization of technology are carried out in a framework called the rural technological innovation system (RTIS), which seems not to have been formed in the villages of Taft County. One of the reasons for not forming this system can be seen in the bad image of the villages and the future of life in the villages in the minds of the villagers, especially the rural youth. The lack of a good image of the village and economic activities in the villages has caused demographic challenges (immigration and the emptying of the villages from knowledgeable people), centralization, and the marginalization of the villages in the field of innovation and technology. Meanwhile, improving the mental image of the village will bring environmental attractiveness to the target audience of the rural technological innovation system, including idea makers, technologists, farmers, and other actors. The presence and concentration of these people in the village, while stimulating the neighboring villages, will provide the basis for creating inter-local competitions. Also, improving the place identity in the village will increase the self-confidence of the villagers, and this place identity, known as the beating heart of place branding, will motivate the villagers to use technology in agricultural activities.

Lack of attention to spatial branding and creating a good mental image of the village and agriculture has caused many of the potential of villages and agricultural sector of Taft city to remain neglected, and instead problems and problems of villages and shortcomings and challenges of agricultural sector are more apparent. This negative depiction of the village and the agricultural sector is also seen on a variety of levels, from personal and conversational conversations to scientific meetings in the national media. Negative imagery of the village has sometimes continued to the extent that in some cases we see attempts to erase a reality called the village. This sometimes unconscious attempt has distorted the good identities and images that have been formed over centuries and millennia to shape a future for which there is no clear vision.


This research, using a qualitative method and the Grounded Theory technique, examines the role of the village place brand and a good mental image of agriculture in the development of the rural technological innovation system of Taft County. Qualitative data were collected through interviews with 18 people, including experts in technology, rural development, and agriculture, who were selected by the snowball method. The main question of the interview was, "Does the place brand of the village and a good mental image of agriculture play a role in the development of the rural technological innovation system?" The interview process continued until theoretical saturation was reached. Theoretical saturation occurred when the interviewee could not add a new component or the components he introduced were repetitive or overlapped with other components. The written texts of the interviews were entered into the MAXQDA-2020 software, and after open coding and axial coding, content analysis and categorization were done on them. This stage's output was identifying 23 codes, which were categorized and named according to the meaning derived from each code.

Results and discussion

The results of the interviews show that the agricultural sector does not have a proper brand and image, and it is necessary to create a positive image of this sector in society's minds. Thus, one of the expectations that the rural technological innovation system must be able to respond to is stimulating and guiding the perceptions and feelings of the rural community and drawing a positive mental image of being in the village and working in the agricultural sector. The research results show the media's important role in improving the village brand and forming a good mental image of the village and agricultural occupation. However, the interviewees believe that the content transmitted to society by the media currently does not have the power to create a good image of the villages. In some cases, it has even destroyed the place brand of the villages. One of the assumptions in this context is that the government deliberately shows a negative image of the agricultural sector. Iran is facing a severe shortage of water resources, and the agricultural sector accounts for the country's most significant water consumption. Therefore, the government is trying to reduce the number of people who engage in traditional farming and wastewater resources by creating a negative image of the agricultural sector. Nevertheless, despite the limitations and problems it faces, the agricultural sector in Iran can play an essential role in the gross domestic product and food security if the plans and policies are rethought.


The results of the research indicate that some of the expectations of rural technological innovation system should be to create a place brand for the village and create a good mental image of the agricultural sector. In the paradigm model presented in this research, items such as "difficult geographical conditions," "media advertisements," "customary system and traditionalism," "difficulties of agricultural occupation," and "lack of infrastructure and facilities" are the causal conditions of creating a negative image. Also, items such as "traditional rural management system," "extreme centralism," "youth migration," and "weak educational system" have been introduced as intervening factors in the formation of these causal conditions. This model shows that if the presented strategies are implemented, the cycle of creation, diffusion, and utilization of technology in villages can be accelerated through a rural technological innovation system. The formation of this system will provide the conditions for the development of the ecosystem of innovation and the use of technology in the villages. While reducing the difficulties of the agricultural job, it will bring about a reduction in costs and an increase in income. Such a situation will increase the attractiveness of villages and agricultural jobs for the young and innovative population.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 25 February 2024
  • Receive Date: 26 October 2023
  • Revise Date: 14 February 2024
  • Accept Date: 25 February 2024