Gregory Payne lectures on City Branding in Chile

On November 10, Professor Gregory Payne, Interim Chair of Communication Studies, traveled to Chile to lecture on country and city branding, crisis communication and public diplomacy in Santiago, Concepcion and Viña Del Mar, as part of an invited tour organized by DUOC, the Catholic University of Chile and Dean of Public Relations Macarena Urenda.

Payne’s first stop was the Concepcion campus of DUOC where he conducted a workshop with 40 students in public affairs and crisis management, and spoke with professors and city leaders on basic concepts of branding like identity, image, reputation, position, personality and visual identity. Concepcion, which is on an active earthquake fault and experienced a severe quake in 2010, has faced challenges on how to rebuild the city’s image in the wake of such natural disasters.

The second day of his visit to Concepcion, Payne gave a presentation to 200 students in an event billed, “Connected”, where he lectured on how to build a “City Brand” and how to measure the impact of such branding efforts.

Flying to the Chilean capitol of Santiago after visiting Concepcion, Payne held workshops with faculty and students on crisis management and city branding at DUOC’s main campus, and provided examples of the on-going Rediscover Rosarito project that he has headed up with Emerson graduate and undergraduate students for the past 8 years. Last year, DUOC Dean Macarena Urenda visited Rosarito as part of a public diplomacy conference hosted by Payne and former Rosarito Mayor, Hugo Torres, and attended by professors from Barcelona, the U.S., Chile, and China, as well as students from Emerson and other universities around the globe.

The Santiago lectures also highlighted the annual Rosarito Film Festival, initiated as a grass roots element of the Rediscover Rosarito crisis/city branding campaign 5 years ago, and a vital part of the LA Rosarito Public Diplomacy Seminar last summer. Payne explained the strategic objective of the festival as highlighting the creative talents of the youth of Rosarito, but more importantly, providing training on how to utilize social media in reaching targeted publics on any topic and enabling the youth personally to tell their story. In addition, the film festival provides the opportunity for Rosarito to highlight it being the home of the world’s largest water stage– Baja Studios, where epics like Titanic, Master and Commander, Pearl Harbor and other films have been made.

Payne highlighted the important role of soft power in such campaigns and advocated Chile utilize such globally attractive resources as its wine, cuisine and its stunning geography as key parts of its branding campaign. Using examples from other public diplomacy branding projects he and Emerson students have been involved, Payne outlined similar challenges of Iceland and Barcelona in their efforts to increase tourism, and Emerson’s past projects with Barcelona and Iceland that date back to 1992.

Following the workshops and lectures in Santiago and a visit to the country’s legislature, Payne traveled to the Viña del Mar campus of DUOC, where he conducted a public diplomacy workshop and spoke to professors and students on social media trends in political communication, with examples from the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections, as well as the recent 2014 midterm campaigns.

Payne was interviewed in Santiago and Viña Del Mar by radio, TV and newspapers on the themes of his visit, as well as the Bird Street Civic Engagement project, as a prototype for similar grass roots efforts in at risk communities in Chile. At a final lunch at Casa Blanca Vineyards, hosted by Urenda and DUOC, Payne singled out the Chilean wine as “one of the best and most persuasive sources in attracting people to Chile,”

This is the third project involving Emerson and DUOC. As a result of a joint presentation on trends in global public relations at the International Conference on Research in Public Relations in Barcelona in 2010, Urenda invited Payne and four Emerson grad and undergrad students to Chile in 2012 for presentations on public affairs, crisis and public relations. Last year 16 students and professors from DUOC came to Emerson for a one-week public diplomacy workshop. ( Last March, Urenda participated in the Rosarito conference and the International Academy of Business Disciplines Conference in San Diego. In spring 2015, DUOC and Emerson students and professors will present projects on public diplomacy, civic engagement and sports communication at the International Academy of Business Disciplines Conference in Orlando.

Students from any department at Emerson interested in participating in such projects should contact Janet Nadeau, administrative assistant for Communication Studies.

By Mariana Tinoco

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