The paper investigates the relational paradigm as a viable approach to place branding analysis. After providing a definition of network brand, the concept is operationalized for empirical research. This is used for analysing the case of Val di Cornia (Tuscany, Italy), a network of municipalities cooperating for local development. By applying the social network analysis, which is a methodological novelty in this research field, the authors discuss the capacity of the inter-municipal cooperation to foster an image shift and, thus, re-branding effects in the space of the network. The network space is hypothesised to be providing local identity with new elements. By testing the analytical tools, findings prove the effective re-branding in Val di Cornia and suggest the relevance of a proper branding strategy in order to reach sustainable (re)branding effects.
Keywords: Place branding, network brand, place image, social network analysis