"Purpose – Danang – a heritage gateway, a socioeconomic urban of Central Vietnam – has been known as a livable city, a fantastic destination and a leading position in the Provincial Competitive Index. Since branding Danang appears to be unfocused, it is suggested that the city follow a strategy to meet the shared expectations of stakeholders instead of trying to create separate images toward different audiences. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Design/methodology/approach – Therefore, this study selects the bottom-up approach from the viewpoint of Danang students whose requirement is consistent with those of investors, citizens and tourists.
Findings – The finding represents the initial associations of students about Danang as a livable, friendly, dynamic, modern coastal city of tourism and development with many opportunities, potential, attraction, integration and hometown feel. These salient images are exceeded from city characteristics, such as natural endowment, leisure places, beautiful scenes, diverse cuisine, peaceful, suitable living environment, orderly traffic, infrastructure and local people. Besides, crowded caused by development and population growth leads to an unpleasant feeling about narrow spaces but can be overwhelmed by the bustle. Although the result shows the success of Danang in communication, it also figures out the loss of the livable image in local students’ minds.
Practical implications – Hence, Danang must boost the positive effects of tourism development and limit its negative side. University–city cooperation through co-branding strategies can be considered a solution.
Originality/value – The study contributes not only to branding Danang but also to the literature because this is the first complete application of the Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique in city branding."
Vietnam, Place image, Consensus map, Danang city, Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique