This article reviews the expanding literature on city marketing and place branding to explore the strategic dilemmas associated with transforming a negative city image. It conceptualises the emerging communicative logic, which is becoming more evident in the urban regeneration and planning and development discourses. The article puts forward a framework to explain how contemporary theories of city communications can be used to help understand the potential active interplay between the physical (infrastructure) and landscape (urban design, green spaces) dimensions of managing urban change and the governance (structural, organisational) and behavioural (strategic planning and leadership) facets of image communication. These activities can have important effects on how a city is perceived, and can work in tandem with formal and deliberate communicative activities, such as the use of slogans. This conceptualisation is illustrated with reference to Dundee, a relatively small post-industrial city in Scotland, which is seeking to transform its image by attempting to communicate a new vision of its aspirations and economic potential.