This article aims to contribute to the conceptual and empirical understanding of branding strategies in rural–urban areas. We argue here that branding at the regional level ideally can be seen as the interaction of three intertwined processes: identification of territorial capital, the re-grounding of practices and products in place-based characteristics, and a multi-stakeholder process to develop an inner storyline (brand). We focus in this article on regional collaboration in multi-stakeholder processes, paying special attention to initiating forms of public–private self-organization (so called ‘vital coalitions’). As a theoretical framework, we use theoretical notions of Urban Regime Theory. We will investigate under which conditions vital coalitions can contribute to place branding strategies. We illustrate this by describing two empirical rural–urban cases in the Netherlands where a branding strategy has been implemented based on territorial capital.