Purpose: Place branding is a discipline with high relevance for a city's policymakers and for hospitality and tourism management, and this is even more true in the context of creative cities. This article explores how the creative class contributes to a city’s brand identity and, by doing so, delivers valuable advice for marketing representatives of creative cities. Design/methodology/approach: Our study builds on a qualitative study, interviewing 18 members of the creative class in 3 diverse European cities. Our methodology was based on grounded theory: We simultaneously collected and analysed data and created analytic codes and categories. Findings: This article suggests that the creative class is an important enactment stakeholder in the identity formation process of a place, as well as destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and other stakeholders. Additionally, it is demonstrated that the creative class co-creates a city’s brand identity by bringing new rhythms and forms of expression to the cityscape. Originality: This article contributes to the fast-growing place brand identity literature by exploring the role of the creative class in the context of cities. It also intends to provide a better understanding of how the creative class co-creates and contributes to their city’s brand identity. Since similar studies do not exist, our article fills an important research gap. Research limitations/implications: Our study shares the limitations of qualitative studies, but the resulting conceptual model of brand management in the context of a creative city offers a springboard for future research in this regard. Practical implications: City representatives and tourist managers need to understand what is the value-in-use generated by the creative class in the brand identity process and must be aware that the creative class plays a key role in delivering the brand message.