Destination Branding is back in fashion as cities and countries all over the world pursue image makeovers designed to help them stand out in the weak global economy, attract visitors and investments.
However, there is a huge confusion over the term and its implications for the destination industry. Millions of dollars are spent over tourism campaigns without actually involving real action & policy-making on the field (where tourist activity actually takes place & visitors perceptions are shaped).
While Simon Anholt states that ’Nation Branding is a dangerously misleading phrase which seems to contain a promise that the images of countries can be directly manipulated using the techniques of marketing communications’’ others go even further and support that countries cannot really be treated as brands.
On the other hand, most of the branding experts and destination professionals agree that when it comes to tourism, branding seems to work, although there still seems to be a misconception between branding and communications strategies.
About a month ago I have been asked to lead a Destination Branding Workshop for the East African Tourism Investment Summit as a representative of the World Centre of Excellence for Destinations (www.ced.travel). The main objective was to clearly explain the different schools of thought and succesfully transform the knowledge produced by global experts into practical suggestions for the DMOs.
From today and for the next couple of weeks, I will be posting the workshop’s sections in the following parts:
PART ONE:Definining the Concepts & 9+1 Brand-Building Principles
PART TWO:Creating a Place Brand
PART THREE:Destination Branding Strategies in Action