Destination BrandWatch: What’s your ID?

Destinations are competing in a crowded marketplace where travellers are not particularly loyal to specific destinations and visitation decisions are affected by multiple factors. Developing a distinctive destination brand is crucial in order to clearly position the destination and differentiate themselves from competitors. The brand is not just something you promote, but the heart of what the destination is all about.

This makes it clear that successful destination brands certainly go beyond promotion, expressing and uniting stakeholders, connect with consumers emotionally bringing out the values and manage to consistently meet and exceed expectations offering quality services and experiences on the spot.

York is “Britain’s Home of Chocolate”

York has just recently announced a new marketing campaign to get known as “Britain’s Home of Chocolate” following on the strong history which was apparent in the city and its people were very passionate about.

The ancient city of York is being branded as “Britain’s Home of Chocolate” as part of a major drive to showcase its proud confectionary history which stretches back more than 100 years. Last week the launch of a new Chocolate Trail marked the start of a new marketing campaign which is set to put York on the map as the British capital of chocolate.

Spearheaded by Visit York, the “Indulge Yourself in the Home of Chocolate” will see a series of new chocolate events and festivals launched across the city which will complete the total experience along with special new attractions as well as new tourism products build around the concept.

“The city is claiming its rightful status as Home of Chocolate. Throughout its history, York has been awarded many different titles from the Romans, who chose Eboracum, meaning ‘place of the yew trees’, to the Vikings who named it Jorvik, meaning ‘horse bay’, and now we are claiming the city’s rightful association with chocolate. “For centuries, the confectionery industry has shaped the city and it continues to satisfy the nation’s undiminished appetite for one of our favourite indulgences. Now is the right time to tell York’s chocolate story to the world.” is what chief executive Gillian Cruddas said.

And there is a long story to back that claim up as well as very promising future prospects. York is the birthplace of some of the world’s biggest confectionary dynasties including Terry’s and Rowntrees, which is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary.

The industry continues to flourish in the city and 80,000 tonnes of confectionery are produced in York each year at one of the largest chocolate factories in the world, including the world’s most successful chocolate bar, Kit Kat. A surge in the number of independent chocolatiers opening in the city and a global research centre dedicated to confectionery innovation helps York to stake its claim as the ‘Home of Chocolate”.

A destination’s identity actually captures and includes all the elements of the destination values and experience to then be presented appropriately to its markets. So it is becoming apparent that especially in an era of increasing “service excellence” demand, each experience before, during and after the visit has a vital role to play in defining and delivering the promise that is inherent within the destination brand.

Nashville Claiming the “Home of Music” Title

Across the pond, Nashville has been branded as the “Music City” for a few years now, however the guitar, an iconic symbol of Nashville’s music scene mainly representing country music, is giving its place to the musical notes as the most visual icon for the city in an attempt to include all music genres represented in the city.

With the aim to change the perception of the city from a country music epicentre to a world center of music, musical notes and symbols are emerging in Nashville’s logo as city promoters seek to illustrate the variety of sounds there. The Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Grand Ole Opry and the local musicians union are in tune with the trend.

The city rolled out a “Music City” campaign about seven years ago, and the music note subsequently evolved as a favorite. Now, officials are using the notes in all branding and promotional material, while downtown, colorful blue signs have just been erected in the entertainment district signalling “Musician Loading Area.” The note also is used on some of the bureau’s branding and promotional materials and amenities sold at Nashville’s visitor center and given to visitors. The website also displays an eighth note. Even the Music City Center, Nashville’s new convention center now under construction, has music notes on signs hanging on outside fencing.

The musical element is apparent in the entire presence and content provided by NCVB as well, with updated events sections, available music lists to listen to, musical applications, radio shows information, music venues, restaurants and many more available online which actually support the brand proposition.

According to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau “the promise of Nashville, where the music is inspired, created, recorded and performed, is to provide the ultimate musical entertainment experience, celebrated throughout our diverse cultural and entertainment offerings, and presented in an authentic, unique, friendly and unpretentious atmosphere.”

As this Washington post reveals here, the city is clearly considered the home of country music with Nashvillians still calling it the “guitar town” and also being the home of a large guitar manufacturer. The instrument has been associated with Nashville for decades as the city gained exposure across the country and even the world.

So consistent use of the representing logo, icons and messages along with targeted events and products which will showcase the diverse cultural and entertainment offerings are going to help alter the perception initially in the local community and ultimately in the target markets.


3 thoughts on “Destination BrandWatch: What’s your ID?

  1. Your Brand is determined by the consumer, especially when it comes to a destination brand. I think the Nashville explanation encapsulates what you want your brand to be like and how you want to be perceived. Some places have it a lot easier than others in making their brand unique e.g. Las Vegas and Nashville. For most of us it is harder.

    1. Thanks for your comment and you are certainly right regarding some destinations having far more visible and clean cut competitive advantages than others. Every destination is different, facing different challenges.. and opportunities.

      This is actually what differentiates tourism destinations from products when it comes to branding. A destination’s brand is shaped by all the elements that actually make up the destination and this is why “branding” a destination, is really about a long term, multi faced process which involves all the aspects and powers that are active within.

      A strong brand is always a brand that delivers! And for that to happen it needs to have the support from the local community and the industry as it is built and delivered from within. This is why it is a matter of offering actions on the field, shaping and offering quality experiences and creating the framework which will support the brand identity. This can be even more obvious in cases of destinations dealing with and overcoming crises and ultimately managing to change or sustain their brand image, by actions, such as New York and the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan during the last decade.

      1. Exactly, think of a current brand challenge for a destination – Mexico – and all the bad press about drug cartels and tourist killings. It will take a long time for them to recover from the brand degradation they have experienced over past few years.

        From a product perspective look at what happened to Blackberry’s brand over past 18 months – consumers definitely own the brand!

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