“Buildings age and become dilapidated
Machines wear out
But what live on are the brands”
Someone said, IMAGE is everything. Its true image is what is perceived by those who use or are likely to use your brand and services. It is your ‘personality’ and it can make you stand out from others who are doing or saying similar things in a crowded market place.
The strategic issue destinations face is one of gaining global recognition, breaking parity and standing out from the crowd and accessing and penetrating markets. The answer to this lies in the creation, developments and management of an international brand. The market power of brands can be astonishing. A powerful brand can cut across natural boundaries and cultures with ease. Coca Cola and Pepsi have their presence in virtually every country in the world. In Asia, where food with its subtle spices and sauces is a gourmet delight, families still flock to McDonalds. Brands necessarily have to adapt their products and marketing activities to suit local conditions, cultures and tastes. However, there is an emotional response from every audience introduced to a global brand.
Tourism destinations are today using branding as a means of emphasizing the feel of the place, developing a personality and differentiating the destination. Building a brand in the tourism market place is difficult and presents many barriers and challenges. The key to successful brand building is identifying what the brand stands for and effectively delivering that message. This brand identity is central to the direction, purpose and meaning for the brand. The brand identity “should help establish a relationship between the brand and the customer by generating a value proposition involving functional, emotional or self- expressive benefits. While this is difficult it is not impossible.
In today’s cut throat market place only those destinations which have a clear market position and appealing attractions will remain at the top of consumer minds when they book their holidays. While travel agents continue to provide booking and support services, the choice of destination clearly lies with the consumer. In a highly competitive and dynamic global tourism environment, there is a need to develop a clear identity or brand based on “reality” while also reflecting the core strengths and personality of its product. In the crowded tourism marketplace building and maintaining brand value is the key to a destination success. More often than not it is the brands strategy that will determine who is successful in today’s competitive tourism environment.