Branding a Memorable Destination_Canada( Simon Hudson and J. R. Brent Ritchie, 2008).pdf

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TOURISM RESEARCH Int. J. Tourism Res. 11, 217–228 (2009) Published online in Wiley InterScience ( DOI: 10.1002/jtr.720 Case Study Branding a Memorable Destination Experience. The Case of ‘Brand Canada’ Simon Hudson1,* and J. R. Brent Ritchie2 Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4. 2 World Tourism Education & Research Centre, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4 1 ABSTRACT Many destinations a
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  Branding a Memorable Destination Experience. The Case of ‘Brand Canada’ Simon Hudson 1, * and J. R. Brent Ritchie 2 1  Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4. 2 World Tourism Education & Research Centre, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4 Received 22 June 2008; Revised 22 September 2008; Accepted 2 October 2008 Keywords:  destination branding; tourism marketing; Brand CanadaINTRODUCTION I n an increasingly competitive global mar-ketplace, the need for destinations to create a unique identity to differentiate themselves from competitors has become more critical than ever. Today, most destinations claim to have spectacular scenery, superb attractions, friendly people, and a unique culture and heritage. However, these factors are no longer differentiators, and successful destination  branding lies in its potential to reduce substi-tutability. To achieve this, destination mar-keters are increasingly focusing on the tourist experience, and creating marketing messages  based on these experiences that will appeal to the emotions of potential travellers. This paper takes a closer look at the process of branding a destination experience, using the ‘Brand Canada’ campaign as a case study. The paper is structured as follows. The first section dis-cusses the evolution of experiential marketing and how it differs from more traditional mar-keting. The second section looks at the brand-ing of an experience, and how some destinations around the world have adhered to a four-step Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TOURISM RESEARCH Int. J. Tourism Res.   11 , 217–228 (2009)Published online in Wiley InterScience ( DOI : 10.1002/jtr.720*Correspondence to: S. Hudson, Haskayne School of Busi-ness, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4.E-mail: Case Study ABSTRACT Many destinations around the world sell themselves in very similar ways; imagery centres around overused icons, such as nature, beaches, families and couples all having fun. The tone of messaging is also generic, usually focusing on the ideas of escape and discovery. However, some destinations have developed a clear, unique positioning by branding the destination experience rather than the physical attributes of their destination, capturing the consumer’s attention with a more compelling and urgent reason to visit. In order to emulate and compete with these countries, Canada has recently undergone a rebranding exercise called Brand Canada. After presenting a conceptual framework for understanding the brand-building process, this paper describes the rebranding of Canada, a campaign that has focused on the tourist experience, creating marketing messages based on these experiences to appeal to the emotions of potential travellers. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.  218 S. Hudson and J. R. B. Ritchie Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Tourism Res. 11 , 217–228 (2009)  DOI : 10.1002/jtr  brand-building process in order to brand their destination experience. A case study on an experiential marketing campaign — Brand Canada — is then presented followed by a discussion section. The objective of the paper is not to provide an exhaustive review of the destination branding literature; rather, to use a case study methodology to provide valuable insight for both academics and practitioners into the process of branding a destination experience. The case study method also serves to identify the critical success factors necessary for effective experiential marketing, an area that has received very little attention in the tourism literature.EXPERIENTIAL MARKETINGExperiential marketing is a relatively new marketing orientation and provides a contrast to traditional marketing. Whereas traditional marketing frameworks view consumers as rational decision-makers focused on the functional features and benefits of products, experiential marketing views consumers as emotional beings, focused on achieving plea-surable experiences (Williams, 2006). Accord-ing to practitioners, such as Schmitt (1999), experiential marketing describes the point of engagement between a brand and its con-sumer. If executed correctly, it generates short-term behaviour change and builds an emotional connection that creates a profound relation-ship and ultimately a rational response to  brand and product purchase (Robertson, 2007). It is argued that as the science of marketing evolves, experiential marketing will become the dominant tool of the future (Williams, 2006). The concept of the experience economy era was formulated by Pine and Gilmore (1998) who advocated providing special experiences and unforgettable memories as the key to com-petitiveness. Schmitt (1999) was another early advocate, suggesting that experiences could engage the consumers’ senses, sight, sound, touch and feeling in an unforgettable way. Experiential marketing recognizes that con-sumer interest is not restricted to purely func-tional benefits, but to the consumption of a total experience (Leighton, 2007). This experi-ence will have a positive effect on emotion and, subsequently, on behavioural intention through the mechanism of satisfaction (Tsaur et al ., 2006).But experiential marketing does not just mean having an experiential offering. The experience must also be deliberately marketed in an experiential way (Petkus, 2004). In order to promote tourism experiences, marketers have to think beyond traditional advertising techniques. As well as communicating the obvious, marketing campaigns need to bring  brands to life by dazzling consumer senses, touching their hearts and stimulating their minds (Widdis, 2001). Experience advertising therefore requires more creative expression on the part of advertisers. Campaigns of the past were built on bricks and mortar, whereas, increasingly, advertisers are trying to touch emotions and get into the consumer psyche. Advertising now is more about reasons why people do things and less about rational things that people factor into their decision-making.BUILDING THE DESTINATION BRAND EXPERIENCEOver the years, an array of research has been conducted with an attempt to understand des-tination branding. Whereas significant prog-ress has been made in determining the attributes underlying destination branding such as brand personality (Ekinci and Hosany, 2006), image (Cai, 2002), and elements (Blain et al. , 2005), there is still considerable confusion between the definitions of each attribute and a lack of consensus regarding how they collaborate to form a true destination brand among academic experts and industry leaders (Tasci and Kozak, 2006). However, academics do seem to agree on the development process for destination  branding. Both the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (Knapp and Sherwin, 2005), and Morgan et al . (2003) have proposed multistage methods for building a destination brand. Both are strategic in nature and are disciplined intellectual exercises that involve visionary leadership. What these two  blueprints have in common is four distinct stages: a need to assess the destination’s current situation, develop a brand identity and promise, communicate that promise, and then measure the brand’s effectiveness (see Figure 1).  Branding a Memorable Destination Experience  219 Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Tourism Res.   11 , 217–228 (2009)  DOI : 10.1002/jtr In recent years, there has been an acknowl-edgement that a successful destination brand needs to convey the expectations, or promise, of a memorable travel experience that is distinctively associated with that destination (Ritchie and Crouch, 2003; Blain et al. , 2005; Knapp and Sherwin, 2005). This ‘experience  branding’ serves to consolidate and reinforce the emotional connection between the visitor and the destination, and reduce consumer search costs and perceived risk, translating into a unique selling proposition and a corre-sponding increase in tourist spending (Blain et al. , 2005). The next section uses the four-step framework for building a destination brand to examine how some destinations have success-fully branded a memorable experience. Assessing the destination brand’s current situation The first stage in building a destination brand is to establish the core values of the destination and its brand. This stage should consider how contemporary or relevant the brand is to today’s tourist and how it compares with key competitors. An objective viewpoint including the perspectives of visitors, and influencers such as meeting planners, destination market-ing organizations (DMO) members, and tour operators, is needed in order to capture an independent situation analysis of the market-place (Knapp and Sherwin, 2005). Before Tourism New Zealand created its brand vision for New Zealand in 1999, it initiated a series of research projects that surveyed local busi-nesses, regional economists, destinations with similar visitors and previous visitors — as well as tourists who had never been to New Zealand. This process was similar to exercises conducted by brand developers of Wales, Western Australia, Switzerland and Hawaii (Morgan et al. , 2002).The ‘What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas’ campaign provides an excellent example of the importance of in-depth analysis and research in building a destination brand. Previous to the ‘Sin City’ re-imaging, Las Vegas was sending mixed and confusing messages to consumers, as some of the properties had tried unsuccess-fully to position themselves as family attrac-tions, thus deviating from the core brand attributes. With the extra blow to visitor numbers provided by the fallout from 9/11, marketers decided to recapture the srcinal, raunchy glamour of Vegas and the decadence of the past.The brand planning exercise that preceded the ‘What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas’ campaign took three years. This involved qualitative research to understand consumer  behaviour including observational research and ‘tag-alongs’ (following visitors around from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave). Researchers used projection tech-niques, such as asking consumers questions like ‘If Las Vegas was an animal what would it be?’; ‘If Las Vegas was a person what type of person would it be?’ (visitors often talked about themselves). They used other innovative research techniques, such as asking people to write an obituary for Las Vegas. A sextant system was then used to segment guests. The sextant takes 40 000 people nationally, examines their psyches and behaviour and neatly classifies them into 12 ‘tribes’, such as Embittered Conservatives, Disaffected Escap-ists and Gilded Gamesmen. It attributes 13 ‘glyphs’ — symbols that convey attitude or appearance such as ‘trendy’, ‘shocking’, ‘flirta-tious’ and ‘cool and hip’ — to the tribes. Step 1. Assessing the destination brand’s current situation Step 2 . Developing a brand identity and brand  promise Step 3. Communicating the  brand promise Step 4. Measuringeffectiveness of the  brand building exercise Figure 1. Building the destination brand experience.  220 S. Hudson and J. R. B. Ritchie Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Tourism Res. 11 , 217–228 (2009)  DOI : 10.1002/jtr Researchers then looked for one message that could resonate with the target tribes — one that had the Las Vegas brand personality; exciting, sexy and safely dangerous. Developing a brand identity and brand promise Once this market investigation is complete, the next stage is to develop the brand identity. Critical to the success of any destination brand is the extent to which the destination’s brand personality interacts with the target market. A  brand’s personality has both a head and a heart: its ‘head’ is its logical features, whereas its ‘heart’ is its emotional benefits and associa-tions (Morgan et al ., 2003). Brand propositions and communications can be based around either, although there is an increasing focus on the latter. These emotional and functional attri- butes underlie the concept of brand promise, in which destinations must communicate to potential and current visitors the benefits and experiences that they can expect to receive upon arrival (Knapp and Sherwin, 2005). This meaningful distinction inspires confidence in travellers’ purchase decisions and represents the most critical component of the brand.Destinations have realized that the brand promise needs to move beyond defining the physical aspects of a destination, and create an expectation of experience once the visitor arrives. The Las Vegas promise is an exciting, sexy and safely dangerous experience. The promise of visiting Ireland is the intriguing and engaging people, and the rich, colourful, unspoiled, natural and cultural environment. The locals are also at the centre of the Australian  brand promise, suggesting a welcome that will  be warm, distinctive and authentically Austra-lian. Visitors to New Zealand are promised per-sonal discovery, and more authentic, genuine experiences than they are familiar with at home, all with the backdrop of stunning landscapes. Finally India promises a unique opportunity for physical invigoration, mental rejuvenation, cultural enrichment and spiritual elevation. Communicating the brand promise The third step, communication of the brand promise, requires that the brand’s essence be communicated throughout various promo-tional campaigns, advertisements and message types including the brand’s logo, byline, tagline, story and name. Every execution in all media contributes to maintaining brand pres-ence. As suggested previously, there is an increasing focus on the tourist experience, and marketing messages based on experiences will have a greater importance in travel decisions in the future (Williams, 2006).For the ‘What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas’ campaign, Las Vegas developed a series of innovative television advertisements which do not dwell on the typical images of neon, showgirls and gambling, but rather create an updated concept of Vegas as the place to realize your dreams, secret ambitions and fantasies with no comeback. The sexually suggestive and humorous series of advertisements, appealing to both men and women and a variety of age groups, were voted most like-able advertisements in 2004 by USA Today . The Web site address was also provided at the end of each ad to facilitate more information and easy bookings.In fact, the Internet is increasingly being used as a platform to launch destination  brands. In 2002 the first ‘Incredible India’ online campaign was launched, with the communication objective ‘to project India as a unique opportunity for physical invigoration, mental rejuvenation, cultural enrichment and spiritual elevation’. Over 100 different cre-atives were designed for the campaign across 12 themes, and innovations such as online con-tests were used to increase user interaction. The campaign resulted in more than 13 million hits to the Web site per month. Since then, the site has been relaunched as with the new Web site designed to be a showcase of all good things in India — colours, technology, vastness, diversity and depth. By April 2005, the Web site was receiv-ing more than 25 million page views per month.Destination marketers are also using the Internet to place advertisements that may or may not be shown on television at a later date, taking advantage of Internet users’ insatiable appetite for online content. Even before its offi-cial television debut the ‘Where The Bloody Hell Are You’ advertisements from Australia

Savitch Ch 04

Jul 23, 2017
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