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Critically Evaluate the Merits and Limitations of the Destination Marketing Topic Called Place Branding

Autor:   •  March 6, 2018  •  2,328 Words (10 Pages)  •  172 Views

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Branding strategies can drain a place of their resources; in terms of labour, tangible resources, and finances. This is an important factor to incorporate when creating branding strategies. The limits of this is that developing countries often don’t have these resources in abundance, making the task even harder for them. Whereas developed countries may find it relatively easy to invest these resources as they understand the importance of doing so and will not hesitate to input large amounts of their finances to create value far beyond what they input.

How visitors perceive certain destinations are vital, yet it is also essential to take into consideration the perceptions of all stakeholders involved; that is, the parties that receive these visitors (****). These stakeholders include “inbound tourism operators, hotels and attractions” (****), to name a few. These parties are concerned with the way a specific destination is presented and viewed in the eyes of visitors. Locals who live in these marketed destinations are inherently those who deliver the promised experience, be it, per ****(1999) “transport companies, politicians, regional and local authorities, national, regional and local organisations, such as conservation, arts, culture and heritage bodies, as well as ordinary residents and the media” (p.). While stakeholders cannot ultimately decide which way, these visitors perceive the destination, they must be able to deliver their offerings and services in a way that matches the experience they have promised. In the case that these stakeholders do not perform up to the par that was marketed and reinforce the promise made, the experiences of the visitor will not reflect the respective destination’s marketing promise. Additionally, if said stakeholders do not believe in what was promised to visitors, then there will most likely be a disconnection between the expectations of the visitors and the reality of their experience.

Furthermore, an essential point to acknowledge is how important it is for stakeholders to collectively agree and decide upon the place brand image they are willing to deliver. All the stakeholders should reflect the destination brand identity; as if there are to be some stakeholders which do not agree on the brand image and portray another brand image it can ultimately weaken the place brand image. Essentially if the stakeholders are confused and at disagreement to the brand identity then how can consumers derive a strong and positive brand image of the place. This is one of the difficult tasks to achieve; to create a unity across all stakeholders in a place. As all stakeholders are unique and have their own agendas; it is not always possible to ensure that their agendas are coordinated with the place brand identity. (p.83, Handbook tourism destination branding) A way to ensure the stakeholders are coordinated for the brand image is to ‘sell’ the final brand image to them, giving them a goal they believe in and will work towards; resulting in the stakeholders as being “brand advocates”. Ultimately it is imperative to bridge the gap between the perceived image of the stakeholder and the consumers, as this will create a fluid experience for the consumers; therefore, ensuring the brand image which is mirroring their brand identity.

Internal stakeholders – those in charge of place brand strategy and implementation – may view their brand in a different perspective as the target audience it is intended to be projected to. This is because they are embedded within their brand to such extent that they may over-value their brand, or simply be swayed with over-optimism. This causes a brand that produces a perceived image different to the projected image, and can result in disappointment. Whilst economic data may not be easily misjudged, the value of natural resources, gastronomy or language is subjective. At this time of competitiveness, the questions arise of whether the pressure to stand out against other ‘places’ is pushing countries, regions and cities to the extent of implementing strategies with less and less objectivity.

Negative reputation is almost impossible to avoid as the reasons for negative reputation in the context of places is far too diverse; it can depict from the internal and external environment. The internal environment essentially implies that negative reputation derives from the way places implement their strategy, how they interact with any stakeholder, their ethical or non-ethical ways of life. Whereas the external environment is derived largely from interstate conflict and terrorist threats. A great example to highlight the implications of negative reputation would be Turkey with its current political instability; as there were bombs and political conflict which keeps tourists at bay. In some manner, the reputation is tarnished of the once largely sought after tourist destination. Consumers will often relate Turkey to negative connotations such as – ‘terrorists’, ‘wars’, ‘unsafe’, to name a few. To overcome this, Turkey will need to acknowledge the negative reputation that has been a result of their political instability and internal turmoil. They would then need to be able to acknowledge their political interest (Anholt) and evaluate their loss in market. It could be possible that Turkey could choose to diversify their Brand Image by choosing to focus on

The greatest downfall to place branding strategies is that essentially, they are built on possible scenarios and to create a perfect outcome to their strategies is easy. The challenge truly lies in the success of strategies and how realistic the strategies were when it came to implementing them. This is often the case with real life strategies as there are various factors that are independent, and could dictate the strategies effectiveness. The 3 Gap model; the gaps being place brand identity, place brand image and experiences.

Although it is apparent that place branding can have many merits; ranging from raising a countries competitive advantage, attracting investors, skills set and trade. It is essential to also consider the limitations that place branding has on nations; it is expensive, ensuring all the stakeholders support and advocate the place brand identity to consumers, the objectivity of the country, dealing with a negative reputation and lastly the environment. The most vital concept for place branding strategists to incorporate when creating a strategy would be to acknowledge that often their plans may not work out as intended; this can be analysed with the use of the three gap place branding model; with the gaps being place brand identity, brand image, implementation and performance.

** The Nation Brand Index, created by Simon Anholt and GFK (a global nation branding survey conductor),

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