Picture: Branding Expert Andy Stalman
A destination is not only what it shows on the outside, but most of all everything it inspires and transmits. The brand of a destination (city, country, continent) is a strategic asset in terms of communication and business: a good brand construction leads to good economic and financial results. In this age of hyper connection and cloned models, where everyone looks too much the same, those in charge of destination strategies are starting to understand the key value they have in their hands -even though in general they still undervalue it or directly ignore it. Competition among destinations for the attention, time and money of businesses, travellers, tourists, students will keep on growing in the coming years, but if they really wish to be successful in the completion of their goals, they must embrace Branding in a professional way.
Along with the changes in the global scene, new rivals will keep on coming, hungrier, more passionate and willing to grab people’s attention. To invest in authenticity, uniqueness, innovation and true values, and to stay away from cloning other models that have almost nothing to do with their own.
It’s not an overstatement to stress the importance of having a brand strategy to face the new demands in an uncertain, technological and globalized world. Destinations have to compete every day to lure tourism, investment and business. The brand of a destination cannot be imposed, but certain aspects of it that attract the attention of the world can be essential. It is a short-term, medium-term and long-term task. It takes a lot of time, effort and consistency to build a brand, but the results are really worth it. Those in charge of the destinations should put the brand above partisan interests, and nurture it and protect it for what it is: a strategic asset for the city, or country or continent.
The construction of a destination brand is a very complex task, much more so than that of a product or service. There are no secret formulas: only a mix of a clear strategy with hard work, vision, talent, creativity, innovation, quality of life, sustainability, technology, connectivity, development, efficiency and well-being are some of the ingredients of the essential recipe, plus leading professionals to cook them to make the perfect dish. And always bearing in mind that a nation or a content has an audience — both internal and external.
In brief, this Friday Andy will share “How an innovative branding approach to destinations can reposition and reshape tourism towards a more sustainable, human, accessible and inclusive model”. Click here to register for the final of the UNWTO Inspiration African Challenge
Author: Andy Stalman, Co-founder, and CEO of Totem Branding