0601098 country branding in the context of tourism industry
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0601098 country branding in the context of tourism industry Document Transcript

  • 1. A Project Report On COUNTRY bRaNdiNg iN The CONTexT Of “TOURism iNdUsTRY” BY DAVEEJONES AH-KENG (BATCH 2006 - 2008) IN PARTIAL FUFILLMENT FOR THE PROFESSIONAL COURSE OF MASTERS IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (M.B.A) VISHWAKARMA INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT (V.I.M) PUNE UNIVERSITY PUNE 1
  • 2. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The most pleasant experience about writing a project is the chance to thank all those who helped me in completing it. I wish to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to our Director, Dr Sharad L Joshi, who helped me at every point of time to develop an insight to think in a broader and more practical sense about the project. It was a great honor for me to work by his tutelage on this project. Also, I wish to forward my deepest appreciation and a big thanks to Mr Abhey Kardeguddi, the Chief Consultant of Karwak Marketing & Consultancy Services, for his guidance valuable suggestions during the successful completion of my project. I wish to extend my thanks to all the faculties and non-staff members of VIM. Also, a very big thanks to my family, classmates and friends who have been encouraging me throughout the completion my project. Daveejones Ah-Keng 2
  • 3. INDEX Sr. No. Topic Name Page No. 1. Executive Summary 1 2. Country Branding 2-13 3. Fundamentals of Marketing 14-18 4. Dubai 20-29 5. Malaysia 30-36 6. Mauritius 37-42 7. Austria 43-48 8. Singapore 49-56 9. Conclusion 57-62 10. Bibliography 63 3
  • 4. CERTIFICATE TO WHOMSOEVER IT MAY CONCERN This is to certify that, Mr. Daveejones Ah-Keng, is a bonafide student of our institute. He has successfully carried out his summer project titled “Country Branding in the context of Tourism Industry” at ‘Karwak Marketing & Consultancy Services’. This is the original study of Mr. Daveejones Ah-Keng and important sources of data used by him have been acknowledged in his report. The report is submitted in partial fulfillment of two years full time course of Masters in Business Administration, 2006-08 as per the rules. Director / Project Guide (Dr. Sharad L. Joshi) (Vishwakarma Institute of Management) 4
  • 5. Executive Summary Country Branding is a very important concept which deals with the image of the country in the international front. In the context of tourism industry, country branding has a broader impact since it deals with the image, strengths and weaknesses of the country. In this 21st century, tourism industry is growing at a tremendous pace due to rising in income, more destinations available at different prices, changes in lifestyle, cheaper airfare, etc. In order to exploit this opportunity, country branding plays a big role in influencing prospective customers to visit the country by projecting a positive image of the country. My project titled, “Country Branding in the context of Tourism Industry” deals with the various steps undertaken in a country to promote it as a tourist destination. The purpose of this study is how a country builds its brand and the methods used internally and externally in the context of tourism industry. The countries I have chosen to study are Dubai (UAE), Malaysia, Mauritius, Austria and Singapore as they are among the successful tourist destinations so far. The objective of this study is to know the process of country branding, the functions of each stakeholder and the different methods used by every country to be successful. Not all countries used country branding strategies but it is becoming very popular as each country is trying to grab a share in the tourism market which is flourishing in this century. When consumers decide on a destination for a holiday or a business conference, several "brands" compete for their attention. A strong brand is differentiated from others, has several strong advantages when compared to others, and has an attractive appeal to consumers. In tourism, while factors such as cost of travel, convenience, and quality of facilities are important, the strongest motivator is "image". Image puts a destination on the consumer's "shopping list" and creates an emotional appeal, which enhances that destination's chances of being chosen over others. 5
  • 6. COUNTRY BRANDING All brands whether products, services, or even cities can be metaphorically compared to an iceberg. Structurally any iceberg has two facets, a visible facet above water and an invisible, larger facet below water. The visible facets of a brand iceberg would be its name, logo, advertising, communications, etc. The invisible aspects considered as critical would encompass quality, production, R&D, service levels, supply chain and so on. Promoting tourism products successfully requires a context that allows your audience to appreciate what your country has to offer to visitors. That context is the overall image, or brand, of your country. If, for example, your country is widely viewed as a modern, secure, clean and efficient state, your chances of getting tourists to visit attractive destinations are good. What’s more, if a nation is known for its unique features, whether they are cultural, artistic, natural or man-made, positive curiosity will provide a context that encourages tourists to discover first- hand something new or at least interesting. If, on the other hand, your country is known for civil war, widespread crime and corruption, inadequate infrastructure or an unfriendly population, the task of encouraging tourists to visit your destinations is very difficult. You have to either pretend all those disincentives don’t exist, or convince your audience that they will have no impact on a visit to your country. Think about it. If you are heading to a vacation destination that looks like paradise in the brochures or on the net, but when you arrive you are kept in a long line at passport control at an airport that is dirty and has no climate control, and then you are exposed to sweaty men fighting over who will take you in his taxi, and on and on, your vacation will be spoiled and you are unlikely to return to that country. The point is that tourism branding and promotion cannot be conducted successfully without consideration of the context for tourism, which is the 6
  • 7. state of the country itself. Or, conversely, tourism branding and promotion can best be developed in the context of successful nation branding and promotion. The purpose of nation branding We live in a world where countries are trying to become the same in terms of infrastructure and quality of life. However, national objectives, including a universal core agenda to promote trade, investment and travel/tourism, are best achieved through differentiation. Countries need to take a critical look to themselves and ask: “Why should companies invest here or tourists come here, rather than go to other countries for investment and tourism?” This self-critical analysis might well lead to recognition of what needs to be done to make your country more attractive. Is your legal system robust and fair? Is private property and foreign investment protected? Do you have the services in place that business and tourists need? Do you have the transportation facilities needed for travel and trade? This self-analysis is the starting point of a nation branding process because a brand must be truthful and believable. Every country has strengths and weaknesses and a good brand will project a nation’s strengths while recognizing its weaknesses. The good news is that a nation’s brand is not fixed in stone; it evolves as the country evolves. Thus even if you know there are many things to improve in your country, there is no reason to delay branding, which can be a key tool in helping you get to where you want to be as a nation. The purpose of nation branding is to position your country in the best way possible in the world system, given its strengths and weaknesses. And nation branding is not simply coming up with a cute logo and tag line. It has a much deeper purpose: to position a nation so that it can achieve the maximum success in the world system, including garnering the maximum international recognition and clout, robust business relations with 7
  • 8. the world, and a healthy tourism industry. By doing this, a nation brings the maximum benefit to its people by giving them dignity, and by creating jobs and wealth. Corporate lessons and tools In the world of business, this is corporate, rather than product or service, branding. General Electric, for example, makes everything from jet engines and locomotives to refrigerators and irons. It also provides financial services. Each of these products and services has its own brand, which is promoted separately. But they are also all supported by the corporate brand, with the GE logo and “Imagination at Work” tag line. Successful corporations manage their brands carefully because all of their products and services can either benefit from a good brand or be damaged by misuse of the corporate brand. Also, these corporations tend to invest heavily in promoting their corporate brands because it is an efficient way to promote all of their products and services at the same time as part of a single budget. Branding has grown into a science that employs certain proven methods and techniques, including research among stakeholders, benchmarking, etc. And while nation branding is more complex than corporate branding, because of the complex nature of countries, many of the tools developed in the corporate world can be used in the nation branding process. However, nation branding is a specialized field because the complex elements that make up a nation and the diverse objectives of government need to be understood deeply and fully for the branding process to be successful. 8
  • 9. Branding is not advertising Branding is a process that should be undertaken before money is spent on image-formation and messaging, and hence before communications strategies and plans are decided, advertising campaigns are initiated, web sites built or public relations paid for. However, most countries do it the other way round: they allocate budgets for advertising, web sites, PR, etc, without having a brand to communicate. Every nation is a brand It is a somewhat new way of looking at a country, but every nation is a brand. That is, it has an image in the minds of people living elsewhere, at least those people who are aware of its existence. Some countries are known for good things, some for bad, and some are largely unknown. This last group is probably the most fortunate, because little-known countries have the greatest opportunity to establish a brand from scratch. The problem is that most countries have had their brands made for them. Their history, or current events, as described by others (historians, mass media, etc) have shaped their image, good or bad. Hence Sudan is associated with civil war, inter-religious conflict and poverty, Iraq with suicide bombings and widespread violence, Cuba with Fidel Castro’s Marxism, etc. But meet a Sudanese, Iraqi or Cuban, and you will know that these countries have wonderful people and many good points. But even a ‘nice’ image, such as Switzerland being known as a land of cuckoo clocks and chocolates, can be a problem for a country. For one, cuckoo clocks and chocolates have little to do with the success of an economy that boasts half of Europe’s top ten companies, in everything from financial services to pharmaceuticals and food processing. And the Swiss certainly want to be known for their real value and real contribution to the world system. 9
  • 10. Governments must lead the branding process Clearly, no one in the world will create a good brand for your country. Why should they? News organizations are interested in bad news such as wars, disasters and the like. Who is there to make that attractive image for you? The logical conclusion is that each country must take control of its own brand. This means that it must invest in its brand, as well as the management and promotion of that brand. This is a task that must be led by governments. Only a national government knows the full agenda of the country and has the power and resources to lead the nation in a branding process. Nevertheless, governments must get the buy-in of all the key stakeholders, including NGOs, the business community, etc. With this participation in the branding process, these stakeholders will then become natural promoters of the brand. Furthermore, if the government takes initiatives which are intelligent and clearly of benefit to the whole country, it will likely get the willing support of other stakeholders. After all, every citizen and organization in a nation would like to be part of a positive image for the country. A nation’s brand is complex One should not think that branding a nation successfully is an easy task. In fact there are few if any examples of such a success. Countries are made up of a mix of elements, including location, peoples, cultures, religions, traditions, industries, habits, natural resources and often complex histories. A successful brand will embody and represent the diverse positive elements that comprise a nation. Hence, we can deduce that a nation’s brand can also be called as a metabrand. That is, a brand that embodies several complex elements, possibly including other brands. Most commonly, countries have depended on a tourism brand for their national identity. However, this can be problematic. For example, famously 10
  • 11. the Cool Britannia campaign initiated by Prime Minister Tony Blair to help repair damage done by the outbreak of Mad Cow disease in the United Kingdom was considered a failure, despite many millions of dollars spent on the campaign. The main problem was the Cool Britannia brand was far too narrow. It might have served the tourism sector well, or part of it, but industry as a whole, including manufacturing, IT, financial services, etc, were not at all happy with it. The campaign did nothing to help them, and they saw it as ultimately damaging to Britain’s overall image and hence to their interests. A good brand will take into account the complexity of the nation it seeks to embody, and be believable. At the same time it will differentiate the nation from all others, putting it in the best light possible, without exaggeration or distortion of the truth. Depending on tourism brand is risky Many countries have depended on their tourism brand to project positive images about the nation as a whole, but there is the risk that the tourism brand is too narrow or limited, as in the Cool Britannia case. Furthermore, in an age of global terrorism, a tourism brand can be highly vulnerable. We have seen that terror attacks at tourist destinations, such as Luxor in 1997, Bali in 2002 and Sharm El Sheikh earlier this year, can result in huge financial losses and a set-back for the country in general. In the cases cited here, Egypt and Indonesia both lost billions of dollars in tourism-related business, but also in their stock markets, in reduced investment levels and other related difficulties. For both of them, tourism was the only positive image they projected to the world. Neither had invested in a broader brand that supported industry, investment and trade. And they haven’t done so since. This is a risky approach. Building on a tourism brand 11
  • 12. However, in some cases tourism brands have been successfully extended to serve a nation as a whole. A case in point is Spain’s famous sun by Joan Miro, with its tag line: “Everything Under the Sun”. Although essentially a brand adopted to promote tourism, it has also served to make Spain seem a modern, warm and inviting country, for business as well as tourism. When Franco died in 1975, Spain was a European backwater. Today it is a dynamic and successful member of the European Union. After investing hundreds of millions of dollars in promoting its brand, tens of millions of tourists flock there every year, and its economy is robust and developing well. The Barcelona Olympics in 1992 certainly helped, but the City of Barcelona was able to win the Olympics in the first place due to successful branding and development beforehand. Spain has been fortunate with the success of its brand. Other countries might also seek to extend a tourism brand to cover the country generally, but this is not always easy, especially if your tourism products are strictly sea, sun and sand. A better strategy is to create a brand identity for the nation that supports tourism, including a tourism brand. Many countries are now seriously thinking about the process and benefits of nation branding but in many instances the task seems overwhelming in its magnitude, and governments simply don’t take action. In these cases, it might be wise for tourism branding to take on as much of the role of nation branding as possible. Looked at in its broadest sense, the tourism sector includes much of what makes up a nation, including infrastructure, government and private services, the environment, etc, and there is a good argument for a tourism brand to embrace those elements, especially in the absence of a nation brand. All these considerations must be carefully crafted into any tourism communications strategy and be delivered with maximum creative impact to the target audiences. In this way the nation branding process is initiated through tourism branding. 12
  • 13. The nation branding process The techniques used in branding nations are largely taken from the corporate world and adapted to particular circumstances of countries. In particular, any credible branding process must begin with in-depth research and analysis, including getting the input of stakeholders. With this information, as well as an articulation of the nation’s vision, brand-building can begin in earnest. It is difficult for us humans to see ourselves in a true perspective, as others see us. Even in the corporate world, outside branding consultants are used to help corporate executives make wise decisions about their all- important brands. Likewise, it is difficult for a nation to see itself clearly. Therefore, it is desirable for a country to seek a branding partner to conduct the research and analysis, to develop a creative brief, and to propose images and messages. Every nation owns its own brand, and must make all the critical decisions regarding its formation and management, but in the complex world we live in today, the advice of experts is essential to success. Promoting the brand The brand must be adopted internally first, then domestically, meaning throughout the nation, by all stakeholders. Only then can it be effectively promoted internationally. At this point, a variety of tools can be used to promote the brand, from web sites and trade missions to advertising campaigns and embassies abroad. Again, advice from a branding and communications partner is needed for these steps in the roll-out, management and promotion of the brand. 13
  • 14. The practical (needs) and experiential (wants) considerations that people prioritize when selecting a country to visits are: Needs: 1. Safety. 2. Value for money. 3. Ability to communicate easily. 4. Proximity. 5. Weather. Wants: 1. Natural beauties. 2. Authenticity. 3. Art/culture. 4. Lodging/Resort options. 5. Outdoor activities/Sports. The following drivers comprise ingredients of country brand success and should be used as an evaluation filter to assess what a destination can bring to the marketplace. Escapism The notion of leaving home and daily routine is almost a universal travel motivator. While the degree of desired ‘difference’ varies among travelers, finding new places to relax or be active is critical. Discovery Not only being somewhere different, but also doing something different is a significant travel driver and trend. Being able to provide something genuine, engaging and exotic is becoming a baseline requirement. Affinity Feeling safe, comfortable and able to communicate amidst new and exciting experiences is still a necessity for most travelers today. The ability to connect to the country and its people, and create long lasting memories contributes to success. Delight The most primal driver, delight celebrates the sensorial experience of a destination – its sounds, smells and sights. A national cuisine, a favored spice, a well-known monument…all help capture visitor intrigue. 14
  • 15. The Channels of Travel Decisions The initial way someone becomes interested in traveling to an international destination relies heavily on trusted word of mouth (advocacy of others) and the breadth and depth of the internet. Initial ways someone become interested in a country are: Family and friends, the web, TV show or movie, article in newspapers or magazines, special package offer, travel agent, advertisement. Once interested in visiting a country: Family and friends, the web, travel agent Channels The web is still the critical channel. It remains the dominant and essential channel for promoting countries. It is not only popular for selecting and searching a destination, it is increasingly where people go to purchase travel related services. The attempt of using tagline such as paradise, amazing, truly, culture is to grab consumers and invite them to think about vacationing as the realization of dream, discovery and relaxation. Successful country brand collateral showcases an experience. It transports the reader through copy, design, style and personality. It integrates offerings in a cohesive way but still paints a singular message. A country brand in print is the unfolding of a treasure – an evocative, clear, compelling idea, communicated through images, symbols and history. Established and large country brands with an array of offerings can employ multiple campaigns that still used the same message. Smaller or more specialized country brand efforts should concentrate on building one consistent manifestation of voice and style. Country Brand Identities When developing a brand identity to represent a country, the initial challenge is rooted in representing the essence of the brand and its positioning. What the country brand is, distilled from a core idea, should become the focus for the visual 15
  • 16. representation. Whether the identity is a lateral representation or is more abstract is one of the many variables that must be carefully considered. Symbols, colors, arrangements, form and typography are elements that can play a role in defining an ownable and memorable brand identity. This sounds straightforward, but many countries with a variety of destinations or rich cultural or geographic assets can’t easily be depicted through one specific icon. Some countries choose to let advertising campaigns drive the design of their brand, often combining key message or tagline with logo. Though this may create targeted results, it runs the risk of being cluttered and fragmented. Campaigns come and go – brand must last. Consistency and a sense of permanence are critical. Designing a country brand is unquestionably a major challenge. Not only does the brand need to represent something broad and diverse, it must work technically well within a wide range of brand endorsements or associations, channels and devices. Great brands inspire and endure. They are well-considered, expertly crafted and indelible. The category of country branding today is under performing and under leveraged. A country brand is a unifying and identifiable platform that is manifested in the country experience. It is what’s communicated in advance of a travel journey and absorbed once in the country. It is synergized and delivered through different government and private organisations and creates interest, intrigue and investment. Country as a Brand: What and Why While tourism is often the most consciously marketed aspect of a country, it is only one of many country offerings. It is clear that the image, reputation and brand value of a country impacts the perception of its products, population, investment opportunities and even foreign aid or funding. A country brand at the highest level is much more than a logo or slogan, it is a unifying and identifiable platform that is manifested in the country experience, communicated by officials and citizens and delivered through different government and private agencies. The idea of a country brand is not merely a marketing wrapper, but a value proposition that changes 16
  • 17. perception and preference, drives usage and increases the economic interests of the country. Partnership Countries are generally fragmented with little cohesion between government agencies, and even less synergy between government and private organisations promoting business or industry within the country. Without a mechanism for developing a unified platform for B2B and B2C channels, countries will falter. They will default to their tourism brand positioning, which in fact may be limited or inappropriate for the larger country initiatives, or use disparate tactics and marketing platforms that are not mutually reinforcing. Looking at a country historically, determining its key requirements and objectives, and aligning both senior levels of government with implementers and executors from the beginning are the only ways to help create a true country brand. Conclusion In a fast paced, complex and competitive global environment, brand can help focus stakeholders on key issues and ideas succinctly and with impact. An overtly branded approach that trivializes important issues can lead to negative perceptions, cynicism and backlash. Consensus decisions can also result in lowest common denominator solutions. 17
  • 18. Fundamentals of Marketing in context of Tourism Industry The Tourism Marketing Mix The marketing mix refers to the blend of ideas, concepts and features which marketing management put together to best appeal to their target market segments. Each target segment will have a separate marketing mix, tailored to meet the specific needs of consumers in the individual segment. The Product Mix The product refers to the tourism service offering. Although service products are essentially intangible, there are certain physical characteristics which consumers assess in their evaluation of the product choice. These are: • Attractiveness of the offering in terms of physical features, suitability of climate. • The facilities available and the associated levels of quality and service. • Accessibility in terms of ease of getting there for the potential consumers – are there adequate air services, road and other transport considerations? Package tour products will be broken down into different types to suit the identified needs of consumers. These will fall into categories of escorted and unescorted tours, and group tour bookings. Today’s packaged tours cater for varying tastes, offering levels of refinement to suit both the ‘cheap and cheerful’ budget tourist, and the seasoned traveller seeking more exotic and exclusive services. The tourism product should evolve overtime to reflect changes and developments I the tourism marketplace. This is essential for successful marketing, which depends in the first instance on satisfying consumer needs and wants to achieve organizational success. Branding plays a very important role in tourism marketing. Car rental firms, hotel chains and airlines in particular employ tremendous effort to ensure that their name is widely recognized and synonymous with quality, value or some other characteristics. Travel agents and tour operators depend on reputation to a large 18
  • 19. extent, and so it is imperative that they have a strong, recognizable identity. The main reason for trying to build brand loyalty is to encourage repeat business. The Promotion Mix The aim of promotion is to inform, to remind and to persuade. It will always be necessary to inform prospective consumers about new products and services, but other may also need this type of communication to consumers; new uses, price changes, information to build consumer confidence and to reduce fears, full descriptions of service offerings and image building(of destinations) are examples. Similarly, consumers may need to be reminded about all these types of issues, especially in the off-peak season. In many business areas, it is necessary to design promotional programme aimed at channel customers to complement end-user promotions. Channel customers are all the intermediaries in the channels of distribution in tourism, for example the tour operator or travel agent. Hotel owners and Airlines will need to promote their services to tour operators as well as promoting their service to end users and independent travellers. Similarly, tour operators will want to ensure that travel agents sell their services in a positive manner, and will therefore want to advertise to the agents the benefits of selling their tours whilst advertising a totally different set of benefits to the end user. This type of promotion is called ‘into the pipeline’. The crucial task is to assess accurately the needs and wants of intermediaries, as opposed to actual consumers and design promotional messages accordingly. The promotional tools are: Sales promotions (via brochures, point of sale displays and video cassettes), Visual media. It is important to focus on the following: • Clearly identified segments • A unique selling proposition • Well defined target audiences • Creative use of media and media scheduling to reach audiences • Monitoring and evaluation of promotional effectiveness. 19
  • 20. Tourism promotional message s should always focus o the benefits attainable by the consumer of choosing a particular resort or tour operator. Careful selection of attractive market segments at the earlier segmentation stages should lead to greater chances of choosing the right message to target. Pricing Mix Pricing in tourism is a fairly complex issue because the price eventually paid by the consumer may be made up from the prices charged by various independent service providers, for ex, a package tour. Variations in the level of demand cause further complications in tourism pricing, particularly due to seasonality. Pricing policy decisions will be directed by strategic objectives. If the objective is market penetration then the prices must be set very competitively to appeal to the largest possible number of potential consumers. A firm pursuing a niche strategy, catering to the luxury market in exclusive, high value, tourism services, then price should reflect this; promotion and advertising can be used to differentiate the product on an exclusivity basis and premium prices may be charged. Providers of tourism products and services will almost always be faced by high levels of fixed costs leading to variants of cost-plus pricing or return on investment as key determinants of pricing levels. It is important to have a clear understanding of factors affecting price sensitivity and to include price tactics which exploit such sensitivities fully. Similarly, seasonal demand variations should be considered in price setting Distribution Distribution management is concerned with 2 things: availability and accessibility. If tourism marketing management is to be certain that their products and services are both available and accessible to target market, they must design a channel strategy that will be effective. In order to do this, research must be undertaken to determine how and where the potential customers prefer to buy tourism products and services. Channels that consist of all the intermediaries between the original service provider and the consumer must be chosen to maximize distribution effectiveness. 20
  • 21. Different distribution strategies may be selected to reflect the company’s overall objective. Most tour operators sell their services through travel agents or holiday shops. Airlines, for example, sell tickets through travel agents and sell seats on flights to tour operators, whilst also operating direct marketing by offering travelers the opportunity to make reservations through their own booking offices. The intermediaries in tourism marketing channels include automated reservation services, central reservations systems and specialist air ticket agencies. The main decision is based is based on maximizing the opportunity of selling the product or service to the tourism consumer. For channels to be effective in selling to the consumer they need reliable updated information. For this reason, IT has been widely adopted in the tourism industry and high-street travel agents have on-line systems linking them into tour operators’ and airlines’ computerized booking systems. Point- of-sale information and promotional material must always be supplied in sufficient quantities to all channel members. 21
  • 22. Major Tourist Segments and their Characteristics (Main Tourist/ Travellers segments) Marketing Characteristics Leisure tourists/ Travellers Business tourists/ Travellers Common Interest tourists/ Travellers 1. Typical Destination Resort-oriented Big city Visit friends, relatives, education, pilgrimage. 2. Seasonality High, Marketing mix can assist in spreading demand levels. No seasonality Partial seasonality 3. Length of stay Could be influenced by promotions/ communication Normally short and cannot be prolonged by advertisement. Prefer long stay. This will be prolonged if the costs of additional stay are reasonable. 4. Mode of transport Varied mode (s) of transport. Time spent on the way to destination is part of the holiday or package tour. Aeroplane invariably. Objective is to reach the destination as soon as possible. The cheapest mode of transport. 5. Hotel accommodati on Yes, normally shops at inexpensive hotels. Yes, normally expensive hotels. Only to a very limited degree. 6. User requires entertainment Very much so. Normally the entertainment is part of the tourist package. Yes, but to a limited degree. No. 7. Price sensitivity Very sensitive (high price elasticity of demand) Low price elasticity of demand. Sensitive. 8. Role of advertisemen t/ Market communicati on Very important. Rather limited. Quite important; partially sales promotions. 9. Tour packages importance Of great interest and demand. Of no appeal at all. Limited appeal. 22
  • 23. INTRODUCTION Every country has its own objectives, priorities, barriers and opportunities, deciding the most strategic branding approach are critical. Country branding is different from country to country due to resources and cultural factors available. In order to enrich my study, I have chosen and studied 5 successful tourist destinations, that is, Dubai, Malaysia, Mauritius, Austria and Singapore. By studying the behaviour of these countries towards country branding, one can have a clearer and broader idea about brand building process of a tourism destination. And this is where marketing becomes important as it will help to distinguish one country from another by creating a personalized image. 23
  • 24. DUBAI Dubai is nicknamed as the Las Vegas of the Middle East. It is on the UAE's northern coast, approximately 125km (80mi) east of Abu Dhabi. This is the most easygoing city in the region with the most happening nightlife and offers copious opportunities for duty - free shopping. Dubai hosts two major tourist-oriented events during the year. The fiercely promoted Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) runs from late March to late April, when shopping centers bust themselves to bring in the spenders. The lower-key Dubai Summer Surprises is designed, along with cheap hotel rates, to attract tourists during the summer slump. Nightlife in Dubai is one thing which is a major attraction for tourists and the locals as well. People here know not only how to enjoy but also how to enjoy fully. Nightlife in Dubai can be defined in two words 'simply rocking'. Holidays in Dubai is a unique experience in a land steeped in Arabian Desert traditions and also being one of the world's most contemporary cities. The people here are from all a parts of the world and this city is known for their gracious hospitality. Dubai is a five star tourist destination that abounds in a number of five star hotels that perfectly complement the appeal of this fascinating place. The five star hotels in Dubai provides for luxurious accommodation. The majority of the five star hotels in Dubai is both externally and internally eye catching and offers rooms and suites that are not only plush but are considered cocoons of comfort for the jaded travelers. An example: 24
  • 25. Burj al Arab Hotel Rated as one of the most spectacular hotels in the world, Burj al Arab Hotel is an imposing structure that dominates the Jumeirah coastline. This luxurious seven star hotel in Dubai soars up to a height of about 320 meters and enjoys the distinction of being the world's tallest hotel building. Successful initiatives adopted by Dubai to build its brand and make it on the international stage: Nowadays Dubai is one of the most marvelous man-made creations which welcomed millions of tourists every year. It is one of the most sophisticated and modern country in the United Arab Emirates. The infrastructural design there is colossal, phenomenal as well as attractive. The Burj al Arab hotel is an example. • It was achieved through vision and determined growth, marketing and branding initiatives with several brands being developed within the master brand as well as determined team work. • Partnership and co-operation is a very important element in achieving objectives. The Brand Dubai was created by Team Dubai consisting of the National Carrier, The Airport and Civil Aviation, The Government and Tourism Board, The Hotels and The Destination Management Organizations. • Here is the first step taken by the Emirates Airline and The Civil Aviation that is the opening of skies policy which played a major role in this access channel and at the same time it led to brand awareness. The airport encourages more international flights and became an international hub. They provided a highly acclaimed duty free and its famous Million Dollar and Rolls Royce lotteries giving a sample of the Dubai experience. It was a very well-organised approach towards the beginning of a great adventure by the Arabs. 25
  • 26. • The second step was the re-development of Dubai’s one beach hotel that with its unique design became the first icon of Dubai and known as the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. And other magnificent towers followed on afterwards giving a more characteristics features to the growing Dubai. Nowadays they are building a set of islands in the form of a mini map of the world which will reinforce the brand positioning of Dubai. • Building upon these two powerful marketing and branding tools, a third and probably the most famous of all of Dubai’s sub brands was developed – The Burj Al Arab Hotel and it’s mystical persona. It is among the most magnificent tower around the world which has and still mesmerizing people. • Following on from these four brand developments it was realised that something else was needed. Dubai needed other international brand names and investment to enrich its status on the tourism front. Quality also is one of their main priorities. • Communication is the most determinant factor in country branding. It needed to get the message out and increase its distribution and marketing channels. • With this in mind the Government created a tourism body – ‘The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing’ (DTCM) • It developed the route networks of Emirates Airline enhancing Dubai’s visibility internationally. More importantly, it ensured that the DTCM went everywhere Emirates went. • Along with this, it encouraged the local tourism, Destination Management and hotel organisations to become actively involved with in co-operation with the DTCM to promote Dubai. All these organisations have a big role to play as 26
  • 27. they have their parts to play in country branding and they should go along accordingly. • Building up slowly, today the DTCM and these local organisations attend up to 40 international travel and tourism exhibitions and their own Dubai road shows. Promotional activities were the key to promote awareness as well as brand positioning. • International Advertising, Marketing and Brand Position campaigns were put in place but also important the media and tourism industry was invited and hosted in Dubai. It was a plus for the country. • To expand the horizon of Dubai, The Government approached international airlines and hotel chains to come to Dubai since it has open skies. Also, they approached investors from the tourism and other commercial sectors. • Some of the International hotel chains that came to Dubai include: o Sheraton o Shangri La o One and Only o Dusit o Le Meridien o Raffles o Ritz Carlton o Intercontinental o Fairmont o ACCOR o Grand Hyatt o Movenpick • Dubai now has in excess of 100 international carriers terminating or hubbing in and through Dubai. Emirates continues to expand in to new countries and continents. This facilitated brand awareness and induced prospective customers to come to the country for holidaying or business purposes. They were more exposed to Dubai. International airlines increased and included: 27
  • 28. o British Airways o Lufthansa o Air France o Singapore Airline o Thai International o KLM o Etihad o Virgin Atlantic • The future project is that a third new international airport is to be built in readiness to handle in excess of 100 million passengers per annum by 2010. New incentives sub brands were created such as: ○ The Dubai Shopping Festival ○ The Desert Classic Golf Tournament ○ The Dubai Summer Surprises ○ The Dubai World Cup ○ All these events became synonymous with the Dubai Master Brand. • This success was driven by a vision and a government’s drive and recognition that they needed to create an image, product and industry for Dubai. • Today’s success has been achieved with still a limited infrastructure i.e. only 12 beach hotels and lack of hotel rooms within the state. But in spite of all these drawbacks, they managed to attract more and more tourists especially the high class one. • It is also successful despite it being a building site with an estimated one third of the world’s cranes being in Dubai. • It has achieved all of this due to its constant brand positioning, creativity & daring and its flying shop window. It has created a desire and an intrigue and curiosity mood among the tourism population through its constant marketing, infrastructures and brand development success. It sold a myth and created a desire through its branding and marketing. 28
  • 29. • Today, Dubai is one of the fastest growing destination brands among a selective group including Barcelona, Auckland and Shanghai. • Because of the ease of access and its Brand image, Dubai drew tourists from an international market place including: o The UK and Europe o Australia and New Zealand o Far East o From traditional holiday destinations including: Spain, USA, Caribbean and Indian Ocean • All of this could not have been achieved without the initial vision, brand creation, marketing and teamwork that basically turned a ‘desert in to a desire’. • A brand that created a mythical story - a fairy tale in a desert- ‘a word of mouth want me’. • All of what I have discussed could not have been achieved without: ○ The Ruler’s (His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum) and Government’s vision and initial investment together with Team Dubai. ○ Through Brand Dubai encouragement of investment from the private sectors. ○ Open Skies and accessibility – Dubai’s flag carrier. 29
  • 30. Aspects of Country Branding in Dubai Dubai is one of those countries which have built their brand from scratch. Before it was a desert place but nowadays it is one of the places that many people crave or would like to spend their holidays. It is the one of the most fabulous man-made creation in the world. Before Dubai was mostly known for its natural resources, that is, petrol. Nowadays they are also very popular in terms of a perfect tourist destination, shopping and business haven and especially its infrastructures. Building the brand of Dubai was one of the toughest tasks due to its location (desert). But with the determination of every stakeholder, Dubai has become a successful tourism destination as well as trading activities. The initiatives taken by the government has propelled Dubai in the right direction by their vision and investment. Today Dubai is very popular. They have been investing a lot on infrastructures by building colossal, marvelous and magnificent buildings and unthinkable structures. 30
  • 31. The main aim of the government was to promote Dubai as a unique and one of a kind place. By building such man-made marvels, their aim was to attract more tourists to the country as well as promoting the country through these aspects. And it has led to the build up of Dubai as a brand through their efforts in providing architectural phenomena d business activities. Since Dubai doesn’t have a basic and unique culture as compared to other countries, it was necessary to adopt these measures to promote Dubai. And they have done this successfully as the number of tourists keeps increasing every year. Destination branding is no enviable task. More so for a nation as varied as the United Arab Emirates, where identifying a unique characteristic which can generate a positive emotional response from a person is only a part of the task; but also involves addressing issues like the volatility of the middle-east and cultural sensibilities. One important factor which is very important in brand building is the spirit of the people. The core of a country’s brand must capture the spirit of the people and their shared purpose. The spirit of the people and their place should be deeply connected. Dubai has been able to put its people in the right frame and direction. Spirit is one of the most important factors along with positioning and stakeholders which affects the country branding. They are the key roles in the process of destination branding. Other factors such as environment, resources, culture, history, economy and the people experience played a part in influencing the development of this spirit - making it unique to the country. Dubai has a very strong supply chain management which involved DTCM as the main branch and along with it the National Carrier, The Airport and Civil Aviation, The Government, The Hotels and The Destination Management Organizations. Associations with the Tour & Travel operators outside the country are also an advantage to continuously remind and encourage prospective customers to visit the country. The tour operators set up and provide package tours to the public with the assistance of the country concerned regarding the price, features and benefits. This 31
  • 32. process not only promotes the country but it also helps in the building of a brand for the country. The strategy adopted by Tour operators is the “Push & Pull strategies”. Push strategy is to push the product or service to the customer via the intermediary being used, that is, brochures, websites, TVs, magazines, newspapers, discount on bookings, promotional gifts, flyers, etc. The aim of “pull strategy” is to pull the customer to the distributor which may involve heavy expenditure on consumer advertising or other promotional activities to attract the attention of consumers and make them demand the product or service. Positioning of Dubai derives from its core values and spirit. The positioning has been aspirational, inspirational, challenging and differentiated. The aspect of challenge was to ensure that the positioning is forward looking, energized and stretching. Furthermore, the need for ‘translatable’ positioning is because a country has different stakeholders to address with its positioning. Dubai positioning is sufficiently rich and deep to translate into a multifaceted sub-positioning with relevance and meaning for each relevant stakeholders and it retained its integrity by staying true to its spirit and core values. The positioning diamond has 4 essential factors that need to be considered for each country, that is, macro trends, target audience, competitors and core competencies. The process is invaluable as it forces a country to assess the priorities of the brand exercise, to think broadly as well as to narrow the parameters governing the development of the country’s brand. Dubai has always been able to deliver on its brand promise, that is, it has ensured that the country is able to substantiate what its brand is saying about it. The brand promised a memorable travel experience that is uniquely associated with the destination; it also served to consolidate and reinforce the recollection of pleasurable memories of the destination experience. 32
  • 33. These one of a kind pleasurable moments thus turn into ‘word of mouth’ advertising which reinforce the country brand on the international front. It increases awareness of the country and therefore encourages more visitors to the country. By delivering on brand promises, Dubai has been able to change people perception and mind. Nowadays, people have developed this desire that they should visit Dubai at least once in their lifetime. Dubai has historically earned its reputation as an international commercial center with innovative, dynamic and entrepreneurial business culture. It is an ideal gateway to access markets that span the Middle East, North and South Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and the CIS. Leveraging its strategic location, Dubai has developed a world-class infrastructure, air connections and port facilities, making it the best- connected city in the region. Without doubt, the visible aspects of Brand Dubai are remarkable and have been painstakingly built over the years. An enviable brand image as a trading and shopping hub, brilliant infrastructure planning, excellent quality of life, multi-cultural workforce, world-class shopping malls, clusters built around real estate, trade and tourism are but a few of the visible aspects of the Brand Dubai iceberg. "Excitement” is the underlying brand personality factor, connoting daring, spirited and competitive. All enduring, influential brands, in their pursuit of greatness, periodically do a brand assessment and make mid-course corrections with a view to achieve their strategic brand intent. This objective assessment must always be an honest and frank exercise to achieve useful results. A quick assessment of Brand Dubai reveals that its intangibles need to be developed in quick earnest if it is to make a definitive transition to an innovative- based city brand. Doing a self-critical brand assessment and making sincere efforts to correct anomalies have been the driving force of all great and enduring brands in history. It is extremely important that all the touch-points of Brand Dubai live up to its brand promise. Dubai is still a young brand but as an emerging global city-brand it must also 33
  • 34. focus on building its critical intangible brand assets and make the world applaud Dubai as an "exciting and caring" city brand. MALAYSIA “Selamat Datang” is the traditional Malaysian greeting that welcomes visitors to this vibrant and exotic country. Located at the confluence of Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, Malaysia is a land of adventures, beaches and of cosmopolitan nature. It is the Peninsula that seems to attract the most visitors, probably because of the diversity it offers in the way of people, activities and its climate. The highland regions offer cool relief from the clinging humidity of the mainland, while Langkawi is the popular choice for sand and surf enthusiasts. The east coast, particularly the northern Kelantan province, offers the chance for an interesting cultural exploration of traditional Malay life. The city of Kota Bharu and its surroundings is possibly the most fascinating part of the peninsula, and the least visited, with a remote beauty and rich culture. The west coast is favoured for historical interest, and is where Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur is to be found, 34
  • 35. the icon of Asian prosperity and the meeting point for expats and city slickers who enjoy the energy of urban life. Branding Malaysia initiatives as a Tourism Destination • Malaysia has been the most conspicuously successful in tourism planning, development and marketing. Quality is one of most important factor in tourism industry. Strong emphasis has been based on quality and improving competitive edge. The Tourism Department as well as the other organisations, that is, the Malaysian Airline, the Tour Operators, the Hotels Representatives, etc… have adopted this concept to show a good image to the world about the services provided towards the tourism customers. • Good partnership among the different institutions that is the domestic airlines, the travel agencies and the hotels along with the government has been a key facilitator in the Malaysian tourism industry. Quality and professional services are expected on their sides to show a good and ideal image of the country. They have and are working together to achieve the objectives set. Recently the AM (Air Malaysian) has been providing cheap ticket travels in order to attract more visitors. The scheme is about half rate air ticket travel offered to everybody and many other facilities onboard. This has generated a soaring in visitors` arrival. They have been targeting every type of customers. • Strong commitment of the government behind the Malaysian Tourism and Promotion Board. It has led to more motivation and satisfaction in the industry. • In hotels, branding is the key differentiation capturing market share and creates loyalty. They are using more local elements in their decorations and 35
  • 36. restaurants. The main aim is to show its originality and culture of the country and that it remains an everlasting memory for the visitors. By adopting this strategy, they wanted to show the distinctiveness in services provided to reap off competition. The key to successful branding is the perception of a difference between competing brands. • The government has conducted more awareness towards the education of local people to cater more towards tourism industry, for ex, home stays which is an effective catalyst for rural development and also to satisfy those tourists who want to experience localities’ daily living. • Communication is a key element in tourism industry. Through advertisements and promotions, the message should be able to reach almost every customer and that they should get the message right. Extensive advertisements and promotions have been done to create awareness and renew customer desires. Most of the advertisements have been based on natural beauties, the landscape and cultural heritage of Malaysia. It is being conducted in many countries through TVs, magazines and by tour agencies located in respective countries. • To provide more exposure to Malaysia, websites have been set up to provide valuable and reliable information to the visitors. Datuk Dr. Victor Wee, Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia, stated that Tourism Malaysia website attracts millions of visitors on a monthly basis. They are also continuously updating the sites with up-to-date information for visitors to return”. E-tourism is of high importance and is one of the most effective ways to reach out to the rest of the world. • Good and economical packaged tours are being offered by many travel agencies to attract every type of customers, to make it affordable for everybody. Good relations among countries provide security for business transactions among local and international agencies such as travel and booking agencies. To make it more reliable, online bookings and information about the country are being offered on many websites which are easily accessible by 36
  • 37. clients. They have been targeting prospective customers especially from China, India, European and eastern countries. • The government has invested a lot in infrastructures. They have been able to promote their cultural heritage successfully through lots of determination, confidence and beliefs. In order to enrich their branding aspects, the government has allowed some well-reputed brand Hotels like The Four Season resorts, the Petronas Twin Towers (shown in photo), the world's second-tallest building to open their door in the country. It is done so to strengthen their brand image in the international market. • Malaysia perfectly understood some of the marketing basics: creating a strong image, which the country rather lacked before, to generate demand from visitors; having a general tagline (Malaysia Truly Asia) which can be spun into thematic activities. • The latest Malaysian campaigns are more oriented into ecotourism, spa & well-being activities and seaside tourism. And last but not least, the strong commitment of the government behind the Malaysian Tourism and Promotion Board. Country Branding Perspectives 37
  • 38. Malaysia is one of the most successful tourist destinations nowadays competing with the best in the industry. It has been tagged as one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Due to past and recent alternatives taken especially by the Government, the country has been recording a considerable increase in its tourist population every year. With so many countries nearby like Singapore, Thailand, etc…selling the same message, Malaysia may appear at first sight to violate this essential principle of branding. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The campaign has resulted in increased tourist arrivals. Considering the initiatives taken by the government as well as the other organisations, they have brought the country one step forward. It has helped in enhancing the country’s image and reputation and hence contributing to the building of the country’s brand in every aspect. They have adopted a lot of marketing strategies to pull customers towards the country. The Department of Tourist of Malaysia has been using this brand name “Malaysia Truly Asia” to promote the tourism industry. It has been judged as one of the best tag lines in the world. It is called as brand positioning. The wording is so simple and easily associable. It has occupied a very important place in the mind of the customers abroad. It is one of the tools used to promote the country as a brand. But a simple tagline is not the only factor in promoting the country as a brand. It has to depend on other factors also. It is only the tip of the iceberg. The key success lies in the diversity, convenience & safety, complementary services & attractions, world class service, and thriving domestic consumption. The tagline was chosen to offer the tourist a multi-cultural experience. The cultural aspect is one important thing in promoting the brand of the country and also its authenticity. Authenticity is the core competency a country can use to have an edge on others. And Malaysia has been looking forward to that aspect to build and enrich the country brand. The global desire for authenticity favours countries which tend to have more preserved and unique cultures. Sense of place, culture and character must be evident 38
  • 39. as a country expands or creates its travel, tourism, trade and investment offerings. The hotels are using more local elements in their decorations and restaurants. The main aim is to show its originality and culture of the country and that it remains an everlasting memory for the visitors. By adopting such strategy, they wanted to show the distinctiveness in services provided to reap off competition. The key to successful branding is the perception of a difference between competing brands. Culture has been a lethal weapon in promoting the country as a brand. Culture is the core competency of the country which strengthens the destination branding. In country branding, the population also need to get involved since they will be more exposed to the tourists. The spirit of the people is an important factor in country branding and towards the tourism population. The government has been coordinating PR campaigns running in the dailies to remind Malaysians that each of them has a role to play and they should put their best in welcoming tourists. It is important to create ‘an experience’ for tourists when they visit our country. Best attitude is a lethal weapon in getting praise from the outsiders which would in turn lead to ‘word of mouth’ advertisement. The purpose of nation branding is to position your country in the best way possible in the world system, given its strengths and weaknesses. Branding is a process that should be undertaken before money is spent on image-formation and messaging, and hence before communications strategies and plans are decided, advertising campaigns are initiated, web sites built or public relations paid for. Malaysia has undertaken lots of activities to reshape the country in a way that it can compete with the best, that is, through campaigns to educate its people about tourism industry, availability of modern infrastructures, transportation facilities, good roads, all internal factors which influence the tourism activities. Then they have advertised the country on a large extent through newspaper, TVs, magazines, websites, etc. In India, there has been constant advertising about Malaysia especially on TV channels. In return of all these hard works, Malaysia has been able to activate the ‘word of mouth’ advertising which is so lethal and crucial in the decision of choosing a destination. 39
  • 40. Branding requires a high level of control over brand attributes, their communication and management. If management structures are confusing, other producers from primary and secondary industries would find it hard to be motivated or realized their opportunities of using the tourism industry to showcase their wares and assist in systematically building the country as a brand. Malaysia has developed a good networking with the help of Malaysian Tourism & Promotion Board and has consistently working with the concerned stakeholders to minimize such problem. Thus it has helped in creating a swift flow and coordination among the stakeholders and therefore led to the positive build-up of the country brand. Naturally all these led to an increase to the overall image positively, or brand, of the country. People want to experience the true essence of a different place. This is the magic of a country brand. That is how Malaysia has been able to show the world its worth as a tourist destination and its offering is purely genuine. They have been able to use and showcase their unique heritage in a way that has encouraged more and more people to visit the country. Promoting the cultural assets can help to diversify the portfolio of attractions that can increase visitations during slower seasons. Nowadays, Malaysia is seen as "multicultural with many beaches" around the world due to the initiatives taken by the government and other agencies. Today, more and more travelers are celebrating the cultural differences that exist within the country and define their character. As such, there is great opportunity for tourism destinations to increase new and repeat visitations by promoting their distinctive arts, cultural activities and events. . 40
  • 41. MAURITIUS “God created Mauritius then created the world” Mauritius is located in the South-Western Indian Ocean, east of the African continent. It is a multi-cultural society made up of the descendants of immigrants from the Indian sub-continent, Africa, Europe and China. The cultural diversity makes Mauritius a living example of peaceful co-existence of the major cultures and religions of the world. Mauritius is the most accessible island in the Indian Ocean, boasting as much tropical paradise as Maui or Martinique and, better still, offering it at a bargain price. Though nestled up alongside Africa, it's actually more influenced by its British and French ties and massive Indian workforce. It is a very popular destination and 41
  • 42. sees many tourists visiting the island all over the year. The hotels in Mauritius range from luxurious to budget thus catering every traveller. The climate of Mauritius is quite pleasant all year through making it very comfortable for the tourists. Its beaches with fine sands are renowned throughout the world. The adventures tours in Mauritius include diving & submarine as there are great coral reef sites, hiking & biking, bird watching, surfing, undersea walking, big game fishing, etc. • Attractions Mauritius is predominantly a holiday destination for beach-resort tourists. It possesses a wide range of natural and man-made attractions, enjoys a sub-tropical climate with clear warm sea waters, attractive beaches, tropical fauna and flora complemented by a multi-ethnic and cultural population that is friendly and welcoming. These tourism assets are, its main strength, especially since they are backed up by well-designed and run hotels, and reliable and operational services and infrastructures. The hosts are being seen product and the "hospitality atmosphere" has more and more as the nucleus of the tourism been receiving increasing attention. The various initiatives taken by Mauritius to build a brand for the country and for a tourist destination: The setup of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) is to coordinate the tourism activities and to promote Mauritius internationally as destination brand. They have been successful so far. 42
  • 43. • This agency has by far the greatest brand influence for the country. It has offices in 7 key markets. • They have been promoting Mauritius abroad as a tourist destination by conducting advertising campaigns, participating in tourism fairs and organizing, in collaboration with the local tourism industry, promotional campaign and activities in Mauritius and abroad. • The setting up of a website about Mauritius and partnership with other websites based on tourism destination to provide information to tourists on facilities, infrastructures and services available to them in Mauritius and also to provide information about “why must they come to Mauritius” stating the features of the island, posting photos and so forth. They initiated such action as may be necessary to promote cooperation with other tourism agencies. • They have been conducting research into market trends and market opportunities and disseminated such information and other relevant statistical data on Mauritius to the concerned groups dealing with tourism, advice to the Minister on all matters relating to the promotion of tourism. Since customers’ tastes and preferences kept changing, this research was a must to promote the island in a right frame and perspective. • The market segments targeted are mostly the Europeans. About 67% of the tourist arrivals are of European origin, with France supplying nearly half. Lot of brand awareness strategies has been used to create the perfect image of Mauritius as a perfect tourist destination in the mind of customers. The nearby Reunion French Territory was the most important short haul source market accounting for about 13% of total tourist arrivals. Asian residents provided 6% of tourist arrivals, almost half of which originated from the Indian Sub- Continent. • National Tourism Policy 43
  • 44. The National Tourism Policy emphasizes low impact, high spending tourism. Selective, up-market, quality tourism is favoured, and although such tourism is not the only type, it constitutes the major segment of our tourists who stay in high class hotels. • Most prestigious beach side resort hotels are owned and operated by large groups such as Sun International and Beachcomber. Many of the beach resort hotels are internationally recognized for their very high quality. This led partly to the building of a strong brand about the island. Also, it is estimated that around 25% of visitors stay in non-hotel accommodation, such as boarding houses, self-catering bungalows and with friends and relatives. • One example of tourist operators dealing with Mauritius in the tourist market. Erco Travels Co. Ltd. was incorporated in 2002, keeping the very motive of maximum clients satisfaction with own office to its most popular destinations. Mauritius is one of the prime destinations for Erco Reizen and they are operating more than 1000 pax every year in Mauritius. Presently Erco Travels (Mauritius) Co. Ltd is functioning as both incoming and outgoing tour operator. Country Branding Process The common perceptions of the world about Mauritius is revolving around its idyllic tropical beaches and Indian Ocean seascape – a sanctuary in the sun, a place to escape for a luxury holidays. All these factors lead to the build-up of a brand in the right direction and perspective. 44
  • 45. Nowadays the government is trying to convey a richer set of messages that creates recognition for the broader characteristics that define their people, business and country. The objective of the integrated brand strategy is to differentiate Mauritius internationally; better support key sectors and enhances its areas of competitiveness advantage. Tourism industry has developed into a major pillar of economic development in a small island developing economy like Mauritius. The intense competition in the international tourism industry has become a major concern for policy makers and investors in this industry. Alternative strategies are being implemented to attract tourists. Mauritius offers a number of attractions to tourists in terms of a wide range of hotels, accessibility, beautiful beaches and richness in culture. Mauritius is known as a cultural nation and it is playing a major role in promoting Mauritius as a tourist attraction. Culture has been marketed to tourists through tangible and/or intangible elements, for example, buildings, crafts, art objects, and/or behaviors and values. Through culture, Mauritius has shown its authenticity to the world. This authenticity has been a major boost for image of the country overall. Due to limited supply of particular attractive or internationally unique natural attractions in Mauritius, culture is the most significant tourist attractions. The category of cultural and heritage attractions include folklore arts, folks customs, traditional dance and music, and handicrafts. There is a wide range of these products in Mauritius and the promotion of these products is a major policy issue. Mauritius is mostly known for holiday tourism rather than business tourism. The beaches and coral reefs, a wide range of cultural attractions and adventure sports are the main attractions of Mauritius. The branding of Mauritius relies heavily on the images of the Indian Ocean jewel. Developing the country brand will serve as an umbrella providing high level positioning under which subsidiary brands operate with more detailed focus. 45
  • 46. Consultation of citizen is a must when putting together national branding campaigns. Widespread buy-in by the population is a critical precondition of the success of any branding program. To deliver, everyone in the organisation must believe in the brand. Just as companies must solicit the trust of customers by behaving transparently and accountably, so will country brands have to work at maintaining credible reputations. It must be a priority at the PM level. Mauritius is still working on that matter but surely they are winning the race. Research concludes that setting up a responsible organization, maintaining sufficient and stable fund and assigning a suitably skilled leader are essential for the successful implementation and on-going delivery of country branding strategies. Developing Mauritius brand has provided a unified approach to promoting the nation and its various products and services. It has helped to: • Demonstrate the broad range of commercial and cultural offerings available. • Increase opportunities for international trade and economic growth. • Secure foreign investment. • Build familiarity of, and loyalty for, what we have to offer. • Enhance the attractiveness as a destination for skilled business migrants. • Build global connectedness and recognition for the country on the world stage. • Demonstrate why Mauritius is more than just a fantastic vacation destination, but is also a great place to do business, invest and migrate to. • Build local confidence, a common sense of purpose and national pride. • Drive an internationally based mindset among local operators. Over the years, ‘Word of mouth’ advertisement has played a great role in awareness of the country globally. It is still playing a great role. It has received good response from almost every person who have visited the island before. Also the simplicity of life in Mauritius has been a great factor in pulling visitors towards the country. The population has been a great motivator by showing warmth and respect towards the visitors. They are jovial, kind and always smiling. This has been a key to the success of Mauritius as a tourist destination since it was something of a rare 46
  • 47. nature. Nevertheless, it has contributed to the brand building of the country especially as a holiday resorts. Advertising, PR and promotion must complement informal information obtained through word of mouth and personal recommendations, by either building upon the latter or correcting negative perceptions that may be incorrect. Mauritius holds very positive and exotic images in the mind of people from all around the world. It is without doubt a very desirable vacation destination. However, if Mauritius is to succeed in diversifying its economic base, it will need to broaden the currently held perceptions, and encourage commercial operators to consider the Star of the Indian Ocean as an equally desirable place to do business, invest and migrate. AUSTRIA Austria is one of the European countries with a long tradition in tourist development. It is situated in the South-Central region of Europe, covering part of the Eastern Alps and the Danude Basin. Austria is surrounded by Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It has an estimated population of around 8 millions. It is a mountainous country and one of the natural landscapes reserves of Central Europe with a large variety of different landscapes including bathing lakes. 47
  • 48. Austria is a federal republic consisting of 9 independent federal provinces. This country was able despite its smaller territory and number of population to overcome any barriers of tourism development and become one of the leaders in tourism business. Nearly 700 years of imperial rule by the Habsburgs in Austria have left behind a rich and varied cultural heritage. Now, nearly a century after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the country is still committed to the mission of preserving and cultivating this legacy and making it accessible to interested visitors. Before, Austria was experiencing continuous decline of arrivals and overnight stays of tourists. The necessity for a new marketing strategy approach was evident. Here are the initiatives taken by the country towards country branding and promotion of its destination: • Austria based its strategy on tourism with emphasis on marketing, organisation and financing strategies that have influenced competitiveness. New innovative techniques and approaches in marketing strategies have been undertaken, for example, a new synergistic approach. • Also new segmentation strategies have also contributed to the success of Austrian tourism. A selective approach to the segments of seniors, families with children and teens with a variety of different products has been successful. 48
  • 49. • More attention has been given to developing key niches and tourism products such as spa, health and congress tourism. This segmentation process has helped the Austrian officials in determining the needs and wants of each or group of individuals and fulfilled them. As a result, spa tourist has resulted in Austria obtaining one of the leading positions. • The third concept which helped Austria to improve its tourism competitiveness and performance was the restructuring of the NTO (National Tourism Organisation). • Benchmarking was used extensively as a tool to develop competitive advantage due to its location. This process means a continuous, systematic process for evaluating the products, services and work processes of organisations. • Implementation of this method by the NTO in Austria has resulted in recent successful methods of management, financing and marketing. It was necessary to restructure the Austrian Tourism Office (ANTO) as it is the main state marketing entity. Its main function will be to market Austria as a country (e-marketing, and trademark management) to the 12 markets (Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Southern Europe, Great Britain and Ireland, Benelux countries, France, Spain and Latin America, Scandinavia and Baltic countries, USA and Canada, the CSI states). • ANTO has marketing representations offices abroad in 24 main tourist destinations. • The co-operation of private and public sector in financing is common in tourism initiatives in Austria. For example, structural funds for financing projects of municipalities (for the development of infrastructure) and the structural funds of European Union are common. 49
  • 50. • The development of tourism is a responsibility of each of the 9 regions in Austria. The development of tourism is governed by the laws of tourism at the federal level. In every province, there is one special representative responsible for tourism matters and has a special entity for their own promotion. • The other important aspect which has helped Austria in country branding and in becoming successful is the setup of a special Research Institute of Tourism and leisure in Vienna. This centre is active in tourism and leisure research activities not only in Austria, but also abroad. • Marketing and promotion activities are crucial for a successful tourism strategy. The combination of existing heritage potential, natural resources and events (cultural, sports, congresses) creates excellent feedback for the successful strategy in tourism. Due to this successful marketing strategy in Austria, the combinations of different products and events led to the massive development of tourism in the last couple of years with the result of this small country having a ranking in the top ten countries of the world. • The main goal of Austrian tourism is to highlight “quality in comparison to quantity”. State funding is primarily focused on the development of standards of quality in tourism, especially in the service sector. • The priority of Austria is to maintain the image of a modern, active, sports oriented state with a developed leisure and recreational spirit. The main focus is on family and cultural values. • An important role in the implementation of tourism policy and marketing strategy has been played by co-operative marketing and creation of partnership. 50
  • 51. • Egon Smeral, the Austrian academic noted that “by subsidizing tourism promotion generally at a supra operational level, it is possible to boost performance against global competition and to facilitate co-operation and the development of destinations.” By the initiatives taken by the authorities, Austria has become a very successful tourist destination. It has also led to the building of the brand of the country as a whole not only in tourism sector. The country has adopted a lot of strategies such as marketing concepts through country branding. The most important thing was to position Austria as a peaceful, modern, safe, friendly and cultural country. A country having a good image, a good brand on the international platform is more likely to attract tourists. Austria has based its national brand on the cultural heritage and legacy of the country. They are intended to contribute to the underlining of Austria’s role as an outstanding cultural destination by the country’s inheritance of historical buildings. The cultural heritage is the core competencies that the country is using to promote its values and also to fight off competition with the neighboring countries and elsewhere. In order to strengthen their position, ANTO has come up with these logos, that is, “Imperial Austria”, to show the cultural facet of the country and “Holidays in Austria” for its tourist destinations. Using logos as well as advertising are not enough to promote a country as a brand but it facilitates the process, that is, more brand awareness and popularity. The logo “Imperial Austria” was aimed primarily at travel agencies in the international market. 51
  • 52. First, Austria’s brand has been adopted domestically, then internationally. They have put lots of efforts in the process to be able to satisfy almost all tourists’ expectations based on their brand advertisements. All these efforts were put forward in order to achieve word of mouth advertisements. Overall, it meant people outside Austria will have a good view about the country and hence it can be a big influence while choosing their holidays’ destination in the future. This helped in promoting the country as a perfect brand. Austria adopted some methods to sustain building in tourism by controlling economic development and bring about a general improvement in quality. They created a team of experienced tourism experts and planners. They were given the task of formulating “sustainable building solutions” for new tourist operations, extensions and modifications to existing facilities. About innovation and technologies, the main focus with regard to hotels was on ‘enlarged capacity’, ‘improved quality and ‘creation of ‘infrastructure’ (wellness, seminar and fitness facilities). They used a system called innovative guest monitoring system characterized by ongoing gathering of market research data on travel behaviour and socio-demography which provides an up-to-date picture of domestic and foreign tourists in Austria. The main aim of innovation is to achieve advantages over the competition. Regarding the strategic instrument, training was provided by the government in the tourism sector in coordination with players in the tourism sector and with an eye to the future development of success criteria/ source markets. For example, Culture Tour Austria (strategic programme for cultural tourism) was first in a series of initiatives aimed at boosting the development and modernization of cultural tourism. Last but not least, ANTO has been set up to facilitate and coordinate the process of country branding. Its objective was to promote and strengthen Austria as a tourist destination. It promoted Austria as a holiday destination in all parts of the world by establishing and maintaining close contacts with travel agencies and media and by 52
  • 53. providing a constant flow of information. More contacts meant more exposure and then more awareness globally. SINGAPORE Singapore is an island located South of Malaysia. It is a multi cultural country having miscellaneous religious and cultural practices due to which it remains bright and colorful due to the celebration of different kinds of festivals. Singapore is a very modern and cosmopolitan city that offers all the best of East and West. This is a city where the West meets with the East in cuisine, architecture, style and attitudes. Singapore is very green and is one of the cleanest cities in Asia. Despite the country witnessing rapid development, it continues to maintain its traditional style. 53
  • 54. The main tourist attractions in Singapore are the Singapore Zoo, the Night Safari, shopping, etc. Due to its strategic location (Central Southeast Asia), the nearby countries are easily accessible by train or by air. Nightlife in Singapore is very lively and colorful. The Sun may set but the fun actually begins at night in Singapore. As night falls, life begins to awake in many regions of Singapore. If you are a party animal or a food lover, Singapore is the right place to be. Singapore is a food paradise and you can savor upon the delicious dishes at pretty late hours of the night. If you think yourself to be a nocturnal species, there are many adventures around the clock and thrilling surprises waiting at Singapore. The nightlife is very lively and engrossing and will keep your senses active till the wee hours of the morning. Singapore is considered to be the safest countries in the world for you to enjoy and indulge in night life fun. The steps taken by Singapore to make its destination successful • Singapore is among the most visited country in the world with tourists coming in all year long. The most important thing on the authority’s agenda was to create brand image and promote awareness. This is how they came with the idea of creating a brand name, that is, “Uniquely Singapore”, to promote the destination in the international market. This logo captures the uniqueness of the city state by redefining its urban assets. They have even won the award for “Best Tourism Branding” at the inaugural TravelWeekly (Asia) Industry Awards 2007, held in Hong Kong. • The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) launched this destination brand on 9th March 2004.The main aim was to promote the many things 54
  • 55. which are intrinsic to Singapore as a city and a country. It showcased quintessential Singapore experience, its unique blend of tradition, cultures and modernity. • This new brand positioning captured the total Singapore experience and distinct proposition as a country that has merged the best from rich cultures and modern world, contemporary sophistication and colorful tradition. • This new brand has differentiated Singapore as a premier destination, offering a unique spectrum of enriching experiences for visitors and locals alike-from traditional cultural experiences to cutting-edge modern arts performances-all delivered with a high level of service quality, reliability and efficiency. • The “Uniquely Singapore” was developed with international brand consultant FutureBrand through a consultative exercise with Singaporeans, leisure and business visitors, local and overseas travel industry partners and local government agencies. • The STB aimed to differentiate and market Singapore as a memorable destination through the proliferation of the destination brand “Uniquely Singapore.” • Through country branding, the STB lined up a series of key marketing activities both domestically and globally to promote Singapore’s new tourism brand positioning and to strengthen its brand name. Through brand management, the Board have been able to solidify their campaign, that is: 55
  • 56. • The Brand Management division developed the destination brand and mapped out the strategy to effectively communicate the brand essence and brand promise of Singapore to all key stake-holders, local and overseas, and potential travellers to Singapore. • A “Uniquely Singapore” global media campaign comprising print and broadcast advertisements on key international network and in major publications, outdoor advertising and online media was rolled out to build up awareness of the new brand and to position Singapore as a must-visit destination. • Internationally, it worked with the Board's Regional offices as impactful advertising campaigns and invite high-profile international media to increase the visibility of the destination. • There was also in-market advertising and publicity campaigns, with a focus on the use of unique media channels and the appointment of celebrity ambassadors in certain key markets. The Board also assembled a global road show, comprising of local performing talents, which promoted and raised the profile of the brand among consumers and trade partners in various markets. • It also communicated this through the use of various media and distribution channels such as advertising, brochures, collaterals, videos, photography and online initiatives. • The division also worked with third party destination information providers and expatriate organisations. It was also responsible for the official destination website, visitsingapore.com. • Brand Management ensured that the destination brand remained consistently applied to the visitor and awareness of the destination brand continued to be reinforced. 56
  • 57. • While the primary audience is the traveller, the brand awareness among Singaporeans and residents was also important. This included a comprehensive domestic tourism programme, strategic outdoor advertising and communications platforms such as signage and display panels in immigration checkpoints, airports and districts with high tourist traffic. • The overall objective was to achieve strong brand recognition among travellers and positioned Singapore as a premier travel destination around the world. • The Board are working closely with industry partners to develop new and unique tourism packages to provide visitors and locals with a truly “Uniquely Singapore” experience. Examples of advertisements and promotional activities: An example of package travel: 57
  • 58. Examples Travel partners: • In order to strengthen and increase tourism awareness on the international front, the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau (SECB), a Group of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) along with 13 top industry players from the hotel, travel trade and MICE(Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions) industries showcased the exciting MICE and leisure offerings that Singapore has to offer event organizers and meeting planners at the leading international MICE tradeshow, the Global Meetings and Incentives Exhibition (EIBTM) in Barcelona , Spain. • The participation at the annual EIBTM was to tap into strategic international platforms to showcase Singapore's wide spectrum of MICE products and exciting new tourism developments. • The efforts put by SECB were to reinforce Singapore’s image as a dynamic MICE and to brand and position Singapore as an Exchange Capital of the World. 58
  • 59. • Pacific World, a Destination Management Company, helped EIBTM to promote its event capabilities and extensive range of services. It is a valuable platform to generate awareness and build brand cache not just for the industry partners’ products and services but also for Singapore as a leading MICE destination. It contributed to garner a prominent share of voice in that market segment. The Facet of Nation Branding The primary objective of the government of Singapore was to show the world that their country is safe, perfect destination for holidaying and also it is one of the cleanest cities in the world. In order to achieve this, a lot of campaigns awareness and advertisements have been conducted internally throughout the country to influence its people about the benefit of a clean and modern country. They have been able to make every stakeholders contribute to the build up of the country as a brand. They have conducted a lot of internal works to achieve these feet before starting operating globally. Nowadays Singapore is mostly known as a modern, safe and very clean country. Singapore is seen, by a broad selection of travelers and tourist agents from the US, Japan, India, Germany, Australia, UK and Sweden as "clean, modern and safe". The tagline ‘Uniquely Singapore’ was adopted in order to facilitate the positioning of the country brand and to propel brand awareness. However it is only the tip of the iceberg as a country brand doesn’t depend only on a simple logo but it helps. It is a part of country branding. This logo is used to easily associate the country in the mind of the prospective visitors. ‘Word of mouth’ advertisement has been a great determinant in promoting Singapore. It is one of the oldest and surest ways of convincing people to come to the country either on business trips or holidays. This has led to the growing reputation of the country, that is, its services are genuine and not fabricated. In order to achieve 59
  • 60. this, the government has been applying a lot of efforts to make each and every visitors enjoy their passage in the country to the fullest by providing exceptional and quality services in a Singaporean style. “Make everyday a memorable day” The mix of seaside tourism, the golden spires of its temples, leisure tourism and the excellence in services continues to be the Kingdom’s best ambassadors for tourists. “Singapore generates strong images in people’s minds, which in return help us to limit the influence of external factors. The first phase was the build-up of Singapore on the destination’s attributes that were established in the campaign. The second phase was evolved to focus on the unique and personal experiences each visitor can enjoy, making for a visit that is, as the tagline captures, ‘Beyond Words’. Their goals were simple: to deliver on their brand promise that every visitor will be presented with uniquely enriching personal experiences to bring home. Their goal is to continue to strive and keep their brand vibrant, relevant and focused. They developed a creative campaign on the back of a sound brand strategy so as to ensure effective cut-through to the targeted demographic. All their efforts produced were to show a further testament of the strength of their campaign in marketing Singapore as a tourist destination in the Asia Pacific region. The main purpose of these campaigns is to attract new visitors to the country but also to encourage them to revisit the country. Formal advertising and promotion of a country as a tourist destination in other nations can also have an effect. If that image is unfocused or not clear, the destination will have difficulty competing with images created by competing countries. Advertising, PR and promotion must complement informal information obtained through word of mouth and personal recommendations, by either building upon the latter or correcting negative perceptions that may be incorrect. 60
  • 61. CONCLUSION Country branding is a rather difficult concept to materialize but with a lots of determination and efforts on the part of the stakeholders, can make the process easier. Building a country brand is not done in a day but take years to complete and establish itself. It requires in-depth research as many factors affect the process of country branding. Brand building in the context of tangible products is quite different from intangible products. In case of intangible products, the channel of distribution is lengthy. For example, in case of tourism industry, there should be a good partnership between the Government, the agency promoting tourism, the Aviation industry, the transport industry, the accommodation (hotels) industry, Tour & Travel operators. They should work in the same direction so that they can contribute to achieve the main objectives, that is, providing the visitors with quality services and facilities throughout their stay in the country. This partnership helps in achieving success and in building a positive country brand. 61
  • 62. Marketing concepts and strategies are being adopted in brand building process of a country as a tourist destination. Brand creation and awareness is a must in country branding along with brand positioning, promise, marketing mix, etc. Brand communication or awareness is done through advertisements locally and internationally in magazines, newspapers, TVs, internet, brochures, and so forth. Nowadays internet is at the reach of billions of people and countries are using this means of communication to target the prospective customers by providing useful information about the history of the country, the accommodations available and other facilities through websites. It is the most reliable source of information in this industry. Also brand logos are being used by various countries to promote its tourism industry. The wording of a logo should be attractive, simple and easily associable. It has to occupy a very important place in the mind of the customers abroad (brand positioning). It is one of the tools used to promote a tourism destination. For example, Malaysia is using “Malaysia Truly Asia”, Singapore for “Uniquely Singapore”. However, nation branding is not simply coming up with a cute logo and tag line. It has a much deeper purpose: to position a nation so that it can achieve the maximum success in the world system, including garnering the maximum international recognition and clout, robust business relations with the world, and a healthy tourism industry. By doing this, a nation brings the maximum benefit to its people by giving them dignity, and by creating jobs and wealth. A nation brand is the collective sum of its culture, its products and services, its people, its customers, its financials, its operations and its leadership. A nation brand must be a reflection of its core values, which must remain intact. The country brand’s values must be reflected in everything it does. The country brand must be based on a clearly defined vision of the future, which should be firmly rooted in the existing policies, resources, intellectual capital, capabilities, motivations, manifestations and perceptions of the nation. It is essential for the shareholder of the nation to create and share this vision and work jointly towards determining how it will be achieved. Nation branding is a connector between people and organizations within the country and outside. Nation branding ensures that a country is recognized for what it 62
  • 63. actually symbolizes in terms of its strengths and distinctive characteristics. Hence, a country’s reputation is built around qualities which are positive, attractive, unique and sustainable. In this today’s economy, nations will have to brand/ re-brand themselves or lose out to its competitors. Nation branding is a bottom-up not top-down approach, and is consequently very difficult to influence. A brand has to be forged by its ideals and moderated by how well a nation live up with them. It is vital from the point of view of communicating the values that all people hold dear. Campaigns promoting a brand should champion its diversity for a start. When a nation advertises itself through an extensive branding programme, it is to get initial attention from prejudiced, ignorant or somewhat knowledgeable people. A country has to undertake assertive and proactive approach and consistent publicity campaigns aimed at providing subtle and convincing “sell” to persuade these people to change their views. The core of a country brand must capture the spirit of the people of that nation and their shared purpose. A country brand must sit at its heart, that is, the people. In order to build a dynamic brand, the people are the most important asset to be dealt with. Factors such as environment, resources, culture, history, economy and the people’s experience played a part in influencing the development of this spirit – making it unique to the country. A recent quote by the Malaysian officials about its ongoing programme; “the success of VMY (Visit Malaysia Year) is not the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Tourism but hinges on the cooperation of government agencies, tourism stakeholders, the private sector and all Malaysians. This is a national celebration and we want everyone’s involvement to make it a successful campaign for the whole country.” The participation of the people is the touching glow or “the icing on the cake” for a successful country branding. Carefully crafted messages about the brand, communicated in the right way to the right customers will tap emotion, fence-off the brand from competition, and help shape the image of the brand. Messages about the brand must be communicated clearly and consistently over time and at very touch point at which the markets come in contact with the brand. It is always a challenge to get the right idea, that will lead to 63
  • 64. advertising, that will be in tune with the strategy , that will sell the brand today and build brand values overtime. The key to create differentiation does not lie in a successful advertising campaign alone. It stretches beyond the advertising mix to a coordinated effort between all the elements of marketing mix. The rules of building a brand are not as simple as they look. Building a brand is not a series of advertisements or sales promotions but it helps as being the vehicle for brand communication. However, building a brand needs more scientific application of strategic ideas corresponding to the segments and categories that the brand manager targets, to make brand building a great success. The key to successful branding is the perception of a difference between competing brands. Creating brands in the service sector is faced with the challenge of appealing to various target groups, to create various responses. The services brands present a different face every time a customer interacts with them. It is a challenge to create a response – driven ad while staying tuned to the brands look and feel. Finally, advertising is often used to build a strong relationship with customers, agents and other associates. This is a part of the brand building efforts for a service brand. Countries with strong national branding messages can build up positive country images and increase target consumers’ desire to purchase their products and services. With globalization, countries that can establish and maintain positive images will have an advantage when it comes to competing for tourists, products and investments in the world market. Strong brands create a strategic advantage for the country in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Countries are working hard to put a protracted effort to engage the world community at large, with a view to build a positive image about their respective nations. All country are no exception to this process of strategic change, especially those countries having a bad image globally, in building the image of the nation as a country of opportunities. A country needs concerted effort towards building a new, strong and positive brand image. Nowadays the countries are using their heritage in cultures and architectures to boost their image, to promote their country. They are 64
  • 65. being used as an element of building an identity for the current brand as it significantly contributes for the brand acculturation. Brand awareness creates a competitive advantage that can last for decades. Brands create space in customer’s mind and have a permanent position in customer’s mind with a brand cult of their own. A brand building process needs to essentially permeate the entire nation in order to transform and change the perceptions. The most important thing to realize about branding a country is that it must be an amplification of what is already there and not a fabrication. A brand must be truthful. It must be based on reality. It should be able to fulfill the promise of its brand characteristics. A country or region’s positioning can never be an artificial creation, imposed from the outside. A country should fulfill the customers’ expectations about its brand. The country’s brand should be rooted in reality and in fundamental truths about the destination, and it needs to connect people. Individuals’ very clear sense of place and its values, in almost a spiritual and certainly an emotional sense, would indicate that, if the right nerve was touched, the connection could be very powerful indeed. It is very primordial in order to create ‘word-of-mouth’ advertising which is an important concept in country branding. And also it is free and worthy advertising. A good brand will take into account the complexity of the nation it seeks to embody, and be believable. At the same time it will differentiate the nation from all others, putting it in the best light possible, without exaggeration or distortion of the truth. In countries like Malaysia and Singapore (discussed earlier), one of their strategy is to “make every day a memorable day” for the visitors. That is, every visitor will be presented with uniquely, local enriching personal experiences to bring home. The experience should blow up their mind and that it will always be remembered. At the same time, it should compel the visitors to visit the country again in the future. Authenticity is the buzz word in tourism industry nowadays. It is a key branding component and it is growing in importance. All the five countries I mentioned earlier are adopting this strategy to enrich their brand. For example, in Singapore, the hotels are being decorated using local elements to appeal to visitors. The global desire for authenticity favors countries which tend to have more preserved and unique cultures. A country’s ability to be authentic, deliver authentic and communicate authentic is 65
  • 66. one of the biggest destination advantages today. Nowadays people want to experience the true essence of a different place. This is the magic of a country brand. The five countries that I have selected to study are Dubai, Malaysia, Mauritius, Austria and Singapore. They are among the most successful tourism destination in the world. These countries have adopted lots of strategies and marketing concepts to build their brands. Nowadays Singapore is known worldwide as the cleanest country and nightlife haven, Dubai - an extraordinary country of marvelous and sophisticated man-made architectures, shopping haven and business activities, Mauritius - a paradise on earth, Malaysia - a shopping paradise and leisure activities, and Austria - a place of peace, historical buildings and monuments. There are 2 aspects of delivering on a country’s brand promise. The first is ensuring that the country is actually able to substantiate what its brand is saying about it. The second is using the country’s brand post development to discern what other activities, industries or projects the country should jump start because they complement the brand. The truth is that a country brand, if properly developed, is based on relevant macro trends, core competencies and the country’s competitive position. Therefore, it can be a guide to what the country should promote. Countries are businesses and dreams, corporations and myths, economic engines and memory makers. Countries are brand, by design or default. A country brand can be a generic label or ubiquitous wrapper, or can become the compelling glue between the political, social and economic pillars of a nation. Brand, when properly conceived and executed, can elevate a country, focus its tourist offering, fuel it’s outbound and inbound investment, reframe its reputation and create renewed pride among its citizens. 66
  • 67. BIBLIOGRAPHY Books: • Service Sector Management – C. Bhattacharjee • Services Marketing [Concepts, Practices & Cases](Second Edition) – Dr. S. Shajahan • Services Marketing – S. M. Jha • Services Marketing [The Indian context] – R. Srinivasan • Building Brands – Tapan. K. Panda • Marketing management (Third Edition) – Rajan saxena Websites: www. • ASIATravelTips.com • Google search engines 67
  • 68. • smgonline.net • worldtravel4indians.com • wordtravels.com • eastwestcoms.com • swagatam.com • asiamarketresearch.com • studien.at • intracen.org • FutureBrand.com • brandchannel.com • visitsingapore.com • stb.gov.sg • mauritiusgreetings.com • holidaysinmauritius.info • tourism-mauritius.mu • imperial-austria.at • mauritiustours.com • gov.mu • nytimes.com • tourism2006.com 68