Lessons from branding a destination

Jaid Hulsbosch

Jaid began his career at Hulsbosch before spending six years in Europe working as business development director with two leading design firms in London and Amsterdam. Returning to Australia in 2010, Jaid re-joined Hulsbosch as a director, responsible for all aspects of business management from planning to HR, new business and partnerships. He takes an active role in promoting Hulsbosch’s creativity, uniqueness, enthusiasm and passion for strengthening client’s business.

Every day, suburbs, towns, states and countries all compete for investment that will help ensure their populations will prosper and thrive. Successful destinations have all paid careful attention to their image, the products they produce and the services they offer. A strong destination brand creates a virtuous circle that makes it a desirable place to live and do business.

In our globally connected world, all destinations are competing not only for tourists but also for export markets, business investment, education services and skilled migrants.

We choose consumer brands because we relate to them, enjoy them and they make our choices easier. Creating a destination brand, is like any other branding opportunity. It is imperative to ensure key messages and tone-of-voice are unique, relevant, strong and consistent, allowing us to build recognition and desirability for the brand.

A logo and tagline is not enough. In its totality, destination branding is a comprehensive visual system composed by colours, topography, formats, supporting graphics and even sounds that can help to build a stronger, compelling and relevant message. And marketers must manage this system consistently.

Over the years, Hulsbosch has provided clients with a competitive advantage for destination brands including the Sydney harbour foreshore sanctuary, the Royal Botanic Gardens; the high-profile urban locality, tourist precinct and historic area, The Rocks in Sydney’s city centre; revitalising the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre venue; and the popular Whitsundays holiday resort, Brampton Island in Queensland.

These experiences have contributed to an essential guide for destination branding, but they’re also a good guide for marketers looking to crystallise any brand in the minds of customers: Differentiation is key. What makes it unique, special and a relevant proposition, thus creating cut-through and greater recognition? Always avoid clichés without losing focus on the destination’s special difference.

Act and think global. Your brand identity and all related promotional activities must appeal across cultural, religious and ethnic groups.

Your friends define you. Destination brands are usually partnered with other brands for promotional usage. For example, iconic beverage brands, Australia’s XXXX beer and one of the highest selling beers in the US, Budweiser are part of destination communication. Tourism Tasmania’s brand partners include RM Williams, Wine Tasmania and Australian Geographic. Make sure your brand is simple and flexible, so it can still be recognised but not dominated by other brand identities.

It’s not just enough to have good ideas and policies. Destination brands need to communicate their values to the world. For example, Tourism New Zealand’s ‘100% Pure’ campaign was testament to a focus on the environment. Partnering with Peter Jackson’s box office movie hits and putting centre-stage picturesque landscapes and breathtaking vistas propelled the campaign to further success. It also projected a worldwide image of the country’s clean, green living.

It is equally important to recognise the pitfalls in destination branding and how to avoid them. Here are a few to consider:

Not having total stakeholder buy-in. These people/entities are the living, breathing advocates of the destination that have influence over the most important touch-points with your visitors. Locals must be able to identify with it and be aligned to the brand’s vision and values.

Failing to keep it simple. Be disciplined and focus on filtering all your various equities to a single, strong value proposition that will resonate with the external customer.

Relying too much on advertising. Yes, advertising is important, but relying on it is setting you up for failure. Invest in your brands strategy and positioning statement. Advertising should only be considered at the implementation stage.

Trying to be something you’re not. Your branding must be based on insightful truths and deliverables, otherwise it’s just hype. Good destination branding matches the aspirations of the residents with the expectations of its visitors. Just like in business, it needs to deliver on the promise of its brand.

Tags: brand strategy

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

State of the CMO 2019

CMO’s State of the CMO is an annual industry research initiative aimed at understanding how ...

More whitepapers

Blog Posts

Taking performance cues from east Asian markets

As the ‘Asian century’ becomes ever more prevalent and the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathers speed, marketers are having to surf a tidal wave of creative destruction. The choice is stark: Embrace change, or resign yourself to a Darwinian fate.

Dr Chris Baumann

Associate professor, Macquarie University

Searching for social and marketing data

Many marketers, agencies - and everyone in between - get caught up on bubble references and data points. They’ll use Facebook best practice as the only best practice for Facebook executions and only consider metrics and responses of the one channel they’re expected to deliver on.

Isaac Lai

Connections strategy lead, VMLY&R Sydney

Why Australia needs more leaders

A few weeks ago, our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison took it upon himself to tell companies and their CEOs where to go when it came to societal issues. It wasn’t an organisation’s place to get involved. Instead, he said it should be left to governments to solve societies challenges.

Dan Banyard

Managing director, Edentify

Congratulations! So good to see a business turnaround with a good omni channel email lead strategy.Antanthonyidle.com

Anthony Idle

How Total Tools overhauled its omnichannel marketing

Read more

Well, you can always improve your service. Your customers will appreciate your efforts.

Mike Thompson

Report: Australian customer experience good but not great

Read more

Thanks for sharing! Terracotta Jewellery Online Shopping Ethnic Jewellery Online Shopping

Cotton Sarees Online

How data is driving the customers of a lifetime for BaubleBar

Read more

Informative blog. Xero is a well-known revolutionized accounting software, specifically developed to provide best User Experience and mak...

NavkarConsultancyServices

Xero evolves to fit a changing marketplace

Read more

>Writes article about how to show diversity in an authentic way>All featured opinions are from white women

Jennifer Metcalfe

Food for Thought: How can brands show diversity in an authentic way?

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in