List of Contents
List of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
List of Appendices
1.1 Aim and Objectives
1.2 Summary of Methodology
1.3 Summary of Contents
2.0 Literature Review
2.1 Definition of Destination Image and Branding
2.2 The Importance of a Distinct Destination Image and Brand
2.3 Destination Image Formation, Branding and Brand Positioning
3.1 Justification for Research
3.2 Research Theory
3.3 Research Methods
3.3.1 Secondary Data
3.3.2 Primary Data
3.4 Data Quality Issues and Bias
4.0 Findings and Analysis
4.1 The Importance of Destination Image and Branding and the Destination Brand Building in the Cases Hamburg and Munich
4.2 Customer Recognition of the Destination Brands Hamburg and Munich Based on Imagery
4.3 Customer Perception and Image of Hamburg and Munich
The aim of this dissertation was to examine the development of Hamburg and Munich’s destination branding strategies and whether German consumers can tell the difference between the two. The findings indicated that the overall recognition of Munich among the participants of this study was better than that of Hamburg. But it was also found that the recognition of Hamburg is based on more distinct recognition features than that of Munich, and therefore, it was concluded that it is more sustainable. Regarding the branding of Hamburg and Munich it was found that the Hamburg brand is built on the city’s core values and already positive organic image, whereas the Munich brand was built mainly on artificial emotional values that contradict its rather negative organic image. In the direct comparison of the participants’ images of the two cities, Hamburg’s image was found to be far better. Together with the finding that the brand communication for Hamburg was more authentic and addressed its target groups more precisely than the brand communication for Munich, the above mentioned findings led to the conclusion that the overall branding strategy for Hamburg is more successful than that for Munich.
I would like to express my gratitude to the following people for their valuable help and support during the development process of this dissertation:
First and foremost, I would like to thank my parents and my sister for their consistent love and encouragement, and especially my mom for her great ideas during the phase of finding a research topic. I want to thank Diana Görlich and Verena Göttemann, my friends and flatmates who have lived through the process of writing a dissertation with me and understood to cheer me up when the times got rough. I thank all interview partners and participants of my focus groups. Without their contribution this project would not have been possible. Finally, my special thanks go to my dissertation supervisor, Dan Bennett, for providing me with valuable hints and structure throughout the last 6 months. Thanks to his positive attitude, patience and guidance I was able to successfully complete this dissertation!
It lasts to emphasize that any errors or omissions are my sole
responsibility. I confirm that this dissertation is my own work and no part
of it has been previously published elsewhere or submitted as part of any
other module assessment.
List of Tables
Table 2.3: Gartner’s Image Formation Agents
Table 3.2: Comparison of the Paradigms of Positivism and Phenomenology
Table 3.3: Objectives and Research Methods
Table 3.3.2: Advantages and Disadvantages of Semi- structured Interviews
Table 3.3.3: Topics and Questions Asked in Relation to Objectives
Table 4.1: The Importance of Branding and the Brand Identity of Hamburg and Munich
Table 4.1.1: The Brand Architecture of Hamburg and Munich
Table 4.1.2: Brand Communication and Positioning of Hamburg and Munich
Table 4.2: Brand Recognition of Hamburg and Munich Among German Citizens
Table 4.3: Image of Hamburg and Munich among German Citizens
Table 4.3.1: The More Attractive Holiday Destination for German Citizens
List of Figures
Figure 2.1: Destination Image and Consumer Decision Making
Figure 2.2: Destination Celebrity Matrix
Figure 2.3: Destination Brand Benefit Pyramid
Figure 3.4: A Framework for Assessing the Quality of Qualitative Research
Figure 4.1: Corporate Identity of Hamburg and Munich
List of Appendices
Appendix 1: Original of Dissertation Proposal
Appendix 2: English Translation of the Most Important Points from the Interviews in Topical Order
Appendix 3: Questionnaire Used in Focus Groups
Appendix 4: Evaluation and Transcript of Focus Group 1
Appendix 5: Evaluation and Transcript of Focus Group 2
illustration not visible in this excerpt
This study aims to explore the branding strategies of the German cities Hamburg and Munich and to assess and compare their recognition and image among the German target market.
The aim of this study was inspired by a traditional rivalry between the cities Hamburg and Munich that still persists in Germany, since the inhabitants of both cities are convinced that their city is more attractive. The author’s ambition was to solve the question which party is right by performing a professional examination of the quality of the two competing city brands and by testing how distinct they actually are. The examination can be found in chapters 3 – 5 of this dissertation.
The topic was of particular interest because both cities had recently aroused the media’s attention: Hamburg due to its recent urban development, including a new icon, the Elbphilharmonie, which was currently under construction when the decision for the research topic was chosen, and Munich due to its new international airport. Therefore, both destinations were considered suitable for a case study.
1.1 Aim and Objectives
The aim and the according objectives of this dissertation are the final product of a learning process of the author. The overall aim has always been the same, but the author noticed during the development process of this dissertation that the order of some objectives needed to be changed and that an additional objective needed to be created in order to comply with the order of research performed. Due to the author’s inexperience as a researcher and with the topic the necessity of this particular order and the additional objective could not be anticipated beforehand. The original approved proposal can be found in appendix 1. The final aim and objectives are presented in the following.
The overall aim of this dissertation is: ‘To examine the development of Hamburg and Munich’s destination branding strategies and whether German consumers can tell the difference between the two.’
In order to create a basis for the assessment of the city brands Hamburg and Munich, the current literature surrounding the topic had to be examined. The resulting first objective is: ‘To undertake a critical review of the literature surrounding destination branding and how destinations attempt to conceive a distinctive image.’
Before the brand recognition and image of the two cities could be assessed, the destination branding strategies of the destination marketing organisations of both cities had to be explored. The according second objective is: ‘To examine the image, branding and positioning strategies of the cities Hamburg and Munich.’ The second objective was the prerequisite for the comparison of the two city brands from the customers’ perspective.
In order to find out which brand had the higher degree of distinction and was recognized best, the following third objective was created: ‘To determine which city is most recognised by consumers based on brand image and visual promotional materials.’
In order to add an additional perspective to the examination, the images of both cities had to be investigated. The resulting fourth objective is: ‘To evaluate consumers’ perceptions and image of the cities Hamburg and Munich.’
The fifth objective, ‘to develop a set of conclusions regarding the quality of Hamburg and Munich’s destination brands and how effectively they are differentiating from one another’, was designed to present final conclusions drawn from the research in order to reach the overall aim of this dissertation.
1.2 Summary of Methodology
In the original dissertation proposal (Appendix 1) different possible research methods were listed that seemed suitable for achieving the objectives and the overall aim of this dissertation. The previously justified adaptation of the objectives also involved an adaptation of the methodology and, as a consequence, some research methods were judged unsuitable and substituted or were slightly modified to suit the new requirements. The final research methodology is abstracted in the following.
In order to reach this study’s overall aim, secondary and primary research was conducted. Since this study was performed in order to analyse the relatively small number of two cases in depth, a phenomenological research paradigm was chosen for the primary research, including purely qualitative research methods. A positivistic paradigm was regarded unsuitable since its quantitative research methods would not have led to the aspired in-depth assessment of the brands Hamburg and Munich.
In order to achieve the first objective, secondary research was performed, including the review of current literature, journal articles, internet sources and other secondary sources surrounding the topic.
In order to achieve the second to fifth objective, primary research was conducted. For the third objective, semi-structured face-to-face interviews were chosen. These provide the structure that was necessary to compare the outcomes from the two cases and, at the same time, are flexible enough to allow for specified questions and in-depth elaboration/probing (Finn et al. 2000).
In order to achieve the third and fourth objective, focus groups were the method of choice. This is due to the fact that they use the group interaction found in a group and provide “access to in-group conversations that could not be sustained using” (Ritchie et al. 2005) other methods. The author’s ambition was to explore the participants’ recognition and perceptions of the city brands Hamburg and Munich and found the method of focus groups particularly useful to do so.
The first chapter of this dissertation has presented the research topic and has given a brief summary of its aim and objectives, the research paradigm and methods of choice and will in the following summarize the contents of the next chapters.
The second chapter contains the literature review and starts by providing definitions of destination branding, brand image and brand positioning. It continues with emphasizing the importance of destination branding for destinations in order to be competitive and ends with the theory of destination image formation, branding and brand positioning.
The third chapter gives a justification of the research topic, presents the research paradigm and the according research methods of choice and discusses bias and limitations and ways of overcoming them.
The fourth chapter includes the presentation and analysis of the findings from the primary research and provides conclusions concerning the quality of the destination brands Hamburg and Munich.
These conclusions, resulting from the analysis of the primary research findings, are summarized in the fifth chapter, leading to a final conclusion regarding the overall aim of this dissertation.
The following second chapter will present the secondary research in form of the literature review.
2.0 Literature Review
This chapter serves to achieve the first objective basing on secondary research that will investigate present literature surrounding destination image and branding. Existing definitions and theories will be discussed, followed by an exploration of the importance of a distinct destination brand. It will then continue with an explanation of the process of destination image formation, branding and brand positioning.
The focus of this literature review lies on the concepts of destination image and destination branding as elements of the destination marketing process. The familiarity of the reader with the basic concepts of marketing is assumed which will consequently not be described in depth. The term destination used in the following refers to the urban tourism destination.
2.1 Definition of Destination Image and Branding
Before laying out the importance of a distinct image for a destination in order to create a strong destination brand, the terms destination image and destination branding have to be defined.
Page (1995:206) defines the main areas of activity in destination marketing as “product development to improve the physical resources of the city” and “the promotion of the city as a place by producing and enhancing peoples’ image of the city as a place to visit.”
Kolb (2006) explains that, regarding destinations, product stands for the totality of factors leading to the final visiting experience and equals place, since the customer can only consume the city by travelling to it. Moreover, the product/place can be consumed by different visitors at various price levels. Therefore, in destination marketing the promotional strategy takes priority over the pricing. Additionally, a destination is combined of tangible (e.g. transport systems, buildings, geographic setting) and intangible elements (e.g. services, events, atmosphere), exacerbating the development of a promotional strategy (Kolb 2006).
Hawker and Cowley (1996) state that image is a representation of something and, with reference to this examination, can be regarded the representation of a destination.
From the consumer’s perspective this definition can be interpreted as “...a set of beliefs, ideas, and impressions that people have of a place or destination” (Crompton 1979a and Kotler et al. 1993 as cited in Baloglu 1999: 871).
Gunn (1972) as cited in Leisen (2001) divides image into organic, induced and complex image. He explains that the organic image arises from non-tourism specific information, such as history books, newspaper reports and other non-tourism-specific sources of information, so that even individuals who have never traveled to a destination will still have some idea of it. The induced image is influenced by the promotional effort of tourism organizations, including brochures, travel articles in magazines and TV ads, and the most differentiated complex image is the result of an actual visitation of a destination (Figure 2.1).
Figure 2.1: Destination Image and Consumer Decision Making illustration not visible in this excerpt
Source: Gunn (1972:120) in Selby (2004:70)
According to Gallarza (2002:70) there is a “multiplicity of factors ... that make up the identity of a destination’s image. ... When the product is a destination, the multiple attributes are the elements of the final composite image.”
Since various destinations have similar attributes, differentiation is crucial for the creation of a distinct destination brand. Several authors (e.g. Hankinson 2004; Metelka 1981) agree that destinations can be branded in the same way as consumer goods, whereas Anholt (1998) argues that destinations should be rather promoted as corporate brands than as product brands (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2005). Metelka (1981) states in this context that, “like product and service brands, destination brands generate sets of expectations or images of a place prior to consumption” (Hankinson 2004).
The following definition of a successful brand by De Chernatoy and McDonald can therefore be applied to destinations:
“...an identifiable product, service, person or place, augmented in such a way that the buyer or user perceives relevant unique added values which match their needs most closely. Furthermore, its success results from being able to sustain these added values in the face of competition” (Morgan and Pritchard 2003:280).
For Kotler and Gertner (2002) “successful brands have social, emotional and identity value to users: they have personalities and enhance the perceived utility, desirability and quality of a [destination]” (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2005:60).
Morgan and Pritchard (2005:61) identify four key ways in which brands have been conceptualized: “as communication devices (e.g. Chernatoy and Riley 1998), perceptual entities (e.g. Louro and Cunha 2001), value enhancers (e.g. Wood 2000) and relationships (e.g. de Chernatoy and Segal-Horn 2001).”
In her thesis ‘Destination Branding in Destination Marketing Organizations’ Blain defines the activity of destination branding as follows:
“The marketing activities that (1) support the creation of a name, symbol, logo, word mark or other graphic that both identifies and differentiates the destination; (2) convey the promise of a memorable travel experience that is uniquely associated with the destination; and (3) serve to consolidate and reinforce the recollection of pleasurable memories of the destination experience; all with the intent purpose of creating an image that influences consumers’ decision to visit the destination in question, as opposed to an alternative (2001:13).”
Blain’s definition denotes already which steps are necessary in order to create a successful destination brand. The process will be described more thoroughly in chapter 2.3 of this literature review. The following chapter will explain the importance of a distinct brand and brand image for a destination in order to be competitive.
2.2 The Importance of a Distinct Destination Image and Brand
The importance of destination branding is broadly discussed in the literature (e.g. Leisen 2001, Gallarza 2002, Hankinson 2004, Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2005 and Kolb 2006).
The main concept underpinning destination branding is that of consumer psychology and decision-making. As discussed by Pike (2005), travellers are nowadays spoilt by choice of available destinations and it is more important than ever for a destination to develop an effective brand and even more importantly: a distinct brand identity. According to Blain (2001), brand identity differentiates the product from others and supports the overall image of the destination. Many destinations are similar in their product offering, so developing a distinct brand identity is essential for [Destination Marketing Organisations, hence forth called:] DMOs.
A related and often discussed topic among experts is the marketing of [unique selling propositions, hence forth called:] USPs in order to be silhouetted against competitors. Customers have a multitude of similar destinations to choose from, so that it is crucial for the particular destination to have at least one USP that creates unique benefits for the consumer, and to use this USP to brand itself in the consumer’s mind. The focus in destination branding should rather lie on the promotion of these unique benefits for the customer than on the destination itself, since they are the fundamentals of the brand’s identity. Most destinations have a similar set of features, such as ‘by the sea’, ‘green’, ‘friendly’. Those features will therefore not be suitable USPs (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2005) and there could be an argument whether real USPs still exist. The destination marketer has to find a unique feature, such as ‘city in the desert that unifies the world’s most famous attractions in one place’ (Las Vegas). If the city does not have a distinct feature, a virtual one has to be created. Branding answers the question why a customer should visit a destination and prefer it to another destination (Kolb 2006).
Leisen (2001:49) highlights the interconnection of emotions and subjective feelings of the consumer towards the destination and the perception of the destination’s image and states that “the traveler’s choice of a ... destination depends largely on the favourableness of his ... image of that destination.”
Morgan, Pritchard and Pride (2005) notice a shift in consumer behaviour from differentiation between destinations by their tangible elements, such as accommodation and attractions, to differentiation by intangibles, such as potential for lifestyle fulfillment and experience the destinations offer.
Urdde (1999) and Sheth et al. (1999) confirm that “when consumers make choices about ... destinations, they are making lifestyle statements since they are buying into an emotional relationship” (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2005).
A consistently communicated destination brand is indispensable since only consistency creates brand awareness and the focus on the core product of the destination avoids confusion and leads to differentiation (Kolb 2006). Kolb states:
“Besides features (e.g. sports, shopping, gardens, lodging, etc.) and benefits (e.g. excitement, relaxation, adventure, education, recreation or culture), the marketing message needs to communicate the values a product embodies. This is particularly true of tourism, where the reason for travel is often an emotional desire rather than a rational need” (2006:217).
Goossens (2000:307) discusses the relation of emotions and the consumer motivation, citing Plutchik (1984) who states that “images are related to emotions and reflect emotional states [or] can intensify emotional states”, and points out that “motivation is intertwined with imagery and emotions.”
Emotions are consequently a key to successful destination branding, as described by Morgan and Pritchard (2003) who think that destinations have greater potential to evoke an emotional attachment than fast moving consumer goods. They add that their omnipresent associations for tourists - if skillfully manipulated - can provide a basis for brand-building.
Hankinson (2004) suggests that visitors’ choices of particular destinations are based on the degree to which they generate favourable images. Therefore, reason has to be given to the consumer to identify with the image of the destination brand in order to turn it into a pull-factor. Accordingly, Hankinson (2004) cites the findings of Sirgy (1982) and Sirgy and Su (2000) that consumers’ attitudes towards a product depend from its congruence with their self-image. These authors support the theory that the higher the congruence between the destination’s visitor image and the potential visitor’s self-concept, the higher the chance of a positive attitude towards the destination.
It has to be understood how consumers process and evaluate images of alternative destinations. According to Fakeye and Crompton (1991) “the image represents the destination in the traveler's mind and gives him/her a pre-taste of that destination; it determines the traveler's consideration of a given area as a vacation destination” (Leisen 2001:51). As soon as a set of alternatives has been selected, the consumer gathers more information on the alternative destinations in his evoked set leading to further modification of the images and finally evaluates them against each other in order to make a decision. As can be seen in figure 2.1, after the decision is made, the image is modified further and could become either better or worse, depending from the tourist’s own experience.
Goossens (2000:302) describes the push- and pull-factors that lead to a final decision for a destination: “tourists are pushed by their (emotional) needs and pulled by the (emotional) benefits of leisure services and destinations. Consequently, emotional and experiential needs are relevant in pleasure-seeking and choice behavior.”
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, where people must first meet one need before moving on to the next, can serve to explain consumer motivations. “The destination with the most favourable image connotes the greatest level of need satisfaction to the traveler. Therefore, the more favourable the image of a destination the greater the likelihood of choice” (Leisen 2001:51). Kolb emphasizes how important the need for self-esteem or even self-actualization is for tourists’ destination choices, since the “choice of destination enhances their sense of self-identity, and, when communicated to other people, the fact that they visited a particular city expresses who they are” (2006:220).
This leads to the theories of destinations as branded lifestyle items and destination brand celebrity. The World Tourism Organization suggests that “the twenty-first century will see an emergence of tourism destinations as fashion accessories” (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2005:4). Morgan, Pritchard and Pride (2005:4) think that “as style symbols, destinations can offer similar consumer benefits as highly branded lifestyle items.” If one thinks of destinations like New York or London which have a very distinct brand image and high emotional appeal the importance of destination brands becomes clear. These cities have high potential to serve as fashion items if their icons and/or brand names are used on clothing, accessories, and other merchandise. They stand for a lifestyle that reflects the self-concept of many tourists and give them reason for identification. Being a visitor to a certain destination can express status and style. Kolb (2006:225) calls this approach “emotional branding”, which means that a brand is built around a certain lifestyle. An emotional brand for an expensive destination might for example “communicate feelings of status and luxury”. If the brand is built around a certain icon, such as the Statue of Liberty in New York, Kolb (2006:225) calls this “iconic branding”.
Clarke (2000), Westwood (2000) and Doorne et al. (2003) point out that destination branded merchandise, photos and other souvenirs from a trip can materialize the experience of a trip and make it tangible
(Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2005). Those objects serve as proof for the trip that has been made.
For a destination brand it is important to be positioned so that it occupies a niche which no other brand occupies. The brand must reflect the unique attributes of the destination and encapsulate its character and atmosphere that are addressed to match the target group’s self-image (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2005).
Kolb (2006:226) mentions that the success in building a strong destination brand depends from its emotional appeal and from its celebrity value. She describes celebrity value as “the status a tourist gains from visiting” a destination. “Destination branding can help to bridge any gaps between a destination’s strengths and potential visitors’ perceptions” (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2005:65) and is therefore one of the most powerful tools in destination marketing. A model describing the brand celebrity value of destinations in combination with their emotional pull potential is the destination celebrity matrix (Figure 2.2).
Figure 2.2: Destination Celebrity Matrix illustration not visible in this excerpt
Is the destination a loser with little meaning, even less status, no conversion value and anticipation for tourists? Or is it even a problem place that is talked about for the wrong reasons, lacks emotional appeal and rather repels tourists? In these two cases a lot of work has to be done to build up or re-establish a strong brand and the whole city might have to undergo a change. Brand winners, like potential stars or celebrities, are rich in emotional meaning, have great conversion value and hold high anticipation for potential tourists (Morgan Pritchard and Pride 2005). The celebrity matrix can be used as a basis for benchmarking with other destinations and is therefore a useful tool to position the destination brand.
This chapter has emphasized the importance of branding and brand image for a destination in order to be capable of competing. The following chapter will clarify the difference between destination image formation, branding and brand positioning. Moreover, it will be exemplified how successful destination brands are built, how marketers can form a favourable brand image and how destination brands can be positioned.
2.3 Destination Image Formation, Branding and Brand Positioning
Cai (2002:722) explains the difference between image formation and branding as follows:
“Image formation is not branding, albeit the former constitutes the core of the latter. Image building is one step closer, but there still remains a critical missing link: the brand identity. To advance destination image studies to the level of branding, this link needs to be established.”
According to Keller (1998), the process of image formation needs to be enriched by some selected brand elements to represent the brand identity. These brand elements have to be consistent in order to reinforce each other and contribute to the strength and uniqueness of the brand identity (Cai 2002). Branding is the process of marketing the brand identity of a destination, making use of symbols, verbals, slogans, logos and other means, in order to create a unique set of brand associations among the target group.
Another concept that is often confused with branding is positioning. Where branding aims at creating unique brand associations for a destination, positioning refers to how the consumer differentiates between destinations. The positioning strategy is important for destination marketers when developing a promotional message since the positioning answers the customers’ question of why the destination is unique. A number of positioning strategies can be used by DMOs (Kolb 2006).
Hankinson (2004:12) gives managerial implications for destination marketing, derived from image research and based on Gunn’s theory of organic, induced and complex images (see Figure 2.1). According to him 18 “destination marketers need to evaluate the role which organic images play in visitor and potential visitor perceptions of destinations” since positioning strategies can hardly be implemented successfully without this information. Furthermore, he thinks that the marketing of many destinations does not begin from a zero base. He distinguishes between a positive organic image which may be the case at destinations with a long political history or cultural heritage, and a negative organic image which may be provoked by a long history of industrial decline. Hankinson states that positive organic images should be maintained and developed by destination marketers, whereas, in the case of a negative organic image, marketing communications are not sufficient to turn the image around. “Changing a negative organic image requires a change in the destination product itself which may require high levels of investment for example in leisure and/or business tourism infrastructure.” Furthermore, to reposition a destination its organic image needs to be enhanced through public relations. Finally, Hankinson found that “image attributes are not independent of each other. History, heritage and culture were strongly related to other attributes.” Accordingly, the very wide range of attributes forming the basis of brand images has to be considered, in order to broadly base the building of brand equity. “Narrowly focused image development that fails to take account of consumer perceptions is less likely to be successful” (Hankinson 2004:12).
The next step for destination marketers is to turn the organic into an induced image through promotional activities. The core product of the destination has to be decided on, which will be the basis for the brand identity and is generally supported by a logo, a slogan, imagery and, depending from the budget, an advertising campaign. After the brand development phase the brand has to be built, involving firstly, the gaining of brand recognition and secondly, the use of the branded image on all published communication (Kolb 2006).
Morgan, Pritchard and Pride (2005) have identified five phases in destination brand building. The first phase includes the establishment of the core values of the destination brand which should be durable, relevant, communicable, and hold saliency for potential tourists. The second phase includes the development of the brand identity, based on the brand benefits (Figure 2.3) and the brand architecture.
Figure 2.3: Destination Brand Benefit Pyramid illustration not visible in this excerpt
Source: Hudson (2005)
The brand architecture is to be understood as “the blueprint that should guide brand building, development and marketing, and is a device that can be used by all destination brand managers” (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2005:71). The brand’s core values should underpin every component of the brand identity, from photography to brand marque, so that they are cohesively communicated. The brand’s vision should be clearly expressed in these core values, which are consistently reinforced through the product and marketing communications, contributing to maintaining brand presence. To be successful in creating an emotional attachment a destination brand has to be:
- conveying powerful ideas
- enthusing for stakeholders and partners
- resonating with the customer
(Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2005).
Phases three to five comprise the brand launch, introduction and the communication of the vision, the brand implementation and monitoring, evaluation and review.
MacKay and Fesenmaier (1997:539) cite Gartner (1993) who proposed a typology of eight brand image formation agents relating to degree of control by promoter (Table 2.3).
Table 2.3: Gartner’s Image Formation Agents illustration not visible in this excerpt
Source: MacKay and Fesenmaier (1997)
The four induced categories “are within greater control of DMOs”. In contrast, the autonomous, unsolicited and solicited organic and organic images are generated from sources beyond the DMOs’ control.
According to Decrop (2007), some authors (Woollacott 1982; Edell and Staelin 1983; Hecker and Stewart 1988) have emphasized the increasing importance of non-verbal communication for the promotion of destinations. When designing advertisements, DMOs should consider that the recall of pictures in consumers’ minds is better than the recall of text (Decrop 2007). Miniard et al. (1991) and Kroeber-Riel (1993) found that destinations are high-involvement products, and therefore, pictures play a significant role in gaining readers’ attention in advertisements (Decrop 2007). Jaeger and MacFie (2001) contribute that pictures have a greater influence on consumers with a high ‘need for cognition’ (NFC) than those with a low NFC. MacKay and Fesenmaier (1997) support this theory by saying that a familiar destination is perceived as more attractive in cultures with high uncertainty avoidance (e.g. Germany (Hofstede 2003)). According to them
“advertising plays a vital role in marketing destinations. ... Since tourism is uniquely visual, photographs are considered paramount to successfully creating and communicating an image of a destination. Through advertising, especially the visual component, image becomes an artificially created differentiation as product attribute beliefs are formed and influenced (Deighton and Schindler 1988; Mitchell 1986)” (1997:540).
A recent development is the increasing importance of the Internet as information medium for consumers and promotion platform for marketers. The influence of online digital information on image formation has become an important issue ...(Govers & Go 2004 as cited in Choi et al. 2006).
“The Internet offers tremendous opportunities for developing strong destination brands that can deliver real benefits to tourists” (Palmer as cited in Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2005:139). “It also offers great potential to influence consumers’ perceived images, including creating virtual experiences of destinations” (Gretzel, Yuan and Fesenmaier 2000 as cited in Choi et al. 2006:120). The intangible elements of the destination can be made perceptible and so be tangibalized. Therefore, a deliberate interactive web presence is essential for the marketing of destination brands. “Staying in touch with previous visitors is a powerful but untapped means of enhancing the destination brand...” (Pike 2005). If it would be used more often, the image of the destination that the visitor has post visitation, might become influenceable to a certain degree, due to the fact that active participation and involvement of the visitors is possible and they are not left alone with suggestions or criticism.
To position the destination brand among competitors, different approaches can be used. According to Kolb (2006), the destination could be positioned as having an exclusive product feature (e.g. historic buildings, unique architecture) or, in case it does not, as having excellent tourism services, including hotels and restaurants of superior quality. Another possibility is to stress the benefits the visitor will receive or the experience that will be provided (e.g. exciting nightlife, relaxing atmosphere). The last method to position a destination is by usage, which is the case when e.g. the sports events hosted by the destination are emphasized. The focus hereby lies on the reasons why a visitor visits the destination.
From this literature review several gaps in knowledge become obvious. The area of applied brand construction needs further investigation in the future since the literature available on the topic is not current enough, e.g. in terms of new technologies that are used by DMOs to develop and promote a destination brand. In this context, a possible area of further research could be the possibility of mass customization and customer relationship marketing of destinations, e.g. through the Internet and other interactive media and if/how these influence destination brands/images.
There are also very few texts providing general destination branding rules since the focus of most researchers so far was on the effects of destination branding and not on the process itself.
Now that the relevant literature concerning the topic of this dissertation has been presented and the first objective is achieved, the following chapter will present the research methodology that has been chosen to achieve the objectives of this dissertation.
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