I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the many people who provided support, direction, and assistance toward the completion of this dissertation. Without their words of encouragement and contributions I would not have finished this dissertation. First and foremost, a very special “thank you” should be extended to my supervisor, Dr. Charles Makanyeza. His support, guidelines, and instruction were invaluable to the completion of my graduate studies at Chinhoyi University of Technology. His nurturing of my academic and professional development is highly valued and gratefully acknowledged. Particularly, I would like to thank the Chinhoyi University of Technology Management for funding my graduate studies. I am humbled and grateful. I also extend my sincere gratitude to the School of Hospitality and Tourism members for making their unlimited tourism and research knowledge available to me. I have gained unequalled inspiration, insights, and knowledge about tourism throughout my discussions with them. I am also grateful to Dr. Vengesayi for his support and encouragement during my graduate studies. His contributions toward the study are acknowledged.
I wish to thank all of the friends and families for their help and support throughout my years of graduate study. I want to express “many thanks” to my family for their unconditional support and for believing in me. Particularly, my mother (Hilaria), my love and my brothers Kudzi and Ngoni deserve my special thanks and gratitude for their love, support, and patience. I love you. Finally, I want to share this happy moment with everyone who has contributed to the success of this project. Your endless support and help is highly appreciated.
This dissertation is dedicated to the memory of my father and grandmothers (Gogo Mandaza and Gogo Kamhiripiri. I miss you all.
It is widely agreed that the recent history of economic crisis in Zimbabwe had negative effects on tourism in the country. Soon after a decade of political and economic instability, Zimbabwe is faced with several challenges to position the destination in an increasingly competitive global marketplace and to create a unique identity to differentiate itself from competitors. Thus destination branding can be a strategic marketing component with considerable importance in promoting the discovery of the country severely impacted by a volatile economic and political environment. This study sought to develop a destination branding framework for tourism development in Zimbabwe based on stakeholders’ perspectives. The underpinning objectives were, to determine the nature of Zimbabwe’s tourism destination brand, to establish the tourism destination branding process in Zimbabwe, to identify the benefits of destination branding for tourism stakeholders in Zimbabwe, to identify the development preferences about destination branding in Zimbabwe and to determine the destination branding support strategies for tourism development in Zimbabwe. A positivist philosophy was adopted for the study with a quantitative approach. The study made use of a cross-sectional survey design with a sample of 417 randomly selected tourism stakeholders. Data were analysed in SPSS with AMOS for structural equation modelling. Major findings indicate that, the nature of a tourism brand, destination branding process and branding benefits have a positive influence on stakeholder preferences about destination branding. Ultimately stakeholder preferences about destination branding have a positive influence on support strategies for destination branding. A framework was proposed basing on these findings. This framework may contribute to creating and integrating a value added destination brand to enhance tourism development in Zimbabwe. More importantly, the research findings may help Destination Management Organisations, tourism planners and policy-makers to understand what tourism stakeholders prefer in developing the country’s brand and to plan and implement sound destination branding strategies.
Brand is any name, term, sign, symbol, or any combination of these elements that is intended to identify a product or service and to differentiate them from the competitors
Branding is defined as a process of distinguishing or differentiating a product or service to give a value for money promise to potential customers.
Brand image refers to attributes or qualities that customers perceive about a product, place or a service.
Destination is a physical place or space where business is done through established management structures to cater for customers.
Destination branding is distinguishing a place through positive image building.
Tourism refers to a social phenomenon where people visit places of interest for leisure, business or visiting friends and relatives. It involves one’s movement away from a usual environment for at least twenty-four hours.
Tourism stakeholders refer to individuals or groups that affect or can be affected by tourism business within a specific area.
The tourism industry is an important business sector in economies of both developing and developed countries (Anholt 2007; Schaar 2013; UNWTO 2015; Girma 2016). Since 1950 the tourism industry has grown significantly to become one of the world’s fastest growing industries (Morgan et al. 2011). The tourism industry plays an important role in business, with revenue generated supporting economies of many developing countries (UNWTO 2015). In 2014, the World Tourism Organisation reported that, despite several challenges, tourism has shown uninterrupted growth. Tourist arrivals have increased from 25 million globally in 1950, to 1, 133 billion in 2014. International tourism receipts earned by destinations worldwide have increased from US$2 billion in 1950 to US$1, 245 trillion in 2014 (UNWTO 2015). Tourism is therefore an important and profitable investment that countries are starting to realise (Kamali and Mousavi 2014; Ashton 2015), hence the continued growth and development of the industry. This growth has resulted in competition between destination countries, to attract potential visitors and investors (Kavaratzis and Ashworth 2010; Oliveira 2015). As such, the competition has resulted in destinations rethinking their tourism promotion strategies to embrace branding.
Branding a destination is arguably one of the effective tools that can assist a destination to compete for visitors and to enhance its destination image (Ndlovu and Heath 2013; Yusof et al. 2014). Using a brand, destinations can differentiate their products and services with other similar destinations (Garcia 2012). As competition increases in the tourism industry, branding is becoming one of the important marketing strategies for product and service provision to tourists (Laskiri and Falkenburg 2009. Destination branding is a fairly recent concept that has been explored since in the 1990’s (Ricardo 2009; Hankinson 2015). More efforts are being put into branding destinations to attract more visitors and investors (Huong et al. 2015). Branding a destination is a complex process that goes beyond simply developing brand slogans and logos (Kavaratzis and Hatch 2013; Yusof et al. 2014). Developing slogans and logos is important but limited and not sufficient in terms of understanding the holistic approach to the destination branding process. This process has successfully been used in policy formulation towards economic development, stakeholder involvement, community participation and political engagement (Ashworth and Page 2011; Oliveira 2014). Planners in destination branding found it important to establish professional networks with stakeholders and communities in developing a strong destination brand (Hankinson 2015).
The role of stakeholders and their involvement in national tourism organisations’ strategic decisions have become an essential topic in tourism research (Marzano and Scott 2006). Authors (Gunn and Var 2002; Hankinson 2004; Prebensen et al. 2013) concur that stakeholder involvement in destination branding is a key success factor for development. When discussing the role of destination stakeholders in the process of branding and tourism development, the influence of the destination brand on stakeholders and vice-versa has to be considered (de Chernatony and Harris 2000). The theory of collaboration and the concepts of power can help to understand these processes in a tourism destination. Collaboration theory (Gray 1989) describes how and why stakeholders react to a problem in a certain context. Power plays an important role in the theory of collaboration (Marzano and Scott 2006) and theories of power play a critical role in explaining how and why stakeholders in a destination develop preferences. In the tourism literature, Lukes’ (1978) definition of power as the bringing about of consequences is often used (Marzano and Scott 2006). It can be assumed that stakeholder power can also strongly influence branding framework processes in tourism destinations (Wagner et al. 2009).
In order for tourists to identify with a destination, there is a need to create a distinct and positive destination brand image (Kumali and Mousavi 2014). As such the aspect of destination branding is an important tool that can be adopted in trying to convert lookers to bookers (Ndlovu and Heath 2013). Destination branding is especially important to destinations whose image would have lost appeal in the potential and targeted source markets (Oliveira and Panyik 2015). For example the Zimbabwean situation that is associated with economic hardships and political instability (Ndlovu et al. 2013). It facilitates the growth and product diversification of the tourism industry (Anholt 2007; Huong et al. 2015). A successful destination brand reflects a country’s unique and distinctive identity that has emotional and functional benefits to its visitors and investors (Shafaei and Mohamed 2015).
Zimbabwe is regarded as one of the leading tourist destinations in Africa, due to the diversity of attractions available in the country (Sanderson et al. 2013; ZIMSTAT 2015). The country has world class resorts in the form of the Victoria Falls, Kariba, Masvingo and Hwange national park among others. Approximately 12% of the country's surface area is set aside for the National Parks and Wildlife Estates (ZIMSTAT 2015). As such, the tourism industry is regarded as an important sector of Zimbabwe’s economy (UNWTO 2015; ZTA 2014; Karambakuwa et al. 2011; Ndoda 2010). It contributes towards the well being of communities within the country through employment creation (181 000 jobs in 2014) and fostering entrepreneurship (WTTC 2015). The economic significance of the sector is evidenced by its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country with statistics showing an 10.4% in 2014 and on average 7% annually (WTTC 2015; ZTA 2014). In terms of tourist arrivals there has been a steady growth over the years that have been affected by political and economic challenges (Sanderson et al. 2013).
Zimbabwe has gone through transformations that have posed challenges on the tourism sector since the land reform programme (Karambakuwa et al. 2011). This has been worsened by the economic meltdown, characterized by high rates of inflation, price controls and exchange rate distortions (Sanderson et al. 2013). These challenges have limited the overall contribution of the sector to the nation, despite various marketing activities by destination management organisations (WTTC 2015). The rising challenges led to limited airline connectivity which is an important segment in aiding international travel (Sanderson et al. 2013; ZTA 2014). As a result tourists began preferring competing destinations. Zimbabwe is viewed as portraying a negative image to the tourism market and has lost the status of being the destination of choice (Mirimi et al. 2014; Ndlovu 2009).
The image of the country is associated with high pricing (Kabote et al. 2013) that has reduced the number of visitors. It is under such conditions that the study on destination branding is relevant to help address the problem. Zimbabwe thus proves to be an ideal destination to carry out the study and redress the potential for tourism development through branding. The conditions associated with the country’s image, political situation and economic instability add value to the necessity of carrying out the study. Destination branding studies have proven useful for countries in crisis (Girma 2016; Oliveira 2015; Kavaratzis 2014). The empirical evidence in studies on branding also makes the study in Zimbabwe worthwhile.
It is widely agreed that the recent history of economic crisis in Zimbabwe had negative effect on tourism in the country (Ndlovu and Heath 2009; Ndlovu et al. 2013). Soon after a decade of political and economic instability, Zimbabwe is faced with several challenges to position the destination in an increasingly competitive global marketplace and to create a unique identity to differentiate itself from competitors (Ndlovu and Heath 2013). This differentiation and positioning task has become more critical than ever to help the visitor include Zimbabwe in his/her selection list and choose from the many recreational choices. Thus destination branding can be a strategic marketing component with considerable importance in promoting the discovery of the country severely impacted by a volatile economic and political environment (Muleya 2013). Zimbabwe has constantly changed its tourism branding strategies without significant benefits hence the need for innovation in developing a tourism branding framework for the country (Ndlovu et al. 2013). Zimbabwe has its own uniqueness that needs a specific branding framework to come up with a widely recognised and acceptable tourism brand (Mutana and Zinyemba 2013). Many studies have been done on destination branding (Ekinci 2003; Chen 2010; Qu et al. 2011; Wheeler et al. 2011; Prebensen et al. 2013; Yusof et al. 2014). However, these studies have not addressed the effectiveness of destination branding to tourism development from stakeholders’ perspectives. Therefore, this study sought to develop a tourism branding framework for tourism development in Zimbabwe using a stakeholder’s perspective.
The main objective of the study is to develop a destination branding framework for tourism development in Zimbabwe. The specific objectives of the study are:
1. To determine the nature of Zimbabwe’s tourism destination brand.
2. To establish the tourism destination branding process in Zimbabwe.
3. To identify the benefits of destination branding for tourism stakeholders in Zimbabwe.
4. To identify the stakeholder development preferences about destination branding in Zimbabwe.
5. To determine the destination branding support strategies for tourism development in Zimbabwe.
The research questions are;
1. What is the nature of Zimbabwe’s tourism destination brand?
2. How is the tourism destination branding process for Zimbabwe done?
3. What are the benefits of destination branding for tourism stakeholders in Zimbabwe?
4. What are the stakeholders’ development preferences about destination branding in Zimbabwe?
5. Which destination branding support strategies are ideal for tourism development in Zimbabwe?
The hypotheses of the study are;
H1: Nature of tourism brand has a direct effect on stakeholder preferences about destination branding.
H2: Destination branding process has a positive effect on preferences about destination branding.
H3: Destination branding benefits have a direct effect on preferences about destination branding.
H4: Tourism stakeholders’ preferences about destination branding have a positive effect on support for the destination branding strategies.
The conceptual framework of the study is as shown in Figure 1.1.
The study adopted a positivist philosophy with a cross sectional research design. This was done to allow for an empirical investigation using a quantitative research approach. A quantitative approach would allow for statistical analyses to be performed. The study made use of secondary data in form of review of related literature. Primary data was collected using a questionnaire distributed to tourism stakeholders. The population of the study consists of tourism stakeholders from the supply side based in Zimbabwe’s main tourist areas. The sample for the study was selected using the simple random sampling technique. A questionnaire with Likert scale based questions was administered as the research instrument. Data analysis was done using SPSS with AMOS for structural equation modeling.
The study was carried out in Zimbabwe focusing on the main tourist areas, namely Victoria Falls, Kariba, Masvingo, Inyanga and Harare. The target population was tourism stakeholders from the supply side. The study was conducted from 2014 to 2016. The field of study is tourism marketing, focusing on destination branding.
The study sought to develop a destination branding framework for tourism development in Zimbabwe. Tourism contributes to socio-economic development of countries through employment creation and community empowerment. The findings of the study could aid in the planning and development of destination branding strategies. As such it is hoped that tourism stakeholders may benefit from the study since it seeks to encourage tourism development. Communities and policy makers may also benefit from the envisaged growth of the tourism sector. The country may benefit in terms of policy development informed by the study findings towards destination branding. Tourism stakeholders may benefit in terms of strategy formulation in marketing their products.
Researchers and academics may benefit through the body of knowledge generated from the study. It is hoped that the study may contribute to a theoretical enhancement of the current level of knowledge in the existing literature on tourism destination branding. The empirical framework from the study may be useful for future research on branding and marketing.
The structure of the dissertation report is illustrated in Figure 1.2
Chapter One is an introductory chapter. It presents the background to the study, research problem and objectives of the study. The chapter also highlights the hypotheses underpinning the study. This is followed by the scope of the study and the significance of the study.
Chapter Two presents a review of the literature related to destination branding. The literature is based on the research objectives. Destination branding literature is presented to inform the study framework.
Chapter Three presents the research methodology followed by the study from the research philosophy up to data analysis. The chapter details the research methodology used in the study to empirically test the research hypotheses. The chapter looks at a discussion of the research philosophy and research design. The chapter also focuses on the research instrument, research population, sampling, and data collection method. A discussion on how the instrument was developed and operationalised in this study is presented. The other section explains how the measurement scale and the survey instrument were refined through the pilot test procedures, which include a discussion of the data collection, presentation and analysis. Finally, the issues on data reliability and validity are presented.
Chapter Four presents data analysis and presentation procedures, detailing the outcome of the research. The chapter presents the results of the study. First of all, the response rate analysis is presented, and then demographic characteristics of the respondents that made up the sample are described. Next, the results for Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) and descriptive statistics for the five constructs are reported. The reliability and validity of the measurement scales are examined and reported. Lastly, the results of hypothesis tests conducted in AMOS using structural equation modeling are presented and interpreted.
Chapter Five presents discussion of results. The discussion relates to findings from related studies in literature. The discussion is based on the research objectives namely, to determine the nature of Zimbabwe’s tourism destination brand, to establish the tourism destination branding process in Zimbabwe, to identify the benefits of destination branding for tourism stakeholders in Zimbabwe, to identify the development preferences about destination branding in Zimbabwe, to determine the destination branding support strategies for tourism development in Zimbabwe and to develop an integrative framework on destination branding for Zimbabwe.
Chapter Six presents conclusions and recommendations of the study, highlighting areas for further research. The chapter presents conclusions and recommendations to the study basing on the objectives. The chapter will also present limitations of the study and recommendations for future research. The objectives of the study were, to determine the nature of Zimbabwe’s tourism destination brand, to establish the tourism destination branding process in Zimbabwe, to identify the benefits of destination branding for tourism stakeholders in Zimbabwe, to identify the development preferences about destination branding in Zimbabwe, to determine the destination branding support strategies for tourism development in Zimbabwe and to develop an integrative framework on destination branding for Zimbabwe.
This chapter presents the introduction to the study, highlighting the background to the study. Thereafter a statement of the problem is presented, followed by the objectives of the study and the related questions and hypotheses. This is followed by the significance of the study and scope of the research. A research structure is presented detailing the research process. Finally, a brief overview of the methodology is presented. The next chapter is going to look at the literature review.
The previous chapter focused on the introduction to the study. This chapter presents the review of related literature. The literature review is based on the study objectives and related branding models. The chapter consists of several sections that elaborate and operationalise the centric concept of destination branding in coming up with a destination branding framework for Zimbabwe.
The tourism industry has steadily developed since the end of the Second World War (Anholt 2007; Schaar 2013; Hankinson 2015). The tourism industry has grown significantly to become one of the world’s fastest growing industries (Morgan et al. 2011). This growth plays an important role in business, with revenue generated supporting economies of many countries (Hankinson 2015). In 2014, the World Tourism Organisation reported that, despite several challenges, tourism has shown uninterrupted growth. Tourist arrivals increased from 25 million globally in 1950, to 1, 133 billion in 2014. International tourism receipts have increased from US$2 billion in 1950 to US$1, 245 trillion in 2014 (UNWTO 2015). As such tourism development has become an important and profitable investment that countries are starting to realise (Kamali and Mousavi 2014; Ashton 2015), hence the continued growth and development of the industry.
This growth has resulted in competition between destination countries, to attract potential visitors and investors (Kavaratzis and Ashworth 2010; Oliveira 2014). Countries have therefore considered tourism as a strategic sector to champion economic development (Anholt 2007). More efforts are being put into practice to attract more visitors and investors (Huong et al. 2015). This has resulted in policy formulation towards economic development, stakeholder involvement, community participation and political engagement at a global level up to independent nations (Ashworth and Page 2011; Oliveira 2014). Zimbabwean situation of economic hardships has negatively affected tourism development since the country’s independence in 1980, unlike the global trends of growth (Ndlovu et al. 2013).
Zimbabwe's independence brought an end to the war of liberation and the insecurity that was associated with it (Mamimine 2006; Ndlovu and Heath 2009). As a result, the number of tourists who visited Zimbabwe skyrocketed to 237,756 by the end of 1985. However, this increase in the number of tourists was cut short by the civil war in Matabeleland area due to the insecurity that prevailed in that area. Mamimine (2006) notes that the first step in strategic management is the formulation of a strategic plan that spells out what and how objectives are to be achieved. However, to date, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has not come up with a master plan despite plans to have one. This has been one of the obstacles to the full exploitation of the tourism potential in Zimbabwe. He further pointed out that although the mandate of the ZTA includes promoting Zimbabwe as a destination for tourists and to promote the tourism industry locally, in the region and overseas; this function has not been implemented due to the fact that the ZTA is seriously under-funded.
Mamimine (2006) views the Tourism Recovery Plan (TRP) as a tourism development strategy. Government set up the Tourism Recovery Task Force under the National Economic Consultative Forum on 18 July 2000 and this Force came up with the Tourism Recovery Plan. The Tourism Recovery Task Force was intended to restore confidence in Zimbabwe as a safe destination and to motivate increased direct long haul and regional flights to Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, more than a year after its formation, the Task Force never succeeded in spearheading the revival of the tourism sector. Mamimine (2006) pointed out that the major reason why most efforts to resuscitate the tourism sector have failed is that the strategies adopted have been implemented in isolation from other economic and political fundamentals. What is therefore required is an integrative approach to problem- solving regarding the tourism industry in particular and the economy in general (Ndlovu and Heath 2009).
Tourism plays a significant role in the economy of many countries and is regarded as a major contributor towards poverty alleviation and enhancement of standards of living (Perter 2005). In Zimbabwe tourism plays a major role in various aspects, as discussed below;
A well-developed tourism industry is often labour intensive thus it generates employment opportunities (Girma 2016). Perter (2005, 4) notes that, ‘tourism employments is provided not only directly in hotels, restaurants and other tourism enterprises but also in the supply sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, crafts and manufacturing. In 2014, the total contribution of travel and tourism to employment in Zimbabwe, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry, was 7.3% of total employment (426,000 jobs). This is expected to fall by 0.1% in 2015 to 426,000 jobs and rise by 0.2% per annum to 437,000 jobs in 2025 (WTTC 2015). Tourism development can stimulate the establishment of many local tourism enterprises. These also provide opportunities for local investment and develop a sense of entrepreneurship that may not have existed previously in the area. Tourism leads employees to learn new skills and technologies, such as use of computer and information technological experiences, which will enhance human resource of the local community. Some of these skills and technologies are transferable to other economic activities (Shantha 2003).
The employment created by a developed tourism industry usually generates more revenue for local authorities. This may enhance human resource of the local community where tourism players are based as well as the central government. Shantha (2003), note that, a well-recognised phenomenon in tourism is the tourism income multiplier (TIM), whereby tourist’s expenditure in areas is re-spent by recipients so augmenting the total. The factor by which tourist expenditure is increased in the process is the multiplier (ZTA 2008). In addition, tourism can greatly influence a country’s balance of payments through money spent by tourists’ overseas. Hence, any money spent overseas is an import to the generating country and an export to the receiving country.
Employment created by tourism enterprises usually results in the improvement of local living standards. This can be more appealing when the tourism commercial enterprises are locally owned and managed. The profit they realise is usually reinvested in that area. Perter (2005, 4) notes that, local tax revenue collected from tourism enterprises can be used to improve the community’s facilities and services and also infrastructure such as roads, schools, medical clinics and also other recreational facilities which can further improve local communities and the tourism as well.
The overall environmental quality of an area maybe improved as a result of tourism because tourists prefer to visit clean, non-polluted and attractive places. Scott (2010) notes that, environmentally friendly programmes of tourism also act as a catalyst for the redevelopment of the environmental quality of the destination. In addition, tourism can provide the rationale and help pay for conservation of local nature areas, archaeological sites, arts, crafts and certain cultural traditions because these features are attractive for tourists. However, critics have often cited some negative consequences that can be brought about by tourism such as the destruction of both the environment and the traditions of local people.
It is an important concept between businesses especially within the larger tourism organisations. Pedersen (2002) defines integration, as formal linkages between organisations which can occur both across the chain of distribution (horizontal) and down the chain of distribution (vertical). Bramwell and Lane (2000) describe vertical integration as the business phenomenon whereby firms seek to control various stages of production, delivery and marketing of their products as something of an established practice within the production of mass tourism. It leads to cost savings, price reductions, increased control and quality improvements.
Branding is regarded a competent tool for making a product or service distinct and noticeable to customers within a competitive environment of similar product or service offering (Crawford- Welch 1998; Hankinson 2015; Oliveira 2015; Girma 2016). The process of branding a service or a product is complex and involves creation of a distinct slogan, symbol or logo to create a differentiated product that has a promise of value (Kolb 2006; Morgan et al. 2011; Pike and Page 2014). In addition, branding goes beyond just creating a positive image for consumers, but allowing the consumers to have a role in creating the brand through their perceptions (Girma 2016). Hence the objective of branding seeks to make customers perceive their desired product or service based on its strength, promise of value and benefits associated with it (Shafaei and Mohamed 2015). Ultimately the important aspect in branding is that consumers have to perceive positively the product or service within a similar competing category (Keller 2007; Hankinson 2010; Hankinson 2015).
Branding in another view, is a competitive tool for differentiating products and services from others (Morgan et al. 2003; Pike 2004; Anholt 2010; Usakli and Baloglu 2011). The oftenly used definition for a brand is the one by the American Marketing Association (2011) that views a brand as a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Another definition is expressed by Kotler and Armstrong (2005) who define a brand as any name, term, sign, symbol, or any combination of these elements that is intended to identify a product or service and to differentiate them from the competitors. Furthermore Keller (2003) elaborates on the tangible and intangible features of a brand by stating that a brand is a product that adds both rational and tangible dimensions; and symbolic, emotional and intangible dimensions that differentiate it from products designed to fulfil the same need. It is important to note that, a brand is not a logo, a slogan, a product or a marketing campaign it is the combination of all these elements and it is the fundamental building block from which all marketing communications and behaviour should flow (UNWTO 2015). A brand is the source of a promise to the customer (Pike 2004).
Services are unique and cannot easily be copied by competitors nor can they be patented. This makes services firm-specific, and depends on the culture of the firm and attitude of employees involved in delivering this service to the customer. De Chernatony and Harris (2000), define a service as an activity which has some element of intangibility associated with it. It involves some interaction with consumers or property in their possession, and does not result in a transfer of ownership. Vargo and Lusch (2004, 2) define services as ‘the application of specialised competencies (knowledge and skills) through deeds, processes and performances for the benefit of another entity or the entity itself’. These definitions cover the important aspects of intangibility, customer interaction and specialized competencies while describing services. Berry (2000) describes service brands in particular as being difficult for a customer to choose from since they lack the tangibility that product brands enjoy. He examines the role of branding in services and notes that a strong brand tends to increase consumers’ trust of the invisible purchase. Service brands are not only communicated through advertising and marketing, but more importantly from the interaction that takes place between the employees and customers. The emotional bond customers have with service brands is created from the relationships customers build with employees (Vallaster and de Chernatony 2005). De Chernatony and Segal-Horn (2003) highlight that, the service encounter or the ‘moment of truth’ is the defining issue in service management. The interaction between the customer and firm is the ‘moment of truth’.
A common issue found in the literature raises the question on how to adjust branding theories and models to comply with specific service characteristics such as intangibility, heterogeneity and inseparability (O'Loughlin and Szmigin 2007) since the literature on service branding contains a number of service branding models and principles (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2004) Most of the studies (Eusebio and Viera 2013; Boo et al. 2009; Litteljohn 2006) are based on the perspective of managers and branding practitioners rather than the employees themselves. This is an important issue, since in services the brand acts as a relationship link between consumers and the service organisation (Devlin and Azhar 2004). De Chernatony and Segal-Horn (2003) also argue that the service component of a brand could be its most sustainable differential advantage.
A good service brand starts with the culture of the organisation. De Chernatony and Segal-Horn (2003) believe in the notion that a service brand is more likely to succeed when the organisation is internally and externally aligned with the values of the brand. Literature shows that internal stakeholders (employees) are important in the service sector, it is necessary to support them by supplying advanced systems in order to better communicate with customers. In this regards, de Chernatony and Segal-Horn (2003) encourage firms to upgrade systems and procedures which enhance employee effectiveness since consumers experience the service brand through their interactions with front-line employees, who represent what the brand stands for.
It is then important for an organisation to establish brand consistency by aligning the employee behaviour to the brand values because employees are crucial stakeholders when it comes to influencing customer brand perceptions (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2004). Brand values are mentioned throughout the service branding literature (Eusebio and Viera 2013; Boo et al. 2009). The literature emphasise the importance of aligning corporate values with the brand. As mentioned earlier the success of a service brand begins with good management. It is the responsibility of marketing managers to create a clear and consistent brand image and then communicate that image to the customers. It is also the organisations responsibility to make sure the brand image is understood by their employees, particularly front-line employees who have direct contact with customers. McDonald et al. (2000) propose that marketing managers should also focus on emotional attributes in order to gain consumer trust and loyalty. Corporate culture cannot be overemphasised as it also acts as a means of differentiating the service brand from competitors since it is difficult for companies to copy other specific company cultures (Hankinson 2015; Eusebio and Viera 2013)
This section focuses on a review of the concept of destination branding, starting with the definition of a destination then destination branding.
A destination can be defined in numerous ways. For a tourism destination, the guiding principles given by the UNWTO (2007) give an insight on a destination as a physical space or place where tourists or visitors spend time for business or leisure. The place has to be endowed with the requisite tourism products, support services and management systems for tourism activities to be carried out (UNWTO, 2007; Hankinson 2015). The place is defined in terms of physical geographical boundaries and management systems to allow it to compete with other places for consumers (Morgan et al. 2011; Girma 2016) In addition to this, destinations also have various stakeholders and they could be of any scale, such as, country, region, city or self-contained centre (UNWTO 2007).
Vengesayi (2003) looks at a destination as a mix of attractiveness and competitiveness where attractiveness is viewed as the ability of the destination to deliver benefits, it represents the pull factor for the potential visitors and competitiveness is associated with the ability to deliver better experience than other destinations. Therefore it can be noted that a destination is not only characterized by its physical feature of a place where tourism takes place (Shaw and Williams, 2004), but it is also a blend of products, facilities and services that together comprise the travel experience. Franzen and Bouwman (2001) also support this view by claiming that physical space and attractions are just elements of the destination that tourists interpret in their minds. The UNWTO (2007) highlights factors that are believed to have influence on the way a destination appeal to visitors and the experiences it offers to the tourists:
Attractions – often the main purpose for visiting the destination. They can be natural, man-made or cultural attractions.
Public and private amenities – services and facilities that that support the visitors` stay; include public transport, accommodation, visitor information, recreation facilities and guides
Accessibility – refers to easiness to reach the destination by road, air transport, rail or ship.
Human Resources – includes the local communities as they are part of the experience by delivering quality service.
Image and Character – vital factor for intention to visit the destination; includes uniqueness, sights, safety, service levels, and the friendliness of people
Price – important aspect in competing with other destinations
The concept of destination branding has become popular in tourism marketing (Hankinson 2015, Girma 2016). Definitions for destination branding have an influence from the broad field of marketing (Boo et al. 2009; Morgan et al. 2011). This mainly derives from the observation that destination branding constitute of an aggregate of tangible and intangible aspects. As such tourists or visitors view destinations as ‘products’ and evaluate them on their distinctiveness (Boo et al. 2009). Distinctiveness of a destination is underpinned by numerous elements, ranging from experiential elements to symbolic elements that differentiate a destination into a unique brand (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2004). The issue of product or service differentiation in defining a destination brand traces back to the early 1990’s, with Aaker (1991) defining a brand in the context of distinguishing names that express the value of a product or service. These names aim at identifying with benefits compared to competitors offerings (Pike 2009).
In light of all these definitions associated with destination branding, it seems there is no clear cut definition that is commonly shared by scholars and practitioners alike to define destination branding in a holistic manner (Pike 2009). It is observed that in case of tourism destinations, DMO’s have a general appreciation of the concept although they do not implement it holistically, rather choosing selected components that suit a particular destination (Blain et al. 2005). These selected components derive from perceived value by the destination’s stakeholders in line with areas of differentiation (Blain et al. 2005; Hankinson 2015). Some classical definitions used to associate with destination branding can be used from earlier researchers so as to get an informed and deeper comprehension of the concept (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2004; Morgan et al. 2011).
The earlier definitions are in line with Ritchie and Ritchie (1998) who considered a name or graphic design to be a key determinant in differentiating a product or place by creating a promise of value. This definition relates to Aaker (1991) whose main emphasis is on visual impressions to create uniqueness that consumers can identify within a product or service. The complexity of defining destination branding is generated from the idea of trying to incorporate many components ranging from promise to visitors to creating unique association for a destination (Qu et al. 2011).
Recent authors have tried to give a comprehensive definition for destination branding but still with no commonly agreed dimension. Qu et al. (2011), emphasised destination branding in line with differentiation to create a competitive advantage, however omitting the importance of graphics and visuals that were emphasised earlier. A definition that is regarded to be all encompassing derives from collective aspects in literature, theory and practice (Pike 2009). The definition defines destination branding in line with numerous aspects such as marketing activities visuals, memorable travel experience and unique associations perceived by potential consumers to create a positive image for a destination (Blain et al. 2005). Therefore destination branding can be holistically seen as a set of behaviours or activities done to build a positive image and identity (Morgan et al. 2011). The activities end up creating a distinction among competitors in the same field or with the same product or service offering (Pike 2014).
Tourism destinations embrace marketing and branding practices traditionally utilised by business firms (Chekalina 2015). Destination management organisations (DMOs) therefore invest substantial amounts into the design of logos, brand identity, the development of slogans, brand image, the publication of promotional material, the creation of unique web portals, the hosting of events and adoption of various marketing and branding efforts (Hankinson 2015). This generates the nature of a brand that is strong in a destination. This is done to differentiate a destination within an increasingly competitive and globalized tourism market (Blain et al. 2005). It however comes with numerous challenges (Eshuis et al. 2013). The aspects that form the nature of a destination brand are discussed below.
Brand identity defines important aspects of the nature of a tourism brand. The idea behind brand identity is in line with promise of value to the consumer as well as generating benefits that identify with consumers perceptions about a brand (Aaker 1996; Pike 2009; Hankinson 2015; Girma 2016). Thus brand identity encompasses a brand’s uniqueness that should be maintained to convince consumers (Mishra 2010). De Chernatony and Segal-Horn (2003), in adding to this view suggests passing from brand management to identity management by placing special importance on the internal aspect of brand building. The author argues that more emphasis needs to be placed on brand identity. Identity, as he mentions, ‘is about ethos, aims and values that present a sense of individuality differentiating the brand.’ De Chernatony (1999) conceptualizes the brand’s identity in terms of vision and culture, which drive positioning, personality, and any other subsequent relationships. In this sense, brand managers’ vision and culture affect the brand building process. More attention should be placed on internal aspects of branding, such as the role staff plays in shaping a brand’s values. For a brand identity to be effective there is need to make it appeal to customers and also stand unique and distinct from competitors, showcasing the core values of the organisation or brand (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000). Proper planning for a brand will result in a favourable brand image that can be supported by interested stakeholders (Knapp 2000). A brand identity has to be well crafted, outlining its main associations for it to be successful and effective (Aaker 1996).
Brand image is one of the most popular subjects in the destination branding literature. It relates to consumer perceptions about a brand (Kolb 2006; Gibson, Qi,and Zhang 2008). Since this study is focusing on destination branding, it is thus ideal to mainly focus on country image. Country image or destination image are commonly used terms in destination marketing. The concept of country image dates back to the 1960s, when it became a topical issue among researchers. The main focus was on how the country of origin influence perceived product quality and the intention to purchase (Kuric 2016). With reference to tourism destinations as products that can be sold, there is need for more research (Zhang et al. 2015). Country’s image has a great influence on the tourism industry’s perceived image (Giraldi, Ikeda and Campomar 2011).
There is confusion among researchers and practitioners on differentiating country image from destination image (Kuric 2016). However there is a thin line between the two. When it comes to tourists perceptions on a destination, it follows that it is based on the holistic destination (Zhang et al. 2015). A destination image can be perceived in two dimensions, that is, before visiting the destination and after visiting the destination. Various factors influence these perceptions among visitors, with nine dimensions having been proposed, namely, natural resources, general infrastructure, tourist infrastructure, tourist leisure and recreation, culture history and art, political and economic factors, social environment and atmosphere of the place (Beerli and Martin 2004). It is however generally considered difficult to have a concrete destination image before visiting a destination, although word of mouth may influence motivation to travel to a destination (Lopes 2011, Kuric 2016).
A positive brand image is thus critical to create a recognisable destination brand (Girma 2016) Consumers perceive positive brand image when there is a promise of value and suggestion of benefits from associating with a specific brand (Qu et al. 2011). Therefore, it is suggested that destination stakeholders, especially marketers, should focus on promoting a brand through emphasis on benefits and promise of value for the consumer (Eusebio and Viera 2013). These are derived from consumer experiences and perceptions (Hankinson 2015).
Brand associations basically look at visitors’ memory towards a specific brand (Till et al. 2011). Associations have been classified into three different categories (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2004; Hankinson 2005; Qu et al. 2011). The categories are attributes (descriptive and tangible features), benefits (value associated with the brand) and attitudes (evaluation of the brand). In determining these associations a destination’s uniqueness is important in giving visitors motivation to go to a destination at the expense of other destinations (Qu et al. 2011). Unique associations mean that a destination has a cutting edge competitive advantages that illuminate its distinctiveness (Girma 2016).
Since brand associations are deemed important in destination branding, there is need for DMO’s to manage associations strategically to maintain a good brand (Eusebio and Viera 2013). Based on the importance for stakeholders to be pro active in determining and monitoring brand associations, maps were designed. Brand association maps are basically a visual representation for destination branding were a brand is presented as the centre of numerous associations (Hankinson 2015). Till et al. (2011) point out important aspects that a destination brand should be associated with, that is, strength, favourability, uniqueness and relevance, among others. This becomes important when developing a destination branding strategy (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2004). This can be measured by evaluating the image of the destination, whereby a successful branding strategy will exhibit a positive image on the market. Determining the best brand associations is imperative and the best way of identifying the associations that really represent the destination is research on consumers after experiencing the destination. These perceptions can then be placed on the brand association maps, for consideration by DMO’s in the destination branding process (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2004).
When focusing on the destination branding process, it is important to look at the success factors about destination branding, then evaluate important stakeholders to be included in the process of destination branding (Oliveira 2015; Kislali et al. 2014; Oliveira 2014; Hankinson 2010). For community participation within the process of destination branding, the model on community-based destination branding and other destination branding models are presented under the destination branding frameworks section in this chapter.
The first and important phase in the destination branding process is to identify core values of a destination and drive them with a common vision that incorporates tourists’ perceptions (Heath 2007). This is informed by the stakeholder consultation principle so as to avoid developing a brand that is detached from reality; hence all stakeholders should influence and be influenced by the brand (Wilson et al. 2009). Thus the branding process aims to harness facts so as to produce a fit for the market brand associated with value, benefits and strength (Oliveira 2015). Heath (2007) proposed five stages in the brand-building process.
Source: Heath 2007
2.9.1 Market analysis
This deals with the perceptions of consumers on a particular destination (Girma 2016). The process evaluates marketing activities and cross references them with views from stakeholders who have a direct contact with tourists. This is done so as to make sure that the brand would satisfy consumer needs (Anholt 2010). DMO’s have to understand the uniqueness of their destination and match them with varied consumer tastes so as to generate interest towards their respective brands. Destination choice for the tourism sector is mainly influenced by intangible aspects related to leisure and relaxation; therefore destinations have to incorporate the specifics when selling a brand to the intended market (Caldwell and Freire 2004).
2.9.2 Brand identity
The second stage in the destination branding process looks at an extensive analysis of a destination’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). A comprehension of these can make the brand strong when developed. This stage incorporates all the aspects of a brand regardless of how small they are so as to allow the destination to explore its distinctiveness among competitors (Van Auken 2002; Nandan 2005). The brand identity stage ultimately allows for a destination to develop the best attributes that are effective to attract the targeted consumers and position the destination rightfully (Kendall and Gursoy 2007).
2.9.3 Brand launch
After proper core values have been identified and the best fitting attributes about a destination incorporated, there is need to communicate the brand to the targeted consumers. This stage is important in setting the tone for the brand. Relevant communication channels need to be used so as to enhance the appeal of the brand (Niininen et al. 2007). It is the name of the brand and its associations that makes the consumers understand the vision for the brand, and successful launch will help position a destination well in the market (Pappu et al. 2005).
2.9.4 Brand implementation
Brand implementation is important in designing communication material, establishing marketing communication systems in line with contemporary trends, that is, marketing and promotional strategies (Girma 2016). The brand implementation may incorporate customer relationship management and public relations to manage negative publicity and enhance customer loyalty (Mirimi et al. 2014). This is the stage were stakeholder involvement and participation should not be undermined since they have a great role to play in terms of partnerships and relationship management (Jones 2005; Van Gelder 2005).
This is the last stage in the destination branding process cycle. The main aspects are monitoring, evaluation and review of the brand. These are done by comparing with other destinations, identifying key success factors and also areas of weakness that need to be addressed. The main aim is to keep pace with the dynamic world trends and as such there is need for establishment of pro active system to monitor and evaluate a destination brand (Hankinson 2001; Hankinson 2015). Proper management of this stage will help generate the requisite visitor traffic and subsequently contribute to economic development through tourism receipts (Gnoth 2007; Girma 2016). Ultimately the destination would have a distinct and unique brand (Hankinson 2015).
The brand identification and differentiation is encompassed in the first stage of the destination branding process (Heath 2007; Qu et al. 2011). This is associated with the development of the brand name and its associations so as to appeal to intended consumers (Blain et al. 2005). Therefore, this section looks at three components that are used in differentiating a brand, namely, destination brand name, logos and slogans.
The importance of a brand name cannot be overestimated in the destination branding process since it gives the first impressions about the brand (Cai 2002). Destination names are difficult to promote unlike product names since many connotations are attached to them. Destination brand names are tailor made to allude to the uniqueness and distinctive qualities of a destination so as to create a competitive advantage (Prebensen 2006; Klink and Athaide 2010).
Destinations brand names evolve through historical and economic factors that drive a destination (Hankinson 2015). The names may link to geographical location of a destination (Prebensen 2006). Unlike products, destination names may take a while to change depending on how appealing they are to the target markets. History that can be lined to destinations maybe in terms of cultural and religious values and as such take time to change (Balakrishnan 2009). Therefore, it is imperative to settle for a brand name that is timeless and strong enough to overcome negative publicity. A brand name acts as a first line ambassador in terms of associations given to a particular destination and has to influence perceptions of visitors positively (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2004). Effective brand names should be able to showcase what a destination offers and the vale promise given by that destination (Morgan et al. 2011).
Klink and Athaide (2010) also support the idea that even external investment stakeholders consider the name and its association in determining investment priorities. Brand names induce associations and attributes about a destination, thus prompting motivation or otherwise on the part of the potential investor or consumer (Hankinson 2015). This therefore entails a rigorous analysis of brand names so as to appeal in very short and simple ways to the consumers and investors alike. Such analysis has to ensure that a brand name promises reliability, value and strength (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2004).
Blain et al. (2005) highlight that the destination brand name cannot be divorced from the symbols it is associated with. These refer to the components that a brand is associated with, for example, logo, trademark and design (Aaker 1991). This will showcase the associations with a destination since most of the products would be intangible. Logos help create lasting images as well as allow for easy identification of a brand and its associations (Blain et al. 2005). In the tourism industry, logos are used by destinations to communicate brand identity and brand associations in a bid to influence perceived experience. The logo for a tourism destination has to be all encompassing to communicate the diversity of the destination (Blain et al. 2005). A destination logo is a sign of uniqueness that also exhibit reality about a destination, hence the need to develop powerful logos for differentiation.
Slogans are essential in aiding the effectiveness of brand names and logos as they have an effective way of sending the intended message conveniently to target markets. A slogan buttresses the short communication by the brand name so as to clarify important aspects to external stakeholders (Hankinson 2015). In the case of destinations that have fixed names, use of slogans will be effective for communicating the brand in an ever changing environment, since they clearly highlight the associations and attributes of a destination. According to Pike (2005), a slogan is important in bridging the gap between a destination’s brand identity and the destination’s brand image perceived in the market, thus justifying what a destination is all about (Wagner and Peters 2009). Pike (2005) suggest that slogans should target communicating a destination’s brand associations for them to be effective.
According to Hanna and Rowley (2011, 468) “Brand architecture is the component that focuses on the process of designing and managing brand portfolios”. Aaker and Joachimsthaler (2000, 102) complement with the definition; Brand architecture is an organizing structure of the brand portfolio that specifies the brand roles and the relationships among brands and different product-market brand context.
The intensifying competition, growing markets and the constant need for differentiation forces companies to take control of their different brands in their portfolios and learn how to manage them and their identities correctly (Laforet and Saunders 1999). The brand architecture is constantly showing the company’s structure (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000) and has a strong influence on the company’s function (Kapferer 2012). An addition of brands can strengthen a portfolio, but bears a risk of creating confusion among the customers. Each brand requires brand-building resources and an overload of brand extensions can ruin the portfolio and in the end the organisation (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000).
In the context of tourism and destination branding, the design of the brand architecture is one of the most important factors to pay attention to (Hankinson 2010; Hanna and Rowley 2011) especially when branding regions (Hankinson 2009; Hanna and Rowley 2011). Places are composed of sub-brands linked to or owned by communities and cities in the area to be branded. The brands can be owned by local authorities, tourists, organizations, public and private businesses and entities (Girma 2016). This makes brand architecture in destination branding a mediator and negotiator for internal conflicts within the brand portfolio (Hanna and Rowley 2011). Conflicts can easily occur between the region and the cities and towns as all concerned are competing (Hankinson 2009) for its own interest and protection of its own brand, growth and profit (Kapferer 2012). Aaker and Joachimsthaler (2000) propose an over bridging brand as an umbrella branding as key and the umbrella brand becomes the primary indicator of the offering. Kapferer (2012) identifies two modes of strategies. The first strategy is on a single brand level where the advantage is to offer one brand representing a highly diversified range of products. The second strategy is based on a master brand and everything created should be reflected and follow the characteristics of the parent brand (Kapferer 2012).
Research shows that there is one factor that needs to be considered when evaluating which strategy is most suitable for an organisation (Hanna and Rowley 2011). Hanna and Rowley (2011) propose companies to evaluate their sets of brands, their effect on the target group and the roles they fill in the portfolio before taking a decision. Kapferer (2012) suggests a broader and deeper approach when evaluating the choice of strategy. The strategy needs to align with a number of factors to ensure that it does not change or disturb the growth and future evolution. The corporate strategy, the business model, cultural parameters, the rhythm of innovation, the addition of value, the resources of the firm, and vision of the brands are parameters Kapferer (2012) suggest to be taken into account when choosing the most suitable branding strategy.
Aaker and Joachimsthaler (2000) present an additional approach to handle brand architecture, the brand relationship spectrum. The spectrum consists of four categories; house-of-brands, Endorsed Brands, Branded House and Sub-Brands. House-of-brands, a strategy which involves an independent set of brands where each brand contributes to the market impact (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000). The strategy of Branded house (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000; Kapferer 2012) or House brands as Laforet and Saunders (1999) names it, consists of one master brand that overarches and shows all the activities and offerings the company performs (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000). House of brands often uses the corporate name to all its products (Hanna and Rowley 2011; Kapferer 2012). Endorsed brands are the third architectural strategy, where one brand is created with the attempt to provide credibility to the brand portfolio and offering (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000). The last of the four strategies proposed by Aaker and Joachimsthaler (2000) is sub brands. Sub brands are brands that are independent from the parent brand but have a stronger link to the parent brand than the endorsed brand; this gives the sub brand less freedom to create its own distinct brand image than the endorsed brand (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000). The sub brand sometimes bears the name of the parent brand to some extent with the possibility of bringing former associations to the sub brand from the parent brand, both positive and negative (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000; Hanna and Rowley 2011).
Literature shows a number of critical factors, important for managers to handle effectively in order to succeed with their destination branding efforts (Balakrishnan 2009; Pike 2009; Dinnie 2008; Kavaratzis and Ashworth 2008). There are mainly six factors appearing as being unanimously accepted as critical ones; stakeholder management (Baker and Cameron 2008), partnerships (Hanna and Rowley 2011), brand architecture (Hankinson 2009), brand leadership (Baker and Cameron 2008), brand reality (Hankinson 2010) and brand culture and image (Hankinson 2007). Baker and Cameron (2007) collected various critical success factors from literature as shown in Table 2.2 below;
Source: Baker and Cameron 2007
These critical success factors were derived from various researches on destination branding. They are important components in destination branding as a checklist of important areas that need to be addressed for the process to be deemed holistic. They can help in recommending areas of policy for DMO’s and tourism planners.
Studies resulting in specific success factors or key activities are subsequently presented along with those factors in Table 2.2. Two studies (Hankinson 2009; Hanna and Rowley 2011) suggest that these success factors are important. But among the eight studies presented (Buhalis 2000; Baker and Cameron 2008; Hankinson 2010; Hanna and Rowley 2011), at least four of them are agreeing with every critical factor. This shows the true importance of them when it comes to successfully branding destinations. The factor most studies agree on to be important is stakeholder management (Buhalis 2000; Hankinson 2004; Baker and Cameron 2008; Hankinson 2009; 2010; Hanna and Rowley 2011).
Source: Ljungberg and Pucher, 2012
Evidence from literature indicates that destination branding benefits can either be for the destination as a whole or in terms of the DMO. It should however be noted that it is difficult to measure the value of a brand. The table below provides an overview of the benefits identified by researchers in destination branding.
A stakeholder can refer to an individual or group in a specific industry that have influence on the outcome of the business in line with its objectives (Freeman 1984). The interests of stakeholders are very important and their interests need to be addressed so as to gain their valuable support (Donaldson and Preston 1999).
The issue of stakeholders from the supply side of the tourism industry, particularly destination branding is not well researched (Gregory 2007). According to Hatch and Schultz (2003), it is important to have an insight on these stakeholders to develop sound destination marketing strategies. Destination stakeholders can generally be classified into primary and secondary groups (Clarkson 1995). Primary stakeholders show a high level of interactivity and are vital for the survival of a destination and development of a branding framework (Ljungberg and Pucher, 2012). Secondary stakeholders are not directly involved in the development of a destination (Wagner et al. 2009), but they still have to be seen as important hidden assets that are affected by (and in turn may affect) the destination (Merrilees et al. 2005). Earlier research indicates that destination stakeholders were analysed in the field of tourism research when investigating the success of tourism planning processes (Jamal and Getz, 1995). The number of stakeholders in destinations is manifold, spanning, suppliers such as tour operators, hotel owners and entrepreneurs, internal and external destination shareholders, land owners, banks, secondary support services (such as insurance companies), permanent residents, employees (permanent and seasonal), the environment and other interest groups (Konecnik and Gartner 2007). These stakeholders’ perceptions have a significant bearing on the brand framework that translates into brand equity and identity of a country as they can make or break a country’s image (Hankinson 2015).
Sautter and Leisen (1999) gives an outline on how the stakeholder theory by Freeman (1984) can be also effective in the tourism industry as a whole as a platform for partnerships. According to Freeman (1984), managers need to have full appreciation of all the persons or groups who have interests in the delivery and the outcome of the tourism service. Buhalis (2000), states that the main stakeholders of tourism destinations and organizations are tourists, host population, public sector and government, tour operators and tourism enterprises.
Freeman (1984) also states three key concepts that need to be understood to effectively manage stakeholders. Firstly and also supported by Hankinson (2010) is to identify the stakeholders’ interest. Secondly, is to understand the relationship between the organization and the stakeholder and thirdly to map the management of exchange between the involved stakeholders (Clarkson 1995). Primary stakeholders are those which the organization is dependent on for its survival, and vice versa. A well-functioning relationship between the organization and the stakeholders is therefore crucial for both parts. Primary stakeholders include shareholders, investors, employees, customers and suppliers, together with public stakeholders as government and communities. Secondary stakeholders are defined as those who effect and are affected by the organization but are not essential for the survival of the company (Clarkson 1995).
Place or destination brands are often controlled and owned by many different stakeholders (Jamal and Getz, 1995). Thus one of the fundamental questions for managers is to understand how to handle relations and establish long-term relationships in the network of stakeholders, especially among those who possess key roles (Hankinson 2010). The many different stakeholders involved and the confusion about the ownership is an important factor to consider in tourism planning (Morgan, Pritchard and Pride 2004). The various tasks and how they inter-relate also make the stakeholder management in destination branding an even more complex situation (Jamal and Getz 1995).
Freeman (1984) promotes managers to treat every stakeholder as an end in itself and not as dependent to others. To prevent any of the stakeholders from feeling neglected or used, managers have to incorporate the stakeholders in the planning process and let them be a part of the determination of their future (Freeman 1984). Of importance is not to discriminate smaller firms compared to larger ones. The dialogue between the organization and the stakeholders should be part of the organizations routine (Donaldson and Preston 1995). Buhalis (2000) emphasizes the importance of treating the stakeholders similarly and ensuring that benefits from the tourism activities are shared fairly. Failing to create a balance between the stakeholders threatens the success of the strategic objectives and the long-term competitiveness of the destination (Oliveira 2014).
Source: Valle 2001
Creation of a specific group responsible for the management of the stakeholders and actions surrounding them is important (Kavaratzis and Ashworth 2008). Donaldson and Preston (1995) put all the responsibility on the managers regarding the stakeholder coordination and according to them managers should select the right activities and direct the resources to obtain benefits for legitimate stakeholders.
The stakeholder theory was put forward by Freeman (1984). Freeman states that, “prior to his work, the strategic planning literature did hardly consider stakeholders, and when considered, they were only viewed as undefined, generic groups, and only legitimate or friendly stakeholders. The groups like competitors were left out.” The stakeholder theory essentially originates on the assumption that values are necessarily and explicitly a part of doing business. The focal thrust of stakeholder theory is to ask managers to articulate the shared sense of the value they generate and the various factors that brings its core stakeholders together. Freeman et al. (2004, 364) notes that, ‘the stakeholder theory pushes managers to be clear about how they want to do business, specifically what kinds of relationships they want and need to create with their stakeholders to deliver on their purpose.’ From these propositions, it can be noted that the stakeholder theory is predominantly managerial in nature as it reflects and directs how managers should operate. Heath (2004) notes that, “the purpose of a firm is to serve as a tool for coordinating diverse stakeholder demands and interests.” Therefore, the stakeholder theory tries to examine a relational model between the organisation and its stakeholders.
Freeman (1994) underscores that the stakeholder theory is based in two core questions that is: what is the purpose of the firm and secondly, what responsibility does management have to stakeholders. The first question encourages management to articulate the shared sense of the value they create and what brings its core stakeholders together. Fontaine et al. (2006), states that the organisation itself should be thought of as a grouping of stakeholders and the purpose of the organisation should be to manage their interests, needs and viewpoints. The second question is concerned with the kinds of interests or issues that bring stakeholders together. Freeman et al. (2004, 364) states that, “today’s economic realities underscore the fundamental reality at the core of the stakeholder theory, that is, economic value is created by people who voluntarily come together and cooperate to improve everyone’s circumstance.” Therefore, managers must develop relationships, inspire their stakeholders and create communities where everyone strives to give their best to deliver the value the firm promises. The importation of values and sound relationships with stakeholders provides a critical part of on-going success for a business.
In 2004, Freeman added a new principle to his theory in which he considers the perspectives of the stakeholders themselves and their activities is also very important to be taken into account by management of organisations. Fontaine et al. (2006) states that managers on the one hand manage the corporation for the benefit of its stakeholders in order to ensure their rights and the participation in decision making and on the other hand, the management must act as stakeholder’s agent to ensure the survival of the firm to safeguard the long term stakes of each group. As such the significance of tourism stakeholders can hardly be overemphasised in the development of a tourism destination branding framework.
In the tourism context, collaborations in the form of partnerships means that a number of different stakeholders within the private and public sector are working together through a process of exchange and pooling of resources (Selin and Chavez 1995). When concluding what existing literature describes partnerships to be (Wang and Xiang 2012; Selin and Chavez 1995), proposed partnerships as; “A mutual agreement between two or more otherwise independent parts operating in conjunction, pooling or sharing resources as a means to solve problems, accomplish common goals or create opportunities”. When reviewing the literature addressing partnerships in the tourism sector, authors also use terms such as strategic alliances (Palmer and Bejou 1995) and collaborations (Wang and Xiang 2012) when referring to partnerships.
Research on the area gives a uniform picture of partnerships being a both critical and popular part of tourism marketing in general and in destination branding in particular (Selin and Chavez 1995; Hankinson 2007; Baker and Cameron 2008; Hanna and Rowley 2011; Wang and Xiang 2012). As the definition above indicates, partnerships are usually created out of organizations' free will, even though they otherwise are independent of each other. Answers to why collaborations occur can be found partially in the complex situation that tourism organizations operate (Hankinson 2009; Wheeler et al. 2011). Additionally, more specific factors are presented as well (Wang and Xiang 2012).
Selin and Chavez (1995) present the first and initial stage of collaborations being created in their evolutionary model of tourism partnerships. In that stage environmental forces influencing tourism organizations' decisions to collaborate with others are presented. The forces include economical, technological, political, social and competitive ones leading to organizations not being able to compete successfully alone (Girma 2016). Other factors addressed are crises of some sort which might direct potential partners’ efforts toward a mutual problem. Common visions, strong leadership and existing networks which often work as mediators of contacts and attract attention from potential partners are also affecting. Wang and Xiang (2012), inspired by Selin and Chavez (1995, 848), have incorporated these factors in their framework of destination marketing alliances, giving them the same role of initial forces. It is also suggested that organizations motivate themselves to enter partnerships with strategy oriented, transaction cost oriented or learning oriented incentives.
There are four principal dimensions distinguishing different types of collaborations: form, mode, coverage and motive (Terpstra and Simonin 1993). The form of an alliance represents a number of levels of development ranging from less developed forms of contractual agreements to more developed forms such as joint ventures (Terpstra and Simonin 1993). Wang and Xiang (2012) also sort forms of alliances from less to more formal ones as: affiliation, cooperation, coordination, collaboration and finally strategic networks. These are important in the process of destination branding. The other dimension, which according to Terpstra and Simonin (1993) distinguish partnerships, is mode, representing types of relationships between members. Coverage refers to which geographical and functional coverage of markets is considered for the alliance's output. The last one, motives, is referring to the underlying reasons of creation of partnerships described earlier. Palmer and Bejou (1995) case study of UK and US tourism alliances indicate that there is no unique approach for creating tourism partnerships. Instead they vary much with the situation and environment. Known is also that the final form of an alliance often is a reflection of the environment surrounding the current partners (Wang and Xiang 2012).
Augustyn and Knowles (2000) specify a number of categories of individual factors which are critical to the success of tourism partnerships in an article addressing partnership performance. When it comes to the planning and preparations of the partnership, it is important to establish some official body responsible for the joint efforts. It is also good if the partnership is initiated by either private or public sector, but involves both of them (Bornhorst et al. 2010). According to Augustyn and Knowles (2000) research, the objectives of the partnership should be well thought through, informed and seen as long term. Important is also that those objectives should be common to all parts and that it is a balance and understanding between them with regards to diverse interests and identities (Garcia et al. 2012). An effective co-ordination will also create a link between the public and private areas actions, preventing duplicate work. Finally, in order to preserve sustainability in the collaboration it is good to constantly allow for and consider feedback given, and if necessary reshape the objectives of the partnerships before the collaboration loses its meaning for the participants. (Augustyn and Knowles, 2000)
A variety of models have been used in the area of branding as theoretical frameworks, which concern the concept of destination branding, marketing communication strategies and market segmentation. These models have aspects that can be useful in the study. The models include the community based tourism branding model, collaborative destination branding and relational network brand model. The principles and assumptions behind the models are examined and related to literature. The models are to be closely examined, different concepts and perspectives explained, strengths and weaknesses will also be identified and the areas that are relevant to this study pointed out. Branding like highlighted earlier, is a broad area of research that involves many other perspectives thus; the study would implement relevant theories on branding that would help to understand the research question such as ‘What is the ideal branding framework for Zimbabwe to improve on the country’s tourism.’ Therefore, the work of (Moilenon and Rainisto 2009) on ‘How to Brand a Nation, Cities and Destination, which emphasises on many strategies on how a destination can be branded, the importance of Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) and also the importance of building strong brand would be captured in the analyses of the study. One of their assertions is that, brand building is a long process that requires, besides good substance, determination and smartness. Brand building means strategic building of business operations, and it includes many strategic solutions where the top management are involved and responsible. This can be interpreted to mean that, to build a successful brand it involves many financial and personal commitments. Kavaratzis and Ashworth (2008) study on City Branding is also relevant as it touches on many areas on how a destination could have unique attributes and their application of brand identity, position and image model that have been used in the study is equally remarkable. Keller (2001) research on Brands and Brand Management’ also postulate four steps in coordinating destination marketing which concern with ensuring identification and association of brand in customers mind, firmly establishing the brand`s meaning in the minds of customers, to elicit customers responses and finally convert brand response to create relationship between customers and brand hence an effective branding framework. These are relevant aspects which are essential in brand building in line with modelling a branding framework as would be applicable in the analyses of this study. Other articles on branding that have relevance to the study are Pritchard and Morgan (2001) articles on Advertising and Brand positioning, Morgan, Pritchard and Pride (2004), Destination Branding and lastly Hankinson (2003) Relational network brands among others.
Destination brands are similar to corporate brands, as they act as umbrella brands for a portfolio of leisure, investment and business tourism, and stakeholder and citizen welfare products (Trueman et al. 2004). Goodwill is created through a unique identity by considering the diversity of stakeholder needs (Hatch and Schulz 2003). Destinations, just like corporations are subject to increasing market complexity (globalization, internal and external government policies, foreign exchange fluctuations and natural environment) and increasing marketing costs, which warrants a corporate branding approach as posited by Xie and Boggs (2006). In this view, corporate branding strategies can be extrapolated to the destination context. Destination brands are also similar to products and services, since they have both tangible and intangible components, are mostly service dependent, and can be positioned through the use of slogans (Pike 2005). Country of origin applies in the destination service context (Javalgi et al. 2006). It requires greater emphasis on factors internal to the organization, especially the role of employees (for destinations, this refers to citizens) in the brand framework building process (de Chernatony and Harris 2000).
Cai (2002; 2009); Tasci and Gartner (2004) have developed practical models for community-based destination branding, the Community-Based Tourism Branding by Cai (2009) and A Framework for Creating Strategic Destination Brands by Tasci and Gartner (2004). Cai (2002); Tasci and Gartner (2004) suggest to collect information from both the demand- side and the supply-side of a destination in order to develop the brand of the destination. As discussed above concerning destination brand image, both Cai (2009); Tasci and Gartner (2004) separated the supply-side communicated projected or desired image, which the host community desires to present to the tourists, from the demand-side perceived image of the location as a tourist destination of the actual and potential tourists.
The information from the supply side should be collected and analysed through focus groups with local residents and business owners and operators, referred to as the host-community in the model of Cai (2009) and by Tasci and Gartner (2004), this is specified to be the authorities, especially the key opinion holders amongst the local stakeholders, and the decision makers amongst the residents, and extended to include in-depth interviews. In addition, content analysis of the promotional material should have been included. According to Tasci and Gartner (2004) information from the demand-side should be collected through surveys of the actual and potential tourists (Cai 2009). Tasci and Gartner (2004) explain that these should be quantitative surveys, but add the use of focus groups and in-depth interviews, and includes the residents. In addition, there is need of a content analysis of information from independent sources regarding the destination. Tasci and Gartner (2004) assert that when the information is collected and analysed, the desired and perceived image should be compared in order to locate a potential gap between these images, and decide on the potential need to develop or improve the brand (Cai 2009; Tasci and Gartner 2004).
Tasci and Gartner (2004) explain that the fit between the brand image projected and the brand image perceived is the basis for selecting the elements to go with the brand. Cai (2009) asks the question whether the actual tourists’ perceived image, the tourist reality, should be accepted as reality, and the brand should be based on this image. Based on the case of Harrison County, he answers that it could be, but not without a coordinated effort to reconcile perceived image with desired image as an integral part of the branding process. The last step of this community-based DBP is to market the new brand, both at the market and in the community of the destination. This can be done through workshops, and tourism week and seminars, with officials, community leaders, destination actors and other stakeholders. Cai (2009) is the only author emphasising on the marketing of the brand to the community after the brand has been made. This is coherent with the arguments made above concerning the importance of the community and its residents representing and being the brand.
After the last active step which should be executed by the DMO, the result is the spreading of activation, which according to Cai (2002) is the building destination identity through spreading activation, which results from dynamic linkages among brand element mix, image building, brand associations and marketing activities. Thus if the community-based DBP has been successful in developing a brand and implementing marketing programs which are coherent, it will successfully build the destination identity, when, as seen in the model (figure 2.1 below), the guest and the host create a tourist experience together (Cai 2009).
Park et al. (2008) developed a conceptual model on the collaborative branding of destinations, explaining the features and process of this type of community-based branding. The model includes steps, features and suggestions not included in the main model discussed above by Cai (2009), which will therefore be used as the extension of the main model. The steps and its features are: (1) Precondition, consisting of measuring the impacts of external environmental changes on tourism through collective partnerships at all levels. (2) Problem Setting in the current branding efforts can be done through brainstorming among stakeholders in public forums or workshops, where the problems and concerns about logos, slogans, promotion channels, perceived image and tourist reactions can be identified and consensus on common interests can be reached. In addition to that, image studies and surveys can be done amongst tourists and stakeholders, in order to identify the gap between projected, perceived and desired images. (3) Direction Setting includes the development of branding strategy and goals of relationship-enhancement with private and public sector. In order for this to be successful, first, the stakeholders should “vision, short- and long-term goals, and objectives of the new or revised branding strategy, as well as the logos, symbols, slogans, and communication message and channels should be decided and streamlined to build brand equity. Lastly, the DMO should refine or develop communication channels and media for information exchange with the private and public sector. Evaluation mechanisms should be established to benchmark the strategies effectiveness. (4) Implementation of the branding program for each feature of the brand; with the participation of stakeholders through their assigned roles and responsibilities. (5) Evaluation, should also involve the stakeholders in monitoring the processes, ensuring compliance with the collaborative decisions and responsibilities, and sharing opinions and feedback. (6) Outcomes of the branding program can be assessed based on the ‘increased brand equity, collaborative initiatives among stakeholders and their performance levels regarding their responsibilities’ Park et al. 2008)
Hankinson (2004) considers the role of all business local players and stakeholders in creating and managing the place’s value (or identity) in destination branding strategy (Risitano 2005, 5). Hankinson’s model concentrates on brand core and the stakeholders’ involvement and relationship. The theory is referred as Relational network brand with brand core and four categories of brand relationships. Brand core in Hankinson’s model is the destination’s identity which represents in three elements: brand personality, brand’s positioning and brand reality. Brand personality is the brand’s elements representing the place’s uniqueness, while brand positioning ‘defines the brand’s point of reference with respect to the competitive set by identifying the attributes which make it similar to other places and then identifying the attributes which make it unique within that set’. Lastly, brand reality describes the real position of destination brand as a consequence of marketing communication. Besides, relationships with stakeholders play an active role to emphasize and support the brand’s core value in Hankinson’s model. The stakeholders mainly belong to four groups, which are: primary services, the infrastructure services providers, the media and communications players and the consumers (Risitano 2005, p6).
Cai (2002) model concentrates on transferring the brand’s elements, image and identity to tourists, whereas Hankinson (2004) reflect on managing stakeholders’ relationships in order to extend brand core values. Both approaches achieve the aim of building and maintaining a good destination brand image to tourists, travellers and investors. A successful brand strategy extends a brand core element through marketing communication, stakeholders’ decision and partnership, as well as appropriate promotion tools to send realistic but catching brand identity.
Anholt (2003) developed and copyrighted his ‘hexagon’ of six areas to represent a country brand. Tourism, exports, governance, investment and immigration, culture and heritage and people were seen as six areas of national capability that sum up to people’s perceptions of a country brand in any destination. The diagram below illustrates the different factors that determine a destination brand by Anholt (2003).
According to Amine and Chao (2005), there are five most important goals that drive place branding strategy as adopted from Anholt (2003). These goals include promoting tourism, representing culture, exporting brands, attracting investment as well as the foreign policy. Domestic policy is also imperative though it’s not mentioned explicitly in the model as illustrated below;
People are a very important aspect in building a brand since they have direct contact with visitors and somehow influence their experience. This is supported by Georgescu and Botescu (2004) who state that people of a country act as ambassadors inducing a positive image for their country. Kubachi and Skinner (2006) also support the same notion, arguing that a country’s image can be a result of its citizens.
It is imperative to export brands as it assists in powerful construction and maintenance of a destinations’ image. This is evidenced in Papadopoulos (2004) argument that, the moment investors choose locations for foreign ventures, they become the buyer and the country becomes the product. Most destinations benefit from investments; investment attraction of a country is one of the significant areas of a country’s brand (Country Brand Index 2006). However, countries with powerful and positive reputations find it easier, cheaper and faster to attract foreign investment (Anholt 2007).
The culture and heritage of a country has a major role in determining a country’s reputation and image (Dinnie 2005). Recently culture has become an important aspect in tourism development. Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving. According to Nurse (2006), culture is the fourth pillar of sustainable development along with the social, economic and environmental dimensions which shows that it is important. Anholt (2003) further points out that culture can be an important revenue earner for a country through national and international cultural events such as concerts, exhibitions, festivals and national heritage.
In a bid to create a destination brand, destinations have a number of options. Destinations can be branded purely as tourism destinations without looking at other sectors of the economy. However Therkelsen and Halkier (2008) who carried out a qualitative study on branding umbrellas in Denmark concluded that cooperation in branding especially in overlapping target areas can bring positive results. Hankinson (2010) did a quantitative study on measuring of brand orientation in the context of destination branding and examines its relationship to brand performance and brand leadership by senior management. Using data from destination marketing organizations he concluded that brand orientation consists of five dimensions – brand culture, departmental coordination, brand communication, stakeholder partnership, and brand reality – and has a strong positive impact on brand performance. This leads to hypothesis 1;
H1. Nature of brand has a direct effect on stakeholder preferences about destination branding.
When looking at the Destination Branding Process (DBP) there is need to first take note of the general success factors of destination branding, as well as the importance of including the community in the actual DBP as well. For that reason, the model on community-based destination branding and other destination branding models are important to interpret. The second aspect is to establish a theoretical framework for the DBP that will fulfil the needs of Zimbabwe and the success factors of competitive destination brands. This framework will both be used as a guidance to research the past process in Zimbabwe, as well as a basis for developing the recommended future process. This leads to hypothesis 2
H2. Destination branding process has a positive effect on stakeholder preferences about destination branding.
According to Ndlovu and Heath (2009), the first stage in the process of building a destination brand is to establish the destination’s core values, which should be durable, relevant and salient for the potential tourist. In another view, branding is not only imposing the created image; the consumers also influence the brand through their perceptions (Wilson et al. 2009). Thus the branding process aims to make sure customers perceive the product or service as desired by the company, basing the branding strategy on real facts and product strengths.
Evidence from literature indicates that destination branding benefits can either be for the destination as a whole or in terms of the Destination Management Organisation (DMO). It should however be noted that it is difficult to measure the value of a brand. Table 2, below provides an overview of the benefits identified by researchers in destination branding.
These then lead to hypothesis 3;
H3. Destination branding benefits have a direct effect on stakeholder preferences about destination branding.
Place or destination brands are often controlled and owned by many different stakeholders (Jamal and Getz, 1995). Thus one of the fundamental questions for managers is to understand how to handle relations and establish long-term relationships in the network of stakeholders, especially among those who possess key roles (Hankinson, 2010). The many different stakeholders involved and the confusion about the ownership is an important factor to consider in tourism planning. The various involved parts also make the stakeholder management in destination branding an even more complex situation (Jamal and Getz, 1995).
Freeman (1984) promotes managers to treat every stakeholder as an end in itself and not as dependent to others. To prevent any of the stakeholders from feeling neglected or used, managers are suggested to incorporate the stakeholders in the planning process and let them be a part of the determination of their future (Freeman 1984). Of importance is not to discriminate smaller firms compared to larger ones. The dialogue between the organization and the stakeholders should be part of the organizations routine (Donaldson and Preston 1995). Buhalis (2000) emphasizes the importance of treating the stakeholders similarly and ensuring that benefits from the tourism activities are shared fairly. Failing to create a balance between the stakeholders threatens the success of the strategic objectives and the long-term competitiveness of the destination. This then lead to hypothesis 4:
P4: Stakeholder preferences about destination branding have a positive effect on support strategies for destination branding.
Literature in this study has guided the development of a structural model for destination branding for tourism development. In the era of globalization, countries compete with each other for attention, respect and trust of potential consumers, investors, tourists, media and governments of other nations. Literature shows that a positive and strong destination brand provides a crucial competitive advantage in this international arena. Although tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors nowadays, there is a paucity of academic research on how branding can be holistically applied to the tourism destination context. Thus, literature aided development of a coherent framework for destination branding strategies. Thus the study proposes a model that integrates key concepts on nature of tourism brand, destination branding process and destination branding benefits with destination branding development preferences and support for destination branding strategies. The proposed model is to be tested using Structural Equation Model (SEM)
This chapter has presented existing literature on destination branding in general as well as based on the proposed destination branding framework constructs. The literature review on destination branding showed that there is a research gap existent in the area of involving stakeholders in developing and managing a destination brand. The next chapter is going to present the research methodology for the study.
- Quote paper
- Kumbirai Mirimi (Author), 2016, Developing a Destination Branding Framework for Tourism Development in Zimbabwe, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/384457