Category Archives: Destination branding

MOVE: Videos which inspire!

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

If I were to go travelling I would love to be able to create something like this!

Absolutely amazing!

“3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage… all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ….into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films…..

= a trip of a lifetime.”

(commissioned by STA Travel Australia)

It certainly is inspiring, and also makes me want to try out my creative skills when I head to India in October! We shall see…

The turth about Thailand

I recently watched an interesting documentary called ‘BIG TROUBLE IN THAILAND‘ which showed behind-the-scenes action with the Thai Police, including the tourist issues they have to deal with everyday in their country. The documentary showed the Thai constitute’s hash reasoning with drug dealings, drunken and disorderly tourists, crime from Thai Lady-Boys and the renowned sex trade industry.

Watch a preview here.

I have visited Thailand for several different reasons over previous years; holidays, volunteering and working. Each time I visit I saw a new side to the country. Over 1 million British tourists visit the country each year, but for what reason? Thailand has proven to be popular for cheap living, drinks, food, easy sex culture, live shows and full-moon parties… alongside their great beaches. In this documentary the British culture shows that they take full advantage of these things, without thinking or respecting the consequences!

The British have always been known for their heavy drinking and party culture, which has been seen in European holiday destinations such as Greece, Spain, Ibiza alongside many others, but this culture is now reaching the other side of the world. The problem is that these cultures are very different and need to be understood before entering the country. The Thai constitute is very different and extremely harsh in comparison to the UK’s – for example the documentary saw a young British girl been punished by their legal system for having cannabis in her procession whilst in Thailand. The results of this illegal activity, meant she was not allowed to leave the country throughout the legal proceedings and was looking at a sentence of around 5 years in prison.

Thailand has recently exploded into the holiday market for not only the affluent but also a more mainstream holiday destination too – mainly due to cheaper flights. The country has done much work on promoting their country to tourists through their ‘Amazing Thailand‘ campaign and publicity and visits to the country have increased.

See one of their campaign videos – and see how they don’t even mention the ‘nightlife’ of Thailand which was showcased in the documentary.

However, after programmes which show the scary side of travelling to different cultures and the trouble visitors can accidentally find themselves in may question how long the tourism boom will last.

I see Thailand’s tourism going one way or the other – There will either be an increase in a ‘Malia’ style party holiday resulting in the country catering for a reckless party atmosphere that the ‘quality’ and ‘luxury holiday’ will disappear – or – tourists will realise the dangers and land themselves elsewhere within the world where cheap flights and hectic nightlife can be found. We can only watch and see – but I know that if I return, I will be searching for a remote and untouched part of Thailand where party-goers and teenagers have not yet explored!

Queensland, Where Australia Shines – Global Facebook Campaign

Last week, Queensland’s tourist board started a new global social media campaign where entrants can win a holiday for them and 9 friends to Australia, Queensland.

Passport to Shine is a unique global social media campaign which provides Facebook users in Australia and across the world with a virtual passport which they can fill with Queensland experiences to be in the draw to win an ultimate Queensland holiday worth up to $100,000.

This campaign is one of the first high profile social media campaigns to be ran by a tourist board. Tourism agencies are realising the potential that free social media tools can mean for campaigns, as tools such as Facebook generate access to millions of people, many of whom are willing to hand over contributions to make a campaign grow. Brands are realising more and more that user-generated content is a cheap, effective and successful way of gaining brand recognition – and as in the case of Queensland Tourism, promoting your brand alongside a competition can achieve huge results. A few days after the launch of this campaign, they had already received Facebook followers of 117,000 people. It will be interesting to see how this campaign grows. Check it out at:

New Delhi, India’s reputation crisis over the Common Wealth Games

This will be the first time India has hosted the Common Wealth Games and only the second time the event has been held in Asia (Kuala Lumpur in 1998 was the first).

It doesn’t seem long ago that India’s reputation as a destination and a growing and vibrant culture was planting itself in people’s minds. The famous film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and the ‘Bollywood’ industry brought the country ideas of glorious India full of colour and culture, alongside its raw earthy heritage, which most likely enlightened people’s mind about the country. The Indian Tourist Board created the ‘Incredible India’ campaign with an accompanying website IncredibleIndia, and used celebrities from Bollywood to help promote the area, for example; King Akshay Kumar.

This little appreciation that the country seemed to gain has vanished in an instance. The criticism they are receiving for the disasters leading up to the Games will damage their reputation for holding world-class events in the future.

Headlines are over bound by negative comments and images of the site where the Games are due to be held.

Recent reports to the BBC show representatives blaming cultural differences for the criticism received by countries pulling out of the event. From a BBC report (22 Sep) Lalit Bhanot, secretary general of the Delhi organising committee said: “Everyone has different standards about cleanliness. The Westerners have different standards, we have different standards,”

This difference in cultural ideology has brought problems for the Games, alongside the structural building work deadlines which have also impacted the world’s perceptions on the event. India will have to make sure they come out strong from this experience, otherwise this event will impact their future as an international destination, a business destination, a tourist resort and a future attendee and especially a host for further world events.

I will be watching closely to how the Games commence.

Common Wealth Games Delhi

After the event is over…

Reputation of South Africa after the World Cup

Recent research explained by PR Week looks into changed perceptions of the host country after the World Cup came to a close. This chart shows people believe that South Africa’s ‘enthusiasm and passion’ was the best thing about the World Cup 2010 – which is a fantastic result for any nation branding teams and their tourism departments.

Sepp Blatter, head of FIFA, world football’s governing body, gave South Africa “nine out of ten” for its performance, saying he would happily back any bid it might now wish to make to host the Olympic Games in 2020 or 2024. The Economist

However, some argue that South Africa was substantial at hosting, but not truly successful. There were empty home stands and also games were not full sold out either. Is this the result of the country or the game organizers themselves? This does put more pressure on FIFA and other sporting events to make the right decision in choosing their host destination in future years.

The costs of holding major sporting events verses the effect on the countries reputation and economic in-put must be examined, as holding these types of events does cost the host country a vast amount. However, as the Economist feature states: “… South Africa will benefit too. It has reaped incalculable marketing gains from the 500m spectators around the world who are reckoned on average to have tuned in to watch each of the 64 matches. Nearly half a million foreign fans visited the country, many for the first time, to watch the tournament.

Perhaps the biggest benefit has been the battered nation’s rise in self-respect. South Africans, white and black, are hugely proud of their achievement.”

There is a lot to consider when pitching for events, acting on them and working to keep the legacy afterwords too. This is all part of nation branding… such a fascinating project!

Auckland to host Triathletes – Building the countries sporting profile

Sports events are a great way to put a city on the ‘map’ and be visual to an international audience. We have seen much of this from the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the recent Olympics in Beijing and now the work been done for the London 2012 Olympic Games.  It is not only about the sporting events that are important to the city – it is about making sure they push the potentials and opportunities available when in the world’s eye. Auckland has announced today that they are hosting the 2012 ITU Triathlon World Champions, and this is how the event is viewed:

Triathlon New Zealand CEO Dave Beeche feels the event will be very beneficial to the city of Auckland.

“Hosting this World Championship Series Grand Final will be a huge boost for the profile of Auckland and New Zealand, with an estimated global audience in excess of 13 million watching on TV. But just as important is what this event will do for the sport and the profile here in New Zealand. This is like having the Olympics come to town for our sport-the very best in the world will race the likes of Bevan Docherty, Kris Gemmell, Andrea Hewitt and Debbie Tanner in our own backyard.”

I believe this fits in perfect with a blog post I read the other day on Nation Branding, which defines what ‘nation branding’ is. The blog quotes:

“Nation branding: the adoption of real-life policies and tactics following a strategic plan to gain relevance and perceived value in one or several aspects of a country’s reputation. Or, simply put, defining what reputation a country wants to have, and taking the necessary measures to become by fact what a country intends to be known for. Deserving the reputation by fact by implementing strategies, policies, activities, investments and symbolic actions. In other worlds, doing the right things to prove the country deserves the desired brand among citizens, both inside and outside the country.”

Auckland, New Zealand are using the event to play on building a Triathlon reputation for sport and expressing the countries passion in the sport – which is growing in popularity. New Zealand and Auckland will now be working on increasing their sporting profile and working towards attracting tourists and visitors for the event in 2012 – building that country profile as a nation of sporting triathletes.

Well England are out, but the World Cup carries on… branding

After the knock out match yesterday many England fans may have lost interest in the World Cup for now, and maybe until the next World Cup bearing in mind England’s poor performance. Football aside, it is interesting how hosting the event is such a large process, and one that countries are prepared to go the extra mile to do. Not even out of the World Cup 2010, but Brazil are thinking about 2014 with a ground breaking exhibition in Johannesburg.

Casa Brazil – Sensational Brazil” is been held during the South Africa games. This is an interesting boycott of South Africa’s attempts to host a successful World Cup – not saying it has not been a success, they have received an enormous amount of media attention (both positive and negative might I add) but never the less they still have hosting to do. Brazil have stepped into the South African boarder to publicize their tourism offering for the 2014 games – and with their interest been attracting tourists who love football, they are certainly in the right place to grab their attention.

The exhibition is really showing what Brazil can offer, with partnerships with their federal government – they plan to showcase an exhibition of digital games, shows and real-time intelligence among other innovations.

The exhibition aims to showcase the full range of Brazil’s cultural and natural diversity, profile Brazil as a major industrial manufacturer, producer of leading-edge technology and energy innovation, its contributions and achievements in sports and the stability of its economy and its democracy.

Breaking Travel News

Brazil understands the opportunities open for hosting the FIFA World Cup and importance of showcasing the country to the world in a positive light.

Every country has its negatives and down factors, and these will always shine through any international event, but making the most of the opportunities available for marketing and PR through destination and country branding is most important. People will remember what the country was like as a host city/destination and this could either generate further opportunities or create a very negative image to the international audience.

Sports and Nation Branding

Interview with Simon Anholt on Nation Branding blog

Can you see a connection between sports and nation branding?

Indeed it is part of my area of research, and it’s one of the questions we ask in the “culture” section of the Nation Brands Index. I have written many times about the connection between major sporting events and a country’s image, and what makes the difference between a successful Olympics or World Cup, and one that’s forgotten within a few months. I have also researched in great detail how perceptions of a country’s sporting excellence contributes to people’s perceptions of the country’s population. The connection is a very strong one.

This is an interesting topic to research and recently Nation Branding blog has posted a recent dissertation on the effects that the World Cup are having on nation’s brands. But as Anholt argues, countries need to be ‘obsessive’, they cannot rely on the legacy of holding a great event to last forever! This maybe the case for South Africa, as the months pass after the event ends, will people still remember the country, will they still visit and will their reputation increase or be forgotten. This is why it is important for countries to always be pushing for the next big step!

In terms of the countries competing in the World Cup – creating a legacy and media attention is a lot harder for less known countries, therefore they need to relish in the attention to create a reputation, and a good one at that. But the impact will most likely be minimal… If they will not be a winning team, then countries need to show their character and style to be remembered. But achieving this is the difficult part.

Sport plays an important role to destination branding

A recent survey in PRWeek/OnePoll asked 3,000 members of the public if they believed that hosting the World Cup tournament in South Africa would help it become a favorable destination. The results were that 72% believed it would.

However, the issues became apparent when asked about the country’s safety – but people still believe that the World Cup and its media attention can help the country improve this negative image.

When it comes to destination branding, sports events are brilliant ways of marketing the county – if done well. Using sports to brand a place has the power to bring a positive perception or a negative one. If we look at the Olympic Games in Beijing – this caused problems for their perceptions by audiences as it did showcase internal problems the country has – climate and traffic conditions.  This shows how placing a country in the worlds limelight can put it in a vulnerable position. From this, it is important that the country and its tourist board partners make sure that not only the football and fans are in the media attention, but also the countries native people and their charms too. This does require a strategic PR plan, prepared well in advance to action throughout the games and into the future to carry on the publicity. South Africa need to make sure they are not forgotten after the games end, but carry on their (hopefully) good legacy of holding the World Cup and being a great destination for the world’s tourists.


City Branding…

I am working on my dissertation project at the minute and am researching city branding, the communication tactics behind branding, the stakeholders involved and how it involves much more than just a fancy logo!

It’s an exciting project that I am really getting involved in.