Tourism is the vein that connects thousands of people across the world. It is the heart that satisfies the love for adventure and the thrill for pleasure. With it at the center of human desire, a number of economies and generations are getting happier, if not stronger.
In Africa for example, a number of countries rely on the tourism sector to complete their economic structure and finance architecture. With billions of dollars generated through foreign exchange, the story is getting more interesting than any other fairy tale. However, to add more magic to the fun, a plethora of strategies need to be put in place so as to decorate the travel path! Part of these strategies, actions and game plans are punctuated by the grandeur of branding as a marketing technique!
Marketing tourism through branding
There are many brands across the world of which we have much to say but so very little to forget. Brands like coca cola and apple have redefined the art of marketing and have established images that live longer within billions of minds across the world. As such, people don’t just know them. They don’t just buy their products. But they crave for them!
According to Circle Research, 77% of B2B marketing leaders say branding is critical to growth. On the surface of it, these are figures and a percentage. But the reality of them is that branding is inevitable for growth. In applications and use of it, there might be differences, but at the core, it yields its results very well!
Ellen Macy, Senior Brand Strategist at Anthem Branding further said that branding speaks to what you as a company believe in, your personality, your aesthetic, a vision for the industry you’re in, and the culture you represent and stand for. Branding in tourism works in a similarly strategic vein. And while Macy spoke of it in terms of companies, it also applies so much the more about places.
Branding involves creating a profile of a destination and transforming it into a shape that can fit within the human heart. It involves promoting the nature, culture and tradition of a society by transforming its ideas and flavor into words of a song that can then be worn, touched, seen, felt and spread across the vast and cherished community called earth.
The profile generated then becomes the aorta that pumps the desire to visit a destination into billions of minds. With a brand strategically created, people taste the destination before visiting it and experience the service before they actually get served. With their eyes compelled, their thoughts start whispering silent melodies, melodies like, “this is a world part of the world, an ethereal landscape that has to be seen to be believed!” Without even noticing, they develop feelings without memories!
Therefore, marketing tourism through branding is a powerful tool. It creates an attachment between one and a given travel destination. The souvenirs and clothes carried home create a feel of achievement that people look at and reflect on how far they have come and from where. The pride of having walked through the forests of Africa while putting on a given shirt creates opportune moments for one to narrate his story to friends and family before subconsciously convincing them to go and have a look for themselves. The comparison created and experiences shared further instill the desire for adventure in the social circle of a past traveler.
“With the shirt on his body and the traditional African cap on his head, he spends more hours telling the story in a way that pictures and photos would never tell!”
Branding is thus all about creating expectations and impressions in the minds of people about a certain product and service. While much of this traditionally happens through travel agents and marketing videos, branding provides an opportunity for foreigners to tell the jokes in a way that you can never tell, and with the energy and momentum you can never have. All this they do, without you paying them. They say;
“We drove through extensive plains and dotted savannahs. To our left and right, a plethora of wildlife and nature was vivid! With a pride of lions and other big cats in view, a feeling of having conquered the land took hold of me. I looked at my shirt and kissed the words on it, beautiful words: Uganda uncovered!”
With such stories as the one above, travelers spend countless hours expressing themselves in family gatherings. That Uganda uncovered shirt means so much to them! It is part of their evidence that they visited Uganda. The photos show it, but the shirt explains ‘why’!” The idea of putting on a branded product within the spectacular landscapes just to do the same becomes golden!
How the concept works
One may ask, “How can Uganda, a country gifted with 18,783 species of fauna and flora profile its uniqueness in a way that’s compelling enough to command traffic?” Such questions, and many others alike can be answered when we pay attention to the story Ugandans are selling, and the possible ways they can sell it! With the many possible ways and channels, the story has to be consistent and similar! And part of what makes this a logical possibility is the melody of branding!
Branding in tourism works in a way that if one buys a souvenir, branded shirt or anything native, he or she carries it back to the country of origin. When people see it, an opportune moment is created for him to tell the story about where from and how he got it. As he reminisces back to tell the tales, a feeling of nostalgia takes hold of him. And thus, when next summer gets closer, his flight back to Africa gets nearer! For he sings within his heart,
Furthermore, the branded item once utilized within the country of origin adds a touch and a sense of belonging to the user.
Branding revolutionalizes and adds value to the art of culture by facilitating locally made brands to be worn. As more people wear them, their value significantly grows and sheds light on the need to preserve certain cultures and customs.
“It is not the number of interactions a buyer has with your brand, but the quality and relatability of the interaction.” (Harvard Business Review)
Branding gives life to a company and its product. It is the personality that interacts with the psychology of customers when its employees are asleep and far. With the consistence and art done well, it raises committed advocates and activists at a free cost, since it highlights the intersection between marketing, value and service. It utilizes the treasure of experiences to create expectations, subconscious impressions and a relatable identity!
Therefore, every sector needs the technique of branding, because only through it can everyone perfectly sell the ‘who they are’ with the ‘what they do!’ But to sustain the pipeline, a lot of fuel has to be put in the powerhouse of brand awareness, the heart of brand perception and the surge of brand loyalty. And while you certainly can’t hold a brand in your hands, you can build one for a sector like tourism! Since every big company has partly made it because of branding, countries are no exceptions!