As mankind continues to socialise, the need to ensure continuity and interaction has created a series of ties that has made the process continuous across the globe. Basically, the interaction has become an instrumental part for exchanging ideas through hospitality, cultural events, festivals, and tourism. The benefits of the interaction process have expanded as the interaction level become global due to shared values, cultural exchange, and new business opportunities to the parties interacting during these events. Since the world has become a global village, tourism destinations across the globe tend to function in dynamic environments characterised by competition, season variation, and economic swings. The merits and direct challenges that affect destination branding have created the desire to develop brands that can market a destination as favourite tourism town or city. The analytical paper will discuss the underlying reason for destination branding and the current trends as many regions embrace this idea. Besides, the paper examines the function of stakeholders and destination brands from a brand theory perspective. In addition, the paper analyses the aspects of brand strategic design, brand equity, brand hierarchy, brand architecture, and brand personality to illustrate the application of destination branding in Rome as an Italian tourism site.
Destination Branding Development
The history of destination branding development spans to more than nine decades. However, the concept’s popularity increased following the invention and mass usage of written and visual advertisement medium in the 1950s through to early 1980s. Although the destination branding has remained the same, its purpose has improved from mere visibility creation to value improvement and fulfilment of different customer needs. Over the last half a decade, tourism industries in Italy has experienced downswings due to economic meltdown. As a recovery strategy, the industry had to re-brand in order to successfully restore profitability and confidentiality of its tourism industry (Keranen & Salminen, 2012). The brand of the community is presented in the most attractive way with simple but clear messages of pleasant experiences in the museums, parks, festivals, and exhibitions. The touch points include the affordable prices, private entertainment, one-on-one conversation with the agents, and the unique experience of accommodation services. At the centre of each event, a potential client can have different entertainment plans with different packages to cover for the different tastes and preferences within and without the local culture (Hakala, Svensson, & Vincze, 2012). Such plans are classified as regular or premium, depending on the bundle chosen by an individual. The regular alternative enables tourists to reduce expenses due to pooled services. Upon selection of a tour package, a potential tourist is able to request for a special tour guide.
Destination branding is vital in promoting awareness on the side of the customers, especially on available products or services within a destination. Based on the messages and actual experience within a destination, a customer is always in a position to develop either a positive or negative attitude towards a brand. This is because each message in destination branding is heavy with meaning that can match the expectation or perception of the clients. In the ideal, brand connection may arise with the customer and the brand elements are interrelated when destination branding becomes holistic (Hakala, Svensson, & Vincze, 2012). Destination branding in the case of Rome as a tourism destination has been successful, especially on the part of stakeholder incorporation and creation of a unique identity. Specially, the successful branding approach has created an environment of leisure in the perception of many clients who are attracted by the well packaged destinations.
Destination branding in Rome has been packaged to appeal to aspirations of most travellers and magnify the value attached to their expectations, in terms of level of satisfaction. As noted by Hakala, Svensson, and Vincze (2012), building positive brand perception is possible whenever a customer is in a position to associate a destination as ideal. When such level of satisfaction is created, a customer is likely to revisit the same destination in the future. On the other hand, an unfortunate occurrence during a visit to a destination might act as a hindrance to repeat visit if such event builds a negative brand image in the mind of such a client. In a quick rejoinder, Jones (2010) notes that destination branding aims at increasing the potential of an investment within a destination as making economic sense and giving customers value for their money. This means that more vibrant destinations such as Rome, because of its association with past civilization, have been packaged to appeal to the fantasies of the clients while serving their interests. Thus, destination branding comes with positive benefits to the clients and other investors since the destinations would be more appealing and fulfilling.
Brand Strategy Design
Tourism industry in Rome has kept on making extra special and reliable growth. All together, tourism was perceived with blended outlook by both private and public segments of the business as a self sustaining sector. Together with this in psyche, little endeavour was attempted to present an indispensable provision for its expansion and progress especially after crisis (Belch & Belch, 2009). In opposition to such background and in vision of its optimistic expansion in addition to future development, there was necessity for a guiding principle for handling crisis, thus, development of a brand strategy design. Reflectively, this strategy is focused on tackling management programs such as integrity, post crisis policies, media involvement, and destination planning as part of positioning and restoring confidence after the economic meltdown in and Italy (Keranen & Salminen, 2012). Among the notable design strategy included online marketing of brand Rome destinations, appointment of global brand ambassadors, and international marketing of the eastern tourism destinations which were adversely affected by the meltdown (Jones, 2010).
Properly designed brand strategy for product management of Rome as ideal tourism destinations facilitated the success and sustainability in restoring confidence in the industry by the end of the year 2014. The brand strategy was called ‘Welcome to Rome’ and ‘Rome, the Land of Dreams’. The brand strategies in Rome existed in levels of brand hierarchy, that is, desired awareness created in the discounted rates of travelling, different tourism packages, and simple to understand presentation. These levels were combined to create the simple logo of sandy beach in the back drop of virgin nature, expansive ancient amphitheatres, and cultural artefacts in the official tourism websites of Italy (Hakala, Svensson, & Vincze, 2012).
In order to attract potential users who are tourists, the brand design strategies in Italy narrowed down to tourism services and ideal destinations such as the eastern gorges and dotted sandy beaches. The value proportion of this application is capable of tracking past records which have been fed in the computer system on tourists turn out and response on service quality and affordability. As a matter of fact, players in the tourism industry of Italy have been given the opportunity to customize the application to fit into their data system and fully control flow of information on tourists’ turn over.
Customer-Based Brand Equity
Often, emerging businesses demands information flow and dimensional communication systems that is globally accessible. Irrespective of the size and geographical area of operations, brand equity has become an essential part of business operations in Rome as a tourism destination. Brand equity has an essential tool for marketing, customer services, and communication from within and without an industry setting, relationship with clients, and market segmentation. This has been made possible by technological revolution and inventions aimed at remodelling efficiency, reducing redundancy, and embracing systematic orientations in the branding of Rome as a tourism destination (Keranen & Salminen, 2012). To enable the Rome brand to be more efficient in Italy, there is always a well organized hierarchy of workforce from management with administrative roles to service providing worker. Besides these leadership consultants are well picked from the professional job market believed to posses the right and relevant experience in handling group interactions (Hakala, Svensson, & Vincze, 2012). In managing the tourism culture of Italy as products, the food and exotic restaurants are branded with friendly logos that suggest peace and comfort as part of the Rome brand.
Every industry often perceives that it has conscientiousness to boost the position in which it operates in despite any eventuality. Thus, keeping a positive image among all stakeholders is essential in the Italian tourism industry especially after the devastating experience of economic depression. Reflectively, the mud mapping plan of brand Rome incorporates sustainable communication model and promote amazing endeavour to its customers whose participation in an extensive diversity of courses, services, and image since perception of the industry is viewed in the service quality. The first step involved carrying out excellent rewards and discount experiences through the finest recognized cruise brands which provide diversity of various living-standards and resources (Hakala, Svensson, & Vincze, 2012). Through this, the psychological effects were minimised. Reflectively, “from workers’ contribution and turn-over donation, services projects to hard cash as well as contribution and inventive charity, the industry can endeavour to impact diversity, both nationwide and globally” (Hammond, 2009, p. 67). When properly executed, this strategy creates an amazing delight among clients interested in the Rome cuisine, exotic dishes, and jungle adventure. Besides, construction of enhanced and well-built societies within the industry is necessary for monetary, psychological, compensation and ethical support to customers.
Moreover, the brand hierarchy on public relation of Italy incorporated security and health factors of their customers, tourists, workers as well as all other persons operating on behalf of the business. Thus, the efforts were “focused on the ‘human element’, developing assistance to unemployed tourism workers, ‘saving jobs, re-launching small tourism-related businesses and recovering the visitor flow that makes these economies work” (Hammond, 2009, p. 45). Definitely, by whole fully abiding by lawful and legislative requirements associated to health, environment, and safety measures incorporated in the social responsibility events, a positive image on issues such as equivalent concern gave the Italy brand responsibility of observing and practicing the same on a daily basis (Hakala, Svensson, & Vincze, 2012).
Brand architecture should review technological conversancy and lifestyle of targeted customers. Majority of the population in Rome are technology conversant and have embraced new technological was of life. Their lifestyle revolves around technology from transport to communication. Since branding tourism industry as product is technology dependent, it is necessary to establish the estimate statistics on the same (Hakala, Svensson, & Vincze, 2012). In Rome, as a tourism destination, products are marketed as having better physical infrastructures such as well maintained land transport network to facilitate market accessibility and substantially reduce overhead costs associate with transportation (Belch & Belch, 2009). Therefore, it is important to establish means and ways to reach the potential market. To achieve this, the tourism industry of Italy has segmented and differentiated market along consumer-based market segmentation procedures (Keranen & Salminen, 2012). This product architecture has incorporated uniqueness in healthy food presentation. Therefore, it is important to appreciate comprehensive population patterns for the population across the streets, hotels, motels, collages, and other food outlets as part of the product architecture.
Rome as a destination brand is subdivided into three distinct segments: the consumer, small and medium business, and institutions segments. This market captures small food outlets, hotels, motels, and retail businesses across the regions of central coast and beyond. Rome has introduced cheaper tourism packages in travelling to these markets promising diversity in types, lower price, and health with the introduction of cheaper but natural cuisines (Keranen & Salminen, 2012). Therefore, this segment is influenced by competitive pricing, energy conservation equation, and health value for optimal benefits at a competitive price as key aspects of product architecture. The tourism city of Rome has several schools, homes, collages, hospitals among other institution with local tourism exchange programs. These institutions are strategically located and uniformly spread across the accessible markets for brand Rome (Hammond, 2009).
Destination Branding Positioning Strategies
In order to diversify market operations, Rome’s tourism board has created multiple products. In Italy, tourism as product targets every person irrespective of the economic arms. In order to achieve this aim, demographic differentiation were based on income supported by strategic packaging and series of relevant marketing campaigns. Since Italy’s tourism board has established itself in the market, they command a price premium (Hakala, Svensson, & Vincze 2012). As a result, the fair pricing mechanism among other factors has skew competitive advantage positively. In addition, the board of tourism in Italy has recruited distribution agencies across the regions and well trained marketers for these products. Moreover, the board has allocated a semi-annual budget of three million dollars on advertisement and periodic promotions. In order to remain relevant to the ever changing trends in the market, ten percent of projected revenues are pumped back into research and product modification as dictated by demand and supply equations (Hakala, Svensson, & Vincze, 2012).
Technical Communication as a subject has also undergone a lot of metamorphosis due to emerging technology (Keranen & Salminen, 2012). Since technology and communication models directly influence how businesses are conducted, business models have also taken the same complexity. This aspect is under-developed in brand Rome. Therefore, it is mandatory to carry out structural planning, especially in locating target market and actualising through execution of preset plans without having to physically interact with the target. With proper planning, messaging, and market objectivity, comprehensive implementation is achievable at optimal level, especially when the same is appealing to the cognitive behaviour and perception (Hakala, Svensson, & Vincze, 2012). Through organised and well executed advertisement messages, the entire globe is within reach for brand Rome.
Among the key advertising agencies in a post crisis management should concentrate on an accessible media (Gelder, 2011). Thus, the brand and product management plan should internalise the need for uniqueness in display, space, packaging, and prominence to easily woe the mind into concentrating on the services offered by brand Rome. As a matter of fact, in this sense, advertisement might facilitate balancing of display and actual perception on a product with several alternatives that share same physical presence (Hammond, 2009). Though the government is devoted to promoting governance practice and strategies in the tourism industry, the efforts should extend to investors and various stakeholders’ in a considerate and autonomous way. In addition, sound standards of the governance are significant to acquire and maintenance of shareholders’ expectation in managing brand Rome (Jones, 2010).
Governance policies are fundamentals in protecting dignity from other providers, the society in which the corporation serves, civic officials, and general client base (Hakala, Svensson, & Vincze, 2012). Therefore, the government should be supportive in the provision of necessary information on Rome’s tourism risk analysis. Risk analysis is essential for mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery planning. In the process of creating a disaster program analysis, the industry should identify and characterize disasters, evaluate each on frequency and magnitude scale, and estimate overall risk as indicated in the government data as a precautionary strategy (Belch & Belch, 2009). Besides, the government has the ability to determine potential, direct, and indirect social and economic costs, effects, acceptable risk level, and identifies appropriate risk reduction opportunities for the Rome tourism brand (Keranen & Salminen, 2012). In brand assortment, planning is critical, especially in a dynamic market controlled solely by customer preference and perception. In sales forecasting, the brand should assort its merchandise according to the lifecycle of each category of targeted users of tourism products. Basically, the assortment adopted should be informed by past volumes of sales and customer responses to periodic surveys of performance of brand Italy.
There is need to increase the scope of operations through strategic and innovative ideas of tourism service delivery to customers. There is also need to provide efficient, cost effective, and comprehensive tourism logistics services to customers (Hakala, Svensson, & Vincze, 2012). This may be achieved through complete synchronization for different tour packages to different regions within the targeted location. In order to succeed with this plan, excellent marketing and other promotional activities should be balanced to ensure that customers have high confidence, which is a recipe for continuous brand loyalty.
Properly researched brand and product management plan determine the success and sustainability in penetrating a market with a product. To increase credibility and maintain professionalism, product processes and feature should flawlessly facilitate a healthy and lifetime relationship between the company and its clients. A properly designed brand and product management plan should be practical in presenting brand knowledge, awareness, penetration strategy, and passing information to target audience. In achieving these objectives, the plan should map possible competition, positioning strategy, consumer and market analysis, and geographical region of operation. Generally, these concepts are vital in forecasting and act as a guide towards actualising a brand management plan for Rome as a destination brand. However, the plan should be flexible to market dynamics and embrace alterations where necessary.
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