Tourism Branding Positioning

There are too many places to go out there

There are tens of thousands of destinations (from cities to museums to attractions to resorts), all fighting to get the consumer’s attention. What separates the wheat from the chaff in this crowded category is a strong and clearly articulated brand position.

Now, we all know that the words “brand” and “branding” have been completely overused in these times of measurement and metrics. So before your eyes glaze over during yet another mindless effusion, let us cut straight to why those two words are still important to travel marketers:

"Without a position, it is almost impossible to achieve a meaningful and sustainable point of differentiation."

It’s easy to overlook the power of positioning when there are competitive pressures, market forces or deadlines to deal with:

  • brochures must be distributed on time, or else
  • direct mail campaigns must drop when scheduled
  • banner ads, web content, and deal driven links need to get out there

Any diversion from the plan could impact revenue. Unfortunately, when these tactical efforts don’t follow a carefully crafted position, the destination can end up either looking schizophrenic to the customer, or worse: indistinguishable from competitors. Cover up the logos and it could be marketing from any place.

A unique, ownable position gives a destination gravitas

It has pull. It makes people want to get up off the couch, pack their bags, and go. With their friends, family, even solo. Whether it’s across town, the country, or the ocean, a destination has to make people lust after it. This requires an inspirational promise that holds true to the experience (and value) it can reliably deliver.

Creating this higher level of differentiation means taking the time to learn the truth behind what makes it unique, and what it has to offer that is relevant and compelling to the travelers wanted as repeat, high value customers. All great positions are rooted in a nugget of truth, or a kernel of insight that helps you stake out an ownable space in the mind of the consumer that is unique, and that no other brand can co-opt, or invade.

Once that truth has been uncovered and clearly articulated, every decision that has to be made gets a lot easier moving forward.