Our presentation at ENTER 2010 – Destination Branding

Our presentation at ENTER 2010 – Destination Branding

Following my previous blog post about ENTER 2010, the International eTourism Conference, here is the presentation we gave in our session – Destination Branding ‘The digital challenge’.

Here’s a short summary to accompany the slides. The session focussed specifically on place branding although a lot of this applies to any brand in the online space …

  1. Digital channels have grown up. Push has become pull. Consumers are becoming increasingly empowered and turned off by one way communication.
  2. What consumers are saying is shaping your brand. Branding online has become more about reputation management. It has become more social.
  3. Brands face four key challenges – content, socialisation, integration and measurement.
  4. Content. Your community of content producers and consumers can help fuel your content hungry web presence – on and off your own website. Smart brands offer something for them to line up against and support.
  5. Socialisation. Brands need to learn how to live within a new conversation culture – the norms, values and attitudes that it brings. You can’t buy success in the earned media space – you still have to earn it.
  6. Integration. Online and offline support each other. From awareness to advocacy many of the same rules apply but the journey just got messier. An integrated strategy and a multichannel approach still rules.
  7. Measurement. Different ways of doing things require different measurement. The quality of your content network is all important. The sentiment of the conversations across it is one of the more difficult but important things you have to measure.
  8. Brands must listen. Before you do anything keep your ear to the ground. Take account of context, history and the specific challenges you face as a brand.
  9. We used to pay particular attention to things like tone of voice, style and design. In our new world we need to pay attention to things like our point of view and the way we behave as brands.
  10. In the absence of a ‘set piece’ solution great story telling supported by creative and technical convergence goes a long way to help successfully manage your brand’s reputation.

For place brands and travel destinations the challenge is further complicated by the sheer number and variety of individuals and organisations involved in shaping the brand. Online stakeholder communities and brand platforms might go some way to helping pull it all together but their success still depends on the same things that help build any community – online or offline. To name just a few;

  • Make it easy to join, share and be open.
  • Provide leadership but share responsibility.
  • Make sure the incentives work for all involved.

Like most things digital it is all about people rather than just technology!