Tourism is now a media package, a website, commercials and print ads that extend a place as a branded experience.
This article is from the book Media in the Enlarged Europe: Politics, Policy and Industry, edited by Alec Charles and published in 2009. Brand Europe: Moves Towards a Pan-European Identity is by Rudiger Theilmann. Theilmann believes that certain spheres of our lives such as culture and society have been dictated by commercial rules. He states that, “ The concept of branding has consequently been applied to countries and destinations, accompanied by a growth in self-promoting activities, such as place-branding conferences and seminars, the appearance of new publications and journals, and nation and city brand rankings.” Theilmann explores the idea of branding places and first discusses whether a place can be branded like a tangible consumer product can be branded. Theilmann believes that place-branding can be a concept of its own. He explains that place-branding has distinctions. Destination-branding aims at increasing tourism, while country-branding aims at promoting economic, commercial and political interests.
Sport events are combined with tourism agendas, as well as films and popular media
Theilmann believes that place branding is not an exact formula because the audience experience is shaped outside of the professional’s control. This experience can include mass media, direct experience of the branding objects and the brand communication strategies. Many members of this audience also may have a direct experience between a friend or a family member. Therefore the audience’s experience is less manageable. He adds that the direct experience of a consumer product is more manageable because the marketers have more control over that product than a place. He states that place branding is more audience-driven, where as product-branding are more market driven.
Place-branding therefore tries to offer reality experiences to the mass media and its audience such as cultural events. Brand entertainment also is a factor in place-branding. Brand entertainment is when a brand creates consumer entertainment that could not exist with out that brand. Theilmann also adds that there are many different types of audiences seeking a different experience such as tourists and investors. So a country or a city may have a certain tourism image and a different business image to target both audiences. Theilmann also highlights that these brands need to remain unique because of each city becomes indistinguishable, they lose their value.
He ends his article by stating that because of globalization, places are becoming increasingly similar to one another. He says because of this issue it is been increasingly difficult for place branding to offer each place a unique campaign. He adds on a positive note saying that if Europe were to advertise itself as a pan-European brand it could profit and each individual country could be viewed as an additional brand asset.
The article is very interesting and places a unique perspective in identifying places as a different form of branding in contrast to a product. I think Theilmann raises many great factors when it comes to advertising a place. Not every audience is the same and many individuals experience a place differently then one another. Going to a place is an experience, rather than something you own. Therefore the approach in advertising must be different in order for it to be successful.
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