Branding activities in public sector have been proactively promoted by many DMOs at different levels. Greece, Australia, Malaysia, Spain, Yugoslavia and Croatia at national level; Wales, Western Australia at regional level; Glasgow, Manchester, London and New York at city level, have already adopted the destination brand-building concept (Kotler and Gertner, 2002). Other scholars in the field hold the same view about the context that results in the increasing importance of destination branding.
Kotler and Gertner (2002) argue that each country needs a branding strategy to compete with others to attract people for business, tourism and other sectors. Williams et al. (2006) put forward the argument that the need for global corporate partnership due to the paucity of resources, unique positioning in a competitive global market lead to the increasing tourism branding. In this line of thought, Morgan et al. (2011) agree that branding is a powerful marketing tool for destination managers in a “increasing product parity, substitutability and competition”.
Cai (2002, cited in Tasci and Kozak, 2006) views destination branding as the strategic selection and combination of a “consistent mix of brand elements to identify and distinguish a destination through positive image building”. As mentioned previously, destination branding encompasses a multitude of service, corporate and product branding which is provided by multiple stakeholders including the authority, diverse customers, products. Therefore, it is reasonable to consider destination branding an umbrella term which refers to a complex phenomenon. Kotler and Gertner (1993) define steps and tools for a successful country branding: projection of a simple, appealing, believable, and distinctive image; defining the attributes that form a basis for strong branding (natural sources); developing an umbrella concept to cover all of the country’s separate branding activities; a catchy slogan; visual images or symbols and special events.
Realising the vital role of image in destination branding, Kotler et al. (1993) focus on the first step, advancing a process to manage this image, the “Strategic Image Management” (SIM). This ongoing process of researching a place’s image among its audiences, segmenting and targeting its speci?c image and its demographic audiences, positioning the place’s bene?ts to support an existing image or create a new image, and communicating those bene?ts to the target audiences (Kotler et al.
, 1993). To be effective, the desired image must be close to reality, believable, simple, appealing and distinctive. To realise this task, there are several tools available to brand managers. DMOs of various destinations at regional or national level have used tools strongly connected to places to promote a country’s image: catchy slogan (“Spain – everything under the sun”, “Flanders – Europe’s best business location”, “Miami – ?nancial capital of South America” and “Scotland – silicon glen”), visual images or symbols (the Eiffel Tower (Paris/France), Big Ben (London/ England), Red Square (Moscow/Russia), the Statue of Liberty (New York/ USA) and the Corcovado-Christ Statue (Rio de Janeiro/Brazil), events and deeds (Olympic games, World Cup).
To sum up, there are multiple reasons for the adoption of destination branding consciously and systematically: the need of differentiation in a competitive global scenario to attract tourists, investors, talented people, and to ?nd markets for their exports.