The positioning or brand strategy defines the identity that the destination intends to project in the outbound markets, as a way to synthetically communicate the destination’s main attributes, create an expectation in the mind of the potential tourists and set itself apart from competitors. When formulating the positioning strategy there are three concepts to be defined:
- Core identity defines in a sentence the intended image of the destination brand.
- Broad identity encompasses all attributes that shape the destination’s personality and the values that have to become the institutional standards of behavior.
- Value proposition describes the functional, emotional and spiritual benefits that the destination is offering to its visitors.
Altogether this provides the destination executives with a structured set of ideas to be used in the communication infrastructure and marketing activities.
In destination marketing 3.0, the positioning strategy has to embed the mission driven purpose at its core, as the success of the destination is to come from the appreciation of the business contribution to the community well-being and the positive cultural transformation it makes on the visitors through the life-changing experiences.
As for the mission definition, the positioning strategy should be defined in the executive board with the participation of the community leaders, main stakeholders and industry influencers, as this is the strategy reflecting the spirit of the mission. Furthermore, as long as the positioning strategy defines the set of values that are to guide the destination’s institutional behavior, this is a key issue in which all leaders have to feel identified and committed.
Since the community leaders are the key decision makers on these issues, it would be convenient to assess the fit of the proposed set of values within the community culture, so as to evaluate the feasibility of the cultural change, as long as this is necessary. In that case, a cultural change strategy also has to be drafted, to be enclosed with the network engagement and development strategy.
In marketing 3.0, only originality, authenticity and honesty are effective, because the reputation of the brand is under control of the creative activists and other like-minded personalities holding the trust of their communities, and they are the first ones to spread the stories throughout the social networks. The brand integrity, determined by the loyalty to the stated values throughout time is an nonnegotiable must in the path to success for destinations embracing marketing 3.0.
Would you consider other methods to define the positioning strategy?