In marketing 3.0, consumers gather in communities, which become the main source of information when assessing brands and products. The trust has gone from vertical to horizontal, and consumers trust other consumers rather than companies.
Therefore, communities are the new marketing channels, and so brands should encourage and help consumers join these communities. Eventually, so long as brands deliver the promised value, communities are expected to support them by becoming a network of brand ambassadors.
Brands have to understand that communities are trust networks that exist to support its members, and therefore the strategy to gain the trust of the network members is to support the members by addressing their concerns and aspirations. This is something that has to start in the mission definition phase, and by identifying such concerns and aspirations, the destination model may create a value proposition that addresses them to engage the community members.
What kind of cultural barriers do you think need to be overcome by the destination executives to empower the communities to develop the aforementioned role?
The main drivers of the socio-cultural change entailing the aforementioned trends are called the “creative society”, hereby referred to as “Tourists 3.0”. Such tourists are concerned about the impact of the tourism activity on the environment and the local communities, and are driven by the aim for contribution to make the world a better place, and for spiritual fulfillment above other motivations, which makes them the primary target to take into account in mission driven destinations.
Tourists 3.0 are engaged in communities and are very active in social media networks, where they are opinion leaders and change agents. Such networks are becoming the main and most trusted source of information for most consumers who increasingly trust other consumers rather than companies. It is through these social networks that consumers share their knowledge and are to share stories about the life-changing experiences offered in the destinations.
Unlike typical passive consumers, tourists 3.0 are willing to take an active role in their relationships with their favorite brands, through co-creation of products and marketing contents. They want to be active players in the brand’s marketing activities, mostly through the social media networks. They are the ones who hold the community’s trust, and so have the power to decide which brands are to be supported.
In the destination, they look for authentic experiences through which to develop new skills, learn about new realities, cultures, and ways of life, which open their mindset and ultimately change or influence his life. These are the so called life-changing experiences that set destinations 3.0 apart from others.
Beyond developing life-changing experiences, what challenges do you think that tourists 3.0 pose to the destination’s executives to leverage all their influence power?
As with non-profit organizations, destinations approaching the “Vision of tourism 3.0” intend to address some of the issues that concern the stakeholder community, primarily related to environmental protection, socio-cultural transformation and poverty alleviation.
Such a mission is at the core of the destination model’s value proposition and hence is also the essence of its brand identity, being the main driver of the so called “human spirit marketing”. This new marketing concept approaches not only the clients’ needs and emotions, but also their spirit. Such a mission has to be the primary goal of the destination model, to really engage all kinds of stakeholders. Only by being faithful to the mission will the destination model keep the stakeholders commitment and transform them into an expanding network of brand ambassadors who end up being the drivers of the destination’s marketing system.
Such a mission and its related vision is the guiding force that motivates all stakeholders to contribute to the expansion of the destination model, bringing in all their creativity and effort in benefit to the community.
What types of missions do you envision to commit the local community and appeal to the tourists’ human spirit?