Creating a destination brand is an important part of destination marketing, but the process can be arduous and intimidating. How do you capture an entire destination in one cohesive brand? It’s no easy task, but here are some of our favorite destination brands and a brief look at what makes them successful.
Play on Words
I Amsterdam and cOPENhagen have used their destination brands to create a fun play on words, but the clever brands don’t just stop at the name. Both brands are also great representations of their city’s unique identity.
I Amsterdam is a two-fold brand which appeals to local residents and visitors alike. As part of an overall rebranding effort aimed at highlighting the city as a great place to live, work and visit, Amsterdam focused on showcasing their destination through local engagement. It’s not only a great way to attract visitors, but it’s also meant to inspire locals to take pride in their own city. By engaging local interest, Amsterdam has successfully recruited a key group of brand ambassadors – their own residents!
“Open for You” is the perfect brand for Copenhagen, a progressive city that prides itself on welcoming new ideas and new people. In fact, the brand is so open, they invite anyone to create their own logo and “open for….” slogan. The brand is broad, diverse, and adaptable – the perfect complement to the city it represents.
Choose A Unique Brand Ambassador
Sometimes a brand takes months or even years to develop, and sometimes a brand ambassador just falls into your lap. By taking advantage of 2 “awww”-inducing photos that went viral on social media, Scotland and Banff National Park capitalized on the attention by embracing their unlikely new brand ambassadors.
Photo from: National Geographic
The Banff Squirrel won the job of the world’s first spokes-squirrel by successfully photobombing a visitor’s snapshot. After the photo was posted on National Geographic’s website, it went viral. Those few days of exposure could have been the end, but Banff Lake Louise Tourism astutely seized on the opportunity and welcomed the photo-bombing squirrel into their brand.
It has been a huge success. Banff Squirrel now has over 13,000 twitter followers. While the tweets are hilarious, they also serve as a practical way to interact with visitors and promote Banff.
Scotland Shetland Ponies
No single image has ever made me want to visit a destination as much as Visit Scotland’s photograph of Shetland ponies in cardigans. Launched as part of the Year of Natural Scotland, it’s no surprised that these sweater-loving ponies went viral. One should never underestimate the brand power of cute animals.
Photo from: Visit Scotland
The ponies have become the unofficial mascots of Scotland and they have been used to help promote Natural Scotland on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. They’ve even inspired a few new Visit Scotland videos. We would love to see the shetland ponies make even more appearances in Scotland’s branding – perhaps as official mascots!
Explain Your Brand
Australia, along with their neighbor country New Zealand, has long been the gold standard of destination branding and marketing. One reason Australia continually rises to the top is their deep understanding of their brand and the time they spend explaining their brand to industry partners. They basically have an entire brand just to represent their brand. By bringing their brand to life for tour operators and other travel trade experts, Australia continues to grow their brand from the inside out. It’s not enough to just have a brand – you have to know how to promote it and communicate about it.
Keep it Simple
Going back to our earlier question, how do you capture an entire destination in one cohesive brand? One answer is to develop a broad destination brand that can be adapted to represent the many different experiences within a destination. A narrow brand may have a strong message, but it’s limited meaning will ultimately hinder it’s long-term potential.
Sometimes, less is more. Incredible India may not be the most unique destination slogan, but its straightforward message has been wonderfully adapted to showcase India. We especially love their beautiful print ads that use India’s landscape to complete the exclamation point in their logo. With images this striking, why not let the photographs do the talking?
Namibia Endless Horizons
We might be a little (ok, a lot) bias on this one, but Namibia: Endless Horizons does a great job of highlighting Namibia’s expansive landscapes with a straightfoward, image-focused brand. “Endless horizons” conjures up visions of vast skylines and open spaces – exactly what you’ll find in Namibia. It’s a place where you can experience nature uninterrupted and find a new beginning on your own endless horizon.
Interested in learning more about destination branding? Check out our tourism branding resources.