Country branding: how to attract a tourist

Country branding: how to attract a tourist

How much branding of a country or city can increase the attractiveness of a destination for tourists, says Igor Blagodarskiy, senior strategist at the Moscow office of Landor.

Of course, the country's brand is created with the aim of attracting tourists. But in addition to it, a number of factors affect the increase in the number of tourists: the country's remoteness, the level of security, the presence of a developed infrastructure, the number of major events held and many others.

There is no universal formula for creating a country brand that would help attract a certain percentage of tourists to the country, emphasizes Igor Blagodarsky. In each case, brand promotion is supported by real changes in the country.

Iceland is one example. Since the 2010s, it has experienced a tourism boom with double-digit annual tourist growth. The concept of a country brand is a proposal to be inspired by a unique and mysterious lifestyle. This message was actively promoted on social networks and on YouTube. The brand's communications initiative was so contagious that the Iceland Academy series of commercials launched a wave of others already created by the Icelanders themselves. As a result, the country, which was previously associated with ice and a volcano with a difficult to pronounce name, has become one of the most popular destinations for travelers from Europe and North America, and the annual GDP per capita has grown in 9 years from 5,000 to 45,000 dollars.

Among the countries of the former USSR, perhaps the most interesting example is Georgia. It attracted the attention of tourists from European countries and reactivated the flow of tourists from Russia. According to open data, the contribution of tourism to the country's GDP today is 18%.

By the way, a city can also be a brand. In 2010, our agency developed the Melbourne brand that presented the city as the creative and progressive capital of Australia. After two years of brand promotion, the city's GDP grew by 10% to $ 56.8 billion, and revenues from external tourism - by 5% (to $ 3.4 billion).

Recently we presented the idea of ​​a new brand of Azerbaijan - “Look in a new way”. The visual identity of the brand consists of two figures that together form an icon stylized as a capital letter "a" symbolizing Azerbaijan.

The brand book itself is not the goal of any branding project. The brand book only formalizes all the strategic and conceptual developments and solutions within the project, and their list depends on the tasks at hand.

When developing the positioning of a tourist destination, special attention is paid to the target audience and the opportunities that this country already has. I'm talking about infrastructure, human resources, cultural attractions, business opportunities, transport accessibility.

It is also worth noting that the brand's work for internal audiences plays almost a major role. It is the residents of the country and companies (working in the field of tourism and outside it) who will create the impressions that the country's brand promises to its guests. The brand should inspire local residents who will further help spread a positive image around the world.

Meet the deadlines. We started work on the project in July and knew that on November 5th the brand should be presented to the general public at the World Travel Market in London. Taking into account the rather tight timing, we have built our processes so that time does not affect quality. For this, our team of experts from different countries (including potential markets of Azerbaijan) worked intensively on the territory of Azerbaijan. In addition, the client's team assisted us in the work processes and brilliantly organized our trip to the country.

We were able in a fairly short time to study the historical and cultural background of the country, the thinking and way of life of people, the vision of the future, the opportunity to stand out in a competitive environment. Thanks to this, we have created a truly strong and trustworthy positioning idea and a bright and vibrant brand.

Hospitality, diversity and centuries-old culture are not unique benefits in themselves. The uniqueness lies in the details and nuances about which you can have a long separate conversation. And the mission of the Azerbaijan brand is to give guests a taste of these details, and for the country's residents to do everything to make them proud of them.

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