An investigation into the internal brand strength of destination brands

Bregoli, Ilenia (2015) An investigation into the internal brand strength of destination brands. In: 5th International Colloquium on Place Brand Management (ICPBM) Governance and branding of destinations: Relationships and impacts for successful brands, 3 – 4 September 2015, Cogne, Aosta Valley (Italy).

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Over recent years, tourism destinations, similarly to products and services, have found themselves facing increasing competition from other destinations. As a consequence, destinations cannot succeed in this environment by competing just on the basis of their comparative advantages represented by the landscape, natural (e.g. mountains, lakes, seaside, etc.) features or human-made attractions (e.g. museums, castles, historic cities, etc.) etc. because these comparative advantages can be found in different destinations. On the contrary, the real source of competitive advantage is represented, nowadays, by intangible resources such as the local culture and the brand. The latter, in particular, is made up by two components: the tangible (e.g. the name, logo) and the intangible (e.g. the emotional and symbolic values) elements that together add up to a ‘promise’ of a unique experience (de Chernatony and Cottam, 2006).
The role of destination brands has been confirmed by research that demonstrates how the development of a brand allows tourism destinations to differentiate themselves from competitors (Beerli and Martin, 2004; García, Gómez and Molina, 2012). The importance of destination brands has been also confirmed by practitioners: nation brands (e.g. Incredible India and 100% Pure New Zealand) as well as region and city (e.g. I♥ NY; I Amsterdam; Glasgow: People make Glasgow) brands have been developed in order to promote the destination more effectively.
Not only practitioners, but also the academic community have been paying increasing attention to destination brands. For example, it is accepted that studies on destination brands started at the end of 1990s (Cai, 2002; Pike, 2005; Konecnik and Go, 2008) although one constitutive element of destination brands, the destination brand image has been studied since 1970s. However, the large majority of all these studies have focused on the demand side of the brand (i.e. the destination brand image) and therefore the supply-side perspective of destination brands needs to be further studied.
In particular, some scholars suggest that both perspectives should be taken into account to develop a more complete understanding of the destination brand (Cai, 2002; Konecnik and Go, 2008; Del Chiappa and Bregoli, 2012). With reference to the supply-side perspective, it has been argued that for a destination brand to be successful it is essential that all stakeholders working in the destination accept and support the destination brand (Ooi, 2004; Hankinson, 2004). In addition, a clear destination brand identity should be identified because it represents the core values that a destination wants to communicate. Moreover, a well established destination brand identity helps to guide the behaviour of stakeholders provided that they know the destination brand values, are committed to them and behave consistently with the brand values (Bregoli, 2013).
In order to assess the degree of commitment of stakeholders and the extent to which their behaviour supports the brand, the construct of “Internal Brand Strength” (Burmann and Zeplin, 2005), developed for product and services brands, could be applied to destinations. In its original formulation the Internal Brand Strength is made up of two dimensions: 1) Brand Commitment, a measure of how much employees within an organization are committed to the brand and believe in the brand values; and 2) Brand Citizenship Behaviour that assesses whether a company’s employees are behaving consistently with the brand values.
Accordingly, the aim of this research is to present the results of a pilot study to analyse the dimensions of Internal Brand Strength with reference to destination brands and to identify the factors that affect the Internal Brand Strength of destination brands.

Keywords:Destination brand, Internal brand strength
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N500 Marketing
N Business and Administrative studies > N800 Tourism, Transport and Travel
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:18916
Deposited On:07 Oct 2015 11:35

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