Destination Branding- How does it Work

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on December 01, 2011

‘Incredible India’, ‘God’s own country’, ‘Heart of Incredible India’, ‘I love NY’…. and the list goes on and on. If you are still haven’t figured it out, we are talking about destinations that have carved a niche for themselves and have become very strong brands over a period of time. This process does not happen overnight but involves a lot of efforts and smart thinking. Before going into that, let us look at the importance of destination branding and its relevance today.

Destination Branding

Why destination branding- Today, we live in the age of globalization wherein, we are closer to each other more than ever before. With globalisation, the tourism industry has seen a sea of change and has undergone dramatic transformation. Today a consumer is ready to loosen his purse strings and splurge on holiday destinations. Not only that, with medical tourism, business tourism etc. gaining importance, it has become imperative for a destination to differentiate itself and communicate its offerings to the consumers in order to become the destination of choice and be frequented by visitors.

Gods own countryNew_York

Incredible India

How do you brand a place- Like all branding exercises, one of the most important elements in destination branding is provide a superior product. The product in this case being the place itself. It is very essential to have good facilities (Roads, transport and communication, hospitality etc.)for tourists visiting the destination.


Globalisation and the new opportunities in tourism make place branding a very important exercise to remain competitive.


Infrastructure development remains an important element of destination branding.

Apart from this, there are various elements involved in destination branding. The key ones being

  • Analyse the key offerings- Every destination has something to offer to the visitors. An audit of the place should be done and the key assets of the destination should be analysed. These are the core strengths of the place and will form the base of our branding activity. E.g. Goa is very famous for its beaches, the core strength of India as a destination is its cultural and regional diversity, Tirumala is famous for Sri Venkateshwara Temple.
  • BeachTemple

           Every destination has some core brand assets.

  • Segmentation analysis- Based on the offerings, every location will cater to a specific target segment, it is very essential to locate the appropriate target segment and understand that segment very well. Any mistake at this step could possibly spell doom for the brand. E.g. Goa would attract teenagers and young adults i.e. age group of 15-30, Hardwar being a religious destination would cater mainly to elderly people i.e. age group of 45 and above.
  • Competitor Analysis- As with every product and service, most of the places have competitors in the form of other destinations possessing similar assets and offerings. A thorough analysis of the competitors needs to be done in order to ensure that the brands are not confused and each have their separate identities.
  • Consumer Perception Analysis- In depth analysis of consumer perceptions of the location should be done through surveys and interviews. It can lead to some shocking results and can even change the way we would want to portray the brand.
  • Integrated Marketing Communication- Keeping above issues in mind, an IMC campaign needs to be prepared and implemented successfully. It is very important to be creative and different while executing the campaign. All the brand assets should be portrayed in a beautiful manner which would make people want to go to the location and experience it for themselves.
  • Monitor the campaign- The job does not end with implementing the campaign. It is equally important to monitor the response to the campaign. Post implementation research should be conducted to gather information about the reaction, whether the campaign has been successful in achieving its purpose or has it failed miserably and confused the target segment. The campaign might take time to be successful and this has to be borne in mind while evaluating results. In case of any problems in the campaign, it should be refined in order to correct the problem areas.

Incredible India 2Incredible Incredible2

From focusing on physical aspects to emotional aspect, Incredible India campaign has evolved continuously.

Successful Destination Brands- Some very successful place brands include New York City ‘, ‘I  love NY’ campaign, Malaysia, ‘Malaysia truly Asia’ campaign, Sri Lanka, ’A Land like no other’ campaign etc. Some great Indian destination branding include ‘Incredible India’ Campaign, ‘God’s Own Country’ Campaign, ‘The Heart of Incredible India’ Campaign.



This article has been authored by Dipesh Jain from from NMIMS, Mumbai. These are the personal views of the author

Views expressed in the article are personal. The articles are for educational & academic purpose only, and have been uploaded by the MBA Skool Team.

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