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Destination  brand  positions  of  a  competitive  set  of  near-­‐home  destinations.

Pike,  Steven  (2008)  
Reflection  of  the  findings  of  the  article  mentioned  above  and  critical  discussion  of  the  current  
state  of  art  of  destination  branding  written  by  Lisa  Hammertinger  
In  his  paper  from  the  year  2008,  Steven  Pike  states  that  it  is  very  important  for  destinations  
to   differentiate   themselves.   Competition   is   getting   stronger   and   stronger   and   many   places  
offer   similar   things   to   visitors,   which   makes   them   substitutable.   He   also   mentions   various  
advantages   that   branding   can   bring   for   destinations,   like   an   increased   purchase   intent   of  
potential   visitors,   increased   sales   or   even   a   higher   customer   loyalty.   The   literature   review   of  
the   article   shows,   that   there   is   only   a   limited   number   of   papers   on   the   topic   of   branding  
existing:   74   from   1998   on.   Most   of   the   papers   focus   on   brand   strategy   development.   The  
literature   review   was   the   basis   for   a   very   valuable   part   of   this   paper,   namely   the   nine  
potential   research   gaps   that   were   identified.   These   gaps   include   various   different  
perspectives  of  the  branding  issue,  like  destination  umbrella  strategies  and  whether  they  are  
successful   or   not.   Another   interesting   research   gap   constitutes   the   question   if   the   local  
residents  of  a  branded  destination  agree  with  the  ‘brand  identity’  and  if  they  consider  it  to  
be  truthful  or  not.  Pike  stated,  that  some  research  on  branding  found  out,  that  brand  slogans  
and  logos  many  times  don’t  effectively  differentiate  destinations  from  others,  and  that  the  
promotion   of   destinations   has   seen   not   many   creative   ideas   in   general.   Various   other  
potential  research  gaps  are  pointed  out  and  suggested  for  further  research  by  Pike,  like  the  
question   to   what   extent   one   certain   brand   is   suitable   for   different   target   groups   or   how  
customer   relationship   marketing   can   be   included   in   strategies   or   how   visitor   relationship  
marketing  can  be  implemented  in  a  destination.  The  research  conducted  by  Pike  included  a  
measurement   of   brand   performance   and   it’s   effectiveness   over   a   period   of   four   years.   He  
adopted  a  customer-­‐based  brand  equity  approach  –  a  concept  that  became  interesting  as  a  
measurement   for   brand   performance   by   that   time   around   2008.   It   is   about   market  
perceptions  and  is  able  to  link  future  performance  to  past  marketing  efforts.  The  concept  is  
based  on  hierarchy,  whereas  brand  salience  is  at  the  foundation.  The  question  is  if  the  brand  
is   even   present   in   the   target   groups’   minds.   Then,   brand   associations   are   part   of   the  
hierarchy,   whereat   destination   image   is   often   mentioned   in   tourism   literature.   At   the   top   of  
the  hierarchy  stands  brand  loyalty.  Brand  salience  showed  only  little  change  in  preferences  
over   the   years,   which   suggests   that   a   destination   that   is   not   in   people’s   mind   or   decision   set  

is   not   very   likely   to   be   elected   in   the   short   term.   The   brand   associations   showed   no   big  
changes  over  the  years  either,  but  anyway  showed  some  clear  associations  in  general  that  
visitors   have   with   the   specific   destinations.   This   knowledge   is   valuable   when   it   comes   to  
deciding   on   what   the   brand   of   a   destination   should   focus   on,   as   it   is   according   to   Pike   highly  
recommendable  to  reinforce  the  aspects  for  which  the  destination  is  perceived  positively  for  
in  people’s  minds.  Financial  aspects  should  be  considered  as  well  when  it  comes  to  branding.  
First  of  all,  Pike  mentions  the  issue  of  potential  additional  revenues  from  brand  licensing  as  a  
gap  that  future  researchers  could  put  emphasis  on.  On  the  other  hand,  introducing  a  brand  
to   a   destination   and   accordingly   rebranding   or   repositioning   strategies   cause   significant  
investment  in  resources  that  have  to  be  held  up  in  the  long  run.  Pike  states,  that  researchers  
should   be   very   careful   with   recommendations   on   the   use   of   these   strategies   for   DMOs,  
especially   when   their   resources   are   limited.   This   paper   is   a   very   valuable   contribution   to   the  
limited   portfolio   of   branding   research   as   it   provides   knowledge   about   the   possibility   to  
monitor   and   track   destination   brand   positions   over   a   period   of   time   and   also   points   out  
interesting  gaps  that  can  be  addressed  in  further  research  on  destination  branding.  As  the  
article   at   hand   was   published   six   years   ago,   the   following   paragraph   delivers   insight   into   the  
current  state  of  art  in  destination  branding.    
Very  interesting  at  this  point  is  a  paper  published  from  Pike  most  recently  in  2014,  where  the  
exact   same   study   was   conducted   again:   Brand   performance   of   the   same   five   destinations  
was  measured  this  time  between  2003  and  2012,  again  based  on  the  CBBE  (consumer-­‐based  
brand   equity).   The   results   showed,   that   the   visitor’s   perceptions   still   almost   didn’t   change  
over   the   10-­‐year   period.   Pike   himself   as   well   published   further   papers   on   some   of   the  
research   gaps   he   mentioned   in   his   article   from   2008   –   one   of   them   together   with   Samantha  
Murdy   (2011)   on   visitor   relationship   marketing   opportunities.   The   study   showed,   that  
destination   managers   consider   visitor   relationship   marketing   as   very   important,   but   the  
strategic   intent   by   DMOs   to   invest   in   it   is   limited.   Together   with   Mason   Russel   he   also  
published   a   paper   in   2011   on   the   competitiveness   of   destinations   with   regard   to   brand  
positioning.  In  a  study  published  in  2014  also  by  Pike,  Bianchi  and  Lings  the  CBBE  model  was  
used   as   a   tool   to   explore   attitudes   of   consumer’s   in   a   long-­‐haul   travel   context   and   was  
named   to   be   an   appropriate   model   for   researchers.   As   Pike   mentioned   in   his   article   from  
2008,   destination   branding   concerns   different   stakeholders.   Garcia,   Gomez   and   Molina  

(2012)   present   the   Success   Index   of   Triple-­‐Diamonds   for   the   measurement   of   a   destination’s  
branding   success   with   special   focus   on   different   stakeholders,   not   only   on   visitors’  
perceptions.   A   very   recent   publication   (Campelo   et   al.,   2014)   stresses   out   the   importance   of  
sense   of   place   when   it   comes   to   destination   branding.   It   focuses   on   the   importance   of  
positioning  the  habitants  of  place  at  the  center  of  a  branding  strategy  in  order  to  develop  a  
successful   and   effective   destination   brand.   Pike   and   Page   make   some   suggestions   in   a  
publication   on   destination   marketing   (2014)   for   further   research   on   destination   branding,  
like   that   there   is   still   not   much   literature   available   on   the   topic   of   modeling   destination  
brand  identity.  Another  issue  mentioned  by  them  that  would  benefit  from  further  research  
is  to  which  extent  a  slogan  is  effective  in  terms  of  meeting  customer  wants.  Also  they  state  
that  research  on  what  makes  a  destination  brand  slogan  successful  is  limited  altogether.  
Bianzi,   C./Pike,   S./Lings,   I.   (2013):   Investigating   attitudes   towards   three   South   American  
destinations  in  an  emerging  long  haul  market  using  a  model  of  consumer-­‐based  brand  equity  
(CBBE).  Tourism  Management  14,  pp.  214-­‐223  
Campelo,   A./Aitken,   R./Thyne,   M./Gnoth,   J.   (2014):   Sense   of   Place:   The   Importance   for  
Destination  Branding.  Journal  of  Travel  Research.  53(2),  pp.  154-­‐166  
Garcia,   J.A./Gomez,   M./Molina,   A.   (2012):   A   destination-­‐branding   model:   An   empirical  
analysis  based  on  stakeholders.  Tourism  Management  33(3),  pp.  646-­‐661  
Murdy,   S./Pike,   S.   (2011):   Perceptions   of   visitor   relationship   marketing   opportunities   by  
destination   marketers:   An   importance-­‐performance   analysis.   Tourism   Management   33,   pp.  
Pike,  S.  (2008):  Destination  brand  positions  of  a  competitive  set  of  near-­‐home  destinations.  
Tourism  Management  30,  pp.  857-­‐544  

Pike,   S.   (2014):   Destination   Brand   Performance   Measurement   Over   Time,   in   Woodside,  
A./Kozak,  M.  (ed.):  Tourists’  Perceptions  and  Assessments.  Advances  in  Culture,  Tourism  and  
Hospitality  Research,  Volume  8,  pp.  111-­‐120  
Pike,   S./Page,   S.J.   (2014):   Destination   Marketing   Organizations   and   destination   marketing:  
A  narrative  analysis  of  the  literature.  Tourism  Management  41,  pp.  202-­‐227  
Pike,   S./Russel,   M.   (2011):   Destination   competitiveness   through   the   lens   of   brand  
positioning:   the   case   of   Australia’s   Sunshine   Coast.   Current   Issues   in   Tourism   14(2),   pp.   169-­‐