Title page for ETD etd-09242009-225847


Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Ndlovu, Joram
URN etd-09242009-225847
Document Title Branding as a strategic tool to reposition a destination : a survey of key tourism stakeholders in Zimbabwe
Degree PhD
Department Tourism Management
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof E T Heath Supervisor
Keywords
  • market segmentation
  • destination marketing
  • positioning
  • destination branding
  • image
  • brand equity
  • competitiveness
  • brand communication
  • brand identity
Date 2009-09-01
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
The main purpose of this study was to develop a destination branding and positioning framework, with particular reference to the Zimbabwean experience. The theoretical underpinnings and concepts used in this study were destination marketing, destination branding and positioning, image and destination competitiveness.

To provide a strategic context to the study, branding as a key element of destination marketing was clarified; the strategic role of branding /re-branding in the positioning/repositioning of a destination was outlined; international trends and best practices in branding and positioning were evaluated; and the destination marketing situation in Zimbabwe, with particular emphasis on the status of branding and positioning, was determined.

To determine key stakeholder attitudes, experiences and expectations regarding the branding and positioning of Zimbabwe as a tourism destination, a stakeholder survey was carried out during 2006 and 2007. Stakeholder groups included in the survey were key industry representative bodies, national tourism authorities, publicity associations, tour operators and airlines flying into Zimbabwe.

The study concludes that the concept of branding has varied interpretations in destination marketing. While branding can be used as a strategic tool to reposition a destination, the study notes that there are a number of non-tourism factors which can erode brand equity rendering a destination brand obsolete. It observes that unless and until these non-tourism factors are addressed the destination brand may not perform optimally. Any destination that needs to re-brand has to deal with the image issues before any meaningful re-branding activities can take place. The consistent use of well focused promotional and public diplomacy strategies as well as proactive crisis management should be used to pull the destination from its negative equity.

A key outcome of the study is a strategic framework for branding and positioning a destination in crisis. It sets out guidelines for the stakeholders on how to implement the branding process. In addition, the framework adds value to destination marketing since it can be applied as a frame of reference in understanding the complexities of destination branding. While the framework has been developed in a Zimbabwean context, it can be applied to other destinations which have a need to brand or re-brand.

An integrated marketing and communication strategy is recommended since branding alone may not yield positive results under a crisis situation. At the same time the destination needs to address political and economic issues, design strategies that can bring together all the stakeholders, while encouraging alliances and joint ventures among tourism operators. The study contributes to the existing body of knowledge regarding destination marketing, particularly destination branding.

2009, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Ndlovu, J 2009, Branding as a strategic tool to reposition a destination : a survey of key tourism stakeholders in Zimbabwe, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09242009-225847/ >

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