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Brand Image and Brand Personality in Tourism - Critical review Assessment Answers

January 04, 2018
Author : Julia Miles

Solution Code: 1IGC

Question:

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Viewpoint is the discussion of your area of interest. In the same way as a journal article has a discussion by the author, so in this assessment, students will use the viewpoint to develop a discussion of their area of interest.

  1. demonstrate through application, an understanding and knowledge of issues that result in benefits and problems in tourism and hospitality???
  2. evaluate and apply appropriate theories and concepts to the meaning and philosophy of tourism and hospitality issues???critically interpret how tourism and hospitality social practices interact with political, economic, cultural, natural and/or technological environments and systems

    evaluate and apply appropriate theories and concepts to the meaning and philosophy of tourism and hospitality issues.

  3. ???critically interpret how tourism and hospitality social practices interact with political, economic, cultural, natural and/or technological environments and systems

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Solution:

Introduction

A brand is a very crucial part of marketing, may it be business, product or some place. Theoretically speaking creation of a brand includes choosing an appropriate name for the venture, a logo to give unique identity, specific symbols, designing and packaging, etc. However in actual, a brand is much more than just a unique logo or distinct symbol. It is the impression of the product or service that is perceived by a client when he/she hears the name of the associated brand. Thus, it includes both tangible and intangible elements. It forms the basis on which one product appears different from the other. So, a brand in it accommodates all the features that must come to a person’s mind when thinking about it. The approach of establishing brands is know from decades, but use of brands in tourism for destinations is a relatively new process. The increasing competition in the field of tourism has led to the use of branding approach to impart uniqueness to the product to each marketer, i.e. their place or destination. Similar to the way various products and services are marketed using branding approach, tourism marketers are also making brands for their destinations to convey a message of their choice to the customers and helping them choose their service.

A strategy involving the use of destination image and destination personality is being adopted by the tourism market to create a unique brand for their destination and compete with the others in their field (Ekinci & Hosany, 2006, Usakli & Baloglu, 2011). The construction of brand helps in building an emotional relationship between the costumer and the destination he or she has visited. This works as a key to differentiate the destinations (Morgan & Pritchard, 2004). Here in destination branding attempt is required to establish a healthy relationship between destinations and tourists, which can be achieved mainly by fulfilling first their basic needs like eating and drinking and then their emotive needs that includes visit to beautiful places that are relaxing for mind, body and soul (Ekinci, 2003).

I agree with many authors who state that destination image and personality are two different concepts but are related to each other (Hosany et al., 2006). Destination image basically encompasses subjective knowledge of a destination. For example the beauty of the place, development (whether rural or urban), economic status (expensive or cheap), prevailing weather, etc. (Ekinci, 2003). However, on the other hand destination personality, also known as brand personality describes the destination in context of human personality traits like whether it is innovative, attention-grabbing, exhilarating, or friendly.

Destination image

The definition of destination image revolves around the beliefs, ideas and impressions of the destination carried by the tourist. It is generally thought to be composed of three main dimensions, which include cognitive, affective and conative construct. The cognitive construct deals with the physical characteristics of the place, affective components refers to the feelings one holds for the cognitive features and the adjoining environment and lastly the conative component is similar to behavior, emerging from both cognitive and affective components (Chen & Phou, 2013).

Destination personality

Brand personality, different from brand image can be defined as a collection of hominoid characteristics associated with any brand. It was first conceptualizes by Aekar in 1997 (Aaker, 1997). He abstracted five trait dimensions for brand personality, which includes sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness. Based on this abstraction Ekinci and Hosany in 2006 applied the same concept in tourism as destination personality. They found that three out of those five dimensions worked effectively in tourism as well. These were sincerity, excitement and conviviality (Ekinci & Hosany, 2006). The idea of destination personality is being applied on regular basis to portray tourism destinations, and how it helps in developing differentiation between these various brands (Chen & Phou, 2013).

Relationship between destination image and destination personality

As mentioned before, though different these two concepts are related to each other. There are many scholarly propositions that have come up over the years. Some authors are not even clear about the difference between the terms destination brand and destination personality and often use the them interchangeably (Graeff, 1997, Patterson, 1999). According to Kapferer (1997) personality and self-image come under brand identity, which includes physical, relationship, reflection and cultural dimensions (Kapferer, 1997). Another view presented by Biel (1993) reflects brand image as a collection of traits and associations through which a consumer connects to that brand. According to him personality of a brand specifies the soft emotional side of any brand image (Biel, 1993). These studies lacked empirical evidence and were based on poor concepts and hence hampered the progress in establishing a correlation between destination image and personality. But one thing that was clear was that there were sufficient indications that supported the fact that personality traits accredited to a destination do leave a positive impact on brand image of the destination, associated perceptions and future behavior (Crockett et al., 2002, Ekinci & Hosany, 2006, Murphy et al., 2007). In 2006 Hosany et al. made attempt to investigate the relationship between the two terms using an empirical approach. They showed that both are related but brand/destination image encompasses brand/destination personality. They found that their findings were partially in accordance with what was proposed by Plummer (1985) and Patterson (1999). Their work also partially supported the applicability of five dimensional model of Aaker's. They showed that personality traits for destination play a vital role in helping a consumer to evaluate the tourism destination. They suggested that destination marketers should design promotional campaigns in a way that they accentuate the distinguishing personality of their tourism destination. They can choose the personality traits depending upon the emotional components of destination image so that people feel directly connected to the place. The three components of personality which can be used for impactful impression includes sincerity, excitement and conviviality and create a favorable image (Hosany et al., 2006). Though the scope of the study was limited, it still contributes significantly to the understanding of the connection between destination image and its personality. Another recent study indicates that tourists relate to destinations using personality characteristics. They also showed that destination image is the foremost antecedent of destination personality (Chen & Phou, 2013).

Conclusion

As many places across the world are source of attraction for tourists, concern for branding these destinations has increased rapidly. Marketers are really trying hard to develop and implement marketing strategies which could create or revive the image of the place and attract the interest of the local as well as foreign travellers. Thus, to bring new places which are not yet in the competition with the established tourist destinations branding is becoming crucial aspect of domestic and international tourism market. As tourism brings along with it many employment opportunities and help in retreating the economy of those places, the need for branding strategy is becoming even more popular. As seen above, many studies have confirmed the importance of destination image in choosing the place for travelling. It is shown to influence the demand associated aspects of any destination. Thus, simply promoting the functional benefits of a destination is no longer a good choice for offering destination tourism. Creation of a distinct brand image for the concerned destination is an intelligent move. The process of branding will depend upon the symbolic and emotional advantages of the place capable of capturing the attention of the travellers. Personality of a destination is identified as a core element in branding and further plays an essential role in deciding the brand image of the place. Personality basically incorporates consumers’ opinion of a brand in terms of human traits and deal with the emotional component of destination brand image. Though significant research is being carried out to establish a relation between destination brand image and personality, a still more needs to be elucidated to help in the formulation of tourism promotional strategies. Some of the questions include – 1) Does the travellers experience at the destination changes the personality of the destination, thereby affecting its brand image? 2) Do local people have different perception of destination’s personality in comparison to the tourists visiting there? Answer to these questions can thus help a great deal in deciding upon the promotion of tourist places.

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