Marketing and Branding for Cities and Nations
    Category: Column By : Hermawan Kartajaya Read : 289 Date : Thursday, March 01, 2018 - 23:00:29

    It has been many years since I worked with the Indonesia Tourism Ministry to support the Wonderful Indonesia campaign, a task now headed by my long-time friend and current tourism minister Arief Yahya. Tourism is a tool to improve trade and investment in any country, generally known as TTI. In a keynote address I will deliver in May 2018 in Singapore at the City Nation Place Asia Pacific 2018 conference, I will talk on the topic of “Marketing and Branding – How are They Evolving” and what it means for city and country brands.

    The City Nation Place Asia Pacific 2018 event is sponsored by Bloom Consulting, a nation branding consultancy from Madrid. Bloom Consulting’s Country Brand Ranking Report for Tourism and Trade measures the effectiveness of a country’s brand in attracting tourists and trade. Its research complements the concepts of Marketing 3.0 and Marketing 4.0, taken from my books co-authored with Philip Kotler and MarkPlus Chief Operating Officer Iwan Setiawan.

    Brand as value creator

    A brand is considered a value indicator—and this holds true for a city, region or country. When a brand is strengthened, it automatically bolsters economic performance. For example, if the Wonderful Indonesia campaign strengthens Indonesia’s brand, it is reflected in improving GDP, tourist arrivals, FDI inflows and trading surpluses.

    Human-Centric Marketing

    In Marketing 3.0, marketing is transforming from being product-centric (Marketing 1.0) to customer-centric (Marketing 2.0) and now to a human-centric era (Marketing 3.0). The attractions of a city or nation are its tourism products. With product-centric Marketing 1.0, national tourism organizations (NTOs) should use product management to make their destinations more attractive. Customer management (Marketing 2.0) makes sure customers (tourists) have access to amenities and information at a destination. Finally, Marketing 3.0 tries to understand their needs and anxieties. Bloom Consulting’s concepts on Digital Demand© and Country Brand Strategy© have similar strategies.

    Brand advocacy

    With digitally driven Marketing 4.0, brands must touch customers’ hearts, minds, and spirits. Traditionally, brand equity is measured by loyalty, but a better measure might be “advocacy”—do customers recommend your brands? Bloom calls this “‘online performance”—social media performance including “likes” and “follows.”

    Country or city brands must transform too! The more online tourism-related searches, the more appealing the country brand. City and nation brands must have more content marketing to create brand conversations, and omni-channel marketing for stronger brand commitment. It is not just high tech but high touch also! High tech without the human touch cannot succeed—a paradox of the digital age. Ultimately, it is all about a WOW experience. In Marketing 4.0, a WOW experience is surprising, personal and contagious. A nation or city brand should deliver a WOW experience to tourists, travellers and investors. From WOW to NOW!