What is South Australia’s tourism brand?

As Kevin Keller[1] has argued brand equity resides in the mind of the consumer. Under Keller’s model  brand equity consists of brand salience, or the likelihood of consideration across situations and contexts, and brand attitude, or the beliefs about the brand held by consumers. While a destination may offer a range of experiences, the potential to change perceptions is limited and destination marketers should work within existing structures to achieve their objectives.

The competitive positioning of South Australia has been tracked in the past and the proportion of eastern seaboard residents associating SA with a set of image based attributes is summarised below[2].

A dashboard with these results specified against the other States and Territories can be accessed by clicking the following link: SA Tourism Brand

South Australia’s Destination Image

In his review of best practice in destination marketing George Whitfield[3]  concludes that “Failure to focus on a primary audience with a distinctive brand promise often results in a ‘me-too’, watered-down, committee-designed brand proposition that fails to differentiate and squanders resources” . It is argued that destination marketers should compete on the basis of attributes that represent the ‘core essence’ of the brand and a clear point of difference from competitors.

The experiences associated with South Australia by eastern seaboard consumers are primarily wine & food, followed by festivals & events and arts & entertainment. These attributes have sometimes been construed as a ‘lifestyle’ or ‘good-living’ positioning and communication strategies have been constructed at various times in the past to reflect this.

Internationally there are a number of destinations associated with ‘good-living’ and their attributes include wine production; opportunities to sample, learn about and purchase wine; distinctive regional cuisine and culture; relaxing climate; natural beauty; heritage architecture and luxury B&B accommodation. Whilst wine may be the primary association, the overall attraction is the result of the interaction of these various factors.

Brand Salience

While some might argue for a differentiated positioning consumers travel for a range of reasons and under a variety of circumstances. An alternative to a differentiated positioning strategy is a salience strategy under which the objective of branding is to ensure that a destination will be considered across a range of situations and motivational contexts. Under a salience strategy it is more important that consumers know something about you than it is to be liked or loved.

The chart below is derived from an academic research project ([4]) and specifies the proportion of consumers evoking Adelaide as a travel destination in response to a number of situational and motivational cues. The research was conducted in a competitive context against other Australian cities and further information in this regard is provided in the dashboard referred to above.

Recall of Adelaide in Response to Motivational and Situational Context

Of the prompts used Adelaide was most likely to be recalled in response to a driving holiday, a place where the visitor could relax and a place where they could indulge their senses.

The research found that for a category of domestic travel intention was explained primarily on the basis of a measure of brand salience – as opposed to a measure of destination image.

 [1] Keller, K 1993, ‘Conceptualising, measuring and managing customer-based brand equity’,  Journal of Marketing, vol. 57, no. 1, pp. 1-22.

[2] SA Tourism Commission. SA Tourism Plan, 2003 – 2008.

[3] George Whitfield, 2005. Mountains don’t smile back. DMO World Destination Branding Master Class.

[4] Trembath, R., Romaniuk, J. and Lockshin, L.  Building the Destination Brand: An Empirical Comparison of Two Approaches. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, 28, 804–816, 2011 .