Our brand at the forefront

2015-04-30 15:00

TOURISM branding around South Africa can be a bit of a quagmire if one looks into the various hierarchies that exist. We have national, provincial, city, regional and in many instances local government brands to consider.

Being a believer in Keep It Simple Stupid (Kiss) method, to me the most effective brand alignment should be towards what the consumer usually refers to when going on holiday or to a destination.

When asked where people are going for a holiday in KZN more often than not they will say “the Drakensberg” or “South Coast” depending on their broader geographic preference. A secondary tier of response may be “Scottburgh” or “Margate” or “Oribi Gorge” which indicates a more precise location.

Our marketing mandate is to firstly promote the greater South Coast through our brand and within that context, profile geographic areas that one finds in the nine routes of the Southern Explorer.

The South Coast is a strong and recognisable brand and at every opportunity we forefront the brand within our marketing tools and communications avenues. Recently we have encouraged event promoters we support to where practical (e.g. forthcoming South Coast Lions Show) include our brand within the naming of a particular event. This approach assists us in creating more brand loyalty and awareness.

In certain destination areas of the province, municipal brands have been adopted which in some respects confuses the tourism brand presence given that tourism does not comply with geo-political boundaries and as a result, often visitors are less likely to identify with such unfamiliar brands.

What is tricky for us is that many potential tourists identify places like Amanzimtoti and Kingsburgh (part of Durban) as the South Coast so when we go to promotional events, we emphasise that our area goes from Scottburgh, the gateway, all the way to Port Edward and inland for about an hour.

This is a large tourism area and given the levels of brand awareness already explained, the best and most effective hook we can present is the South Coast brand. It is easily recognisable, repeatable and presentable.

For those who have a strong affiliation and pride in our South Coast we have produced car stickers that are colourful and eye-catching. Our visitor information centres have a number for the public to have for free as part of our Sunny and Safe Campaign - every ambassador for our brand will be valued and with car stickers to have a good exposure shelf life.

Have a wonderful week in paradise

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