Over the past decade the TDM team has been advocating that DMOs must assume a much greater brand management role. As the DestinationNEXT Report now confirms, DMO will need to be even more customer-focused and experience-oriented, and assume an even greater leadership role within their community as advocates for visitors. In short, they must adopt a brand leadership role that goes beyond that of being the city’s marketing communications agency and become the community’s brand manager.
With myriad organizations possibly communicating about their city in a random and unfocused manner, there is an increasing need to protect and actively manage the city’s identity and reputation. They need to also mobilize citizens to become positive advocates for their community through social media. DMOs have an important and unique role to play in unifying stakeholders and partners behind the brand to ensure that there is a consistent message, no matter who is communicating. While marketing budgets may be declining in some cases, there is the need to optimize the opportunities to be gained from getting everyone singing from the same song sheet.
Without the leadership of the DMO, most cities will be leaving their image and reputation to be shaped by the media, competitors, bloggers and others – and to its disadvantage. A city’s good name and reputation are its most valuable assets. Therefore, protecting and managing it's image should be the DMOs central mission because this is a role that cannot be adopted by any other organization.
But first, the DMO and the city must recognize the value of a branded approach – and realize that it involves much more than a snappy new logo and tagline.
Produced by: Total Destination Marketing
Best Selling Book: Destination Branding for Small Cities