This is the fifth in a series of posts in response to the predictions by some that branding, and specifically the branding of cities, is obsolete because of the disruptive qualities of digital media and that this also means there will be no future role for DMOs.
Product, service and experience delivery are frequently missing from many destination branding strategies, however, in future their inclusion will be essential to ensure that the place and its DMO remain relevant and competitive. They are also the foundation for establishing and expanding the local economy. This need hasn’t changed with the influence of digital, except that there are more channels available to connect with the customer and enhance their experiences.
Wherever visitors are in contact with the destination, the encounters must, to the greatest extent possible, be aligned with its brand promise. DMOs must orchestrate this through their collaboration with government, non-profit and business partners. There can be no gaps between expectations and the reality of the place. Delivering outstanding experiences is more important than ever. A bad experience will spread like wildfire and negatively impact your brand. Without DMO leadership, who will monitor the experiences and expectations?
So much commentary regarding social and digital media speaks of customer-focus and relevance, however they seem to be speaking primarily in terms of communication and not in regard to delivering the core experiences that the place stands for. These same principles should be applied to product development and experience delivery. Given the transparency and depth of information available to consumers, the investment in quality experiences to stimulate positive word of mouth and increased media exposure has never been more acute. The days of boosterism, over-promising and under-delivering have long gone for places that want to establish sustainable brands.