From destination image building to
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a detailed description of the various activities and
processes undertaken by a particular national tourism organization (NTO) in carrying out its goal of
developing a destination brand.
Design/methodology/approach – A single qualitative case study is primarily employed, though the
study draws on data from multiple sources of information.
Findings – The study afﬁrms the co-creation and stakeholder viewpoints from having modeled the
branding process and outlining the complex interaction of destination-branding activities in the
country-level context. The study provides a critical discussion of the different approaches to branding,
and the adoption of branding philosophies, in the destination context.
Research limitations/implications – Though this paper is based on a single country case study, it
provides a strong and empirically grounded framework for identifying, in-depth, several key destination
branding processes and activities in great detail.
Originality/value – The co-creation view of brands and branding is a neglected area in
destination-branding literature. Destination-branding research, in particular, lacks grounded models
that profoundly describe branding activities. This study contributes to the lack of empirically grounded
knowledge of destination branding.
Keywords Brand identity, Destination image building, Destination branding, Country branding,
Paper type Case study
The general branding literature is fragmented and lacks a model that describes brand
building activities of the company (Wallstro
m et al., 2008). Destination branding research, in
particular, is also in need of models that profoundly describe branding activities. In his review
of the ﬁeld, Pike (2009) identiﬁes three notable research streams in destination branding:
1. destination brand identity development;
2. destination brand positioning; and
3. destination brand equity measurement and tracking.
However, he states that all of these areas are deﬁcient in providing in-depth analysis of
Some recent attempts to develop frameworks for destination brand management or
destination branding, however, occur, stress that destination branding has special features
that have to be understood. These views also suggest that corporate branding and service
branding approaches have important and useful similarities with destination branding
(Hankinson, 2007, 2009; Saraniemi, 2009). Recently, emerging streams in general marketing
and branding literature recognize that companies and their stakeholders co-create value
DOI 10.1108/17506181111156943 VOL. 5 NO. 3 2011, pp. 247-254, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1750-6182
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CULTURE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY RESEARCH
Saila Saraniemi is a
Lecturer in the Department
of Marketing at the
University of Oulu, Oulu,
Received: June 2009
Revised: February 2010
Accepted: May 2010
The author would like to
acknowledge Professor Raija
Komppula for her guidance
throughout the development of
the related dissertation