This paper aims to explore the complexities of engaging with local stakeholders in destination branding. As the main creators and drivers of the destination brand, many brand authorities metaphorically “give ownership” of the brand to local stakeholders, for them to “take ownership” of it. This paper examines the inherent challenges of this process. In the Tasmanian destination branding process presented here, the Tasmanian authorities used best practices to generate a sense of ownership of the destination brand among local tourism businesses. Some players engaged, but many did not. The study shows the necessity to understand the dynamics between giving ownership of the brand and the various local tourism business stakeholders actually taking ownership.
This study looks at an Australian destination branding experience, namely, Tasmania’s “Go Behind the Scenery”. Primary data were gathered through 14 in-depth interviews with tourism operators, selected through a purposive sampling approach, based on their various levels of participation in the branding processes. The interviews aimed to understand how they variously engaged with the brand and processes of ownership.
This study shows that a relatively open interpretation of the brand can welcome wider engagement and generate a sense of ownership through the local businesses’ own interpretations. But there are also barriers for these stakeholders in developing an even stronger sense of ownership. They need more support in addressing their individual circumstance before the brand can align with their business.
This paper accentuates an ownership gap, understood as the gap between giving ownership (mechanisms to transfer ownership from brand authorities to stakeholders) and taking ownership (stakeholders assume responsibility for and manifest the brand). In identifying a gap between these two aspects of engagement, this paper initiates a more nuanced discussion on the mechanisms of stakeholder engagement in the branding process.
Tøttenborg, A., Ooi, C.-S. and Hardy, A. (2022), "Giving and taking ownership of a destination brand: mechanisms of stakeholder engagement", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 511-532. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-12-2020-0124
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