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Destination Branding-The Unique Destination Proposition Creation: Mediterranean as it should be

Destination Branding-The Unique Destination Proposition Creation: Mediterranean as it should be

Destination branding is more than an image-building campaign: it requires a long term commitment and it has to synergize with different influential stakeholders both in the creation process as well as in brand implementation. The latest literature argues that the truly powerful destination brands are linked with internal stakeholders having a clear idea what their destination represents and how it differs from other destinations. Some argue that a country can never be branded in traditional corporate sense, but one can work on destination reputation management and advertise its resources, specifics and unique propositions. A strong brand provides added value and brings a powerful identity benefit, it drives consumers’ behavior and influences their perception of reality, at the same time creating trust and possible relationships with the brands’ origin and finally increasing positive expectations that result in positive economic impact. For a long time Croatian tourism offer has been a somewhat basic and superficial exploration of natural resources and concept of “sea, sun, sand” known also as the “3s” or the “Sea&Sun” concept. Also, Croatian offer neglected the potential of Croatian specific and authentic products and services (e.g. food and drinks). In other words, for a long time there has be no long term institutional and national consensus on destination branding strategy and unique direction Croatia should follow in order to position itself on the market. Some things have changed for the better during the last few years, but even more has to be done. The aim of the paper is to explore Croatia beyond its Mediterranean destination image, and as a modern destination brand with significant tourism potential, as well as to point out and strategize already existing positive associations which should be the foundation to build upon in order to boost attractiveness and subsequently investments to the country. The research objective is to analyze Croatian tourism situation and its prospects and suggest ways in which Croatia can adopt strategic integrated marketing communication in order to manage its reputation and unique proposition thus moving from the present ‘Mediterranean as it once was’ concept and upgrading its offer into ‘Mediterranean as it should be’ focusing on its future potential. Additionally, paper argues that Croatia and its destination branding strategy need to ‘catch the train’ of demographic change and lifestyles of modern consumers.

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