Sail or not to sail? : How to use a ship as an event marketing tool to promote a country


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Sail or not to sail?

- How to use a ship as an event marketing tool to

promote a country







Dr. Joachim Timlon


Growth through Innovation

and International Marketing


Event Marketing,

Nation Branding

Level and semester: Masterlevel Spring 2008

Baltic Business School



Finally we have reached our journey’s last port stop!

The voyage with The Swedish Ship Götheborg has been characterized by early mornings, lots of coffee but still a whole lot of laughter. During our journey we have challenged both stormy weathers and sunny days. There have been certain port stops where we felt very lost and wondered where we actually were heading. Thanks to our captain and tutor Dr. Joachim Timlon we have been able to find our way back. In addition, we would not have been able to weigh anchor if it wasn’t for Jenny’s father, Christer Svedberg, who suggested the written subject. A special thanks to him!

Kalmar, May 2008



Today’s globalization has led to a much higher degree of competition between countries to obtain attention, trust and respect from investors, tourists and consumers as well as media. A powerful and positive brand is therefore an important advantage in the competition. Countries need to make themselves heard in order to stand out from the competition, and by using event marketing a country can be able to meet the public in a different way. One unique way is by using a ship as an event marketing tool to promote a country. The main problem of this study is therefore how a ship as an event can work as a marketing tool in terms of branding/promoting a country.

Methodologically, a qualitative, single case study approach was used and interviews have been undertaken with professionals in the field of nation branding or/and that have a relation to The Swedish Ship Götheborg and its expedition to China, which has been our case of focus. The findings indicate that there is a need for clear and realistic objectives which are congruent in every part of the event marketing organization in order to promote a country. Using a ship is also a unique way of performing event marketing and therefore it is a good way of differentiate and expose a country, as well as it has an extended possibility to place market a country abroad and not just at home. This is due to that a ship has the ability to move all around the world. Our conclusions of how a ship as an event can work as a marketing tool in terms of branding/promoting a country resulted in a model which we created for nation branding organizations to consider in order for the event marketing to turn out successful.

Due to the increasing competition among countries to obtain attention, the need for an extraordinary way of standing out is crucial. We believe that not only a ship, but all means of transport can be used as a form of event marketing with the purpose of promoting a country, since it is an unusual approach and has the mobile ability to reach a bigger audience all around the world. Consequently, we felt the need for a new term to be coined, namely Mobile Event Marketing. Our recommendations are therefore aimed at nation branding organizations that want to use a mobile event to market their country.


Table of content

1. Introduction ___________________________________________________ 1

1.1 Background ________________________________________________________________ 1 1.2 Introduction to Event Marketing by using ships as a tool___________________________ 2 1.3 Problematization ____________________________________________________________ 3 1.4 Research problem ___________________________________________________________ 4 1.5 Purpose____________________________________________________________________ 5 1.6 Outline of the theses _________________________________________________________ 5

2 Methodology ___________________________________________________ 6

2.1 An introduction story ________________________________________________________ 6 2.2 Research strategy ___________________________________________________________ 7 2.2.1 Case study______________________________________________________________________ 7 2.2.2 Case study design ________________________________________________________________ 8 2.3 Qualitative and quantitative research___________________________________________ 8

2.3.1 Sampling strategy ________________________________________________________________ 9 2.4 Data collection _____________________________________________________________ 10 2.4.1 Primary data ___________________________________________________________________ 10 2.4.2 Secondary data _________________________________________________________________ 12 2.6 Research quality ___________________________________________________________ 12 2.6.1 Internal validity_________________________________________________________________ 12 2.6.2 External validity ________________________________________________________________ 13 2.6.3 Reliability _____________________________________________________________________ 14

3 Theoretical framework __________________________________________ 16

3.1 The Concept of Event Marketing _____________________________________________ 16 3.1.1 Definition of Events _____________________________________________________________ 16 3.1.2 Event Marketing ________________________________________________________________ 18 3.1.3 Tourism and Economic roles of Events ______________________________________________ 19 3.1.4 Objectives with Event Marketing ___________________________________________________ 20 3.2 The Notion of Branding _____________________________________________________ 22

3.2.1 Definition of brand ______________________________________________________________ 22 3.2.2 Destination branding_____________________________________________________________ 23 3.2.3 Nation branding ________________________________________________________________ 23 3.2.4 Brand building process ___________________________________________________________ 25 3.3 Brand Identity and Brand Image _____________________________________________ 27

3.3.1 The brand identity concept ________________________________________________________ 27 3.3.2 The relevance of Brand Identity and its link to Brand Image______________________________ 28 3.4 Theoretical summary _______________________________________________________ 29

4. Empirical Study _______________________________________________ 33

4.1 Case Introduction __________________________________________________________ 33 4.1.1 The beginning__________________________________________________________________ 34 4.1.2 The construction project __________________________________________________________ 34


4.1.6 The expedition _________________________________________________________________ 36 4.2 Respondent presentations____________________________________________________ 37 4.3 A ship’s contribution to a destination by serving as different functions ______________ 37 4.3.1 Attractions ____________________________________________________________________ 37 4.3.2 Animators _____________________________________________________________________ 38 4.3.3 Image-maker___________________________________________________________________ 38 4.3.4 Place marketing ________________________________________________________________ 39 4.4 Objectives that can be set when performing event marketing by using a ship to promote a country ______________________________________________________________________ 40

4.4.1 Corporate-related objectives _______________________________________________________ 40 4.4.2 Product-related objectives ________________________________________________________ 41 4.4.3 The objective of achieving media coverage ___________________________________________ 41 4.5 A ship’s contribution to strengthen or alter the brand identity and image of a country _ 42

4.5.1 Serving to expose and differentiate a country__________________________________________ 42 4.5.2 Representing the country’s brand identity ____________________________________________ 43 4.5.3 Conveying a country image which is perceived as congruent with the country’s identity ________ 45 4.5.4 Conveying a country image which is not perceived as congruent with the country’s identity_____ 47

5. Analysis _____________________________________________________ 48

5.1 A ship’s contribution to a destination by serving as different functions ______________ 48 5.1.1 Attractions ____________________________________________________________________ 48 5.1.2 Animators _____________________________________________________________________ 49 5.1.3 Image-maker___________________________________________________________________ 49 5.1.4 Place marketing ________________________________________________________________ 50 5.2 Objectives that can be set when performing event marketing by using a ship to promote a country ______________________________________________________________________ 51

5.2.1 Corporate-related objectives _______________________________________________________ 51 5.2.2 Product-related objectives ________________________________________________________ 52 5.2.3 The objective of achieving media coverage ___________________________________________ 53 5.3 A ship’s contribution to strengthen or alter the brand identity and image of a country _ 54

5.3.1 Serving to expose and differentiate a country__________________________________________ 54 5.3.2 Representing the country’s brand identity ____________________________________________ 54 5.3.3 Conveying a country image which is perceived as congruent with the country’s identity ________ 57 5.3.4 Conveying a country image which is not perceived as congruent with the country’s identity_____ 58 5.4 Summary of Analysis _______________________________________________________ 59

6 Conclusions ___________________________________________________ 62

6.1 The ship Götheborg’s different functions _______________________________________ 62 6.1.1 Attraction _____________________________________________________________________ 62 6.1.2 Animator______________________________________________________________________ 63 6.1.3 Image-maker___________________________________________________________________ 63 6.1.4 Place marketing ________________________________________________________________ 63 6.2 Objectives of The ship Götheborg’s expedition to China __________________________ 64

6.2.1 Corporate-related objectives _______________________________________________________ 64 6.2.2 Product-related objectives ________________________________________________________ 65 6.2.3 Achievement of media coverage____________________________________________________ 65 6.3 The ship Götheborg’s contribution to strengthen or alter the brand identity and image of Sweden ______________________________________________________________________ 66

6.3.1 Differentiate and expose__________________________________________________________ 66 6.3.2 Representing the brand identity ____________________________________________________ 66 6.3.3 Conveying an image in congruence with the identity____________________________________ 67 6.3.4 Conveying an image in non-congruence with the identity ________________________________ 67 6.4 Explanation of the model ____________________________________________________ 68


6.5 Mobile Event Marketing_____________________________________________________ 70

7 Recommendations ______________________________________________ 72

7.1 Set clear and congruent objectives ____________________________________________ 72 7.2 Use Mobile Event Marketing to place market the country on a wider scale ___________ 72 7.3 Differentiate and expose the country by using Mobile Event Marketing _____________ 73 7.4 Decide what the mobile event should represent __________________________________ 73 7.5 Use Mobile Event Marketing in order to obtain cost-effective promotion ____________ 73

List of references ________________________________________________ 74


TABLE 2.1 – Relevant situations for different research strategies


(Source: Yin, 2003)


FIGURE 3.1 – Tourism and Economic Roles of Events (Source: Getz, 2005:13) 19

FIGURE 3.2 – Strategic Brand Platform (Source: Melin, 1999:125) 26

FIGURE 3.3 – Theoretical Frame of Reference (Source: Our own construction) 31

FIGURE 4.1 – Map of the difference stops The ship Götheborg maid during its 36

expedition to China (Source: FIGURE 6.1 – Step-by-Step model for NBO’s (Our own construction) 69


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Johanna Gustafson

1. Introduction

n this first chapter we will initially give a background of the subject itself. Additionally, we will present the chosen subject of this thesis fallowed by a discussion about problems concerning the subject. In the end of this chapter we will present our main research problem with its underlying research questions, followed by the purpose of this study. Finally, a chapter overview is presented, which provides an outline of the thesis structure.


1.1 Background

Today’s globalization has led to a much higher degree of competition between countries to obtain attention, trust and respect from investors, tourists and consumers as well as media. A powerful and positive brand is therefore an important advantage in the competition. According to Fan and Pfizenmaier (2002) it is crucial for international companies to find a better way to cut through the competition and reach the target audience, as the market becomes more competitive. Similarly, Taranto (1998) states that organizations that produce noticeable messages will obtain great rewards and therefore companies need to make themselves heard in order to stand out from the competition. Events are increasingly proving to be a way of doing so (Taranto, 1998). One reason to why events are increasingly proving to be a way of standing out is the event’s strength of providing an opportunity to meet the target audience in a different way. By combining any set of the traditional promotional tools, such as advertising, direct marketing, public relations, sales promotion and internet advertising this can be obtained (Sneath, Finney & Close, 2005).

It is of importance to study the research area of event marketing since it is considered to be an effective way of reaching the target audience on the competitive market we have today. A reason for this study is therefore to create an understanding for event marketing as a tool that can be used in order to achieve an event’s different marketing objectives.


An underlying reason for the importance of the event marketing research area in the competitive world we live in is to have a clear focus of the event. Without a clear vision and objectives, Getz (2005) indicates that event tourism initiatives are probable to become ad hoc and ineffective. In order for the event to be successful it is important that all of the involved parties agree on the same vision and objectives (Getz, 2005).

A third reason to why event marketing is an interesting area of research is the fact that when a destination is hosting an event, it is most likely that they also want the event to be related to the destination. This fact may in turn lead to an increasing attention and higher profit in terms of for instance increased tourism expenditure at the hosting destination (Getz, 2005). A relatively new strategy among destinations is to use events in strategically building the brand, since images that are associated with events can be transferred to the community (Getz, 2005). Special events are, with increasing frequency, being utilized by destination marketers to enhance the brand of the host destination (Chalip & Costa, 2005).

The fact that event marketing is a different way to stand out on the competitive market in order to reach the target audience, combined with the importance of a clear focus of the event and destinations’ use of events in their brand building process, make it an interesting area of research.

1.2 Introduction to Event Marketing by using ships as a tool

As mentioned before, today’s globalization has led to a much higher degree of competition between countries as well as companies to obtain attention and to be able to stand out in the crowd. Event marketing is therefore useful in terms of being different and to create awareness. Today, marketers have the ability to use event marketing in many different ways and one example of a different approach towards event marketing is by using ships. This has for instance been performed by Volvo who engaged in Whitbread Around the World Race.

Volvo bought the entire sailing contest from Whitbread, a British brewer, and in 2001 the contest was named The Volvo Ocean Race. By connecting Volvo to the entire contest, Volvo intended to strengthen its brand name and create positive attitudes for the company among


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concentrates on Volvo’s core values, namely quality, safety and environmental concerns. At each stop the sailing boats made around the world, Volvo had an exhibition showing their cars as well as giving the company an opportunity to develop their customer relations through personal meetings. The event also contributed with continuous media coverage during the year of the sailing race (Öqvist, 1999).

1.3 Problematization

The term event marketing is sometimes hard to grasp, given the fact that there are so many different definitions. Since the term event marketing was first coined, in the time of the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984, it has primarily been used by people in the business. This is reflected in the literature on the phenomenon, the largest part of which is of normative nature and assumes the character of handbooks rather than of academic literature. Among the authors within this field, disagreement exists concerning which phenomenon that actually is to be embraced by the term. Later on in this thesis we will define and describe the term event marketing.

It is vital for the management to create a communication program which expresses the event’s purpose and objectives in order for everybody to agree on what the event is being held for and to be able to perform their best in turn for the event to contribute with positive effects for the destination (Bowdin et. al, 2001). It is also vital for the management to be aware of an event’s different functions. How does the event management actually know what the event will function as at the destination? This leads us into a problem concerning event marketing, namely:

An event’s function at the destination

Event’s can, if carried out successfully, contribute positive for a destination and communities and there are different roles that an event can function as. Events can for example act as attractions, animators, image makers, catalysts and may additionally be important in terms of place marketing. As stated earlier, it is vital for the event management to build a


communication program which expresses the event’s purpose and objectives. Without having clear visions and objectives verifies that event tourism initiatives are likely to become ad hoc and unsuccessful (Getz, 2005). This in turn means that it is important to know the main purpose of the event; is the event seen as the main focus of tourism and development? Or, is the event just a supporting element? This leads us in to the next problem concerning event marketing, namely:

The event management does not know the outcome of the event.

When a destination is hosting an event, most likely they also want the event to be associated with the destination. This can for some destination sometimes be hard due to their lack of experience and knowledge. Getz (2005), talks about different kinds of events where he distinguishes between special, hallmark and mega events, which will be further explained in the theory chapter. The author mentions that an important aspect of hallmark and mega events is that the event and the destination may subsequently be linked to each other, so that consumers immediately think of the event when thinking about the destination. The difficult part then is to make sure that the event and destination become linked to each other, which leads us in to the third problem concerning event marketing, namely:

The clarity of an event’s relation to the host country’s brand identity

1.4 Research problem

Our discussion above explains the significance of using event marketing in the promotion of a country but also to consider the important aspects it regards. The main problem of this thesis is therefore how a ship as an event can work as a marketing tool in terms of branding/promoting a country. To be able to answer our main problem, three underlying research questions have been proposed:

Research question 1: How can a ship, as a form of event marketing tool, contribute to a destination by serving as different functions?


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Research question 2: What kinds of objectives can be set, when performing event marketing by using a ship, to promote a country?

Research question 3: How can a ship, as a form of event marketing tool, contribute to strengthen or alter the brand identity and image of a country?

1.5 Purpose

The purpose of this study is to enhance the understanding of how event marketing can be used in terms of strengthening or altering a country’s brand identity and image. The idea is to examine if, and if so, how the identity is reinforced in relation to the brand building process of event marketing, however the concept of brand image will also be considered in terms of being consistent with the brand identity represented.

1.6 Outline of the thesis

Chapter 2 - Methodology

Chapter 3 – Theoretical Framework

Chapter 4 – Case & Empirical Study

Chapter 5 - Analysis

Chapter 6 - Conclusions

Chapter 7 - Recommendations Chapter 1 - Introduction


2 Methodology

he aim of this chapter is to present the methods and approaches used when collecting the data for this study. It begins with a presentation of the chosen subject, followed by the preferred research strategy and design. This section is followed by an explanation of our chosen research method and further on we present how the data was collected, processed and analyzed. Additionally, the methodology chapter ends with an evaluation about the validity and reliability of our study. ___________________________________________________________________________

2.1 An introduction story

During our studies we have developed a strong interest for marketing. Previous courses we have studied have mainly been focused on how companies can market themselves by communicate messages on the external market. Due to increasing competition, companies have found new ways of standing out from the crowd, namely by using event marketing. This factor developed personal interests for both of us on how companies can obtain attention and create awareness in a sometimes extraordinary way by using events in their marketing approach. Consequently, after an open seminar about China and the Swedish East Indiaman Götheborg that the University of Calmar hosted in 2007 we immediately gained an interest of the ship. The Swedish Ship Götheborg received large media attention around the world and we thought of it as a new approach of standing out from the crowd. The approach we are referring to is the use of ships as a new form of event marketing and this interesting phenomenon thereby created the foundation of our thesis. Hereafter, we will refer to The Swedish Ship Götheborg as the ship Götheborg.

This study will provide an attempt to clarify the relation between the concepts of destination brand identity and brand image, as well as how event marketing can be used in the brand building process. Therefore, this study focuses on three areas, event marketing, the notion of branding and brand identity/image.


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2.2 Research strategy

Yin (2003) refers to some specific research strategies, namely experiment, surveys, archival analysis, histories and case study. In order to choose the right strategy, the necessity to identify the differences between the strategies is required.

Strategy Forms of Requires control over Focus on

research question behavior events contemporary events

Experiment How, Why Yes Yes

Survey Who, What, Where, No Yes

How many, How much


analysis Who, What, Where, No Yes/No

How many, How


History How, Why No No

Case study How, Why No Yes

Table 2.1 Relevant situations for different research strategies (Source: Yin, 2003)

Yin (2003) stresses that these strategies mentioned above provide three different purposes for research which are: exploratory, explanatory and descriptive. Further more, which strategy to use depends on what kind of questions to be answered and what kind of problems to be investigate in the research. The strategy to be used in this study is case study.

2.2.1 Case study

Case study, according to Yin (2003), is a method that allows multiple sources of evidence to be used. Merriam (1998) states that ‘case studies, by definition, get as close to the subject of interest as they possible can’, and the author continues by saying that case studies are particularly useful when describing how something has been implemented, or to provide feedback. Further more, case studies are also good for causal explanation to discover and confirm processes. This study, as mentioned before, turned out to be a case study due to our descriptive approach. We have also formulated our questions asking “How” questions, which is aligned with what Yin (2003) presents in table 2.1 above.


2.2.2 Case study design

Case study research makes it possible to achieve a deeper understanding of how practitioners actually work and to directly focus on the topic at hand (Yin, 2003). One can choose between a single- or multiple- case design. Single cases may be used to confirm or challenge a theory, or to represent a unique or extreme case and it can also assist upcoming analysis (Yin, 2003). We believe this to be aligned with our study, since the use of ships as a form of event marketing is a relatively new approach.

Yin (2003) also discusses holistic versus embedded case studies, since the same case study may involve more than one unit of analysis. Even though a case study might be about a single organization, the analysis might include outcomes about one or more subunits. No matter how the units are selected, the resulting design would be called an embedded case study design. In contrast, if the case study examines only the global nature of an organization or of a program, a holistic design would have been used (Yin, 2003). We believe our case study to be holistic case study, since we are investigating the global nature of event marketing and as an example we use the relatively new phenomenon of ships as a form of event marketing.

2.3 Qualitative and quantitative research

The selection of a research method should be based on the purpose of the research and the problems defined. According to Merriam (1998), research can take form of an either quantitative or qualitative method. Quantitative method is often based upon testing of hypothesizes or stated connections between phenomenon’s. The author continues to say that quantity research usually describes phenomena while quality research aims at exploring them. Merriam (1998) describes the qualitative research method as an umbrella concept covering several forms of inquiry that help us to understand and explain the meaning of social phenomena with as little disruption of the natural setting as possible. Further on Merriam (1998) describes different characteristics of the qualitative research method such as: the researcher is the primary instrument for data collection and analysis, qualitative research usually involves fieldwork where the researcher physically has to go to the people, setting, site or institution in order to observe behaviour in its natural setting. Since qualitative research


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descriptive, meaning that words and pictures are used rather than numbers to convey what the researcher has learned about a phenomenon. Similarly, Kvale (1997) review the qualitative research as a tool to get distinctive descriptions of different qualitative sides of the interviewee’s life world; it deals with words, not with numbers. Further on, the author states that the qualitative interview is a unique and powerful method in order to capture experience and meaning from the interviewee's daily life. We chose the qualitative method with in depth interviews, because we wanted to carry out more discussion- like dialogues with the ones we interviewed, but also to get the individual and subjective opinion of the interviewees. It was also most suitable due to the fact that we wanted to describe and understand the phenomenon of event marketing by using ships. According to Merriam (1998), researches can utilize one of three different procedures in a study; deductive, inductive or abductive approach. This study is conducted by an abductive approach, which means that both deductive and inductive steps are taken. A deductive approach starts by gathering the theoretical information and then applicable empirical data is collected. On the contrary, the first step in inductive research is to collect empirical information and then find suitable theoretical framework support and explain the findings (Merriam, 1998). The early stages of our study were based on the deductive approach. However, the interviews brought up issues that needed to be complemented with some other theories. Consequently, an abductive approach was applied.

2.3.1 Sampling strategy

According to Merriam (1998), the most appropriate and well-known sampling strategy in qualitative research is non-probability sampling, such as purposeful and theoretical sampling. We have selected a mix of the purposeful sampling strategy based on a typical and convenience sampling. Purposeful sampling usually occurs before the data are gathered, whereas theoretical sampling is done in conjunction with data collection (Merriam, 1998). The typical sampling strategy reflects, for example, the average situation or instance of the phenomenon of interest (Merriam, 1998). We have used a typical sampling strategy in terms of deciding to interview people that have an average view on the ship and its influence on the Swedish brand. We have also used the convenience sampling which, according to Merriam (1998), means that you select a sample based on time, money, location, availability of sites or respondents et cetera. It was convenient for us to interview people that first of all were available but also located in Sweden, due to the fact that we had a rather short time to conduct


this study. Additionally, in combination with the data collection, we used the theoretical sampling strategy. It is an evolving process guided by the emerging theory (Merriam, 1998) The initial sample chosen generates data and that data lead the investigator to the next document to be read, the next person to be interviewed, and so on (Merriam, 1998). We discovered that the theoretical sampling strategy was appropriate to apply in our case since we, during our data collection, realized that it sometimes came up new perspectives which raised new questions to be answered

2.4 Data collection

Merriam (1998) mentions that research data can be collected with help of two different general techniques: primary and secondary. The author continues to say that the most common strategy is to use a combination of both primary and secondary data and that is also aligned with what we have done. Primary data includes information that is collected for the specific research, such as interviews, whereas secondary data includes information that already exists. The secondary sort of information has been collected for some other purpose, although it is an applicable source for a research project. This is often represented in the form of publications such as articles, literature and reports (Merriam, 1998). Since there have been rather few studies on event marketing and its link to the destination brand, we will use literature originally developed for the area of product brands and instead properly apply this to destinations.

2.4.1 Primary data

The primary data of our case study is based upon telephone interviews with representatives of different organizations that in some way work with aspects of branding Sweden or have some relation to the ship Götheborg. The interviews included people in the destination tourism planning and marketing of Sweden area and people with a relation to the ship Götheborg. The interviews were carried out in-depth for the reason that specific aspects should be discussed with the right people to gain the right information. The criteria for the interviewees were that they should somehow represent one of the many organizations that work with different


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Götheborg. The interviewees should also have some understanding and knowledge about event marketing in order for us to get an understanding on how ship’s as events contribute to the marketing of Sweden.

According to Yin (2003), the most important sources of case study information is the interview since they are usually unlimited and focused. The author continues to say that focused interviews are performed during a shorter period of time and usually based upon a set of questions to be answered, working as a protocol. A common aim with these interviews is to establish certain facts which investigators believe exist. The questions have to be precise and easy to understand, without being leading. Open-ended interviews are based on wider and broader discussion topics (Yin, 2003). Our interview guideline was developed before we conducted any interviews and we chose to construct it from our theoretical framework. In accordance with what Kvale (1997) says, the questions were thematically related to the interview subject, to the theoretical notion that lays the foundation to the study and to the following analysis. Even though we had the question guidelines, we tried to create an open-ended discussion in order to gain as much information as possible. When collecting primary data, both of us were present and a tape recorder was used in order to gain an accurate interpretation. Each interview was approximately one hour.

It is also important to mention that even though our thesis is written in English, all interviews were made in Swedish due to the fact that we both are from Sweden and all of our interviewees were also from Sweden. This can reflect the quality of the interviews in a way since it is easier to converse and discuss in your native language.

Fisher (2004) discuss the nature of semi-structured interviews and states that the interviewer generally has a schedule to remind them of the main issues and topics, however the respondent has the freedom to respond to the questions in the ways that seem sensible to them. We believe our interviews to be somewhat semi-structured due to the fact that we wanted to give the respondents some kind of freedom in their interview positions.


2.4.2 Secondary data

We have also used secondary data to get information about the ship Götheborg, such as internet websites and press material, to familiarize ourselves with the fundamental concept. Moreover, a wide extent of literature has been gathered to structure our theoretical framework, consisting of theories relating to event marketing and destination brand identity/image in terms of national branding.

2.6 Research quality

Methodology plays an important role in determining the validity and reliability of the study. According to Yin (2003) certain aspects should be considered when designing research; internal validity, external validity and reliability. Each of them has certain strategies in order to secure the quality and trustworthiness of the study.

2.6.1 Internal validity

Internal validity relates to how research findings match reality. How congruent are the findings with reality? Do the findings capture what is really there (Merriam, 1998)? The focal point is to have the right focus when conducting the study. Yin (2003), states that the theoretical concepts and the empirical findings on which they are based, should not be of false correlation. More over, high internal validity assumes acceptable logical consistency of the theoretical framework, as well as high level of transparency between the theoretical constructs used and the empirical findings on which they are based (Yin, 2003). After this research was made, we gained an understanding in how hard it is to match the empirical study with reality. Accordingly, Merriam (1998) states that human beings are the primary instrument of data collection and analysis which can lead to a problem where every individual interprets the reality different.


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1. Triangulation – By using multiple sources of data and methods, the validity of the research can be enhanced.

2. Member Checks – Implicates that the researcher takes the data back to the people from whom they derived and asking those if the result are credible.

3. Long- term observational – When the researcher is gathering data over a period of time to enhance the validity.

4. Peer examination – The researcher asks colleagues to comment on the finding.

5. Participatory or collaborative modes of research – Involves other participants in the research process.

6. Researcher’s biases – Implies that the researcher’s assumptions, worldview and theoretical orientation at the outset of the study are clarified.

We have used multiple sources of data in order for us to enhance the perspectives and validity and therefore we used the triangulation strategy. The member check strategy has also been used due to that we after every completed interview asked the respondents if we could contact them again for further questions if necessary. Due to time limit, no long- term observation was possible to accomplish. We are in addition aware of the small number of interviews which with more time could have been increased and strengthened the validity. Our colleagues have also been there for us with constructive criticism and recommendations to be able to further increase the validity by using the peer examination strategy. In our study, the internal validity is considered to be acceptable due to the mentioned above.

2.6.2 External validity

The next aspect of the qualitative study, according to Yin (2003), is external validity. It raises the discussion if results of the research are possible to generalize to other cases as well. According to Merriam (1998), the generalizing information generated by qualitative study is always a sensitive issue. In qualitative research, a single case or a small non-random sample is selected precisely because the researcher wish to understand the particular in depth, not to find out what is generally true of the many. More over, the author states that in literature it is often mentioned that single-case studies offer poor basis for generalizing. This is due to that survey research relies on statistical generalization whereas case studies rely on analytical


generalization. This study is analytical generalizable since, in accordance with what Yin (2003) says, the theory we have used is applicable in our case study.

The interviews that we have used to gather information we presume to be relevant for our research and each respondent do have something to do with either working with different branding aspects of Sweden, or have some kind of relation to the ship Götheborg. In both cases, it was important for us to have respondents that were well aware of the investigated phenomenon. To increase the validity, it is important to be as neutral as possible when facing the respondents and give them as much room as possible when answering the questions (Yin, 2003). We have always started the interviews with describing the topic at hand and also describing our main interest in the subject. Further on we have also explained our interest in their thoughts and experience about the chosen topic in order for the respondents to feel as secure and safe as possible.

2.6.3 Reliability

Reliability translates to the view that a measurement at one point in time should produce the same results as a measurement at a new occasion (Yin, 2003; Silverman, 2005). Similarly, Merriam (1998) points out that reliability refers to the extent to which research findings can be replicated. Merriam (1998) also discuss the connection between reliability and internal validity and states that there is an assumption that a study is more valid if repeated observations in the same study, or replications of the entire study, have produced the same results. The objective of reliability is to diminish the errors and biases in a study, but as Merriam (1998) states, everyone comprehends the reality differently and the laws of human behaviour can not be isolated. The author continues to say that replication of a qualitative study will not yield the same result. Further on, to some extent we did use academic language during the interviews, but we do not consider it to be a problem due to that each respondent did have some or a lot of experience in the research fields that this study concerns.

Silverman (2005) and Yin (2003) presents two ways of strengthening the reliability of field research, namely field note conventions (case study protocol and inter-coder agreement). In studies with tape-recorded interaction, the reliability of the interpretation of transcripts can be


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crucial details. We have taken these factors into consideration during our data processing, both in terms of keeping a protocol and being careful in the transcription process. We have both been present during the interviews to achieve consistency of data in order to minimizing the risk of misinterpretation.

We are aware of that our research is detecting an unexplored area and in turn we are also aware of that we are not experts in the researched field; we are marketing students. Therefore, it is relevant to say that we may have misunderstood the relation between theory and the empirical findings that may be of importance when drawing the actual conclusion in the analytical part.


3 Theoretical framework

he aim of this chapter is to present previous research that is of concern to this study and which also lays as a theoretical foundation for our thesis. This chapter contains of three parts; Event marketing, notion of branding and brand identity/brand image. In the end of this chapter, we sum up the essentials of the theoretical framework. Finally, we present a model of our own construction, a theoretical frame of reference, which shows an overview of how our research questions relate to each other and to the theoretical framework used in this study. Moreover, our research questions will be answered theoretically and will serve as a outline in the following chapters.


3.1 The Concept of Event Marketing

3.1.1 Definition of Events

Getz (1997) has investigated the role of events and the management surrounding it and in his book, “Event Management and Event Tourism,” he stresses that events have great importance within tourism and that event management should be viewed as a business. Getz (2005) defines events as: ‘temporary occurrences with a predetermined beginning and end’ and these events can be either planned or unintentional. Planned events are those that involve professional managers and have a unique setting created by the combination of length, scenery, program, design, staffing and attendances etc. (Getz, 1997).

Goldblatt (1997) defines special events as:

“A unique moment in time celebrated with ceremony and ritual to satisfy specific needs” (Goldblatt, 1997, p. 2).


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Additionally, Getz (2005) defines events by using the terms special, hallmark and mega and has made an attempt to categorize their characteristics and distinguish the differences between events that are for private or public groups. He defines that “special events” are intentionally prearranged and argues that two definitions are needed to cover the aspects of both organizers and customers:

(1) “A special event is a one-time or infrequently occurring event outside the normal program or activities of the sponsoring or organizing body” and

(2) “To the customer or guest, a special event is an opportunity for leisure, social or cultural experience outside the normal range of choices or beyond everyday experiences” (Getz, 1997, p 4).

According to Getz (2005), the term “hallmark event” is described as a major one-time or recurring event of limited duration, developed primarily to enhance the awareness, appeal and profitability of a tourism destination in the short and/or long term. An important aspect of a hallmark event is that the event and the destination may subsequently be linked to each other, so that consumers immediately think of this event when thinking about the destination (Getz, 2005). The author further on states about hallmark events:

“Such events rely for their success on uniqueness, status, or timely significance to create interest and attract attention” (Getz, 2005, p. 16).

Another author that speaks about events is Bramwell (1997) and he mentions another kind of event, namely “mega event”. One of the main reasons for hosting a mega event is the profile and publicity it can give to the host destination. It is also an important tourist asset with participants and visitors being attracted to the destination both directly and indirectly. Mega events are, in an urban context, defined as:

“large events of world importance and high profile, which have a major impact on the image of the host city” (Bramwell, 1997, p. 167).


Getz (2005) argues that the definition may be subjective because some events may never attract large amount of visitors, but may be able to generate large publicity by having media coverage. This shows that a “mega-event” is relative to significance rather than the measure of the size of the event or the audience that it reaches (Getz, 1997).

Summary of Event

An event can be summarized as a temporary happening, a special occasion, with a beginning and end and can further be divided into categories; special, mega and hallmark, depending on the events purpose. A special event is an event that happens now and then and can be characterized by a unique moment that satisfies specific customer needs. Further on, hallmark events are major one-time or recurring events that provide the destination with a competitive advantage, due to its uniqueness and high profile. Similarly, mega events, characterized by being of world importance, attract visitors in such way that visitors relate the destination that are hosting the event with the actual event, which in turn create a competitive advantage. Accordingly, both types of events give publicity to the host destination, which is the wishful outcome of the actual event.

3.1.2 Event Marketing

According to Bowdin et. al (2001), the entire focus of an organization should be on satisfying the wants and needs of an identified group or people with some homogenous characteristics-the target market. This is in contrast to a popular view of marketing that assumes it is only concerned with selling or advertising. Marketing does not encompass only these activities, but much more.

The following is a definition of marketing in the concept of events: ‘Marketing is that function of event management that can keep in touch with the event’s participation and the visitors (consumers), read their needs and motivations, develop products that meet these needs and build a communication program which expresses the event’s purpose and objectives’ (Bowdin (2001).


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According to Bowdin et. al (2001), the marketing concept is just as applicable to a leisure service such as event as it is to any other product. The authors actually argue that it could be even more so, as leisure service, like other services is intangible, variable, perishable and inseparable.

3.1.3 Tourism and Economic roles of Events

The term event tourism is used to illustrate a destination development and marketing strategy to recognize all the potential economic benefits of events (Getz, 2005). According to the author, there are five main tourism and economic roles of events worth highlighting that can prove positive for destinations and communities.

Figure 3.1 Tourism and Economic Roles of Events (Source: Getz, 2005:13)

Events can, according to Getz (2005) function as attractions that motivate both domestic and non-domestic travel and may increase tourism expenditure and length of stay. It could also support in keeping citizens and their money at the home destination, rather than travelling somewhere else. Events can in addition act as animators by structuring programs of special events at already existing facilities in order to make extra use of resorts, theme parks, museums. This has the benefit of attracting people who may otherwise not visit the location



and can as well encourage people to make repeated visits. Major events may act as

image-makers by forming the image of a destination, much due to the media attention and publicity

it attracts in relation to the event. Events may additionally be important in terms of place

marketing by enhancing the image of communities and in attracting tourists. This may lead to

improvements in quality of life and in attracting new people and industries. Finally, events may function as catalysts through mega events’ tendencies of attracting investments and leading to improvements in infrastructure and facilities. Sport events generally result in new or improved facilities that can be used to attract events in the future (Getz, 2005).

Without a clear vision and objectives, Getz (2005) indicates that event tourism initiatives are probable to become ad hoc and ineffective. A key question, in terms of event tourism, is the importance of centrality of events; are they one of the main platforms of tourism development and marketing, or are they merely a supporting element? Destinations should therefore be clear with what they want the events and the destination to achieve and in which direction they are heading. However, according to Getz (2005) surprisingly few destinations have event tourism strategies or policies.

3.1.4 Objectives with Event Marketing

Meenaghan (1983) originally discussed the notion of sponsorship, but as concluded by Kumlin and Petersson (1998), theories on sponsorship with great validity can be applied on event marketing. Therefore, we have adopted the theory of some objectives from Meenaghan (1983) in the context of event marketing.

A primary matter a company must consider is what it wants to attain with the use of event marketing. In other words, the company has to define the objectives. Some objectives that companies hope to achieve from event marketing can broadly be classified into the headings of corporate-related, product-related and media coverage (Meenaghan, 1983). These objectives are all viewed from a company perspective, but we believe them to be applicable in terms of a country perspective as well, since the approach towards working with marketing aspects of a company is similar to working with a country.


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Johanna Gustafson Corporate-related Objectives

Objectives related to affecting the corporate image are very common with event marketing. The objective can be to create an image or to strengthen the existing image (Meenaghan, 1983). We believe that this fact is the same when it comes to a country as well.

Also a common objective with event marketing is to increase public awareness of the company (Meenaghan, 1983). According to Behrer and Larsson (1998), event marketing is most often aimed at creating positive associations with the company, its image and brand. We believe that using event marketing to increase public awareness can be an objective of a country in addition to a company.

Event marketing provides companies with opportunities for goodwill creation among influential individual or groups in the business world. This might also be the actual objective (Meenaghan, 1983). We consider goodwill to be created in the same way for a country through event marketing.

Product-Related Objectives

Meenaghan (1983) claims that in spite of the fact that event marketing is not a substitute for product advertising, it is often chosen because of its ability to achieve product or brand related objectives. Many objectives that are placed under this heading are similar to those suggested as corporate objectives, but instead, on a brand/product level. Firstly, to affect the brand or the product image, in terms of either strengthening the image or altering it, is a common objective. Secondly, a company can use event marketing in order to generate brand or product awareness. These product and brand related objectives can be viewed in terms of a country as well and we believe that when a country uses event marketing it is to both strengthen or alter the brand image and to generate brand awareness of the country as a brand itself.


The Achievement of Media Coverage

According to Meenaghan (1983), the achievement of media coverage is an important objective for companies engaging in sponsoring events. It is an objective for most companies seeking a cost-effective medium for the promotion of their company or brand. This fact is truly the case of a country’s use of event marketing. By using events, a country can gain media coverage and in turn receive cost-effective promotion.

3.2 The Notion of Branding

3.2.1 Definition of brand

Originally, branding was concerned with branding a product and the American Marketing Association (2008) defines a brand as:

“a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers” (American Marketing Association, 2008).

Therefore, it is fair to say that a brand is what differentiates a product, service or destination and what further on makes it special. Nowadays it is vital for products and organisations to have a brand if they want to sustain and succeed (Kapferer, 2004; Aaker, 1991; Melin, 1999). A main reason behind the increased interest for branding and the recognition of a brand’s importance of being a valuable asset has been the power of the concept of brand equity. Brand equity refers to the added value a brand provides a product (Melin, 1999; Aaker, 1996). A strong brand offers great advantages to the brand owner by resulting in a high degree of loyalty and consequently a stability of future sales (Kapferer, 2004).


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Johanna Gustafson 3.2.2 Destination branding

The notion of branding has recently started to expand into tourist destinations and became visible as a subject of examination in the late 1990’s (Pike, 2004). A destination brand has been defined as a:

“name, symbol, logo, word or other graphic that both identifies and differentiates the destination. It furthermore conveys the promise of a memorable travel experience that is uniquely associated with the destination and it also serves to consolidate and reinforce the recollection of pleasurable memories of destination experience” (Kerr, 2005, p. 277).

Destination branding can be compared to nation branding since Pike (2004) range destinations from continents to states and provinces, to cities and villages and to purpose built resort areas. If continents corresponds to a destination so should a country. Nation branding will further on be referred to as the same as destination branding.

A destination brand clearly differs from regular product brands given that it is a complex product that consists of a package of different components (Morgan et al, 2002). In building a brand for a destination, it has been argued that the identity creation should not be restricted to the visual, but should create an emotional relationship between the destination and the potential visitors. Both how the destination views itself and how others perceive it needs to be taken into consideration (Morgan et al, 2002). To then be able to market the destination, it is necessary to both be aware of and have a deep understanding of the differences between marketing an entire destination as a product and to market an exclusive product in the destination (von Friedrichs Grängsjö, 2001).

3.2.3 Nation branding

Through branding is the way an organization can communicate and symbolize itself towards its customers/clients and nation branding is the same thing, but for a country. Anholt (1998) shortly defines nation branding as the ‘way a country or a nation is perceived by its clients’.


Further on Anholt (1999) discusses how successful places always have been aware of how important it is with reputations. They have intentionally created and tried to take care of their good reputations by using the right technique and experience from commercial activities. Many places base their branding strategy on cultural, social or in some cases even spiritual attributes or qualities which then differentiates them from other places (Anholt, 1999).

According to Anholt (1998), nation branding is about marketing and developing the image of a country in other countries with the purpose to administer and enhance the country’s reputation. This area of theory relates to some views from commercial branding and a fundamental observation is that a country’s brand is as least as important for the country’s success on the global market as those brands that belong to the goods and services the country wants to sell (Anholt, 1998).

One study of international successful consumer brands shows that the majority comes from countries which brands have a strong international image in them selves. In many cases, Anholt (1998) states that, the images that commercial brands communicate are closely related to their original attribute. One could say that the association between a national and a commercial brand is a case of positive associations for national production; one country is known for its production of certain goods and brands in related product categories can benefit of these associations. For instance, Italy is known for producing pizza and pasta and that is why Italian pizza and pasta brands receive more immediate and positive associations than non Italian brands (Anholt, 1998).

Kotler and Gertner (2002) states that countries competes on the global market in a way that resembles the conditions companies have and highlights the importance of a deliberate nation branding. The authors mean that it demands the following strategic approach: The country needs to analyze where it stands in relation to the world around. Then, the country should choose some industries, famous persons, natural landmarks and historical events that could provide a foundation to a strong branding and storytelling. Further on, the country should develop an umbrella concept that covers all of the separate branding activities and then allocate sufficient national budgets for each and every branding activity (Kotler and Gertner, 2002).


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Johanna Gustafson 3.2.4 Brand building process

Building a brand, both for a consumer product or a destination, presents many challenges and requires several different steps and components. Melin (1999) presents a model which illustrates the brand building process from the brand owner’s perspective. This strategic brand platform in figure 3.2 shown below consists of six concepts, all of which are closely related to each other and these are product attributes, brand identity, positioning, marketing communication and internal brand loyalty. The author implies that all of these concepts should cooperate and by that contribute to the brand building process. Therefore, it is fair to say that this is an illustration of the brand building ability that a corporation needs to be able to build, develop and maintain a strong brand. Hopefully, something that may result in future competitive advantage. The first five concepts have been collected from well known researchers in the area (Aaker, 1996; Kapferer, 1997) and the last notion of internal brand loyalty is Melin’s (1999) own additional.

Figure 3.2 Strategic Brand Platform

Brand Identity Brand building within the company Positioning Core Value Marketing Communication Internal Brand Loyalty Brand Equity Product Attributes


(Source: Melin, 1999: 125)

Product Attributes refer according to Melin (1999) to the certain features of a product, which

intermediates a functional value to the consumers. A consistent product quality is an important indicator of a brand’s success, as well as packaging, logotype and colour. These attributes supports in visualising and characterizing the brand product.

Brand Identity refers to what a brand stands for, what gives it meaning and what makes it

unique. According to Melin (1999) product attributes are commonly easy to duplicate and that is why corporations attempt new, more complex approaches to gain competitive advantage, such as a strong brand identity. The primary objective is to offer an emotional value. Factors that are associated with the development of a strong identity is the brand name; origin; personality; and distribution.

Core Value is, according to Melin (1999) representing the brands primary advantage. Hence,

much thought should be given to the identification of unique core values, as this ought to be the foundation of a brand’s positioning and marketing communication.

Marketing Communication involves the transmission of the brand from the company to the

end consumer – specialized advertising and promotion for a sustainable brand building (Melin, 1999).

Positioning refers to the process of which a company tries to attain a specific position within

consumers’ awareness (Melin, 1999).

Internal Brand Loyalty may be viewed as an expression of the actions a brand owner has

towards a single brand. In order for consumers to become brand loyal, it is fundamental that the brand owner is equally loyal (Melin, 1999).

Together, these factors are thought to contribute in building a brand and to achieve Brand

Equity. Among the six concepts and areas that form a brand, this study focuses on one of

them particularly; the brand identity. The model shown above was included in turn to attain a complete picture of what a brand is, where brand identity fits in and the function it covers.


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3.3 Brand Identity and Brand Image

3.3.1 The brand identity concept

The concept of identity is used in several different settings and situations. There is for example identity cards, identity crisis and cultural identity (Kapferer, 2004; Lagergren, 1998). Kapferer (2004) suggests that having an identity means: ‘being your true self, driven by a personal goal that is both different from others’ and resistant to change’ (p.96).

While the concept of brand identity is a relatively new notion, much previous research has evolved around the organisational identity of companies (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2007). Alvesson and Sveningsson (2007) insist that an important factor in regards to the origin of a distinct organisational culture is to what degree the people involved in the organisation identifies themselves with it. It is concerned with whether the organisation is viewed as distinct or not and if it encompasses any specific characteristics. In addition, the organizational culture is concerned with whether it represents anything peculiar in terms of style, history or direction. Equally as to an organisation, a destination’s culture is highly dependent of the involvement from the community and the degree to which they may identify themselves with it. Specific product attributes and whether it represents specific history or style, adds to the culture and identity (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2007).

Alvesson and Sveningsson (2007) argue that the clearer an organisation is exposed and represented in terms of materialistic practice (production, location), symbolic expressions (architecture, slogans, logotypes) and valuation, the more successful it is perceived to be. The more it differentiates itself from the surroundings and the more social group building mechanisms that are evident, the more the organisation tends to supply a specific social identity for its employees. Similarly, the more a destination is exposed, the more successful it may be perceived to be. If it manages to differentiate itself from competitors, the more distinct the destination will be, and the identity of the residents may be stronger.

Organisational identity and organisational culture are closely linked, as are destination identities and culture. Research suggests that culture is unspoken and growing, while identity, in comparison with culture, is more linguistic, explicit, and accentuated in a more direct manner. A common organisational culture can be something that gives an organisation a


distinct identity (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2007). Equally, a destination may form its identity around the culture of the destination. The corporate identity refers to what a company stands for or perhaps how it would like to be perceived. In a similar manner is the destinations identity characterised by its self-image and what it would like to be, but is also influenced by how others perceive it. It is this view of the identity concept that has formed the basis for the development of the theory surrounding brand identity (Melin, 1997).

3.3.2 The relevance of Brand Identity and its link to Brand Image

According to Kapferer (1997) it is increasingly important to understand brand identity for a number of reasons. Firstly, the modern world suffers from over-communication in the sense that everyone wants to communicate and it is hard to make oneself heard through all the clutter (Kapferer, 1997). It has become difficult to survive and succeed in this environment and to effectively convey one’s identity. Secondly, there is a consistent pressure put on brands in terms of similarity marketing. If one brand presents something innovative, many others will follow this new standard set up. An identity is harder to copy and diversification and differentiation from the competition requires knowing ones brand identity (Kapferer, 2004; Aaker, 1996).

A brand can be considered as representing an identity for the producer and an image for the consumer. The brand identity characterises the self-image and desired market image, while the brand image signifies the actual image held by consumers (Pike, 2004). There is an evident confusion between the two concepts, which makes it more difficult to comprehend. One may say that identity is what one is, whereas image is the picture the surrounding world has of an organisation or destination (Lagergren, 1998). In order to become a successful and sustainable brand, a brand needs to be loyal to its identity. Brand image is an unstable and shifting notion and it is too much concerned with the appearance of the brand, rather than with its real self (Kapferer, 2004).

In terms of brand management, the brand identity precedes the image and before communicating an image to the public, the organisation must be certain of exactly what they want to communicate. Before the message is received, it is vital to know what to send and


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brands do ultimately increase their independence and their own meaning, despite the fact that they may start out as plain product names. Brands characterize their own area of competence, potential and authenticity, but they are also aware of when to stay out of other areas. One cannot expect a brand to be anything other than itself (Kapferer, 2004).

3.4 Theoretical summary

By using event marketing, marketers can create awareness in the target audience through many different ways than traditional commercial and advertising can. One example of a different kind of event marketing is by using ships to promote a company or a country and a ship then serves as a sailing promotion object. Events can serve as different roles that can prove positive for destinations, in other words events can contribute with certain benefits for the destination. Therefore it is suggested to use event marketing in order to strengthen or alter the destination’s development. Consequently, if an event serves as the role of enhancing the image of the destination and also to attract new visitors, it is in turn viewed as being of importance for the destination’s place marketing.

When a marketer is about to host an event it is important that the objectives of the event are clear and congruent in every part of the organization. The event initiative could otherwise become ineffective. Therefore, in order for a country to attain what it wants from the event, the organization has to define their objectives with it. Objectives can be corporate-related and then the event is mainly about increasing the public awareness of the destination, creating goodwill but also to create, alter or strengthening an image. Objectives can also be product-related and then the event is more about creating, altering or strengthening the image of a destination brand. Finally, objectives of event marketing can be to achieve media coverage which in turn can be seen as cost-effective promotion for the destination. In order to have clear and congruent marketing objectives of an event’s purpose to promote a country, it is also essential that the destination is clear about what the country wants to represent and convey.

The purpose of building a brand for a destination is to finally achieve brand equity, something that may result in future competitive advantage. There are different suggested factors that are thought to contribute in building a brand and one of them are the concept of brand identity.





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