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Mice Asia Net : January 2009
business (H02558SICE_Mice.net_297x210mm 3/9/07 2:03 PM Page 1 Mr Williams says this Singapore advertisement used some time ago created a clear value proposition for potential MICE clients. destination branding story By Mike WilliaMs A Competition is rife in the miCe market, with destinations having to be smarter than ever before. s global markets face uncertain times, as competition is at an all-time high and as more destinations improve their capacity for MICE events, destination branding becomes an increasingly important delineator. New and existing players in the MICE race must clearly define their unique attributes and the relevance of these attributes to the buyer. Destinations too often sound the same when they market themselves to the MICE buyer. The buyer has plenty to choose from these days and will expect destinations to have suitable infrastructure, venue capacity, easy access, local support, great food, great shopping, interesting cultural and heritage attractions as well as attractive touring programs. These attributes are now givens, and no longer just nice options. Much of the destination promotion and advertising in the market is pretty much the same these days. Some destinations adapt their tourism campaigns for the MICE market without any proper research into what differentiates a MICE buyer to a tourism visitor. Others promote their MICE assets without giving much thought as to what this means in terms of benefits to the buyer. A strong brand campaign is one that has put a lot of thought into its value proposition to the client. Aligning the value proposition with the goals and aspirations of the customer is the single most important consideration in the development of a communication strategy. Selling ‘attractive’ destinations is just not enough for an increasingly sophisticated and more results-focussed clientele. They want to see clear evidence of what the tangible benefits to their organisation will be if they choose a specific destination for their MICE event. An effective brand communication is one that is consistent over a period of time and uniform in its application across all forms of media and communications whether it be print, online or at face to face events such as trade shows. A clear and concise value proposition with consistent application in the market will effectively break through the media clutter and make it easier for the buyer to make their preferred choice. 12 miceAsia.net One of the most effective campaigns in recent times was the Singapore ‘dart board’ campaign promoting the concept of a convention city where everything a client would need to run an event is contained within the one precinct. The value proposition was clear – convenience, accessibility and logistically easy for meeting planners to stage their events. The fact that the campaign was a co-operative initiative between government and industry helped channel one clear and concise message to the marketplace, rather than a plethora of different messages. The campaign also had longevity which helped with market penetration. The collaboration between Australian convention centres and convention bureau under the brand “Conventions Australia” is another example of where industry has pooled resources to establish a single brand identity for the destination, tailored to the needs of the convention clientele. The re-emergence of the AACVB is a promising sign as one of their key goals is to develop “brand Asia” for the MICE market. There are clear benefits to pooling resources between competitive destinations for the greater good of the region. Asia has done well to increase its market share of the overall international meetings market in recent years but this increase has only been marginal. This is despite massive infrastructure developments and the emergence of many new destinations within the region. Imagine what could be achieved if the collective might of Asia’s MICE destinations could be channelled into one clear and concise message defining the benefits to meet in Asia. There is still a lot of potential for international organisations to add Asia to their global rotations; for international associations to start up regional conferences within Asia, and for Asian association members to become more active in the global meetings market. With a well thought out value proposition, the world’s largest economic region could become the world’s number one meetings region as well. It could trigger more than just incremental growth. For further details contact Mike Williams at Gary Grimmer & Company on email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.garygrimmer.com.