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Destination Branding and Marketing: Country Positioning in the Russian Travel Market



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Destination marketing and branding covers a lot of tools and channels, by means of which an attractive travel product is created. Today, practically every country and even separate region and cities develop their brands.

Stages to Create a Travel Destination Brand

Market research and analysis

A thorough market and brand analysis enables to objectively evaluate the market situation and opponents’ activeness and make a balanced strategic decision with regards to further development of your brand.

So, what you need is:

- To estimate market capacity and learn latest up-to-date market tendencies. For this, you can both conduct a market analysis on your own and use ready-made studies, for instance, Russian Tourism Market Report: Trends, Analysis & Statistics.

- To identify major competitors and learn their brand strategies:

  • who they are,
  • how they build and position their brand,
  • what key message they use to attract tourists,
  • what marketing channels the competitors use to promote the brand (exhibitions, advertising events, mass media, website, social media accounts, outdoor ads, email).

- To find out consumers’ needs and wishes and make profiles of your target audience. In the article Travel Market Segmentation: A Key to Better Understanding of Russian Customer Needs, we thoroughly analyzed how to make a profile of your target audience for a travel segment.

- To conduct SWOT analysis of your travel destination (evaluation of opportunities, strengths and weaknesses).

Possible strengths and weaknesses of destinations are:

  • geographical location,
  • climate,
  • in-/availability of coastline and beaches,
  • visa regime,
  • in-/availability of direct flights,
  • landmarks and cultural heritage,
  • hospitality level etc.

Possible threats and opportunities of destinations are:

  • political and economic instability,
  • global scale events that are planned or already going on in the country (expos, competitions, forums etc.),
  • visa re changes,egim
  • tour price changes,
  • tourists’ income changes,
  • competitive marketing activities,
  • opening/closure of destinations for tourists in the country,
  • range of tours offered etc.


Having the results of the conducted marketing study in hand, you can go to the next stage, or positioning development. In fact, a brand is neither a country nor marketing nor ads—this is a unique idea designed to conjure up a certain mix of emotions, images, associations in human mind connected to this travel destination.

Correct positioning will let you form a necessary image in a tourist’s mind. Everybody knows that Mayan pyramids are in Mexico, the Eiffel Tower in France, and the Pyramids at Giza in Egypt.

At this stage, it is important:

- To identify main advantage of your travel destination over competitors;

- To elaborate a unique selling point that will underlie your key message. What is more, depending on the market, both the USP and the message may vary.

- To determine the mission of your destination and form basic values.

Brand elements identification development

A territory brand is, first of all, a strong idea, a well-chosen and formed place identify based on expectations, feelings, experience. A country needs to have its brand to make a good impression, to form a number of positive associations, and support this impression with user experience between the brand and its audience, while creation of a successful brand for the country, accentuation of its advantages over other countries will contribute to its popularity. Therefore, in order to create a successful brand for a territory, it is necessary to consider its uniqueness, ideology, and justification of factors—formation of expectations and their justifiability.

A territory brand covers all key elements of its life: economy, culture, famous export marks, tourism, and population.

For travel destinations, the following brand elements are key ones:

- Logo;

- Choice of color schemes and brand colors;

- Creation of a unique font;

- Advertising slogan;

- Brand story.

Marketing strategy for brand promotion

A brand strategy is a comprehensive program to develop and promote a destination in markets of other countries. Most often, a strategy is the main corporate document that states:

- Main features of target audience;

- Results of market and competitors research;

- Formation of brand goals and objectives;

- Selection of promotion methods and tools.

Read more about the marketing strategy for destinations in our article 6 Steps to Improve Your Destination Marketing Strategy in Russia.

Examples of Brands and Positioning of Various Countries in the Russian Market

A country brand does not only play a big role in tourist attraction, but also helps position locally manufactured goods as ones of higher quality and, consequently, sell them at a higher price. For instance, everyone’s associated perception of wordings ‘Swiss watch’ or ‘Dutch cheese’ as something of high quality and expensive a priori.

Before we already told you about Marketing of Northern and Southern European Tourist Destinations in Russia, as well as Marketing of Eastern and Western European Tourist Destinations in Russia.

In order to have a more comprehensive view of country branding, let us consider several examples of tourist brands, i.e. how countries present themselves in the world and Russian travel markets.

The Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) presents their country as Slovenia – green boutique global destination, which is clearly shown in their logo. What is more, the slogan has an interesting word play I FEEL SLOVENIA, which reflects the brand’s emotional value. The basis of STB marketing activities in the Russian market is aimed at development of positioning as a destination for green, active, and healthy leisure.

The Turkish Tourism Board promotes the country’s brand in the Russian market combined with the word HOME symbolizing warm hospitality towards all peoples and nations.

The brand appeared in 2014 and has been keeping the second place in the world since 2016 as per the number of followers in social media and media platforms.

One of the last promo videos by TurkeyHome ‘Feel the Meaning of Turquoise in Turkey’ won several award at various international festivals.

Amazing Thailand – this is how TAT presents their country. As the previous country’s logo, the new one is as much as bright and fabulous. Tourism plays a tremendous role in Thai economy, and that is why every year the authority presents their country in a new light. In 2019, for instance, TAT issued a number of video clips named Amazing Romance in Thailand. The videos show all the diversity of travel leisure in the country: Thai massage, shopping, gastronomic specialties, culture and traditions. They are imbued with romance and feeling of an ideal rest for two.

If you decided to promote your travel destination through bloggers, RMAA Travel experts will help you elaborate and arrange blog tours, as well as select bloggers, based on the specifics of your region.

You are also highly recommended to read our article 7 Steps to Create Your Perfect Destination Marketing Plan that will tell you about peculiarities of how to create a marketing plan for promotion in the Russian travel market.

Travel Research

The Russian Tourism Market Report: Trends, Analysis & Statistics | 2019. How to impress Russian tourists and attract them to your country

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Russian Tourism Market Digest

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Russian Tourism Industry Mind Map

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About the Author

Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva

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