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Branding destinations: symbolic and narrative representations and co-branding

Rowley, J ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3437-6914 and Hanna, S (2019) Branding destinations: symbolic and narrative representations and co-branding. Journal of Brand Management. ISSN 1350-231X

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© 2019, Springer Nature Limited. This article explores the presence of symbolic and narrative representations on destination websites, and the explicit presence of co-branding in the form of partner logos. In contrast to previous research that tends to focus on case studies, this article adopts a survey approach. The study undertakes a content analysis of the websites of the 82 destinations identified on the VisitBritain website, including cities, regions, towns, villages and islands. On these websites, there is strong evidence of symbolic branding in the form of logos. However, less than half have a clear brand narrative in the form of a slogan. In addition, less than half exhibit some form of explicit co-branding, and where co-branding is evident, it is often limited to development agencies of the city or county council. Furthermore, most villages, towns and small islands lack a brand narrative and do not engage in co-branding. Accordingly, whilst destinations do have a website and a logo, there is a deficit with regard to brand narratives and co-branding.

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