Community‐based tourism development - a designerly approach to destination branding
Other conference contribution, 2013
The purpose of this paper is to widen the sometimes too managerial view of place and destination
branding into the discipline of design. By using a designerly approach, the concept of capturing and
building brand equity is seen as an evolutionary and creative process, open to the involvement of the
community. This is in contrast to the tapping of a place’s identity into common values that could
apply for any place in the world, and the use of linear processes without taking advantages of the
specific conditions for the place.
Theoretical perspectives are obtained from two angles: place branding with an emphasis to
marketing, and design theory with a participatory approach. In order to exemplify the role of design
in a place branding context, the authors’ own experiences of being actively involved in the
development process at an ecotourism destination in Kenya are declared. By adopting an open
approach and the process of reflection in action, the authors continuously reframed the problem
setting, developed and adapted actions throughout in order to suit the specific context.
Both practical and theoretical results were obtained. Practical ideas and actions for development
were produced, that takes the local needs, prerequisites, and its unique features into consideration.
Five main implications for adopting a designerly way into the field of place branding were outlined:
connection to context, open process, community participation, idea generation and communication
through visualization. The contribution is a better understanding of the benefits of design, as well as
an understanding of the importance of the specific context in place branding.