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The process of building a brand begins with a clear understanding of what consumers desire from a particular product or service. This understanding is then translated into a promise, which is the basis of the brand and tells consumers what they will receive. This report details a methodical six-step process for brand building, the “Process Framework for Strategic Brand Development,” using the case of Zambia. That nation’s tourism officials engaged a team of graduate students from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration to develop a new destination brand. Using data from potential visitors to the country, the team first identified the motivational factors for Zambia tourism. They next evaluated the nation’s value proposition and assessed its competitive brand position, as compared to the nearby African nations that constitute its competitive set. The next step was to develop core brand elements, based on the traveler motivations. With the brand elements in place, the group created possible brand promises and tested them with key suppliers and sponsors in Zambia. A refined set of potential brand concepts was tested with potential customers. Finally, a set of symbolic brand touch points was developed to become part of brand messages and images. The method used by the Cornell “Brand Zambia” team is applicable to any tourism destination—and to hospitality products that aim to create an emotion-inducing, memorable guest experience.


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