DES: Europe's first conference on the future of a Caribbean single market was held in London a couple of months back.
TINA: One of the many issues discussed was the future branding of the Caribbean.
DES: Many delegates from that region were concerned with being pigeon-holed as the region of 'white sands, palm trees and turquoise waters' and not much else.
TINA: A brand image many competing regions would die for.
DES: What the Caribbean must not attempt is a marketing mission impossible - trying to change its universally-held perception.
TINA: A strategy that Australia is sadly embarking on. Tired of its rugged, Outback paradise for backpackers, it wants to show Australia in 'A Different Light'.
DES: A brand strategy that's bound to fail as it tries to compete with film re-runs like 'Crocodile Dundee', TV repeats such as 'The Crocodile Hunter' and endless Australian beer commercials re-inforcing Oz's rough and tough macho identity.
TINA: What the Aussies shouldn't forget, is that the budget backpackers of today return as the high-spending visitors and investors of tomorrow. Which is why its sub-brands need to be brought into play - from vast wine regions, to sophisticated cities, to sun-soaked resorts.
DES: Australia, Margaret River, Sydney and the Gold Coast may all be lumped together on the world map, but in the universal mind map, each can be branded to be positioned in uniquely different places.
TINA: So Brand Caribbean should accept its current positive perception but build a big brand idea based on that powerful perception, to compete with other destination brands such as Blue Hawaii. For example - The Green Easy - aimed at the growing slow movement - the antidote to the fast and furious pace of the rat race - a fully-integrated brand concept to generate sustainable tourism, inward investments and quality exports.
DES: And it must then go on to develop its sub-regional brands, such as the British Caribbean and the Dutch Caribbean to name just two - each with their own unique single focus.
TINA: By creating a portfolio of brands within the hierarchy - from pan-region to sub-region to country to island to resort - a single market Caribbean brand has an exciting and sustainable future.
'Brand' the Marketect says:
"The 'Hierarchy of Destination Brands' is a powerful brand portfolio strategy whose time has come".
(Note: For a Q&A session on The Hierarchy of Destination Brands seminar, please click on 'World Travel Market' under the Categories section in the right-hand side bar or click here for the session featuring the Caribbean)