Consultants Advise Officials About ‘Branding’ Cambodia

Cambodian tourism officials need to think less about catchy tourism slogans and more on branding the country, says Brett Morgan, an Australian tourism marketing consultant working for the International Finance Corpora­tion, the private sector member of the World Bank Group.

Morgan helped create a marketing campaign for Bali after the 2002 terrorist attacks, and on Friday he met with members of the private sector and Ministry of Tourism to discuss 13 proposed slogans and a tourism branding strategy for the country.

Kate Lloyd-Williams, a program manager for the IFC’s Mekong Private Sector Develop­ment Faci­li­ty specializing in tourism, also attended.

The two discussed slogans and the country’s need for international branding as a tourism destination with The Cambodia Daily’s Tim Sturrock.

Q: How do you come up with a tourism campaign slogan? What was your advice in the meeting?

Morgan: The advice in the meeting was really a starting point. The advice in the meeting was stop thinking about the word “slogan.” Take it out of your vernacular and concentrate on what is your brand.

Q: Did you come up with any brand strategy at the meeting?

Morgan: We didn’t come up with a brand strategy as such. What we did is go through the steps of creating a brand strategy.

Lloyd-Williams: We explained why the brand is not just about the slogan. So, particularly looking at examples—for example, “Incred­ible India.” Actually what makes that very compelling as a brand approach is the imagery behind it.

Thailand can use “Amazing Thailand” because they’ve spent 20 years really creating a strong brand with all the component parts of what makes Thailand amazing, so that’s well established in people’s minds..

  1. Does a country need to hire a professional advertising or marketing firm to develop a strategy?

Morgan: You should always use professionals when you can. You also need to know what the brand is and what the brand is going to represent, so therefore you need people from inside the country who know it intimately. To just go and hire an expensive (firm) from overseas might be a huge mistake. But it also depends on the resources you have available.

(Branding is) about a consistent view that someone sees about the country. If you look at “Malaysia, Truly Asia,” its success isn’t because it says “Truly Asia,” and in fact it doesn’t deliver on one level because people who know don’t really get “truly Asia.” They get Malaysia.

But by consistently having the same brand in all advertising, in all correspondence by all companies, it pushes the message across and then you see Malaysia’s name over and over again.

Q: So what does the Cambodian Tourism Ministry need to do?

Lloyd-Williams: They are in the middle of the process of trying to articulate a brand and part of that is the slogan. They need to continue doing what they are doing by involving and bouncing the ideas off the private sector within the country and the next steps is to use both the operators in the country and contacts overseas to so some formal and informal market testing.

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