Israel On Destination Branding: Giving a Place its Human DNA & Voice

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Brandsconf (39)Ido Aharoni of New York’s Israel Consulate (aka @israelconsulate) spoke on the BrandsConf stage in late October about a project they did to “humanize” Israel.

They conducted something they refer to as the “House Party” study where they had survey participants create images of what they saw in the “house” of various countries around the world, including Israel.

For example, in the Brazil house, there were images of parties and dancing, in France, symbols which represented romance, Las Vegas, images which represented sin. In the Israel house, there were no images of women and children, but of guns and military.

People were not describing normal every day life in Israel, a clear indication that they had a global perception issue, one which could be rectified with clear communication and engagement to educate people on what Israel was as a “destination brand.”

He asked us, if Tel Aviv were a person, would it be a male or female, skinny or fat, fun or serious? “It’s important first to learn how your customers perceive you, what they see as your strengths, your weaknesses and your core values,” says Aharoni.

Every place has a personality and a DNA and how you determine what it is versus what you want it to be is generated through multiple sources of research, not just one.

For them, they wanted to create a “celebration of core values” for Israel, such as hoping, connecting, family and creating. As a result of the survey and “House Party” study, thjey identified six core areas that were relevant all over the world within the realm of humanizing through broader niche conversations:

1. Hi-Tech and Science

2. Lifestyle and Leisure

3. People and Heritage (diversity). How many people know that there are so many cultures living in Israel — from Somalia, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Colombia, and Egypt among countless others?

4. Environment

5. International Aid

6. Culture and Arts

He says that they believe in the future of micromarketing, i.e., narrative over argument, engagement over dictation….humanization through targeted exposure events.

Finishing his talk, he emphasized the importance of identifying how you’re perceived as a destination brand so you understand where it fits globally vis a vis others. “It’s competitive out there,” he notes and place branding is not just one country versus another, but it’s also perception of a place between counties, cities and regions.”

And adds, micromarketing will be key to engaging with your influencers in a world of social media, emphasizing what your core beliefs are, which translate into your brand voice, in their case, a destination “brand” voice.

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