I was born in Madaba, a small city in Jordan, and my family is in the tourism business operating hotels in Amman and Madaba. Therefore I developed an interest and a real passion for the industry. And that’s why destination branding was a perfect combination for my masters dissertation.
The project aimed to develop the brand of Madaba, and to deliver it online. Four main areas of research were examined: tourism, branding, design and digital communication. The methodology focused on theoretical studies (like books, journals and academic articles), as well as practical and empirical data, through interviews with industry experts and a survey with 250 responses from travellers who visited Madaba.
The visual identity was inspired from the city itself. Significant characteristics that uniquely reflect the city while also being relevant to both travellers and citizens. These characteristics embody the identity without limiting it. Therefore a coherent visual language was created, empowering the brand and bringing it to life with a flexible approach.
The research produced an abundance of data that was vital for the project. Hence analysing the data was essential to produce a compelling argument and a critical discussion, in order to construct a multiangular solution.
An analogy of the Internet was created to visualize the topic and highlight the opportunities. Personas and scenarios were developed to understand the project from the traveller, the citizen and the investor’s point of view, leading finally to the online journey blueprint, where the online behaviour and activity of the traveller is visualized, and the solutions start to emerge.
As a result, a strategy was developed to deliver an online experience of the city, focusing on four different elements: the brand of Madaba, design and content as a strategic tool, and the touchpoints where the interaction occurs. Each element has a set of tactics to enhance the experience, yet all the tactics follow the defined brand to deliver a coherent message.
The main objective is to create triggers, which spread the message and cascade into more actions. The triggers influence a positive decision towards choosing the destination, while also adding a competitive advantage in a cluttered market.
A simple service was designed as an application example: camera stands were located at the major touristic sights. These stands would help the travellers take group photos without having anyone missing from the photo. The stands conveyed the city as a helpful and friendly brand, while leveraging on the offline presence to support the online brand.