Branding and service failure were the framework of references and experience that led me to the world of the researcher. I was hoping that if people were like me after reading Wally Olins’ work, there would be no misuse of branding. My perspective on branding stems from a spectrum of service failure. In analyzing the branding, I used my own reference framework and experience framework. I once had a bad travel experience, a so-called bad service in consumption experience of a branded service, and I discovered that branded offerings do not meet my expectations. As a result, I was intrigued by the concept of branding in relation to tourism attributes. With the hope of seeing a shift in the tourism stakeholders. I was also interested in testing the hypothesis that the allocation of a large budget for branding would be focused on R&D for service improvement. I was so taken with Wally Ollins’ explanation of how branding should be, and how authenticity is crucial. However, after much struggle and frustration, I conducted mixed method studies on the impact of tourism attributes on nation-brand image, national identity, and behavioral intention (Handayani & Rashid, 2013). I expanded on Keller’s theory of brand image (Handayani, 2016).
My dissertation provides a better understanding of the conceptualization of using brand image in the context of branding a nation and enriching its zeitgeist. It is best to avoid the tendency to create a single image for a nation. It is impossible to describe a nation without acknowledging its many facets. The multifaceted nature of a nation can be accommodated by the brand image theory. Thus, categorising a nation’s numerous attributes as product-related or non-product-related may be plausible, lending support to Keller’s brand image theory (1993). Keller (1993) identifies a set of associations as part of the brand image that represent promises about the brand’s benefits, attributes, and attitudes. Favorability, strength, and uniqueness are all factors in this type of association.
The issue of determining the best way to establish Nation Brand Image is to implement more management in order to sustain overall service and hospitality. It also corresponds with the zeitgeist, which pushes global behavioural intention toward utilitarianism while also demanding authenticity. It was also argued that if tourism, as an experience-based industry, is to contribute to the formation of a nation’s brand image, then the performance of not only what attributes are attached to it but, more importantly, why they are attached, requires an authentic essence. My research led to two conclusions: (1) the application of Nation Brand Image should focus on not eliminating, but rather maximising the multifaceted images of a nation’s profiles derived from the experience-based industry; and (2) tourism and hospitality attributes should be supported as a national industry for an emerging nation. Future research could include tourist destinations in other parts of Indonesia as well as a different study context (e.g., in a different developing country) with different visitor samples, such as business travellers. Other techniques, such as structural equation modelling (SEM) and free association software, such as tag clouds, may be used in future research.
From my PhD research, I came to investigate the anti-mainstreams of the branding spectrum. I researched brand aversion. I didn’t have time to write about it, but I read it thoroughly and came away with my naive mindset, the obsession with voicing out the sound of darkness, mourning, and gloomy days. I explored the stream of research about dark tourism, the Trunyan cemetery in Bali. That was the point at which I began working with Prof. Maximiliano E. Korstanje. We emphasize self-awareness and contemplation in our discussion of dark tourism. Our goal is for death sites like Trunyan Cemetery to be considered not only as emerging research streams, but also to highlight the various layers of dark tourism that Western scholars have overlooked. My contribution to the book consists primarily of anthropological perspectives on the proper life as seen through the tragedy of others. The book’s three chapters discuss the development of dark sites through the lens of smart tourism and suicide tourism through the lens of film-induced tourism (Korstanje & Handayani, 2017). The second project involves special interest tourism in Southeast Asia. We propose the development of halal tourism for non-Muslim destinations in the edited book (Handayani, Seraphin, & Korstanje, (2019).
Written by Bintang Handayani, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, Malaysia
Read Bintang’s letter to future generations of tourism researchers
Handayani, B. (2016). The influence of tourism and hospitality attributes on nation-brand image, national identity and behaviour intentions [Doctoral dissertation]. http://etd.uum.edu.my/6453/2/s93158_02.pdf
Handayani, B., & Rashid, B. (2013). Conceptualisation of nation brand image. International Journal of Management Studies. https://doi.org/10.32890/ijms.20.1.2013.10384
Handayani, B., Seraphin, H., & Korstanje, M. E. (2019). Special interest tourism in Southeast Asia: Emerging research and opportunities. IGI Global.
Keller, K. L. (1993). Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity. Journal of Marketing, 57(1), 1. https://doi.org/10.2307/1252054
Korstanje, M. E., & Handayani, B. (2017). Gazing at death: Dark tourism as an emergent horizon of research. Nova Science Publishers.