Destination and tourism business brand consistency in Binh Thuan, Vietnam

This article bridges research on destination branding and studies of business brands through an empirical investigation of the consistency between the destination brand of Binh Thuan province, Vietnam, and the brands of 87 tourism businesses operating there. Consistency is operationalized as the manner and extent to which tourism business brands are aligned with the destination brand in terms of brand elements and the brand architecture used to associate the business brands with the destination brand. Binh Thuan is branded very explicitly as a ‘sea, sand, sun’ destination. The 87 business brands were classified into seven groups using a brand elements/brand architecture matrix. On the brand architecture dimension, 61 branded businesses split almost evenly, 31/30, with regard to whether or not their brands were explicitly linked to Binh Thuan’s core values. The most consistent brand elements were the selling points and target markets; most variation with the destination brand occurred in terms of positioning. The elements of nearly two-thirds of the branded businesses aligned very consistently or consistently with those of the destination and a third were weakly or not at all consistent. Twenty-six businesses had little or no branded material at all. Factors contributing to a lack of consistency are location, ownership and management.