While tourism destinations around the world tend to hire marketing experts to develop branding programs and strategies, Bali prefers to leave its branding work to tourism stakeholders, local academics, and government professionals to come up with tourism slogans and bylines to share with the world.
The last effort to come up with an effective resulted in the somewhat esoteric “Shanti, Shanti, Shanti” program that was accompanied by a cryptic symbol incorporating ancient Balinese script incomprehensible to most modern-day Balinese.
In response to a request by the Ministry of Tourism that each domestic destination in Indonesia must now have its own distinct branding, many of the same stakeholders who advanced the now disfavored “Shanti, Shanti, Shanti” campaign were reconvened to participate in a prolonged dialogue in order to come up with a new tourism catchphrase.
The ensuing multi-year deliberation process produced Bali’s new marketing slogan of “Bali, Island of the Gods” that has now been sent to the Tourism Ministry in Jakarta for final certification as the "official branding" for Bali tourism.
Meanwhile, the State News Agency Antara now reports that Bali’s Governor Made Mangku Pastika thinks the Island’s tourism industry can come up with something better than “Bali, Island of the Gods” as a branding campaign.
In Governor Pastika’s opinion, Bali would be better served if it adopted “Lovely Bali” as its tourism mantra.
“Why not ‘Lovely Bali,’ for instance,” asked the Governor. “What’s more fantastic than love? There isn’t anything, is there? If there’s love, then everything is beautiful. If it’s hate then everything is ugly.” The Governor was speaking to the press after attending a plenary session of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali).
The Governor told the press that “Lovely Bali” would prove a more interesting branding, especially given the popularity of Bali as a wedding destination. Arguing: “Why (do people want to marry in Bali)? Because Bali is lovely and we must accept that this is an island filled with love.”
The Governor told the press that he did not have any precise information of the recommendation of Bali travel industry stakeholder for a new branding of “Bali, The Island of the Gods” that has been recently forwarded to the Ministry of Tourism in Jakarta by the Provincial Tourism Service.
“In my opinion, the branding should not be: ‘The Island of the Gods.’ I will summon them (tourism officials), branding can’t be done arbitrarily,” said Pastika.
The Governor said he viewed branding as a very important part of tourism promotion. In addition to branding, he said two other important areas of tourism marketing are segmentation of the market that is being pursued through a branding campaign and the differentiation of the product through positioning strategies.
Meanwhile, in seeming contradiction to the Governor, the head of the Provincial Tourism Authority (Kadiparda), Gede Yuniartha Putra, stated separately that the proposed new branding of “Bali, The Island of the Gods” was sent to the Ministry of Tourism in Jakarta on February 3, 2017.
“This branding has been decided with all stakeholders, academic leaders and cultural experts in Bali – making it a Bali decision,” said Yuniartha. Moreover, Yuniartha defended the “Island of the Gods” branding as a slogan given to Bali over the years by foreign visitors to the Island.
Continuing, Yuniartha said: “Before, we had the branding ‘Shanti, Shanti, Shanti’ - that didn’t fit well with ‘Wonderful Indonesia,’ causing us to renew our branding.”
Branding the Sacred and Profance
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