Consumption Experience, Essential Factor in Destination Branding: A Semiotic Approach

Author:Soica, S.
Position:Faculty of Food and Tourism, Transilvania University of Brasov
Pages:323-332
SUMMARY

The theoretical framework of the article falls within the realm of consumer culture regarded as symbolic consumption, with focus on the experiential aspect of the consumer culture. The analytical framework of the article, on the other hand, falls within the realm of communication studies, i.e. semiotic perspective upon consumption, with focus on visual, symbolic consumption of objects. The... (see full summary)

 
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Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braşov
Series VII: Social Sciences • Law • Vol. 6 (55) No. 2 - 2013
CONSUMPTION EXPERIENCE,
ESSENTIAL FACTOR IN
DESTINATION BRANDING:
A SEMIOTIC APPROACH
Simona ŞOICA1
Abstract: The theoretical framework of the article falls within the realm of
consumer culture regarded as symbolic consumption, with focus on the
experiential aspect of the consumer culture. The analytical framework of the
article, on the other hand, falls within the realm of communication studies,
i.e. semiotic perspective upon consumption, with focus on visual, symbolic
consumption of objects. The research boundaries being delineated, the
article presents the results of an in-depth analysis of signs of tourist
experience as expressed in travel narratives. The aim is to suggest
considering consumers’ experience of a place when building a destination
brand. Destination branding consists of several phases and what the article
brings forward is intended to be an element of the first phase, that is analysis
and strategic recommendations for developing a destination brand.
Key words: consumption experience, semiotics, destination branding.
1 Faculty of Food and Tourism, Transilvania University of Braşov.
1. Introduction
“If people do not travel, they lose status:
travel is the marker of status. It is a
crucial element of modern life to feel that
travel and holidays are necessary” says J.
Urry (2002a) in his reference work on
tourism, viewed from a social and cultural
perspective, making appeal to Feifer
(1985 apud J. Urry 2002: 4, 5). Following
the same idea in order to ground their
work on destination branding, N. Morgan,
A. Pritchard and R. Pride state that
“choice of holiday destination is a
significant lifestyle indicator for today’s
aspirational consumers and the places
where they choose to spend their
squeezed vacation time and hard-earned
income increasingly have to have
emotional appeal, high conversational
capital and even celebrity value” (N.
Morgan, A. Pritchard and R. Pri de, 2004:
4).
Given the increasing value of the
visiting-and-seeing-a-place product, the
place, like any other product to be
consumed, is submitted to branding
strategies developed to take something
common and improve upon it in ways that
make it more valuable and meaningful
(the concept of branding analyzed by P.
Kotler, 2006).
N. Morgan, A. Pritchard and R. Pride
are right to say that “places currently offer
the greatest untapped branding
opportunities” and in this study, which is

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