As I am preparing to take a flight to Aqaba in a few hours to attend a workshop on Aqaba’s Tourism marketing I thought that it’s appropriate to announce here that SYNTAX has succesfully delivered the Aqaba tourism brand. We worked with ASEZA to research Aqaba’s identity and reputation, create a new set of brand values and design a comprehensive visual system and logo.
This is one of the most gratifying and exciting projects we have ever worked on. Aqaba is a unique region and is now the focus of a lot of futuristic, ambitious development. The recent announcements of mega projects like the Ayla Oasis Lagoon project, and the 500 million dollar Saraya Aqaba project have the potential to transform the region. It’s exciting to be part of what’s happeining there.
Below is an article from ASEZA’s tourism division new newsletter that talks about the new brand. We’ll also post a complete case study on the project on the SYNTAX site soon.. See you in Aqaba..
CREATING A TOURISM BRAND FOR AQABA
A key step in the roll-out of the new Tourism Marketing Strategy for Aqaba has been the development of a clear brand and visual identity for the destination. Robert Travers, IS-ASEZAâ€™s Tourism Marketing Expert outlines the marketing process which ASEZAâ€™s Tourism Division is now implementing.
THE DEVELOPMENT of the Aqaba tourism brand has been firmly based on market research and consultation. Following on from the publication of the Tourism Marketing Strategy for Aqaba 2005-2010, ASEZA appointed the Jordanian design consultancy SYNTAX to develop the Aqaba tourism brand.
What is Aqaba?
Amman-based market research firm Razorview was commissioned with SYNTAX to undertake a series of focus groups to examine overseas visitorsâ€™ (and localsâ€™) perceptions of Aqaba as a tourism destination. Both visitors who had and who had not visited Aqaba were interviewed. What emerged was a confused image of Aqaba: A picture of a destination in transition. To some people Aqaba was a port city, to others it was a resort; to some it is seen as gateway to Petra or Wadi Rum, to others it is just the seaside; to some it is seen as a nice place to walk around at night, to others it was perceived as somewhere with nothing to do. From all of these at times conflicting impressions key themes were identified.
Ahmad Humeid of SYNTAX explains:
â€œAqabaâ€™s brand has been built around its historical essence as an oasis town on the Red Sea. From here the visitor can experience the amazing desert landscapes of Petra and Wadi Rum. Unlike its competitors, it is a city with a real, living Arab community. It is a destination which offers unique experiences, increasingly supported by quality services, be they luxurious or simple.â€
The new brand includes a logo which combines Aqaba with the key tourism assets which its visitors can experience: the Red Sea, Wadi Rum and Petra. The brand also uses a Wadi Rum-inspired icon strip which expresses the multiplicity of things it is now possible to do in and from Aqaba (contrary to many visitorsâ€™ perceptions). The brand includes detailed photographic guidelines on the type of images to be used to communicate brand feelings. These feelings are defined as â€˜relaxationâ€™, â€˜simplicityâ€™, â€˜freedomâ€™, communityâ€™, â€˜adventureâ€™, â€˜mysteryâ€™ and â€˜hospitalityâ€™. A special emphasis is given to local people and Aqabaâ€™s colorful street-life, souks and good food. Colours to be used in marketing material are those of the blue sea, the green oasis, the terracotta sands of Wad Rum and the red rocks of Petra.
Rolling out the Aqaba brand
The Tourism Marketing Strategy for Aqaba (2005-2010) defines the ways in which the Aqaba tourism brand will be used and the markets which Aqaba will target. Actions are further defined in a five year marketing plan. 2005 is the first year of the plan, funded by just over â‚¬1 million from the EU and â‚¬735,000 from ASEZA.
IS-ASEZA (the EU institutional support programme) is currently helping ASEZA to develop a state-of-the-art branded tourism website for Aqaba which will go live in advance of the 2006 season. Also being planed are a suite of Aqaba branded publications centered on key product clusters defined in the Tourism Marketing Strategy. Pilot promotional campaigns will be initiated, including the following: special interest marketing; domestic tourism marketing; selected international marketing activity and market research. Close coordination with JTB and its overseas representatives is seen as crucial for future success.