Does developing a tourism brand for the entire planet sound crazy? Is that regional branding run amok? I know our team could do it and I'm certainly ready to begin a thorough fact-finding tour immediately. The idea may seem silly at first, but it actually brings up a serious question: Can a region be too large and diverse to be effectively branded for tourism?
The ability to clearly define and differentiate a place is more important than geographic size. After all, many states and even countries have developed great tourism brands. Australia, Michigan, and our very own Virginia come to mind. They do, however, have the built in advantage of name recognition and defined boundaries. History has given them a common culture and identity, which provides a distinct advantage when it comes to branding. Regions can build brands successfully, too, provided there is a common thread connecting all the towns and counties. California's Napa Valley and New York's Finger Lakes region come to mind.
The second thing that a regional brand needs is some semblance of completeness. The credibility of the brand is at stake. For example, a regional brand for a valley or peninsula should cover the region in its entirety. Anything less would be awkward at best, confusing to the traveler at worst.
A bigger geographic region isn't always better in tourism promotion. A poorly defined or loosely bound region defies powerful branding. And that is a recipe for failure, especially when the competition for travelers is so intense. Great brands with creative messages will always win.