Results from the project
Maria Ek Styvén, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences at the Luleå University of Technology
What is the research project about?
“A trademark is an important part of seeking to attract visitors. All destinations and companies in the tourist industry work on their image – they want to create a clear picture of what it’s like on the spot and “who they are”. However, there is no guarantee that they are seen in the way they would like. In order to be able to create a clear image intended to sell a destination or company, they first need to know where they stand at present. The aim of this project is to design an instrument which will facilitate this work. It should be of use in the industry so that a destination or company can understand how it is perceived by monitoring its trademark image now and over time. The project will also examine how the inhabitants of a particular place perceive where they live in comparison with how visitors perceive it.”
Are there no instruments of this kind today?
“Yes, there are, but they are often designed to apply at national level or else they are based on focus groups, which makes it rather hard to generalise the results. What we want is to produce something which smaller companies are also able to use in simplified form. We don’t yet know whether this instrument will be a questionnaire which can be used at different levels or whether we will decide to produce slightly different versions. The main thing is that it is easy to use and will serve in the longer term.”
Why is this important for the visitor industry?
“Global tourism is increasing every year, but so is competition for visitors. If Sweden is to be able to get itself in position and achieve the set goals of the visitor industry, we need to be successful at all levels of our marketing.”
How will you proceed?
“We will study several levels – regional, local and company level. We will monitor the way potential visitors – both those who have come on a visit and those who are resident – perceive a region or place or a company in the tourist industry in Sweden. Are there differences? Similarities? In that way we can see and understand if the image given of a place corresponds to the way it is perceived by visitors or residents.”
“We will gather data by sending online questionnaires to consumer panels in at least two other countries. We are focusing on both potential and past visitors, and hope to receive just over 1,200 responses. We will also send out an online questionnaire to inhabitants; they are a very important part of a trademark and it is important to find out how they perceive the region or place they live in.”
Which places will you be studying?
“We will select a region, a place and a company/visitor destination together with our reference group.”
What are your challenges?
“Just running the risk that too few of the questionnaire responses will come from people who have actually been to the place before. If the group is too small in comparison with the “potential visitors”, it may be difficult to draw comparisons. But in that case we will resolve it by broadening the selection and sending out questionnaires to more people.”
About the researchers
The research group consists of Maria Ek Styvén, Assistant Professor, Åsa Wallström, Professor, Tim Foster, Senior Lecturer, and Mana Farshid, Senior Lecturer – all with experience of research in both trademarks and the visitor industry. They are all involved in researching industrial marketing at the Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Studies at the Luleå University of Technology.
The project’s reference group consists of representatives from: The Swedish Lapland Visitors Board, the Stockholm Visitors Board AB, Abba The Museum, the Icehotel and Fotografiska.
Attractive trademarks in the visitor industry – From image to position
Luleå University of Technology
Maria Ek Styvén
2016 Mar – 2018 Feb