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Interdisciplinary Journal of Research in Business

Vol. 1, Issue. 4, April 2011(pp.12-28)

A Model of Destination Branding For Isfahan City: Integrating the


Concepts of the Branding and Destination Image
Kambiz Heidarzadeh Hanzaee
Associate Professor
Department of Business Management
Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

Hamid Saeedi(Corresponding author)


Phd student of Marketing Management
. Faculty of Management & Economics
Department of Business Management,
Science and Research Branch,
Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
Ashrafee Esfahani Highway,ponak, Tehran,I.R.Iran
Tel: +982188038557
E-mail addresses: hsaeedi@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
The paper reviews the literature on destination branding, destination image and reasons for revisiting and
recommending. The branding of destinations has gained popularity among city in recent years. The current
study aims to develop and test a theoretical model of destination branding, which integrates the concepts of the
branding and destination image. Specifically, the current study examines the relationships among brand
associations (i.e., cognitive, affective, and unique image components), brand image (i.e., overall image of a
destination), and tourists future behaviour. For this purpose, an empirical test was conducted in Isfahan city,
which proved that successful destination branding was necessary to overcome its lack of clear destination
image. The target population of this study was 190 domestic visitors, who stayed in the center of Isfahan.The
results confirm that overall image is influenced by three types of brand associations and is considered a critical
mediator between brand associations and tourists future behaviour. In addition, unique image had the second
largest impact on the overall image formation, following the cognitive evaluations. The limitation of this study
concerns the season of data collecting. It would be better to collect data in Iranian New Year vacation (Nowruz).
Keywords: Destination branding, Destination image, Brand image, Brand associations, Cognitive image,
Affective image, Overall image

1. INTRODUCTION
Iranian people call Isfahan as a half of the world .The city is endowed with unique cultural and archaeological
legacy. Every year, it accommodates a significant number of Iranian and foreign tourists. Isfahan has a favorable
climate, many historical places such as two famous bridges, Siosepol and Khajoo, the monument of
Menarjonban, Ali ghapoo palace, Sheikh Lotfollah mosque and natural scenery such as its main river
Zayandehrood. Because of all these attractions, we selected Isfahan as our subject of study. Although the
branding literature commenced during the 1940s (Guest, 1942) the first journal articles related to tourism
destination branding did not emerge until 1998(Dosen et al., 1998; Pritchard and Morgan, 1998).During the last
two decades, both academia and marketing practitioners have shown an increasing interest in brand management.
Branding is now widely acknowledged asa potent tool for companies to use to their advantage in achieving
competitive strengthen the market, as it generates value both for the producer and consumers (Keller, 2003).This
study argues that unique image of a destination needs to be regarded as an important brand association to
influence the image of a destination brand. Creating a differentiated destination image has become a basis for
survival within a globally competitive marketplace where various destinations compete intensely.
A strong, unique image is the essence of destination positioning for its ability to differentiate a destination from
competitors to get into the consumers minds, which simplify information continuously (Botha, Crompton, &
Kim, 1999; Buhalis, 2000; Calantone, et al., 1989; Chon, Weaver, & Kim, 1991; Crompton, Fakeye, & Lue,

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1992; Fan, 2006; Go & Govers, 2000; Mihalic, 2000; Mykletun, Crotts, & Mykletun, 2001; Uysal et al., 2000).
Consequently, this study proposes that destination branding should emphasize the unique image of a destination,
which exercises a power to differentiate it from competitors. The current study proposes that unique image
should be regarded as a brand association. The strategic power of brands has triggered a plethora of studies in
the field, with theaim of exploring branding from various perspectives, enriching understanding of theissue
through the development of a variety of concepts such as brand image, brand identity, etc (Aaker, 1996;
Carpenter et al., 1994; Kapferer, 1992;Upshaw, 1995).
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. Classical branding theory
Branding has Viking origins. According to Keller (2008, p. 2) , the word brand is an Old Norse word
meaning to burn and refers to the practice of marking animals by owners in order to identify them. In the
American Wild West, cowboys and ranchers used a hot branding iron to singe, or brand, a unique symbol of
the irranch into the hide of each animal in the herd to guard against poaching. Today, branding issued to imprint
a representational image of a product or service into the mind of the consumer. There are various branding
strategies applied to an almost endless array of products and services. In their dictionary of marketing terms, the
American Marketing Association(AMA, n.d.) defines a brand as a name, term, design, symbol, or any other
feature that identifies one sellers good or service as distinct from those of other sellers . Thus, an important goal
of branding can be seen as to choose a name, term, symbol or package design that setsa product or service apart
from and distinguished from its competition (Keller,1993, 2008, p. 2).A brand is a consistent group of
characters, images, or emotions that consumers recall or experience when they think of a specific symbol,
product, service, organization or location(Simeon, 2006, p. 464). Branding must attract and keep customers by
promoting value, image, prestige, or lifestyle (Rooney, 1995, p. 48). It must communicate information,
minimize risk or increase trust (Knox, 2004), help identify or recall key factors, differentiate from competition
and facilitate recommendations (Palumbo and Herbig, 2000).
Classical branding theory has been developed largely in the context of consumer products (de Chernatony and
Segal- Horn, 2001). In this context, brands are seen as complex entities (Gardner and Levy, 1955; de
Chernatony and DallOlmo Riley, 1998). Cai (2002) argued that a brand identity is a critical missing link
between branding and image building, meaning that image building does not consider the identity and thus, is
not adequate.The problematic destination concept has probably been only one reason for the underdeveloped
identity discussion in a destination context. For example, brand identity and destination identity concepts
are used interchangeably. Furthermore, different approaches, among others at least marketing and organizational
disciplines, can be identified in the background of the fairly rare destination identity research.
2.2. Destination brand images
Brand image is an important concept in consumer behavior (Dobni and Zinkhan, 1990).The most common and
widely accepted definition of brand image is the perceptions about a brand reflected as associations existing in
the memory of the consumer (Keller,1993). It is not surprising, therefore, that there is a considerable literature
on destination brand images particularly in the area of leisure tourism marketing (Walmsley and Young,
1998).Studies in this area have focused upon the attributes forming destination images. Several studies have
sought to identify the brand image attributes of specific tourism destinations (for examples of such studies see
Etchner and Ritchie (1993)).Others have sought to identify common attributes across destinations (Walmsley
and Jenkins, 1993; Walmsley andYoung, 1998; Young, 1995). The attributes identified have been classified
under five categories of brand image attribute: economic, physical environment, activities and facilities, brand
attitudes and people. According to various researchers in tourism studies (Fakeye and Crompton, 1991; Gunn,
1972), there are three types of images that individuals hold of a particular destination: organic image, induced
image, and complex image. These three types of images are based on individuals experience with a particular
destination. An organic image arises from non-tourism information such as geography books, television reports,
or magazine articles.
An induced image can arise from tourism-specific information such as a destination brochure or vacation web
site, which is a product of destination marketing efforts. The major difference between organic image and
induced image lies in individuals intention or motivation of travel. In other words, any individual can have an
organic image toward a particular destination even though the individual has no intention to travel to the
destination; whereas, people can purposefully seek travel information about a destination through its
promotional materials and thus hold an induced image if they have a specific intention to visit the destination

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(Gunn, 1972). Complex image can be derived as a result of direct experience of the destination (Fakeye and
Crompton, 1991). Since Gunns seminal work on destination image, many researchers have defined and
conceptualized destination image in the context of tourism. Hunt (1975) defined destination image as
perceptions that potential visitor should about a destination. When measuring the destination image of Mexico
held by US citizens, Crompton (1979) conceptualized destination image as the sum of cognitive beliefs and
affective impressions that an individual possesses of a particular destination. Similarly, Baloglu and Bringerg
(1997) and Beerli et al. (2002) summarized that destination image is characterized by subjective perceptions that
consist of both high levels of cognitive aspects (belief) and affective aspects (feeling).
Based on these indications, destination image is an evaluative attitudinal judgment that was comprised of
cognitive and affective elements (Baloglu and MaCleary, 1999). Hence, the measurement of destination image
should reflect both cognitive and affective aspects. Similar to the strong interests at studying brand image, for
the past three decades, destination image has been a dominating area of tourism research. Studies on destination
image trace back to the early 1970s with Hunt (1975) influential work examining the role of image in tourism
development. In a review of the literature from 1973 to 2000, Pike (2002) identifies 142 destination image
studies exploring a variety of areas such as the role and influence of destination image in consumer behaviour,
image formation, and destination image scale development. Interestingly, research on destination image goes
beyond the academic community and is of equal relevance to destination marketers (Baloglu and Brinberg,
1997).
2.3. Destination brand choice
In a tourism context, a destination brand represents a unique combination of product characteristics and added
values, both functional and non-functional, which have taken on a relevant meaning, which is inextricably
linked to that brand, awareness of which might be conscious or intuitive (Morgan and Pritchard, 1998, p. 140).
Prebensen (2007) suggests that the destination brand consists of a mix of brand elements to identify and
distinguish a destination through positive image building. A destination brand can also be a fully integrated
system of experiences focused on the customer (Taylor and Wheatley, 1999). These definitions suggest that
from the destination marketers point of view, a destination brand should represent a combination of tangible
and emotional experiences communicated to the consumer through brand elements that should facilitate brand
choice. From a consumers point of view, the destination brand is a cluster of perceptions attached to various
destination experiences sold under a specific brand name (Ephron, 1996). The brand name can positively
influence consumers final destination choice by reducing the number of alternatives considered within the
consideration set (Ballantyne et al., 2006). In the tourism literature, various models of destination choice exist
that are similar, given that their foundation rest upon functional decision-making influenced by various
psychological and non-psychological variables (Woodside and Lysonski, 1989; Um and Crompton, 1990;
Mansfeld, 1992; Sirakaya and Woodside, 2005).
Perceptions of destination attributes emerge from the image of the place derived from organic sources and
projected brand communications referred to as organic and induced image, respectively, (Gartner, 1993;
Beerli and Martin, 2004; Govers et al., 2007; Tasci and Gartner, 2007). Organic image is a function of noncommercial information sources such as word-of-mouth and actual visitation and is more difficult to control by
destination marketers (Tasci and Gartner, 2007). Induced image refers to marketing and promotion efforts of the
destination through the use of media and information to ultimately influence for example, destination choice and
positioning (Govers et al., 2007). Gartner (1993) argues that the projected brand image has a very small role in
destination image formation in comparison to organic sources, which have more credibility, reach and impact.
Therefore, image whether derived from organic or induced sources is an important factor affecting brand choice.
In fact, a distinctive brand image results from a successful brand positioning strategy that facilitates consumers
brand choice (Morgan and Pritchard, 1998).
2.4. Brand associations
Fakeye and Crompton (1991) conducted a study on how a specific destination image(i.e. Lower Rio Grande
Valley) was formed in tourists minds. The researchers compared differences in destination image among three
groups of non-visitors, first-timers, and repeaters. Five cognitive destination image factors were examined,
including (1) social opportunities and attractions. (2) Natural and cultural amenities. (3) Accommodations,
transportation, and infrastructure. (4) Food and friendly people and (5) bars and evening entertainment. Obenour
et al. (2005) developed a destination image scale that included six cognitive image dimensions with a total of 28
items:(1) priority;(2) attractiveness for overnights;(3) resources;(4) facilities;(5) peripheral attractiveness; and(6)
reputation. To identify destination image dimensions associated with Singapore, Hui and Wan(2003) conducted

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a study involving inbound visitors and identified eight cognitive image dimensions, including:(1) leisure and
tourist amenities;(2) shopping and food paradise;(3) local residents and nightlife;(4) political stability;(5)
adventure and weather;(6) culture;(7) cleanliness and (8) personal safety and convenience. Similarly, Aksu et al.
(2009) identified five cognitive destination image factors related to Antalya region of Turkey. The identified
factors are listed in the following:(1) shopping;(2) health and hygiene;(3) information;(4) transportation; and(5)
accommodation.
For above studies, an EFA was the main analytical method to identify destination image dimensions (Aksu et al.,
2009; Alcaniz et al., 2009; Chen and Hsu, 2000;Chalip et al., 2003; Fakeye and Crompton, 1991; Lee, 2009;
Obenour et al., 2005).In the context of wetlands tourism, Lee (2009) developed a destination image scale as a
part of a large-scale study to examine how destination image, attitude, and tourism motivation affect future
tourism behaviour. The scale was comprised of three cognitive dimensions, including natural scenery, socialcultural aspects, and recreational activities. However, no psychometric property information with regard to the
destination image scale was reported. Particularly, the destination image construct was treated as a unidimensional concept in the data analysis despite the proposed multi-dimensional constructs. Adopting Echtner
and Ritchies (1993) functional-psychological continuum model, Alcaniz et al. (2009) developed a threedimensional cognitive destination image model that included functional, mixed, and psychological factors. In
this modeling, a CFA was employed, that revealed the three-factor model yielded sound psychometric properties.
The modified model, however, was not cross-validated. Despite increasing popularity of the cognitive
destination image model, there has been a strong argument that tourism destination should not be understood
solely by cognitive image, as a tourist may have an emotional attachment to a certain destination (Ward and
Russell, 1981). Following this conceptualization approach, Russell et al. (1981) developed a circumplex model
of assessing a tourists affect associated with a destination. The model contained two bipolar dimensions,
including:
(1) Pleasant-unpleasant and arousing-sleepy dimension;
(2) Exciting- gloomy and relaxing-distressing dimension.
Using a multidimensional scaling method, Baloglu and Bringerg (1997) tested Russellet al.s (1981) model and
confirmed the two bipolar affective aspects, providing further evidence for the circumplex models
generalisibility in a tourism context (i.e. Mediterranean countries). In addition, the authors suggested that both
cognitive and affective image be incorporated in the measurement of destination image in order to better
understand the perception a tourist holds regarding a destination. Furthermore, Echtner and Ritchie (1991)
recognized that destination image had both functional (e.g. scenery, facilities, activities, and accommodations)
and psychological characteristics (e.g. friendly people, feeling, and atmosphere). The functional aspect was
related to tangibility (i.e. cognitive) and the psychological characteristics included intangible aspects (i.e.
affective). These were in line with prior studies related to the definition and conceptualization of destination
image, which suggested that destination image measurement consist of both cognitive and affective aspects
(Baloglu and Bringerg, 1997; Beerli and Martin, 2004).
Recently, many studies have been conducted following cognitive-affective image theory (Baloglu and McCleary,
1999; Beerli and Martin, 2004; Hosany et al., 2006; Lee et al., 2005; Martin and Bosque, 2008; Phillips and
Jang, 2008). Baloglu and McCleary (1999) demonstrated how destination image is formed in the absence of
actual visitation. They identified three cognitive factors (quality of experience, attractions, and
value/entertainment) and two bipolar affective factors (arousing-sleepy and pleasant-unpleasant; and excitinggloomy and relaxing-distressing). Following Baloglu and McCleary study, Beerli and Martin (2004) reported a
total of five cognitive image factors that pertained to destination image of a popular vacation site (i.e. Lanzarote
in Spain). The cognitive factors identified were the following:(1) natural and cultural resources;(2) general
tourist infrastructure;(3) atmosphere;(4) social setting and environment; and(5) sun and beach.
Two affective factors were also identified, including pleasant-unpleasant andexciting-boring. To examine South
Koreas destination image formed by the 2002 FIFA World Cup Soccer Games, Lee et al. (2005) developed a
five-factor model of destination image involving spectators from three games of the 2002 FIFAWorld Cup
Soccer Games and also foreign tourists visiting popular destinations located in South Korea. The model
consisted of four dimensions of cognitive aspects, including: (1) attraction; (2) comfort; (3) value for money;
and(4) exotic atmosphere, and a uni-dimensional measure of affect. Following a CFA, the five factors of
destination image were found to have reasonable psychometric properties, as evidenced by construct reliability
(CR) and factor loadings. Consequently, this study proposes that positive cognitive and affective components as
separate and independent brand associations would be positively related to the overall image of a destination
(i.e., brand image).Thus, hypothesis 1 and 2 are established as:

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H1: Cognitive image will positively affect the visitor's overall image of a destination.
H2: Affective image will positively affect the visitor's overall image of a destination.
However, two limitations were recognized: (1) one of the cognitive factors, exotic atmosphere, was measured
using a single item, and as such, the reliability of the factor was unavailable; and (2) the affect dimension was
conceptualized as uni-dimensional despite the suggestion that affect is multi-dimensional in nature (Baloglu and
Brinberg,1997; Mehrabian and Russell, 1974; Russell et al., 1981). Hosany et al. (2006) examined the
relationship between destination image and destination personality. In their study, two cognitive image factors
(physical atmosphere and accessibility) and one affective image factor (affective) were validated through
construct validity and criterion validity was established through examining the relationships with global
destination image and intent to recommend to others. Adopting a mixed method approach, Martin and Bosque
(2008) developed a five-factor model of destination image that included four cognitive factors (infrastructure
and socioeconomic environment, atmosphere, natural environment, and cultural environment) and one affective
image factor (affective). The model demonstrated good psychometric properties as evidenced by EFA and CFA.
Using both EFA and CFA as the factor analytical method, Phillips and Jang (2008) found a four-factor
destination model that included both cognitive and affective components.
In brief, three important aspects in the review of literature are synthesized: (1) factors related to destination
image are destination-specific (Beerli and Martin,2004); (2) when constructing destination image model, it is
necessary that both cognitive and affective aspects be reflected because destination image is a collection of an
individuals belief and feeling; and(3) considering the issues associated with currently available scale, a
destination image scale with better valid and reliable evidence is needed. Uniqueness provides a compelling
reason why travelers should select a particular destination over alternatives. Positive brand image is partly
achieved through the uniqueness of brand associations to the brand in memory (Keller, 2008, p. 56). Thus, the
unique image of a destination is critical to establish the overall image in the consumers minds. A strong, unique
image would increase the favorability of the overall image toward the destination. Therefore, it is deduced that:

H3: Unique image will positively affect the visitor's overall image of a destination.
2.5. Tourist behaviours
Previous research findings indicated that destination image had both direct and indirect effect on behavioural
intentions (Alcaniz et al., 2009; Baloglu and McCleary,1999; Bigne et al., 2001; Castro et al., 2007; Chen and
Tsai, 2007; Chi and Qu, 2008; Lee, 2009). In these studies, behavioral intentions were usually examined from
two different perspectives, using the terms intention to (re)visit and willingness to recommend to others.
Conducting a SEM, Baloglu and McCleary (1999) found that three cognitive destination image factors (quality
of experience, attractions, and value/entertainment) were positively associated with word-of-mouth (i.e.
willingness to recommend to others). Bigne et al. (2001) investigated interrelationships among destination
image, perceived quality, satisfaction, intention to return, and willingness to recommend to others in the context
of resort visitors. They found that destination image had a direct effect on intention to return and willingness to
recommend to others. Meanwhile, destination image was also found to have an indirect effect on intention to
return and willingness to recommend to others through quality and satisfaction. Chen and Tsai (2007) supported
Bigne et al.s (2001) findings by indicating that destination image had a direct effect on trip quality and
behavioural intentions. In addition, destination image had an indirect effect on behavioural intentions through
trip quality, perceived value, and satisfaction.
Recently, Alcaniz et al. (2009) also found a direct effect of cognitive destination image on tourism behavioural
intentions. More specifically, functional image was only related to revisit intention and psychological image was
only related to intention to recommend, and mixed image was associated with neither of the two behavioural
intentions. Applying a theory of market heterogeneity in their study, Castro et al. (2007) found that there was
strong an indirect relationship between a destination image and intention to visit, in which the relationship was
moderated by service quality and tourist satisfaction. Chi and Qu (2008) tested a theoretical model that
examined whether or not destination image had a direct or indirect effect on behavioural loyalty using a sample
of a famous spring tourists. The findings indicated that destination image was indirectly related to behavioural
loyalty through attribute satisfaction and overall satisfaction. Word-of-mouth (WOM) is defined as informal,
person-to-person communication between a perceived non-commercial communicator and a receiver regarding a
brand, a product, an organization, or a service (Harrison-Walker, 2001, p. 63).Thus, it is expected thata visitor
with positive overall image, as a total impression of cognitive, affective, and unique images, would be more

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likely to revisit the destination and recommend it to others. That is, overall image would mediate the
relationships between destination brand image and tourist behaviour in destination selection. Therefore, it is
hypothesized that:
H4: Visitor's perception of overall image toward a destination will mediate the relationships between
three destination brand images (cognitive, affective, and unique images) and the visitor's intention to
revisit the destination.
H5: Visitor's perception of overall image toward a destination will mediate the relationships between
three destination brand images (cognitive, affective, and unique images) and the visitor's intention to
recommend the destination to others.
Fig. 1 represents the conceptual framework of building destination branding.

3. METHODOLOGY
3.1 Sampling
The target population of this study was 190 domestic visitors, who stayed in the center of Isfahan during a fourweek period. A confidence interval approach was used to determine the sample size, suggested by Burns and
Bush (1995), with 50% of the estimated variability in the population (Burns & Bush, 1995). Two stages of
sampling approach were used in this study: proportionate stratified sampling and systematic random sampling
(SRS). The top five largest centers (Naghshe jahan square, monument of Menarjonban, Siosepol, and Khajoo
bridge, Alighapoo palace) were selected in terms of number of total attendance in January, 2011. The next step
was to select the interval of the samples (nth) by using a SRS. The interval of the sample (nth) was determined
by dividing the previous total visitor number of the five centers by the number of attendance at each of the five
centers. Every nth visitor who stopped at the five centers was approached to participate in the survey. A random
starting number for each day was created. A set of questionnaires along with an instruction letter was distributed
to the five centers according to a proportionate sub sample size for each welcome center.
3.2. Instrument
The survey questionnaire consisted of three major sections. The first section included questions relating to the
individual travel behaviour of respondents and the information source used prior to planning a trip to Isfahan.
The travel behaviour items included the number of times they visited Isfahan, purpose of the trip, length of stay,
and total trip spending. The second section was developed to assess the respondents cognitive, affective, and
perceptions of overall image toward Isfahan as a travel destination. To generate a complete list of the
respondents perceptions associated with cognitive images, a method used by Echtner and Ritchie (1993) was
adapted. During the review of the literature on destination image measurement, all the attributes used in the
previous studies were recorded and grouped by the researcher into a master list of attributes. In addition, two
focus group sessions were held with twelve participants each developing multi-item scales capturing various
aspects of Isfahans image as a travel destination. For additional input, various travel literature and promotional
brochures on Isfahans tourism were also reviewed.
The last step was to have a panel of expert judges, who are academics and practitioners in the areas of tourism,
marketing, and consumer behaviour, examine the complete list of attributes to limit redundancies and to add
any missing attributes. Finally, 28 items relating to cognitive image were selected and respondents were asked
to rate Isfahan as a travel destination on each of 28 attributes on a 5-point Likert scale where 1 =Strongly
Disagree (SD); 2= Disagree (D); 3=Neutral (N);4 =Agree (A); and 5 = Strongly Agree (SA). Affective image of
destination was measured by using affective image scales developed by Russel et al. (1981). The scale included
four bipolar scales: Arousing-Sleepy, Pleasant-Unpleasant, Exciting-Gloomy, and Relaxing-Distressing. A 7point semantic-differential scale was used for all four bipolar scales where the positive poles were assigned to
smaller values: 1= arousing and 7 = sleepy, 1 =pleasant and 7 =unpleasant, 1= exciting and 7 = gloomy and 1 =
relaxing and 7 = distressing. In addition, the scale of overall image measurement was modified from Stern and
Krakover (1993). The respondents were asked to rate their perception of overall image of Isfahan on a 7-point
scale with 1 being very negative and with 7 being very positive.Additional two questions were included to
determine the respondents intention to revisit Isfahan and the respondents intention to recommend Isfahan as a
favourable destination to others with a 5-point Likert-type scale (1 = most unlikely; 5 =most likely). The final
section was devoted to collecting demographic information about the respondents.A pilot test was performed to

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assess how well the survey instrument captured the constructs it was supposed to measure, and to test the
internal consistency and reliability of questionnaire items.
3.3. Data analysis
Principal component analyses were used to determine the underlying dimensions of the cognitive and unique
image components of Isfahan. Confirmatory factor analysis and SEM were utilized to test the conceptual model
of destination branding.

4. RESULTS
4.1. Underlying dimensions of cognitive image
Variable to measure the cognitive image of the 28 markers which have been used for finding equations are high.
Markers to reduce the cognitive image of exploratory factor analysis and principal component analysis method
were used. Statistics, "KMO" and Bartlett test of Sphericity fit the data for factor analysis has confirmed.KMO
equal amount with the amount of 0.813 limit is necessary, and factor analysis has indicated that the correlation
matrix are clustered. Study has shown that five factors are extracted from the 28 markers. The judge considering
the total variances of variables and their role in value based on factors or Eigen values has been done. These
values show that five factors are variables associated with the 63.467 percent of the variance they explain. To
clarify the factor loadings of the methods used and the Varimax with Kaiser Normalization markers each factor
has been determined that the amounts of each of the markers factor loadings greater than 0.40 values are
required. The results in Table 1 are shown. After the principal components identified using factor analysis
confirm the relationship between the markers associated with the components and their reliability and validity
tests were evaluated and the results in Tables 2 and 3 are shown. As in Table 2 are the validity of each factor
measured with Cronbach's alpha coefficients greater than 0.70 larger than the combined validity 0.60 that there
are valid measure supported.Validity of diagnostic assessment and validity using factor is considered diagnostic
validity coefficients obtained for each factor greater than 0.50 has required. The factor loadings of the markers
associated with operating larger than 0.40 have been observed and their parameters T have significant (Table
3). Therefore validity was confirmed by measurement.The scale reliability for each factor was tested for internal
consistency by assessing the item-to-total correlation for each separate item and Cronbachs alpha for the
consistency of the entire scale. Rules of thumb suggest that the item-to-total correlations exceed .50 and lower
limit for Cronbachs alpha is .70 (Hair et al., 1998). The results showed that the alpha coefficients for the five
factors ranged from .71 to .93.
Table 1. Dimensions of cognitive destination image.

Factors were labeled based on highly loaded items and the common characteristics of items they included. The
factors labels are Quality of Experiences (Factor 1), Touristic Attractions (Factor 2), Environment and
Infrastructure (Factor 3), Entertainment/ Outdoor Activities (Factor 4), and Cultural Traditions (Factor 5).
These five factors were later used to construct summated scales as independent variables for structural equation
modeling (SEM) for hypotheses testing.
Table-2 Dimensions of unique destination image.
Table -3 Measurement mode Table

4.2. Underlying dimensions of unique image of Isfahan


Considering the number 15 represents the variable being measured image is unique, with exploratory factor
analysis, principal components are extracted. The amount of statistics, "KMO" value 0.801 of the analysis done
and has support. To clarify the factor loadings of the methods used and the number of turns Varimax with
Kaiser Normalization markers three main factors have been extracted from 74.475 percent of variance they
explain. The results in Table 4 are shown. After the principal components identified using factor analysis
confirm the relationship between the markers associated with the components and their reliability and validity
tests were evaluated and the results in Tables 5 and 6 are shown. As in Table 5 are the validity of each factor
measured with Cronbach's alpha coefficients greater than 0.70 larger than the combined validity 0.60 are the

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existence of credit support has been measured. Validity of diagnostic assessment and validity using factor is
considered diagnostic validity coefficients obtained for each factor greater than 0.50 has required. The factor
loadings of the markers associated with operating larger than 0.40 have been observed and their parameters T
have significant (Table 6). Therefore validity was confirmed by measurement. The results of a measure of
sampling adequacy (MSA) and Bartletts test of sphericity indicated that unique image set was appropriate for
factor analysis. Based on the eigen value greater than one, scree-plot criteria, and the percentage of variance
criterion, three factors were extracted through principal component analysis with oblique rotations. Factors were
labeled based on highly loaded items and the common characteristics of items they included. They are labeled as
Native Iranian/Natural Environment (Factor 1), Appealing Destination (Factor 2), and Local Attractions
(Factor 3) (Table 4).
Table 4. Varimax rotation loads, statistics model, equity and unity variances files
Table 5.Validity and internal consistency and validity of diagnostic dimensions combined image of unique
Table 6.Validity coefficients for the markers factor scale image of unity and test their significance

4.3. Underlying dimensions of affective image of Isfahan


This variable is measured with four markers, exploratory factor analysis and approval of a support structure has
to be next. Statistics "KMO" value 0.816 percent and the amount of variances is 80.589. Variable credit
Cronbach's alpha coefficient and validity and reliability combined with diagnostic validity and factor validity of
the results in Tables 7 and is shown in Table 8. Cronbach's alpha coefficient greater than 0.070 and larger than
the combined validity 0.060, there is a valid measure of support has. Variable validity using the diagnostic
validity and factor analyzed the diagnostic reliability coefficient greater than 0.050 and the coefficients of the
markers factor loadings greater than 0.060 and larger than their index T 1.96, which results in Tables 7 and 8
show is given. Therefore, measurement reliability and validity have been confirmed.
Table 7.Validity and internal consistency and validity of diagnostic variable combination of affective image
Table-8 Factor validity coefficients markers with significant variables
4.4. Structural model
To evaluate the relationship between structure variables partial least squares method is used. Factor loadings
based on the results of each of markers related to exogenous variables such as positive and greater than 0.40 and
T statistics greater than their 1.96 is. The indices measure of overall model is supported. Section measuring
overall model in Table 9 are shown. As specified in the table, with five indicators of cognitive image or markers
and unique image of the model with three markers are present. Values of these variables derived scores and
indicator values into the model as is. Emotional image that contains four markers are to be observed. Each of the
variables see this, recommendations to friends and have a general picture indicates that coefficients are equal to
or one of them is placed. Sections have shown that structural models of the overall picture of Isfahan directly
and significantly affected by cognitive variables files, image files, unity and emotional located 0.398 of the
changes to the overall image explain these three files are exogenous. The decision to re-visit the Isfahan directly
and significantly affected overall image of Isfahan is located 0.322 of the changes affected the decision to revisit this varies. Recommend a friend to visit Isfahan directly and significantly affected overall image of Isfahan
is located 0.253 of the changes recommended to friends affected varies. Structural model results section in Table
10 and Chart 2 and correlations between variables in Table 11 is shown.

Table 9.Factor loadings with variable coefficients markers significantly impacted research and test them
Fig 2 . Structural model
Table-10 Pathways influence conceptual model coefficients and test significant research study them
Table 11.correlation coefficients between study variables conceptual model

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Vol. 1, Issue. 4, April 2011(pp.12-28)

5. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS


Destination image has been found to be an important predictor of tourism decision making (Baloglu and
McCleary, 1999; Beerli and Martin, 2004).The purpose of this study was to develop a relatively new concept of
destination branding in the tourism field by applying traditional branding theory and practices to the Isfahan city
in order to build a unique and favourable destination brand in the domestic tourism market. This study aimed to
test a theoretical model of destination branding. It was proposed that destination image (i.e., brand image) is a
multi-dimensional construct, influenced by the cognitive, unique, and affective images that collectively affect
tourist behaviours. (Hailin et al., 2011)
Overall, the results showed that destination image exerts a mediating role between the three image components
as the brand associations and the behavioural intentions. Strong and distinctive destination image should not
only be a goal of branding practices in capturing consumers minds but also as a mediator to influence consumer
behaviours, directly related to the success of the tourist destinations. Therefore, in the competitive tourism
market, tourist destinations must establish a positive and strong brand image, derived from the cognitive, unique,
and affective image associations, to increase repeat visitors and to attract new tourists to the destination. The
results confirm the previous argument that the image of a destination directly influences intentions to revisit and
recommend the destination to others (Alcaniz et al., 2005; Bign et al.,2001).Although not explained in the
results, this study found that overall image was perceived more positively by repeat visitors than by first time
visitors.
It is interesting to note that through comparing the competing model to the proposed full mediating model, the
more conservative mediating model is supported. It means that rather than being impacted by the distinct image
components, tourist behaviours are influenced by the total impressions of the destination, which is the
combination of the cognitive, unique, and affective image components. It supports the argument by Baloglu and
Brinberg (1997) that image components are closely intertwined and may not be isolated unless the subjects are
inquired in that way. In other words, it is the overall image, as a total impression based on the three image
components, which influences tourists future behaviours. As expected, cognitive image positively influences
overall image. This result confirms the results of other studies (Baloglu & McCleary, 1999; Stern & Krakover,
1993), arguing for the positive effect of cognitive image on overall image. The results show that a cognitive
image (i.e., the belief s and knowledge of attributes of the destination) is the most influential brand association
to form overall image. This study explored the complex image to understand the phenomenon. That is, affective
image may have more impact on overall image before actual visitation whereas cognitive image may exert more
influence on overall image when actual visitation is realized. Furthermore, the inclusion of unique image should
influence the weaker impact of affective image on overall image. It is argued that affective image can be diverse
among different destinations and used for positioning strategy (Baloglu & Brinberg, 1997).
5.1. Limitations and future studies
A limitation of this study is that data collection was conducted in winter. Travelers characteristics and images
of the Isfahan city as a travel destination may vary by season (e.g., summer, etc.). For example, a traveler who
visits Isfahan during the New Year vacation may have a different image and perception towards Isfahan as a
travel destination in comparison to someone who travels there in winter time.
Another limitation is that there may be other factors influencing the development of destination image. This
study was limited to the included variables, which are consistently and repeatedly mentioned and partially
supported by empirical results in the literature. Therefore, the results of this study may have excluded additional
destination brand associations that might have helped better explain tourist destination choice behaviour. For
example, socio-psychological travel motivations of an individual were suggested by numerous tourism scholars
as a crucial construct to form tourism destination images. Future research should investigate additional
destination brand associations that may influence overall image and tourist behaviours.

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Fig. 1 represents the conceptual framework of building destination branding.

Cognitive
image

H1
H4
Unique
image

Overall
image

H2

H3

Affective
image

Intention
to revisit

H5
Intention
to
recommen
d

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Table 1 Dimensions of cognitive destination image


Attributes
Easy access to the area
Restful and relaxing atmosphere
Readily available travel information
Friendly local people
Beautiful scenery/natural wonders
Reasonable cost of hotels/restaurants
Lots of open space
A wide choice of accommodation
Theme park
Cultural events
Interesting cultural/historical attractions
Good shopping facilities
Good place for children/family
Local cuisine
Availability of travel information
Reasonable cost of shopping
Good weather
Lots of adventure activites
Avaiability of facilities for football
Lots of things to do in the evening
Water sports
A wide variety of outdoor activities
A wide variety of entertainments
Clean/unspoiled environment
Safe and secure environment
Infrastructure
Iranian culture
A taste of Isfahan life & culture
Eigenvalues
% of Variance
Cumulative variance (%)

F1
.873
.871
.809
.736
.733
.707
.702
.683

F2

F3

F4

F5

.886
.864
.820
.726
.690
.638
.613
.603
.535
.889
.861
.857
.778
.773
.728
.848
.826
.699

5.984
18.200
18.200

4.723
16.923
35.123

3.480
15.122
50.245

KMO Test

Bartlett's Test

Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin(kmo)=.813

Chi-Square=3194.274, df=378, p=.000

.860
.841
2.037
1.547
7.260
5.962
57.505
63.467

Table-2 Dimensions of unique destination image.


Reliability and AVE
Construct
Composite
Reliability
CO-IM1
0.923833
CO-IM2
0.903578
CO-IM3
0.929035
CO-IM4
0.847573
CO-IM5
0.873872

AVE

Cronbach Alpha

0.604225
0.517041
0.686762
0.650899
0.775997

0.903507
0.871274
0.905771
0.716851
0.709135

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Table -3 Measurement modeTable

Construct

Indicator

CO-IM1

C6
C7
C8
C9
C11
C12
C24
C28
C4
C5
C10
C13
C14
C15
C16
C18
C23
C2
C17
C20
C21
C22
C26
C3
C25
C27
C1
C19

CO-IM2

CO-IM3

CO-IM4

CO-IM5

Entire
Sample
estimate
0.8900
0.8650
0.7462
0.7231
0.7467
0.7248
0.7054
0.7958
0.6040
0.8874
0.8688
0.7315
0.6052
0.6383
0.6963
0.5332
0.8175
0.7811
0.8745
0.9070
0.8623
0.7874
0.7481
0.8399
0.7173
0.8560
0.8809
0.8809

Measurement Mode(Loading)--JackKnife
Mean
Jackknife Standard Tof
estimate
error
Statistic
Subsamples
0.8899
0.8997
0.0208
43.4148
0.8650
0.8601
0.0242
35.6527
0.7462
0.7532
0.0412
18.3457
0.7231
0.7272
0.0427
17.0637
0.7467
0.7551
0.0377
20.0871
0.7248
0.7220
0.0499
14.5069
0.7054
0.7038
0.0449
15.7010
0.7958
0.8027
0.0397
20.2961
0.6040
0.6114
0.0598
10.2549
0.8874
0.8903
0.0148
60.5114
0.8688
0.8688
0.0179
48.5983
0.7315
0.7238
0.0380
19.1070
0.6052
0.6066
0.0478
12.7172
0.6383
0.6477
0.0458
14.1730
0.6963
0.6965
0.0505
13.8180
0.5332
0.5394
0.0550
9.8375
0.8174
0.8270
0.0279
29.7544
0.7811
0.7803
0.0330
23.7227
0.8745
0.8759
0.0165
53.1267
0.9070
0.9137
0.0149
61.3930
0.8623
0.8648
0.0208
41.6698
0.7874
0.7939
0.0234
33.9944
0.7481
0.7568
0.0400
18.9873
0.8399
0.8420
0.0280
30.1405
0.7173
0.7176
0.0430
16.7517
0.8560
0.8561
0.0218
39.4238
0.8809
0.8854
0.0196
45.2013
0.8809
0.8840
0.0197
45.0232

Standard
error
(Adjusted)
0.0293
0.0341
0.0581
0.0603
0.0532
0.0704
0.0634
0.0559
0.0843
0.0208
0.0253
0.0536
0.0675
0.0646
0.0713
0.0775
0.0393
0.0465
0.0233
0.0210
0.0293
0.0330
0.0564
0.0395
0.0606
0.0307
0.0277
0.0278

T-Statistic
(Adjusted)
30.6993
25.2106
12.9726
12.0660
14.2039
10.2581
11.1024
14.3517
7.2514
42.7886
34.3647
13.5109
8.9926
10.0220
9.7709
6.9563
21.0399
16.7747
37.5668
43.4120
29.4654
24.0380
13.4262
21.3128
11.8454
27.8772
31.9626
31.8366

Table 4. Varimax rotation loads, statistics model, equity and unity variances files
Attributes
Reasonable cost of hotels/restaurants
entertainments
theme parks
A wide choice of outdoor activities
Safe and secure environment
Shopping
Good value for money
Lots of tourist attractions
Cultural/historical attractions
Appealing as a travel destination
Friendly and helpful local people
Restful and relaxing atmosphere
Clean environment
Scenery and natural wonders
Iranian culture
Eigenvalues

F1
.859
.833
.831
.812
.797
.740
.681

F2

F3

.879
.876
.736

6.401

3.599

.822
.810
.700
.687
.621
1.171

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Research in Business

% of Variance
)Cumulative %(

Vol. 1, Issue. 4, April 2011(pp.12-28)

32.999
32.999
Bartlett's Test
Chi-Square=2847.570, df=105, p=.000

22.357
55.356

19.119
74.475
KMO Test
Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin(kmo)= .801

Table 5.Validity and internal consistency and validity of diagnostic dimensions combined image of unique
Reliability and AVE
Composite
AVE
Reliability
0.948308
0.725209
0.934701
0.827702
0.880234
0.596099

Construct
U-IM1
U-IM2
U-IM3

Cronbach Alpha
0.932879
0.891582
0.819407

Table 6.Validity coefficients for the markers factor scale image of unity and test their significance

Construc
t

Indicato
r

U-IM1

U1
U2
U5
U10
U12
U14
U15
U3

Entire
Sample
estimat
e
0.7943
0.8264
0.7086
0.8911
0.8946
0.9218
0.9035
0.9537

U7
U13

0.8010
0.9654

U4
U6
U8
U9
U11

0.6973
0.7869
0.7336
0.8001
0.8347

U-IM2

U-IM3

Measurement Mode(Loading)--JackKnife
Mean
Jackknif Standar Tof
e
d
Statistic
Subsample estimate
error
s
0.7943
0.8016
0.0276
29.1283
0.8264
0.8186
0.0244
33.6495
0.7086
0.7106
0.0412
17.3048
0.8911
0.8912
0.0149
59.8569
0.8946
0.8856
0.0183
48.5990
0.9218
0.9278
0.0106
87.4348
0.9035
0.9053
0.0157
57.6843
0.9537
0.9452
0.0045
208.563
3
0.8010
0.8093
0.0285
28.4868
0.9654
0.9615
0.0041
235.421
3
0.6973
0.6969
0.0389
17.9680
0.7869
0.7941
0.0319
24.9650
0.7336
0.7252
0.0418
17.3885
0.8001
0.7930
0.0327
24.3470
0.8347
0.8375
0.0242
34.6462

Standard
error
(Adjusted
)
0.0389
0.0344
0.0581
0.0211
0.0258
0.0150
0.0222
0.0064

TStatistic
(Adjusted
)
20.5971
23.7941
12.2365
42.3258
34.3652
61.8266
40.7895
147.4786

0.0402
0.0058

20.1435
166.4703

0.0549
0.0450
0.0590
0.0461
0.0342

12.7055
17.6532
12.2957
17.2162
24.4989

Table 7.Validity and internal consistency and validity of diagnostic variable combination of affective
image

Construct
Affective Image

Reliability and AVE


Composite
AVE
Reliability
0.943159
0.805882

Cronbach Alpha
0.917498

26

Interdisciplinary Journal of Research in Business

Vol. 1, Issue. 4, April 2011(pp.12-28)

Table-8 Factor validity coefficients markers with significant variables


Measurement Mode(Loading)--JackKnife
Construct

Indicator

Affective
Image

AI1
AI2
AI3
AI4

Entire
Sample
estimate
0.9141
0.9208
0.8562
0.8984

Meanof
Subsamples

Jackknife
estimate

Standard
error

TStatistic

0.9141
0.9208
0.8562
0.8984

0.9211
0.9177
0.8605
0.9007

0.0166
0.0171
0.0268
0.0166

55.6258
53.9338
32.1788
54.4727

Standard
error
(Adjusted)
0.0234
0.0241
0.0378
0.0234

T-Statistic
(Adjusted)
39.3339
38.1375
22.7542
38.5186

Table 9.Factor loadings with variable coefficients markers significantly impacted research and test them

Construct

Indicator

Cognitive

CI1
CI2
CI3
CI4
CI5
UI1
UI2
UI3
AI1
AI2
AI3
AI4
OVERALL

Unique

Affective

Ov.IMAGE

Measurement Mode(Loading)--JackKnife
Entire
Mean
Jackknife Standard TSample of
estimate
error
Statistic
estimate Subsamples
0.6233
0.6232
0.6395
0.1101
5.8262
0.4954
0.4953
0.5145
0.1128
4.5747
0.4866
0.4866
0.4952
0.1182
4.1997
0.5070
0.5070
0.5054
0.1103
4.5934
0.4760
0.4759
0.4964
0.1339
3.7164
0.6871
0.6871
0.6937
0.0577
12.0576
0.8118
0.8118
0.8132
0.0339
24.0399
0.7539
0.7538
0.7636
0.0539
14.2080
0.9272
0.9272
0.9221
0.0134
68.8305
0.9275
0.9275
0.9360
0.0172
54.4467
0.8375
0.8374
0.8478
0.0319
26.6462
0.8932
0.8932
0.8977
0.0179
50.2901
1.0000
1.0000
1.0000
0.0000
0.0000

Standard
error
(Adjusted)
0.1552
0.1591
0.1667
0.1556
0.1889
0.0814
0.0478
0.0760
0.0189
0.0243
0.0450
0.0252
0.0000

T-Statistic
(Adjusted)
4.1198
3.2348
2.9697
3.2481
2.6279
8.5261
16.9990
10.0467
48.6712
38.5002
18.8419
35.5610
N.A.

Fig 2 . Structural model


Pathways influence model coefficients, coefficients of their significance for diagnosis and test results

27

Interdisciplinary Journal of Research in Business

Vol. 1, Issue. 4, April 2011(pp.12-28)

Table-10 Pathways influence conceptual model coefficients and test significant research study them

Structural Model-JackKnife
PATH

Cognitiv->Ov.IMAGE
Unique->Ov.IMAGE
Affectiv->Ov.IMAGE
Ov.IMAGE->IrevisiT
Ov.IMAGE->recommen

Entire
Sample
estimate
0.3010
0.3070
0.2430
0.5670
0.5030

Mean
of
Subsamples
0.3008
0.3072
0.2426
0.5673
0.5030

Jackknife
estimate

Standard
error

TStatistic

0.3418
0.2682
0.3216
0.5163
0.5060

0.0674
0.0588
0.0537
0.0569
0.0552

5.0736
4.5580
5.9853
9.0725
9.1609

Standard
error
(Adjusted)
0.0953
0.0832
0.0760
0.0805
0.0781

T-Statistic
(Adjusted)
3.5876
3.2230
4.2323
6.4152
6.4777

Table 11. Correlation coefficients between study variables conceptual model

Cognitiv
Unique
Affectiv
Ov.IMAGE
IrevisiT
recommen

Cognitiv
1.000
0.401
0.208
0.475
0.363
0.376

Correlation of Latent Variables


Unique Affectiv Ov.IMAGE
1.000
0.331
0.508
0.310
0.225

1.000
0.407
0.491
0.410

1.000
0.567
0.503

IrevisiT

recommen

1.000
0.561

1.000

28