Changing negative attitudes toward foreign products and brands can be a daunting challenge. Changing such attitudes toward countries/destinations is even more difficult due to their multi-year bases and the fact that, unlike new brands, which can be developed from scratch, destination brands are viewed by consumers as outgrowths of their culture and history. Recently, consumer affinity has emerged in the academic marketing literature as a positive attitude toward a specific focal country. Such affinity is especially important for marketers and policy makers as it can help overcome the effects of negative attitudes such as animosity and ethnocentrism. Accordingly, this paper investigates the role of the drivers of affinity and, by enhancing it, bolstering the performance of foreign products, destination brands and tourism. Following a literature review of recent research on affinity, the paper reports the findings of a qualitative study. Unexpected findings emerge with regard to the inclusion of cultural similarity and collective memory as potential drivers of affinity. The study shows that positive collective memory might be a precondition for the creation of affinity. A case study on re-branding Israel's image serves as a practical demonstration of the importance of affinity to tourism policy makers and marketing managers. As such, the paper demonstrates that affinity can be a proactive tool that can help international marketers and tourism policy makers overcome the effects of negative attitudes.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd
- Destination branding
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
- Strategy and Management