Article 1.“Dubai – A star in the east: a case study in strategic destination Branding” by Balakrishnan, M. The title of this article is catchy, self explanatory and metaphorical in nature. It directly addresses what strategic marketing of Dubai as an international destination has achieved; turning Dubai into a star, visible to everyone and ‘bright. ’ The article starts off with an abstract which has the purpose statement, design, findings and research limitations and originality sections each with a brief description of the section. In the introduction, the author underscores the relevance of the paper by indicating that the destination branding industry is worth US$ 1,480 billion with some countries earning US$ 2 billion annually from successful branding.
This alone highlights the importance of reading the paper especially for investors interested in this investing in the UAE. Towards the end of the introduction is the purpose statement which is to discuss the application of classical marketing and branding strategies in a destination context. This thesis is clear, brief and to the point. Matthaus (2008) indicates that a thesis statement should occur only once in the paper though the conclusion part of the paper should make reference to the thesis in one way or another.
In Balakrishnan’s paper the thesis only appears in this one instance only. The use of references in the introduction section remains widely debated. Some authors argue that the introduction depends on the type of paper. For an academic article such as this one, it is highly recommended to use citations while other forms of writing do not require citations (Giltrow et al. 2005). Use of citations in the introduction however must indicate some form of generalization.
Giltrow et al. (2005) state that use of citations in the introduction section may limit the ability to make generalized statements forcing authors to make specified statement that require further explanation and clarification. This particular introduction has many citations that limit the scope of the paper to branding. For instance, the author cites Blain et al (2005) to say that branding of a destination is confined to logo design and development. This therefore limits the paper to dealing with issues concerning image of the destination as tourist and investment destination only.
Again, this implies that the literature review section should concentrate on image development of the UAE alone. An examination of the literature review section will confirm or negate this. There is a section that precedes the literature review titled “Destination branding: academic foundation for framework development” which serves as part of the literature review going by its contents. This section gives an overview of the theories that have been used in the past to brand and market destinations which mainly deal with image development.
It is at this juncture that the author makes it known that he intends to use a theoretical framework using the qualitative paradigm. He does this by mentioning a number of destination specific branding theories applied in marketing some destinations around the world. This implies that there is no consistency in the theories as their suitability heavily relies on the context.