Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management


Backman, Sheila J

Committee Member

Backman , Kenneth F

Committee Member

Norman , William C

Committee Member

Mittelstaedt , John D


Recent tourism management research has seen increasing discussions of applying branding concepts into destination marketing. However, brand association and its importance in creating strong and unique brands have not been studied adequately. The purpose of this study was to identify the underlying dimensions that people use to describe destination brands and examine the structural relations of the destination's brand association.
Brand association focuses on analyzing the characteristics consumers' knowledge, perceptions and attitudes associated with a brand and how brand associations interact with each other. Research on brand association provides measurement constructs to evaluate branding effectiveness and offers marketing professionals the strategic information to build strong and unique brand identity.
Through two surveys (n=29) and individual interviews (n=13) using repertory grid method, the study elicited the brand associations of four golf destinations. Applying network analysis methods, the study examined the centralities and cohesion measures of those brand associations. The results identified brand associations that are critical in creating strong brand identities, controlling the activation other brand associations, or complement to each other. The study demonstrated the ability of network analysis in destination brand association research and provided an analytical tool for destination brand management.