Tourist brand: How to do it successfully?

Based on lecture of Andrei Kozhanov, the founder of the Moscow agency “Front: Design”

You can find many examples of successful place branding in Europe and the US. But how do cities and regions are branded in Russia? Andrei Kozhanov, creative director and founder of the Moscow agency “Front: Design”, speaks about tourist branding in Russia, and about high social responsibility in London.
It is considered that a brand of the company is not only a logo; it is opinions, associations and image of a company created in the minds of customers.  A brand of a place is even more complicated than just the image of a place or creating values of a place. To build a successful brand, and the brand of a place in particular, you need to understand why you do it, and what goals you have.
Associative thinking is necessary for a specialist to create a place brand. The key problem of modern design is inability to create images. When we conduct successful branding, we have to transform the stimulus into an image, so the branding specialist needs to train associative thinking daily, learn how to translate meanings into images that will stay in people's memory.
Russian travel branding raises many controversial questions. We often think that places in Russia look like the paradise resorts of Turkey or the mysterious streets of Rome, but, in reality, everything is different. Kozhanov says that now the situation is changing, there are really good and interesting projects. However, the branding of cities in Russia and, for example, in Europe is strikingly different.
To illustrate this, Kozhanov gives an example of London. When he was in London, his eyes rejoiced, because all the sign-boards were beautiful, but we don’t have that in Russia. Why? Andrei Kozhanov is sure that people in London are socially active. The procedure for checking signs in London lasts for two months, during this time everyone can express their opinion, and usually the company receives a lot of complaints and suggestions, and the sign-board can be changed. Kozhanov thinks that the Russians should be more active, and express their views on the design.
What is a place brand? This is a sustainable image of a place, and a development strategy implemented in communication, as well as an individual language of communication between the administration and the community, and a tool for attracting investments. A brand can help creating new needs in tourism, culture and sport. Before you develop a brand of a place, you have to answer the question: why do you want to do this? Why do we need bears, matrioshka and balalaika?
Russia is on the 9th place in the world for incoming foreigners, and this factor should really inspire the development of tourist branding, but if we subtract from the statistics the incoming workers, Russia will be on the 86th place.

We can conclude that the brand of a region does not appear by itself. All the elements used for branding should be interconnected and aimed at a single mission; the aim of branding should be determined even before you start planning.

You can find Andrei Kozhanov’s lecture on YouTube-channel.