Romania’s national brand – once again
I was pleased to note that the Ministry of Tourism recently changed Romania’s tourism brand strategy from “adventure destination” to “spa destination”, at least this is how the reprioritization was expressed by the recent statements of Minister Elena Udrea of December 16, 2011, in EVZ: https://www.evz.ro/detalii/stiri/elena-udrea-brandul-de-tara-e-un-succes-va-fi-promovat-cel-putin-pana-in-2015-958206.html. I do not know the reasons that led the Ministry to choose this new direction but I want to mention a few things:
1. I criticized the strategy of the Ministry, in extenso, here: https://issuu.com/bogdanbranzas/docs/analiza_branzas_-_brand_turistic_romania_-_23_08_2, both in terms of Romania’s tourism business strategy and in terms of project implementation, referring to potential target groups and messages transmitted through the visual identity created.
2. In an interview given to Money.ro on July 29th, 2010, I said the following: “I wonder why money is not invested sustainably in five Romanian balneal-climatic pearls such as Herculane or Sovata, in five strategic geographical points. These areas have great potential, many people could come there, and this movement could generate so much goodwill that we could bury the people from Karlsbad. ” The full interview can be found here: https://www.money.ro/reac-ia-speciali-tilor-la-noul-brand-turistic-al-romaniei-ce-sunt-carpathian-gardens_631231.html. It also contains opinions of other advertising and branding specialists.
3. In my private discussions with various decision-makers in the tourism business as well as in the Ministry I always mentioned the extraordinary spa potential of Romania and that they should turn the focus of their business strategy towards this area, complemented by authenticity and originality, as I wrote in the document analysis published by Issuu.
4. My and my colleagues’ analysis and recommendations were based on informal research conducted through tens of hours of discussions with the most diverse categories of people involved in the tourism business, as well as on a SWOT analysis of Romania’s tourism business potential, other than the one provided in the documents of the Ministry in the Tourism Development Strategy. We talked about this tourism strategy in detail in the analysis document published on Issuu.
5. Branzas, the brand and design consulting company I run, together with our partner Interbrand, did not participate in the auction organized by the Ministry for two main reasons: the strategy – I considered it to be erroneous and inappropriate for Romania due to the fact that it did not have any plans for the future. Furthermore, they applied the criterion of the lowest price as the only differentiating factor of the auction.
The strategy that we proposed, informally, is still valid and can develop around five spa poles, an entire industry and many jobs. Why!? Because everything that means transport infrastructure, first of all, must be developed in such a way that Romanian and foreign tourists can reach these destinations in the shortest time and with the greatest ease. Thus, they will flourish in addition to the construction segment, the airport segment, accommodation and food services, etc. We can imagine a map of Romania with five points strategically located in the middle of a network of transport and services connected with the other countries. I don’t think I risked anything by saying that Romania’s famous resorts could easily compete with its competitors, the foreign resorts such as Karlsbad – if this strategy is carried out.
Another essential and differentiating factor for this strategy are the mineral waters, Romania being in second place in Europe, according to some statistics, immediately after Italy.
As I have always argued, the brand strategy follows the business strategy, and a good consultant, (by this, I mean a consultant who brings valuable advice and analysis) is useful, he/she sees branding problems from the perspective of economic potential and its capitalization and not by creating bottomless shapes, symbols, colours, slogans, unsupported by a viable business.
Together with my colleagues, we can only enjoy the new position stated by the Minister. In the current context, any change for the better, any adjustment to a natural path, even in tourism, is more than welcome.