We have no storage space!
Before 2000, Branzas participated in two competitions organized by the Romanian Foundation for Design. The awards we received then focused on the efficiency of the design, certified by tangible results: sales figures, their evolution, correlation with other marketing and sales efforts, etc. After these two contests, we thought that we could take a long break. One of the awards focused on the design efficiency for the beer brand, Ursus, which was confirmed at that time by the absolute record sales numbers in the Romanian beer industry: one million hectolitres in one year. It was a project that dozens of people worked very hard for. This happened during a period of several years that I documented in a few dozen pages for that contest.
Quite a few people have “accused” us since then that we do not participate in design contests, packaging, corporate identity, etc. Looking back at the past seventeen years of brand and design consulting, we have to admit that they were right indeed. Our projects did not participate in any design contests, except those which were submitted directly by our clients. There are a few simple reasons why we did not get involved in any similar contests:
1. Contests are organized as a business. In order for a business to be efficient, it must make a recurrent profit, in the shortest time possible. Therefore, the multitude of projects that are subject to judging in a competition, especially in the international ones, must be “digested” and understood in a very short time by the judges, which leads to the compression of the time needed to understand the projects. That is why I consider it relatively impossible to “judge” a project carried out over several months, with major implications in that market alongside the massive participation of consultants, designers, writers, dtps, as well as specialists and customer representatives.
2. Competitions take into account the briefs and the presentation of those particular projects and they rarely examine all the approaches, context and implications (for example the socio-cultural ones, that determined that project, apart from the brand strategy, communication, marketing or design). I think that international competitions, in particular, have a major minus – they do not have a perspective of the context because the members of the jury have no information and “sense” of the socio-cultural area from which the project comes.
3. Personally, I have never felt the need for “validation” from some judges, be they international or not, people with made-up of famous names or professionals in the field. The success of the project or the brand and the customer’s satisfaction are enough for me. I consider that the greatest achievements are, for example: the level of attractiveness that a shelf packaging manages to reach, the correct and ergonomic information that is presented in a material of a company or a very well-made identity standard so that the “owners” of the brand can use it with maximum ease, fairness and efficiency.
4. The daily competition with ourselves is much more challenging, especially since we do not aim for prizes, apart from the ones already mentioned. I will repeat them again, the greatest prizes are: success on the shelf, correct and efficiently presented information, strategy adapted to the market and to the consumers’ needs and a satisfied customer.
5. We prefer the pitch challenge, even if we lose some of them due to the fact that they are a real wrestling competition with two referees: the client and the consumers/stakeholders.
6. We do not have a place in the company where we could store diplomas and awards even though we occupy an entire floor in an office building.