Designers of Universiade and 2015 FINA World Championships chosen as creators of Bolgar’s tourist brand

900,000 rubles on creation of brands and slogans ‘Look how history lives’ and ‘Ancient civilisation on Volga’

Designers of Universiade and 2015 FINA World Championships chosen as creators of Bolgar’s tourist brand Photo: Maksim Platonov

Following the world experience, Tatarstan started to build the branding of tourist sites. Great Bolgar and Island City of Sviyazhsk became first. Creation of the concept of their brands cost 900,000 rubles. It is supposed that they will be promoted not only in Russia but also in CIS countries, Europe and the Muslim world. At the official presentation of the tourist brands, a correspondent of Realnoe Vremya found out that as strange it might sound a design company that is famous for the creation of brands for the Universiade and the FINA World Championships and even the Kazan Zoo got the tender.

Sociologists were first

On 16 November, Chairman of the State Committee for Tourism of Tatarstan Sergey Ivanov and Deputy Chairman of the State Council of Tatarstan, Executive Director of the Regional Foundation of Revival of Historical and Cultural Monuments of Republic of Tatarstan Tatiana Larionova presented tourist brands Great Bolgar and Island City of Sviyazhsk within the scope of Visit Tatarstan. The job was done during the year. Tourism Development Centre of Tatarstan and Renascence fund supervised the creation of the brands.

Before the start of the main part of the job, Citybranding company examined rivals, held targeted interviews with representatives of tourist business and asked tourists for their expectations of the visit to the sites and their impressions after the trip. Curiously, according to the survey, tourists come to Great Bolgar and don't understand where they are going because they don't know the history of the landmark. But they leave the place with similar feelings. In turn, Sviyazhsk considerably exceeded the tourists' expectations.

Great Bolgar without association with Bulgaria, and Sviyazhsk – in the form of a perch with the city on its back

Sergey Ivanov started the presentation of the brand with Great Bolgar. He focused on the very name of the landmark and told why it had been decided to write it Great Bolgar in English with an 'o', not 'u'. If Great Bulgar were used, it would look like Bulgaria (the name of the country). 'This is why our task is to separate from this geographic name as far as possible,' the head of the State Committee on Tourism of Tatarstan noted. What is more, Great Bolgar is also written with an 'o' in Tatar. By the way, it is planned to translate the brand into three languages only – Russian, Tatar and English. Ivanov noted there was no need to increase the number of languages.

Sergey Ivanov told that each brand cost 450,000 rubles

The key concept of the brand Great Bolgar was defined as 'Great Bolgar. Ancient Civilisation on Volga'. Tatar national jewellery — earrings — found during archaeological digs were used for visualisation. All elements that form the style were 'hung' and different landmarks – the White Mosque, national jewellery and bars, which is a symbol of Tatarstan, were placed inside the earrings. The logo of the landmark is an inscription in a triangle shield because the shape of Great Bolgar on the map also resembles a triangle.

The official brand of Sviyazhsk was called 'Island City of Sviyazhsk. Look how history lives'. A perch with the city on its back is the logo. The name of the landmark is described below. The style of the brand is based on traditional motifs of the region, and elements that form the style resemble 'hung' circles where different architectural landmarks – gates of the monastery, Church of Saints Konstantin and Elena, riverboat station, house with columns, etc. – were placed in. According to the brochure with the presentation, the authors of the project deliberately designed an ornament that actually looks like a simple fish scale and chain-link fence.

The official brand of Sviyazhsk was called 'Island City of Sviyazhsk. Look how history lives'

'We decided to compete under another name to not to tease people'

Answering a question of Realnoe Vremya, Sergey Ivanov told that each brand cost 450,000 rubles. The designer of the visual style was chosen in a competition. Four companies took part in it. Ivanov said the works were estimated anonymously – the jury did not know who created this or that concept.

'I can say that Lorien was almost unanimously chosen as winner. This company managed to visualise the key idea of the concept of these brands better,' told the head of the committee.

It seems that the Kazan company managed to visualise not only the idea of the concept of Great Bolgar and Sviyazhsk because it is a winner of several state contests. It created and carried out styles of the 2013 Universiade, 2015 FINA World Championships and the reconstructed Kazan Zoo.

But in the last case, not Lorien won the contest in fact. Maksat – its subsidiary – did it. Art Director of Lorien Ildar Akhtyamov also assisted the presentation and told about the concepts of the new brands from the stage. He told their task was to make a unique style that would stress the combination of different cultures.

Tatar national jewellery — earrings — found during archaeological digs were used for visualisation

After the official part, he easily talked to Realnoe Vremya and commented the change of the company's name:

'We decided to compete under another name to not to tease people,' the interlocutor of the newspaper told laughing. To be more precise, it was done in order to avoid questions about too frequent victories of the company in Kazan competitions.

Yelabuga, Chistopol and Tetyushi – next

Tourist companies may use the presented brands of Great Bolgar and Sviyazhsk for free. The main condition is to talk to the museum about a good or service they are going to produce and then speak to the Tourism Development Centre about the copyright of the design. The republic will earn on very tourists. Moreover, these brands will be used in ads abroad.

In answer to a question asked by Realnoe Vremya, Sergey Ivanov noted that Great Bolgar and Sviyazhsk are world-class sites and are able to be independent points of attraction in Tatarstan. They can be interesting for the Russian market in general and for CIS countries in particular. In his opinion, Bolgar has a serious potential in Near East countries, Eastern and Western Europe, and Sviyazhsk – in CIS countries, Western and Eastern Europe. The speaker was not able to say how much money was spent on advertising of the local landmarks abroad. But he noted that the budget for these goals grew every year.

It is also planned to make brands for other tourist sites of Tatarstan. Nothing is clear at the moment. But Yelabuga, Chistopol, Tetyushi and Arsk are first in line.

Grandiose plans

Indeed, the labour on the attraction of tourists to the republic was not in vain. Today the tourist traffic in Sviyazhsk has exceeded 300,000 people, the amount of visitors in Great Bolgar is approaching 400,000 people. For comparison, 7,000 tourists visited Sviyazhsk in 2010, while the final number made up 241,000 people last year. Bolgar, in turn, started the 2010 with 50,000 tourists. This number formed mainly due to the celebration of the adoption of Islam. In 2015, Bolgar was visited by 251,000 people. This year the number has surpassed 300,000 visitors.

The culture of client service remains topical this year, Tatiana Larionova noted

Tatiana Larionova told the journalists that the Wood Museum, which is the only museum in Russia, will be located in Sviyazhsk. The opening is due to take place in 2018. The construction will be carried out at the expense of Renascence fund. Moreover, they are going to open a visitor centre with an art gallery and museum of a Kazan artist Gennady Arkhireyev in early 2017. The fund has already purchased his paintings from the widow. Museum of Orthodoxy will be created at the beginning of the next year. Icons from Sviyazhsk, which are kept in the Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan, will move there.

Great Bolgar will also have new tourist sites. A construction project of a labyrinth for pre-school kids has already been prepared. It will be situated close to Gabdrakhman's well.

'We have already started to fulfil the project. We have an amazing presidential programme on embankments, you know. We and the fund can partially participate in it next year too,' told Tatiana Larionova Realnoe Vremya. The deputy chairman of the State Council of Tatarstan preferred to not to answer the question about the amount of money spent to fulfil the project. Moreover, Civil War Museum appeared in Sviyazhsk this year.

Tatiana Larionova also noted that dredging works were performed thanks to President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov and the state budget. So next summer both Great Bolgar and Sviyazhsk will be ready to host multi-deck vessels. It will enable to increase the tourist traffic to the sites more.

'Honestly, the flow in Bolgar and Sviyazhsk has grown from 40% to 60% in the last two or three years. Consequently, if everything continues developing this way, next year Sviyazhsk will reach 400,000 visitors and Bolgar – 450-500,000 people respectively,' told Sergey Ivanov about prospects.

The culture of client service remains topical this year because mainly local people work there. 'This is why there are certain questions we are working on,' Larionova continued.

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By Maria Gorozhaninova