Armenia՛s branding strategy will be ready in late 2014

25.02.2014 | 11:10 Home / News / Articles /

Last week, Armenia’s National Competitiveness Foundation (NCFA) signed a document with the American GK Brand Company on working out Armenia’s national brand. The American company along with the Foundation is expected to present the competitive strategy for Armenia’s branding.

NCFA CEO Arman Khachaturyan told Mediamax about the details related to the process of the national brand development.

- How did the national brand development process start, and why exactly GK Brand was chosen?

-Armenia’s branding process started upon the offer made by the NCFA Board over 2012. We established contacts with various companies with boasting international experience, and around a dozen companies expressed their interest in our offer.  

We should understand the format of the process, the basic core, the available toolset and the volume of relevant funds needed for the development of the country’s national brand. We had to understand what combination of content and financial package we could get for Armenia.

After around a year of discussions held on various proposals made by a dozen of companies, we did our best to choose the company with the best experience recorded so far and at the same time, offering the best price-quality ratio.

We should also take into account the Armenian Diaspora factor upon developing the national brand. As Armenia’s Goodwill Ambassador, the Diaspora should be actively involved in the brand development process. Thus, other than the price-quality ratio, we had to take into account if the company with which we would cooperate could understand and accept Diaspora’s approaches or not.

Considering all these factors, we chose GK Brand, which has great experience in the countries of Latin America and South America.

- Under the agreement, GK Brand should introduce the competitive strategy for Armenia’s branding. Could you clarify the process of the brand development, the role of the foundation and its participation in it?

- We should have two clear results upon the completion of the brand development process. The first one is the strategy for the national brand development and the second one – implementation and communication of the strategy. The project is aimed at development of a clear action plan and in this context, the foundation will act as a link and perform daily core and organizational works with GK Brand.

The project refers to an entire country, thus, the brand development process should be comprehensive and involve all political, social, cultural and professional groups. It is highly important to lend an ear to the national brand-related approaches of all social groups. Afterward, we will do our best to combine all those views within a single strategy and action plan.

- Various discussions and speculations followed the competition announced for the development of Armenia’s brand with regard to entitling a foreign and not a local company to develop it. How would you explain this?

- The reason is quite simple – no local company has such experience.

- Consequently, you rule out the involvement of local experts into the brand development process, do you?

- Local experts and individuals will by all means be involved in the process. For example, we are planning to closely cooperate with the graduates of Luys Foundation. It’s not that a certain project will be worked out and be “imposed” on us. The brand development will be a serious process based on the utilization of domestic resources. What we think is, we should see Armenia not only through the eyes of the Armenians but foreign people as well. With the development of Armenia’s brand we are attempting to introduce our country’s system of values, culture and history in a clearer and more comprehensible way to the world. We should understand how we are perceived in the world, and international experience is needed for it.  

- Are there already any approximate ideas and criteria as to how Armenia’s national brand will be? Very often, Armenia is primarily associated with Mount Ararat and Armenian brandy.

- There are several criteria, but they are not core ones. When we speak of Armenia, the first things that come to mind are Christianity, Armenian Genocide, churches, Armenian apricot. It is natural, but our goal is to present Armenia not only to people who have some idea of our country but particularly, to those people who have no idea at all. At the moment, there are no any work solutions and options concerning the brand. The works are yet to take off; core discussions will be held on various ideas, and after certain developments are made, the works will be introduced to the public stage-by-stage.

NCFA Board of Trustees will choose the works and sum up the results. Our Board of Trustees comprises both state and private sectors, and I believe the structure of our board offers the best model within which the final selection of results can be made.

- Are there any clear deadlines set for the brand development and progress?

- Yes, a clear timeline has been set. We should complete the summing up of the project results on December 1, 2014. We are planning to have the strategy and the action plan developed by December 1. Setting a strict timeline is explained by the fact that the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide will be marked in 2015. This year Armenia will be in the center of international news streams, and we should have a clear vision of how Armenia will be targeted in those streams, and how we will achieve maximum results.

- What target goals, especially in terms of tourism development, does the national brand pursue?

- Many people think the development of the national brand can serve a “recipe” to all the issues, while it cannot be one. The brand should be combined with all development projects. In reality, we are not trying to work out a brand aimed at the tourism; we will be committed to the development of the country’s brand. The international experience has shown that a clearly discrete brand plays an important role in raising the country’s fame and reputation in foreign consumption markets.

In this case, we are first of all speaking of the goods and services offered by that particular country. If you trust that country, then you believe it produces quality goods and offers high services. Such a perception of a country forms relevant behavior, the behavior converts into a decision and the decision – into action. A properly worked out brand contributes to the demand for the goods and services of that country. Besides, a relevant brand also has an impact on the price formation of those goods.

We will try to create a positive perception of our country due to the national brand. We should realize how the positive perception should be formed, which in its turn will have a direct impact on the stream of new investments in Armenia, tourism development and opening of new jobs. The development of a country’s brand is not just a creation of a symbol but a deep and comprehensive process.

Ekaterina Poghosyan talked to Arman Khachaturyan.

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