Brandient's point of view regarding the Romanian Tourism Brand
Subsequent to numerous requests coming from the media, please find below our point of view regarding the Romanian tourism brand issue.
In the first place, we will refrain from any value judgments on the positioning, logo and other deliverables, because we were directly involved in the public tender, as participants within the consortium led by Mr. Wally Olins, and as such our opinions might be considered biased. Nevertheless, there are several highly relevant aspects that should be underlined for a clear debate.
In the official task book of the tender, it was clearly stated that: “[…] we’ll disqualify from the very beginning any applicant that is not specialized in brand consultancy”. In this respect, we underline the fact that THR Asesores en Turismo, Hoteleria y Recreacion SA, the winner of the tender, is not a specialized brand consultancy company. During the selection process, the Romanian Tourism Ministry invoked the lack of legal criteria to assess the existence of such a specialization. Even in the absence of such criteria, the Tourism Ministry could have appealed to its consultants (IAA, UAPR) to advise on this issue or to simply consult THR’s website (www.thr.es), where there isn’t any mention about branding amongst the 18 categories of services provided by THR. The oficial presentation slides provided by THR could mislead the reader, in absence of supplementary infimation, to believe that THR created, for example, the logos of Spain or Greece, which is not the case.
Contrary to the spirit of the mentioned public tender, reputable and highly experienced branding companies such as Landor, Future Brands, Siegel & Gale have been disqualified, while the consortium led by Mr. Wally Olins has been rejected based on the price criterion.
It is also regrettable that, during the public debate initiated after the launch of the brand identity elements, the comments are vastly concentrated on the political aspect and bring into discussion faulty ideas like “we don’t need such a thing” or “anybody can make a brand in 5 minutes using a computer”. We need, today more than ever, a competent approach for Romania’s reputation and the tourism brand would have been a great opportunity to start in a professional manner. Unfortunately, now it’s even more obvious that not everybody has the right strategic or creative skills required to create a brand, and that the safest way to approach this problem would have been to turn to those who proved they have the required skills during years of experience and countless successful projects.
“I think that the worst thing to do now is to judge blinded by political passions and egos. The Tourism Ministry must act professionally and take responsibility for the future of the Romanian Tourism. The remaining 73 million euro, destined for the brand’s communication campaign in the following years, can be invested profitably, generating value for the country, or can be spent wastefully. Positioning doesn’t mean differentiation for the sake of it, but it means finding that sustainable and relevant differentiation, capable of delivering growth for a business — in this case, the Romanian tourism. It’s not a tragedy for a client (notice to the Tourism Ministry) to return to the designated consultant and to request other differentiation alternatives. It is a tragedy however, to carelessly carry on, especially when large amounts of public money are at stake. We must stop the national bickering and do what is best for us, the Romanian people, not for some foreign company or some politician.”—Aneta Bogdan, Chartered Marketer, Managing Partner Brandient.