For the first time in Russia, Ken Fujino, a famous expert in the territory branding, the head of the Japanese N37, gave a lecture on the brand strategy. The head of the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency, Taliya Minullina, invited him to set before the public his project “Snow Country”, which was awarded the Japanese Tourism prize, and discuss with the most influential representatives of the tourism market the positioning tools, the role and actually the development of a single brand of the territory. The event was attended by 50 people.
“Over the past 20 years the territory branding has been actively discussed in the world: how much it is associated with social and economic development; what are the effects on the development of human capital; how territories differ from each other; what is uniqueness.
The latest study, made by Brand Finance, was released in 2019 and includes 2 ratings: one of them estimates economic indicators, according to which the top three are America, China and Germany; the second rating evaluates public opinion, and Singapore is on top here, Switzerland ranks 2nd, and the Netherlands ranks 3rd. There is a great deal of such ratings, but what is remarkable: there is no Russia in the TOP-10 anywhere. And today, we would like to talk about how to fix it. First of all, the territory brand, is the uniqueness; this is what people go to; what they are ready to “buy” in every sense of the word. It is important that this brand would be truly strong. Today we have 3 brands that we are promoting: Invest Tatarstan; Made in Tatarstan (production for export); and Visit Tatarstan (tourism). Meanwhile, we do not have a single brand of Tatarstan yet. Yes, we say that this is a territory of success, an entry point for international companies. I believe that today’s seminar may suggest an idea of how to put in touch these 3 brands and organize something new and interesting,” said Taliya Minullina in her speech.
“I absolutely agree with every word. It is very important for the region to have its own brand. For 10 years I personally have been working on the creation, development and polishing of the brand of the Snow Country tourist zone,” spoke favorably Ken Fujino.
As explained by the guest, the snow region is located a 70-minute drive from Tokyo. 8 thousand years ago, under the influence of warm currents, a lot of snow began to fall, and now its level reaches 3 m. About 180 thousand people live here. The zone includes 7 municipalities of 3 prefectures. The tourist flow is 3 million 800 thousand people per year, most people stay in Yuzawa town. Sustainable regional governance brings results. The values related with the life and culture peculiar to the region are created. Marketing helps to define clear target audience, to develop client-oriented products, to effect full quality control. The Strategic Council for Snow Country Tourist Zone functions; it includes 4 working groups: Snow Country Culture, Tourism Association, Food, and Brand. The Strategic Council meets once every 2 months with the participation of representatives of business, administrative authorities, the Tourism Association, where the issues of working groups and promotion of projects are discussed.
When developing the brand, Ken Fujino urged to identify and emphasize a strong personality, meaning a value that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
At the end of the event, the guests personally expressed gratitude to Taliya Minullina and the Japanese expert, and noted that it was interesting and useful.
“Thank you very much for the invitation. I am very glad. I was very pleased to speak to such an audience,” said Ken Fujino, summing up the results.
The head of the TIDA spoke about the friendly Russian-Japanese relations and business relations of Tatarstan with the Land of the Rising Sun.
Back in 2016, at the highest level, a Cooperation Plan consisting of 8 points was approved:
(1) Extending healthy life expectancies; (2) Developing comfortable and clean cities easy to reside and live in; (3) Fundamental expansion of medium-sized and small companies’ exchange and cooperation; (4) Energy; (5) Promoting industrial diversification and enhancing productivity in Russia; (6) Developing industries and export bases in the Far East; (7) Cooperation on cutting-edge technologies; (8) Fundamental expansion of people-to-people interaction
“Tatarstan has good relations with Japan, many joint projects, including investment ones. Of course, effective cooperation requires close contact between the parties. I was in Japan and I admire the unique Japanese culture. Paying working visits, I visited such cities as Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanazawa and others. Traditionally, we organize business missions, hold the Tatarstan-Japan business forum in your country,” said Taliya Minullina.
Among current Japanese partners of Tatarstan, the head of the Agency named such companies as Yokogawa, Sojitz, IIDA Group, Soramitsu, Toyo Engineering Corporation, Yokogawa Electric Corporation and others.
“Ida Sangyo Rus is our investor; it owns 30% of the low-rise housing construction market in Japan, and here, in Kazan, it bought 23.5 hectares of land where a residential complex is built using the Japanese technology. I hope that in the future we will fit these houses with the Japanese equipment, which will also be produced in Tatarstan,” shared the plans Taliya Minullina.
People in Japan are aware of Tatarstan and, according to the guest, speak of it in the warm terms. In 2018, for the first time in 102 years, a member of the imperial family visited Russia. Crown Princess of Japan Hisako Takamado visited Kazan, where the Japanese national football team trained and played. In addition to the World Cup matches, being in the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan, the princess took to heart the history and culture of the region, enjoyed the architectural heritage of the Kazan Kremlin and visited some enterprises.
“Of course, I’ve just arrived. My first impressions: I really enjoyed the national food. It is very interesting that here 2 different cultures get on together: Orthodox and Muslim. This is a uniqueness of the region, and of course, being the person who develops the region, I would like you to be able to preserve it,” wished Ken Fujino.