Natasha Grand, Director of the Institute for Identity INSTID in London, in this guest post tells the story of how Lipetsk, a region in southern Russia, (re)discovered its identity and turned it into a place branding strategy.
The work on Lipetsk region identity grew inconspicuously from a very practical task. Irina Belozerova, the head of a governmental tourism unit, was due to order a new range of promotional souvenirs. She did not quite like any of what their suppliers had proposed. Irina was also mindful of the annual national tourism show nine months down the line, the major event at which regions from all over the country competed to dazzle the public and the media. Irina wanted the Lipetsk exhibition stand to be the spotlight of the next show.
So she decided to start from scratch, and do things properly. She talked to her boss, the regional head of culture, Vadim Volkov. They reached out to colleagues in another region who run a very successful Visit Tatarstan campaign, and learned that the campaign was rooted in a comprehensive identity building project.
Vadim Volkov initiated a public tender for Lipetsk regional identity work. So many companies applied, and journalists inquired, that the department felt oddly popular. The tender went to INSTID on experience and qualification. It was September 2017.
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