Alec Hills - Jun 13, 2011
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Despite the quite significant promotion budgets neither Moscow nor St. Petersburg have their own city brands. The issue was clearly underestimated and as a result both Russian capitals, administrative and cultural, do not have any recognizable visual image. Some Russian cities and region however start implementing branding tools in effective way.

"Destination branding" was introduced in 2002 by Simon Anholt, one of the world's leading experts in the field of branding. Recently, more and more cities are thinking about their own identity, which would attract more visitors and would bring a set of values and identity for the locals. Currently, among the most recognizable European city brands are Paris, London, Barcelona or Amsterdam.

Gradually Russian cities and regions become more and more interested in implementing branding as a tool of efficient destination promotion. Among the first destinations embracing the concept are Perm, Kaluga Region, Nenets autonomous district, and Smolensk.


Branding began in 2009 with a proposal to use Perm red letter P (in Cyrillic) in the city’s logo. The logo is now used everywhere – on rubbish bins and benches as well as posters and stationery.

Kaluga Region

Kaluga region was formed in 1944. It belongs to the Central Federal District of Russia; there are more than a million inhabitants. Last year, the International Organization of Creditors recognized the region as the most attractive for investors in Russia. To maintain a successful image in the eyes of residents and investors, the region needed a corporate identity. A logo playing with the Cyrillic letters KO and OK was introduced. KO stand for the first letters of the Kaluga region and OK for the friendly business environment of the region.


The brand of Smolensk was established and developed by the city authority for the 1150th anniversary of the city. According to the local website, the author of the campaign pointed out that after the celebration of the anniversary the logo could serve the region as a valuable brand of Smolensk.

Nenets Autonomous District

The concept of a new brand of the region arose from the motto “Nenets Autonomous District – Russian North European Thesaurus”. This slogan highlights the region’s location – it is situated in the north, in contrast to the Komi Republic, and in Europe, as opposed to the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area. At the same time it emphasizes the presence of large and strategically important reserves and mineral resources in contrast to all the other Russian regions.

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