Armenia Tasks Toronto Agency with Tourism Rebrand

Garni Temple in Armenia

BY SUSAN KRASHINSKY

TORONTO (The Globe and Mail)—In 2015, the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, more foreign media than usual will be telling stories about Armenia. That is why the country has set a strict timeline for a rebranding project that will seek to attract more investment and tourists to its borders – starting in 2015, when it will be the focus of more attention. And it is bringing a Canadian advertising agency on board to help, the Globe and Mail writes.

On Tuesday, Toronto-based Cundari Group announced that, in partnership with New York agency GK Brand, it has won the contract for Armenia’s brand development project.

The contract is with the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia, a public-private partnership between the government and Armenian business leaders, both within the country and abroad.

A team from Cundari will be travelling to Armenia in a couple of weeks to begin the process of developing the country’s brand strategy. It’s not unfamiliar territory: Cundari helped to create a new brand strategy for Washington, D.C., in 2008, and has done similar projects for the city of Calgary, Ontario’s Niagara region, and Yonkers, N.Y., among others. Armenia is the farthest-flung project it has yet tackled.

“We understand that place branding is very different from product or service branding,” said Kelly Frances, Cundari’s senior vice-president of sales and marketing. “You really have to take in the perspective not just of residents of the place, but of businesses, potential visitors, potential investors. You have to look at the brand from many different vantage points.”

The team will be designing a new logo for Armenia, but the project goes far beyond that. It will be developing a strategy to attract foreign investment, and also to transform the country’s growing tourism industry.

Because it is not a beach destination, it will be advertising itself to tourists who are interested in culture and history. A project is under way, for example, to revitalize the more than 1,000-year-old Tatev monastery. The ad agencies will now be charged with creating a communications plan by the time Armenia is in the public eye next year.

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