Creating inspiring brands.

Dalmatia – beautiful region of lazy people

During the past few months I have come to believe that Dalmatia is mostly perceived as written above – beautiful region of lazy people. There isn’t any official research to prove this, however it is my firm opinion that if you conducted one today, this is exactly what it would show.

It almost seems to me that laziness has become one of the strongest associations when it comes to Dalmatia. Right beside the sea, the sun, the smell of pines and local music. Slowly but steadily it has grown from an internal national joke into a wide spread perception.

Laziness aside, it is very unfortunate that Dalmatia hasn’t developed any distinctive brand idea that would be accepted first internally and then communicated to the outside. Some attempts have been made, but they were implemented rather inconsistently.

In 2011 a brand strategy for Splitsko-Dalmatinska County was developed, positioning it as a “perfect place for living and work, with moderate hedonism as the everyday way of living”. The image of drywall was chosen as the main visual symbol because of its associations on the Adriatic region, olive and wine growing tradition as well as hard work and patience.

Couple of years back, in 2008, another visual identity and slogan were developed, this time for Splitsko-Dalmatinska County Tourist Board. The logo shows Dalmatian coastline in the shape of a fingertip and it is used, together with the slogan “The heart of Adriatic”, on most of the tourist board materials.

When it comes to branding, consistency is everything. Right along with uniqueness and differentiation. There can be various target groups (locals, tourists, investors…) and various campaigns but there should only be one brand story and one brand identity. The brand story should than be told through all the institutions and all the channels. And although I admire both attempts mentioned above, I believe that they didn’t entirely catch the true Dalmatian spirit and narrated the wholesome Dalmatian story.

The story I wish to hear about Dalmatia includes passion and energy, sounds and scents, colors and contrasts. It is cynical, yet warm and hearty. It is hard working yet relaxed and easy-going, certainly not lazy. It’s rich in cultural heritage and even richer in sincere emotion. It is loud, vibrant, colorful, and dynamic. It can be found in the faces of older generations but at the same time it is full of bright young people and creative potential. It sparks innovation and welcomes the future. It is right as it should be, and at the same time in the exact opposite of everything else.

Dalmatia is long over due when it comes to positioning itself consistently on the world’s scene. And the best thing to prove everyone wrong about laziness is to start working on it today.

Comments

dasa says: 23. 9. 2013. at 11:47

Dear Author,
If the choice of inappropiate title ”Dalmatia – beautiful region of lazy people” article was ment to shock and attract: mission accomplished. Personally, I am not a great believer in making fun of people and generalizing in public, and allthough I too am a Dalmatian, I do not recognise myself in the description offered within. All those ”Dalmatian lazies” are collateral victims of the crumbling economics which affected south more than the north so… in their attempt to self preserve they have no other choice but to sit in the sun as part of the anti-depression therapy. Havent’t you heared that for a while there is no steady job market along the coast (but seasonal jobs and they are in extremely high demand). Cultivating prejudices like this was for marketng purposes? Use of such a discriminating title was to criticise touristic professionals and the branding agencies they outsource? Why trash Dalmatian people ( I am sure that was not your intention), they have nothing to do with advertising or beauties of Dalmatia and even if they did, the fair way to go about it would be from top down, pick from the pool of publicly known figures, highly positioned state officials with titles and power positions, do not trash the common folk! That is so tacky: sure we recite jokes in our private lives routinely and ethnic minorities we joke about feel a painfull sting every now and then, but as hypocritical as we all appear to be (and are), we do not advertise it, for everyones’ benefit.
You hit the Dalmatian nerve, regards

Brandoctor says: 24. 9. 2013. at 10:01

Dear Dasa,
You are right – the title was meant to be provocative and to shock. However, my intention was not to generalize and make fun of people, quite the contrary. I am well aware of the economic situation in Dalmatia and I was pretty enraged and annoyed with the image us Dalmatians started to have among our fellow citizens. That was the main motive to write the article in the first place. Once I started to write I realized that the regional authorities did very little to change the image and to promote the things that make Dalmatia so beautiful and unique. Dalmatians have
nothing to do with advertising, but advertising and promotion have a lot to do with the image of Dalmatia. I believe that our job as marketers should be to tell true stories that would touch people on the emotional level and make a positive impact. And sometimes a provocative title helps in doing just that.

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