To be or not to be at the Fair of Croatian Counties
Last week the Zagreb Fair hosted the Fair of Croatian Counties and welcomed 20 Croatian counties.
I visited the Fair because I was interested to see how the County of Zagorje presented itself, since Brandoctor defined its slogan and designed its visual identity, and to see as well what the other Counties were up to, especially the Istria County that is way ahead of others when it comes to brand implementation.
It might be of interest to mention that the history of trade fairs in Zagreb dates back to 1242 when Bela IV, the king of Hungary, issued a Golden Bull declaring Zagreb a free royal city and granting it the right to hold fairs. We surely do have a great history to be proud of.
When I stepped into the pavilion that hosted the fair, all I could see were different kinds of authentic food products, and from the Slavonian pavilion you could hear a band playing and singing traditional songs from Slavonia.
All the stands looked the same and lacked a unique story. If the stands had no signs with the name of a specific county, I would have never guessed what county it was, whether it was the stand of the Osijek-Baranja County or the Vukovar-Srijem County.
I was also surprised to see that Primorje-Gorski Kotar County did not implement Kvarner’s visual identity. The County and the County’s Tourist Board should cooperate and present themselves in a unique way. When I reached the stand of the Istria County, it sure did leave me speechless. Since Istria is well known for its truffles, high-quality wine and olive oil, but also for other gourmet specialties, I expected to find some of the producers, but no one was there. Istria presented only the Istria Inspirit project and the stand looked empty and quite sad.
Few visitors attended the fair that day. I am wondering what is the target audience of the Fair of Croatian Counties and who does it address? It seems to me that the exhibitors did not justify the cost of participation in the fair, and did not reach their target. If they don’t start to work on its own brand positioning I think they will lose the little audience that they have. Each of our county is specific and beautiful in its own way so it’s important that the stories are told in a simple yet creative way which would capture everyone’s attention and be a source of pride for people who live in these counties.