As the Armenia Country branding process continues to gain momentum, our team has transitioned to one of the most challenging and exciting aspects of the project, which involves developing visual brand identity. I would like to emphasize the fact that in-depth research followed by a powerful well-thought-out strategic plan should always precede creative execution.
Throughout the whole process, our job is to expose Armenia to the world, reveal its most alluring attributes, boost tourism, attract foreign investment, and stress its enormous potential. It is time to position Armenia as the hidden gem that is yet to be discovered…Therefore, our next task is to develop a compelling logo and a catchy tagline that will resonate with the relevant audiences worldwide and capture the essence of this amazing country.
The Armenia Branding Country team are honored to be a part of this project…This is our way of paying tribute to Armenia and its ancient people who found the audacity and strength to prevail over adversity, time and time again…defying logic, exceeding expectations and, oftentimes, surviving the impossible. There is so much to say. So much to express. And so much to convey…But how do we go about condensing all the wonderful things this land has to offer into a brief statement and a symbol to promote instant public recognition? And how do we create a new narrative?
The main challenge of our creative journey is to promote and celebrate Armenia and clearly articulate its strengths, unwavering spirit and incessant quest for knowledge and learning. Gone are the days when Armenia was mainly associated with problems and geopolitical strife that never seemed to end. Now it is a safe place and one of the fastest growing economies in the region, geared to become a high point on the global itinerary.
Laying the Foundation for Creative Execution
As we initiated the process of developing a new and more compelling brand identity for Armenia, we conducted comprehensive research to identify existing perceptions about the country and measure them against realities…in an effort to uncover the enormous potential for foreign investors and draw tourists from all over the world. Research findings revealed that ancient culture, rich history, Christian values, survival and pride are some of the attributes that should be weaved into the overall Armenian narrative. Furthermore, there are intangible characteristics, such as spirituality, learning, discovery that should be incorporated into a positioning statement. Simply put, our next task was to develop a forward-looking and optimistic theme consistent with the progress the country has made and its vision for the future.
Armed with those insights, we were well-equipped to move on to the next phase of our assignment. During the strategy development process we came up with a central idea, developed a unifying concept, outlined brand values and a big idea, followed by a powerful positioning statement that serves as the master narrative about Armenia. We have the foundation…Now it is time to start building.
Let the Creative Journey Begin
With ample materials to work with, we were hard at work developing new creative recommendations. Our next task was to create a compelling brand identity including a logo and tagline that would set Armenia apart from other countries and help this nation establish a solid foothold in a crowded market, comprised of so many exciting destinations.
While working on the brand identity, we always had a powerful brand strategy and positioning statement in mind: “Armenia is eternal. Culture thrives everywhere. The people are united by faith and a passion for prosperity. No matter where on earth or at what point in time, the people thrive knowing they are part of an irrepressible, passionate nation.”
Telling the Story of Armenia in One Brief Statement
After developing a Strategy for Branding Armenia, our team moved on to brand identity and develop and test various taglines and logo designs that best reflect the essence of Armenia and its people. We conducted surveys with local Armenians, as well as members of the Armenian diaspora and non-Armenians throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Russia, Europe, Australia, Middle East, India, China and Japan. Following the initial surveys, it became clear that it was essential to incorporate the input from non-Armenian populations into the process – our target audience for investments and tourism. Subsequent to our initial efforts, our team spearheaded a highly-intense and in-depth global survey, reaching out to 48 markets across all continents.
As a result of our research efforts and intense brainstorming, we condensed our brand strategy into a positioning statement and subsequently shortened it even further into an elevator pitch …which led to a few taglines that, in our minds, mirror the Country Brand of Armenia, its culture, spirit and potential. The four taglines to accompany the logo were as follows:
- Armenia Where History is Made
- Armenia: The Story is Just Beginning
- Armenia. Home Eternal
- Armenia. Rewards the Bold
Considering that Armenia is on the threshold of becoming one of the region’s fastest growing economies, the tagline should reflect its growth potential, optimistic spirit and forward-looking ideas.
Creating a Logo That Evokes Strong Feelings
It was crucial to ensure that the newly created Brand would fully represent the country’s potential, as well as its rich history, traditions and the indomitable strength of its people.
The main objective was to come up with something authentic, powerful and compelling…something thought-provoking that could be interpreted in many different ways. Our creative team developed and tested a few graphic symbols known by most Armenians and even some non-Armenians.
For example, Armenians have always been fascinated with the beauty and majesty of Mountain Ararat, which was a part of ancient Armenia. However, due to border changes, Mt. Ararat currently belongs to Turkey and shows up as part of Turkey on Google maps. The Armenia Branding Country team started contemplating some other alternatives to Mt. Ararat that could be incorporated into the visual brand. Khachkar (also known as an Armenian cross-stone), pomegranate, the symbol of Eternity, and the tricolor flag of Armenia were all under consideration.
Finally, our team of talented designers operating under the leadership of Vasken Kalayjian (the Executive Creative Director), and Dean Martin (the Creative Director), came up with an abstract symbol we have nicknamed “Eternal Sun”.
The logo is shaped like a blooming flower, symbolizing Armenia as one of the very few cultures that has profoundly influenced all corners of the globe with its intellectual, spiritual, artistic, scientific and business contributions. Moreover, it is spreading out like the rays of the sun resembling the shape of the Armenian Symbol of Eternity. We subtly incorporated the eternal symbol into the logo as it is found throughout the country’s architecture and cultural artifacts and represents the country’s spiritual history and heritage. The notion of “Eternity” is universal; it is understood by all cultures and is both engaging and aspirational.
The three colors of the logo – red, blue and orange – are the colors of the Armenian flag and convey a sense of courage, optimism and assurance designed to appeal to travelers and business professionals of all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. The fourth color (which is dark red) is symbolic of pomegranate seeds, with pomegranate being the central fruit inArmenian culture. It is used as a staple fruit in many Armenian households worldwide and epitomizes fertility and abundance. It is said that there are 365 seeds in the pomegranate, one for each day of the year…
The dots radiating from the center represent members of the Armenian diaspora who are scattered all around the world…but remain proudly connected to their historic homeland.
What’s more, the logo symbolizes stones and pebbles, as Armenia is a country of mountains, stones and rocks, and is well-known for its art of stone carving. In fact, Karahunj, Armenia’s Stonehenge, is 3,500 years older than England’s Stonehenge and 3,000 years older than the Egyptian pyramids.
We created an abstract logo that is not only visually appealing but also open to interpretation. We are hoping that the audience will be intrigued by many different meanings of the image…Sun…Energy in motion…Eternity…Stones of Armenia…Pomegranate seeds…National colors of Armenia…Seeding the World with new ideas and knowledge…Brain circulation… Everyone will have a different perspective and point of view, as the image in front of them will call upon a wide variety of positive emotions and associations. And that’s what the new Brand Armenia should evoke, stand for and tell the world. The Story is Just Beginning.
Next Step of Our Journey
Elevating Armenia’s image, altering perceptions and revealing its most attractive attributes is the best thing our team can do for this country and its people. Our team of global branding specialists are proud to say that this country is a unique place known for its tremendous resolve, spellbinding beauty and unique brand of hospitality. In addition to being one of the most exotic destinations and serving as a viable option for investments, it remains one of the safest countries in the region and an ideal place to start and raise a family – an undeniably important point.
Vasken Kalayjian is the CEO and Brand Architect at GK GK Brand. www.gkbrand.com