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Khabarovsk Territory is a huge nothing

The brand of the region is understood as a formulated, understandable, meaningful visual image of the territory. With all the wealth of symbols - the Himalayan bear, Cupid, taiga, petroglyphs, tigers - the Khabarovsk Territory cannot boast of having a brand.

All attempts to make the Khabarovsk Territory a center of attraction for tourists are still unproductive. The region does not have a clear proposal for those who came to rest. But the brand of the region allows the audience - including people living here - to perceive this territory not just as a piece of land, but as a unique entity. How to "sell" this undoubtedly beautiful land to tourists, and at the same time to its residents themselves, so that they do not leave?

Khabarovsk Territory is a huge nothing
Photo: Sergey Kolchin

Regional brand - nonsense?

Acting Governor of the Khabarovsk Territory Mikhail Degtyarev proposed turn on region in the national project "Tourism and hospitality industry". An entity can “sell” several routes and clusters to tourists, in which they will have something to do. It is assumed that the entire national project by 2030 will increase the flow of tourists inside the country and the number of jobs in the tourism sector of the region. But to lure tourists, it is not enough to create a project. It is necessary that the tourist clearly understands where and why he is going. For example, people go to the Tula region for samovars and gingerbread. To Tatarstan - to Sabantuy and chak-chak. In Primorye - at sea. And why go to the Khabarovsk Territory?

The answer to this question lies in the regional brand. Properly packed, it can bring tourists and money into the territory.

“When they say“ brand ”- whether it's a brand of a company, a person, a city, or a region - it's always a whole package of tools,” explains the producer of urban projects, Khabarovsk urbanist Yevgeny Mishtal.

This package can include logos, slogans, symbols, corporate identity and much more. Each tool helps to form an image of the “consumer” that creates value for the “product”. In the case of the region, the value of the territory in question.

“What you want to brand with has to have dignity - something that has value before it is even appreciated. I have not seen La Gioconda in the original, but I have heard so much about it that I have a sense of its value before I saw it, "adds Leonid Tyutrin, methodologist of the Open University for Human Intellectual Development.

A well-built brand of the territory helps to solve several problems at once: to strengthen its current residents and attract new ones, to increase the flow of tourists, to promote its own products in domestic and foreign markets. For example, even those who cannot show Bashkiria on the map of Russia have heard about Bashkir honey - and this honey is well sold throughout the country. 

What to build on?

Now the formation of a brand is a fashionable trend in regional politics. Applicable to the subjects of the country this concept stuck in federal legislation back in 2007-2008, but recently it began to be actively discussed at different levels, including at the state - for example, in Rospatent.

“In a market economy, the desire to develop new markets and strengthen the influence on previously conquered markets forces regional authorities to pay special attention to creating an individual image of the region. For these purposes, the best tool may be the so-called "regional brands" ", - считает Alexey Sychev, head of one of the sectors of Rospatent.

There are subjects who have succeeded in shaping their brand more than others. For example, in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug, the brand built on the fact that the lion's share of Russian oil is extracted in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and representatives of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North - the Khanty and Mansi - live there. Tatarstan brand was his own cultural and historical heritage: Tatar hospitality, traditions and customs, cuisine.

Primorye in general rests on its geographical position: the image of the region is formed by the proximity of water, seafood and sailor attributes. The subject's brand and corporate identity have already been developed, but are not widely used - although in the Primorsky Territory it is clear what this territory is about even without a brand.

 And what about the Khabarovsk Territory?

We offered the residents of the region to answer the question: "What do you associate with the Khabarovsk Territory?" Everyone has different answers. For example, for some, the Amur tiger has become a symbol of the region - but there are too few of them here and each individual is too valuable to display for tourists. Although it is theoretically possible to organize the opportunity to gaze at a wild cat.

“It would be nice to do as the Chinese do. They have almost no tigers that live in the wild. They made huge zoos where you drive in a barred car. And these cats walk - conditionally - in the wild, not in cages. And at the same time you yourself are safe. I saw such a zoo in Singapore too - there animals are separated from people by moats, ”recalls Alexander Leonkin, a writer, traveler, member of the Russian Geographical Society.

But the first association with the Khabarovsk Territory, which arose from Alexander himself, is Shantara.

“I would probably force (promote - author's note) the Shantar Islands. The only problem there is transport accessibility. It's hard to get there. Plus, this area is reserved, not open. If you can still get to the Kuriles, if these border affairs have already been simplified there, then Shantars - yes, this is a problem, ”argues Alexander Leonkin.

In addition to natural features, a regional brand can also be based on historical ones, as in Tatarstan. We can use at least the fact that the territory of the Amur basin in the Middle Ages was inhabited by the Jurchens.

“These are the relatives of our Udege, Nanai - the indigenous inhabitants of the Amur region. It was a fairly advanced civilization. Again, the [Sikachi-Alyan] petroglyphs are sticking out in our country. But here they are, these stones - that's all. I saw similar things in Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, I saw how it is organized. In Kyrgyzstan - on the Issyk-Kul lake, the place is surrounded by a fence, paid entrance. You go in - there is a large map, there are three routes. There is a tablet next to each stone with a petroglyph, and each stone is signed. It is even better done in Azerbaijan: there is also a museum there. Here is a museum-museum. And here - just stones. Well, stones and stones. I was there last year - there are people, but it is not organized. "

The Khabarovsk Territory has symbols: tiger, bear, Cupid, Shantara, petroglyphs. But in order to create a regional brand, it is not enough just to take some kind of territorial symbol and promote it. Symbols should be grouped around the concept - but with it it is already more difficult. 

Brand foundation

Globally, there are two ways to build a regional brand. The first is to create an image of an “ideal future” and go towards it.

“For example: Khabarovsk Territory is the most equipped medical center in the Far East. We have a perinatal center, we have an oncology center, and we have a cardiology center. We have a Far Eastern Railway Hospital - in which, when we worked, it turned out that they had 36 methods in their departments, which are not found in South Asia. Not in China, not in Korea - nowhere. Although they go there for treatment. Or you can do operations right here - and the same Chinese, Koreans, Japanese will go here, ”says Elena Danilenko, chairman of the board of the Open University for Human Intellectual Development.

If the image of the "medical center of the Far East" attracts tourists, then infrastructure will inevitably be built around it - hotels, places of leisure, roads between them. But the problem with this path is that the "ideal future" does not yet exist. If we take it as the basis for the formation of a brand, then the region will, in fact, sell a mirage. But you need to make people believe in this mirage not only local, but also representatives of other regions of the country.

“So I created an image for myself, I see it. I ask my neighbor: "How do you like it?" - "What? -" Yes, that's the same! "-" Where? What are you talking about? "Have you ever seen a mirage? This is an absolutely living, real, existing object - just in the place where I see a mirage, this object does not exist. Why does Moscow not see the mirages that we have created? Because these are mirages It is impossible to come and touch, "explains the methodologist of the ANO Leonid Tyutrin.

The second way is to use the features that the region already has and strengthen them. Then you don't have to “sell air”. For example, one of the peculiarities of the Khabarovsk Territory is that young people leave here. This can be used as a basis for brand formation if the subject is declared as a “school of survival”, which is passed for the subsequent move.

“And here would be the strategy that we proposed when we worked with [ex-governor Sergei] Furgal - about writing off the debts of the Khabarovsk Territory. In fact, the Khabarovsk Territory is constantly engaged in training specialists. At the same time, we cannot, for example, put a line in the budget - “training of a specialist who left”. We cannot present an act of completion. In fact, this could be the essence of the region. And this is where the brand begins to emerge, and it becomes, in a broad sense, understandable to the population: yes, we come here as to a school of survival, ”says Evgeny Mishtal.

With this variant of brand formation, universities become centers of attraction. They are already constantly training specialists from remote areas of the Khabarovsk Territory and from other regions of the country - in the campus of FESTU alone, 500 places are provided for freshmen from other cities every year. If we say about the Khabarovsk Territory as a "school of survival", then any difficulties of life on this territory can be turned into a plus: both a harsh winter, and a suffocating summer, and mosquitoes the size of a fist - all that with which the Khabarovsk Territory is already associated with many ...

“You can throw it here as in a military camp: abandoned - lived a year - survived - let's move on. And it can be moved. And in this case, indeed, the minuses become pluses, ”explains Evgeniy Mishtal.

“[Create] a network of universities around which you can [build] a science city in which students learn, on the one hand, to use their brains, and on the other, to survive in the difficult climatic conditions of the Far East,” adds Elena Danilenko.

Protest as a brand

Another feature of the Khabarovsk Territory, acquired relatively recently, is protests. Thousands of people got out to the streets of Khabarovsk and other settlements of the region in support of ex-governor Sergei Furgal, some of them for several months. In the Russian and foreign media, the region quickly acquired the prefix "protest", and some residents now associate the region with the name of the former head of the region.

“There are people here who have critical thinking. Before that, they somehow made peace, everything suited them. Then a critical mass accumulated ... One can declare the Khabarovsk Territory as a region of people with well-developed critical thinking, who are able to compare facts and the like. Tough analysts, strong in spirit, self-confident, ready to defend their rights. As an option, it may well be. It needs to be worked out, deepened, but in principle - yes, it is quite possible, ”Yevgeny Mishtal agrees.

Who will take it?

Nobody set the task of forming their own brands for the regions of Russia from above. Tatarstan and Ugra at one time decided to plunge into the topic themselves. Primorye does this more intuitively than systemically. But the result is obvious: Primorsky Territory occupies seventh place in Russia in terms of the tourist attractiveness of the regions. And the Khabarovsk Territory is not even included in the top twenty. A regional brand by itself will not attract tourists, but it will definitely speed up the process.

“They have been talking about this for ten years, but there has never been a customer who would say: but I need this,” notes Elena Danilenko.

The state can act as a customer of a regional brand - so that competition between the subjects would give them opportunities for development. Maybe a representative of the tourism industry - in order to make money on this brand himself. Or maybe the regional authorities - so that there are more of those who want to come here and, possibly, stay.

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