Russia As A Brand

John Harrison

A fascinating conference was held in November at the World Trade Centre, about how Russia sees itself. Here are a few comments made by a selection of the surprisingly varied cross-section of business and media leaders who spoke at the event. Speakers’ comments confirm the feeling that I have felt on an intuitive level for decades about Russia. That Russia does not understand the importance of PR on an international level. Perhaps this is good, it is difficult to say, however for Russian exporters, the impression that Russia creates abroad is vitally important, not just for the survival of the company concerned, but for the viability of the Russian economy itself. There seems to be a battle between those who are saying that we don’t need other countries, and those who are saying that we do. At the moment, the former seem to be winning.

Burkhard Binder, the MD and Co-Founder of Lamoda said that the design element in Lamoda’s fashion goods is growing – at present it is 20% of the company’s total design work internationally. He said that people love the image of Russian design; there is no problem with that, but there is a problem in sustainability as Russian designers can’t seem to keep up with the speed of people’s changing tastes in the West.
Dmitry Stryukov, the Director of Strategic Planning at DDVB and Board Member of the Russian Branding Companies Association, said that Russia has not yet worked out an ideological basis for its branding. Russia has not figured out who her audience markets are. China has a brand, he said, so does Germany, but why doesn’t Russia? He suggested moving to the idea of ‘created in Russia,’ not ‘Made in Russia’ as a start.

Anatoly Prokhorov, Russian film and TV producer, Co-founder of Pilot Studio, Artistic Director of the Smershkari Project, complained that there is no state education in animation. Despite the fact that the government has been meaning to do something for over 20 years. Without at least its own animation industry, how can Russia even hope to begin to create a brand?, Anatoly asked.
Anton Anisimov, Head of International Broadcasting at Sputnik, Russia Today, said that very few people know about Russia’s inventions and achievements, of which there are a huge number of. He said that Russian companies do not seem to want to advertise themselves either here in Russia, or abroad. They do not, he said, seem to understand the importance of PR.