Balkan states and their marketing and branding practices did not bring many remarkable examples so far. The overused and over-elaborated phrase “But there is a huge unused potential” makes us sick to hear in any context. There are branding chances at every corner you check in the Balkans, but what is the point of having them, when not recognized.

Branding Chances

Today, I decided to analyze one of the longest continuous tournaments known to us. Namely, it is an event that lasts for 450 years in a row – widely known Mostar Diving Competition. Mostar’s diving is an event organized in the historical hub of the city, venue of famous Old Bridge (more about the Bridge itself on UNESCO site). One would say – “What a tremendous potential we have.” What a branding chance this is.

Let’s analyse what is going on currently

  1. The fact that we live in 21st century imposes that having a website and internet presence for promotion is a MUST. However, no dedicated website, no coordinated social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc), no hashtags and not existing online promotion whatsoever. Total cost of launching website with full SM coverage can not exceed more than 1000 euros on annual basis.  Mistake number one. To be done as soon as possible.
  2. There are tons of sketchy announcement online that Old Bridge Diving is coming soon or already happened (Text 1, Text 2, Text 3, Text 4, Text 5, Text 6, Text 7, Text 8, Text 9 etc.). Good old pal “word of mouth” plays crucial role in spreading the buzz about an event, instead of well packed viral massage by organization committee. One gets a feeling that event is being organized pro forma. I heard many times people stunningly talking about the event itself, but whenever I tried to find tangible information from organizers – I miserly fail.
  3. As a continuation of previous dot is a tremendous amount of User Generated Content (videos, pics, graphics etc.) which is available to be utilized for promotion and brand purposes of the same event and of city of Mostar. You have one shot to guess what is the situation on the field. Chaotic PR appearances without plan. Be my guest and check it out on you own.
  4. Stubborn repetition (in terms of event’s organization). Someone would say “Repetition is a mother of skills and success” – maybe, but not necessarily in branding and marketing. For long numbers of years and decades event itself has been organized in the fairly same fashion (very minor occasional alterations). I would suggest organizers to employ so-called Customers Journey Maps in order to find out dots in organizational chain whereby improvements, amendments are possible. The ultimate result should be in form of “wow effect“. Visitor’s wow effect triggers virality which further implies buzz and positive sentiment which continues with even stronger word of mouth. Very well known fact, that word of mouth is far the cheapest but far the hardest to manage form of marketing.
  5. Influential travel bloggers. This is the concept that has been used in Serbia last year with #MySerbia campaign. Deploying influential bloggers (so-called influencer marketing) that have remarkable online reach is one of the best way to effectively deliver desired content both online and offline. There are many examples of such  practices. Sometimes is only copy-paste principle needed, nothing more.

To do list

  1. Defining the target group event is about to attract. So far, I could not see anything like this. Moreover, is the event to be promoted for itself or within so-called ingredient branding (under umbrella of city or wider number of similar events);
  2. Launching functional, updated and appealing website together with logo and graphics. Creating an official hashtag. Full time community management on social networking sites;
  3. Setting up a base of professional PR announcements (crisis PR is a must) which goes in line with general marketing goals. No ad-hoc improvisation is allowed. Amazing crisis PR coming from Emirates plane crash;
  4. In order to enhance word of mouth and use abundance of already existing UGC, official #hashtag should be widely communicated;
  5. Employing Customers Journey Maps and working on how to engage emotions and positive sentiment around the event;
  6. Employing travel bloggers to spread the vibe. Many travelers and tourists are keen to follow their recommendations.

I took into consideration two concepts which are most applicable hereby, internet marketing and word of mouth marketing.

Branding Chances

Metrics wise, this sort of approach should bring more visitors/tourists and increase brand awareness of the event and Mostar. This is result which is relatively easy to measure. However, more incoming tourist would have to eat, sleap and go out. You guess, city and citizens of Mostar would gain a benefits. You can count on that. If still not assured, have a look onto official EUROSTAT statistics which says that EU tourist spend on average 90 euros per night on accommodation plus additional 353 euros for optional activities.

Red Bull Cliff Diving as from 2015

As mentioned, there is potential waiting to be fully recognized and well developed. However, this potential has been recently recognized by energy drink provider- Red Bull. We don’t have much to say about quality of branding, marketing, promotion and PR Red Bull is creating. Absolutely remarkable.  They did amazing job with organizing event “Red Bull Cliff Diving” last year and they still are doing it this year – on September 24th, 2016. Feel free to watch below short video they produced after 2015 event.

In conclusion, I would like to apologize for slightly longer article than normally associated with this blog. Moreover, I would like than someone from organization committee and donors read this and conclude how much money is needed for branding and promotion in internet age and let’s hope for more exciting events happening around Mostar and its wonderful Old Town.

Its about time that potential that exists see its marketing and conventional justification and that branding chances like this see fully utilization.

Or, should we wait someone from outside to come and enlight us?

Stay tuned, more interesting analysis on branding chances are on the way,
BalkanMarketingStories Crew