Turkey makes its mark with international re-branding
ISTANBUL – Anadolu AgencyWhen Turkey’s recently elected president unveiled his new political slogan for a “new Turkey” last month, the country’s exporters followed suit soon after with the launch of a revamped logo and motif to adorn all export goods.
The Anadolu Agency met the mastermind behind the new “Discover The Potential” campaign which was launched Sept. 28 and will present Turkey’s face to the world, replacing the “Made in Turkey” mark.
The co-founder and CEO of Saffron Brand Consultants, Jacob Benbunan, revealed the thinking behind the project. The first concept was “master of change,” said Benbunan.
“When you look at the way Turkey behaves today in industry and business, it has really managed to be a master of change,” Benbunan said. “Turkey has a lot of potential but not everyone knows about it. When you engage with Turkish companies you know you are in good hands, that the quality of the service and the quality of the product that is manufactured in Turkey is world-class.”
Having previously worked on a branding campaign with Turkish communication giant Turkcell, Saffron used its 13-year experience on the ground to shape their initial idea.
The new slogan and logo was created after more than 18 months of work and countless meetings with academics, politicians, journalists, artists and businesspeople.
Benbunan said they worked on the concept of Turkey being a bridge between East and West.
“I didn’t want to push for this because I think Turkey is much more than just a bridge. A bridge is a place that you cross. What is really interesting about Turkey is that it is not only a place you cross from one location to another – it is what happens inside Turkey,” he said. “What happens on that bridge is this enormous potential that you discover when you start dealing with Turkey.”
According to the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly, exports reached $152 billion by the end of last year, up from $47 billion in 2003. Major markets include Germany, Iraq, the United Kingdom, Russia and Italy.
Critics of expensive re-branding projects often claim that a new logo will not improve a bad product.
Prominent public relations expert Ali Saydam, honorary chairman of Turkey’s Bersay Communications Group, also pointed to the importance of product quality.
“The critical point here is if your products are not strong, it does not matter how strong your brand management is,” Saydam said. “If Turkey does not improve itself on democracy, individual rights and freedom, whatever logo you use won’t make any sense.”
Describing the new logo as “practical,” Saydam voiced concerns that it may not perform well when resized to fit on smaller products.
Turkish Exporters’ Assembly Chairman Mehmet Büyükekşi explained how the body wanted to create a new brand that would cover and support any production produced in Turkey.
The new brand was created to raise perception of Turkish goods, said Büyükekşi. “The most important driving force is innovation and design in creating added-value or branding.”
Having a single logo will give a tidy message to global markets and will create a perception of quality for Turkish products, he said.
If branding conveys any kind of message, Benbunan points to one fundamental rule: “This brand must answer a reality. Now Turkey has to continue developing the work that it has been developing to show the world that it has a fantastic potential.”