Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
On Saturday, 4 June, the Second Session of the Creative Republic of Bihać will be held. One of the main topics is tourism, and in the context of this topic a round table will be organized at which one of the participants will be PhD. Božo Skoko, one of the leading regional experts on destination branding and public relations. He is a professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb, and co-founder and partner of the leading Croatian agency for communication management Millenium promotions. As a consultant for strategic communication he led numerous projects of destination branding, PR projects and campaigns in politics and business, and has advised political officials, managers and institutions, including the institutions of the European Commission.
Media Marketing: On Saturday you will participate in the session of the Creative Republic of Bihać, within the panel on branding in tourism. What message do you wish to send to Bihać citizens?
Božo Skoko: I’m glad to be part of this interesting and creative story! I always gladly visit Bihać, especially to see the creative stimuli, ideas and organizations on the ground, because without the creative attracting of attention and quality offer, as well as successful communication, it is difficult to make quality strides in tourism. First of all I would like to motivate the creative forces to dare make an additional step forward in positioning their destination, because Bihać has a really great ‘story’ and great opportunities.
Media Marketing: How well do you know Bihać and Una? Have you ever thought of their branding, and have you had some ideas before?
Božo Skoko: Bihać, and northwestern Bosnia in general, are really a great potential, which is increasingly recognized outside Bosnia and Herzegovina. From the beautiful Una to the rich cultural and historical heritage, but also lifestyle. Its location – near the Croatian border and near the Plitvice lakes which are visited by millions of tourists each year – is also a huge advantage. However, in order to wisely use and monetize these potentials, it is essential to ‘brand’ this region in a quality manner, and make it more recognizable. It’s necessary to aptly manage its identity and image, and create the infrastructure and offer through which it will be visible that this destination knows how, and is able to adapt to modern trends.
Media Marketing: If Bihać was to call on you to tackle its branding project, would you accept it?
Božo Skoko: This is a demanding process and can’t be conducted solely from the ‘outside’. It calls for synergy of local creative forces and all those who manage the offer of the destination, or more precisely the decision makers and experts. If we could achieve this synergy, I would gladly be a part of that story.
Media Marketing: What is the most important thing in making a decision on branding of a city or a destination on the client side?
Božo Skoko: That’s always a political decision, because the competent city institutions have to stand behind it. However, politics is not crucial in implementation, but those who create the image and the offer of the city – from tourist organizations, cultural institutions, over events, all the way to influential individuals as creators of public opinion. Without the involvement of all these subjects it is difficult to implement branding because it’s a community process that requires the participation of all available forces and necessitates bringing out the best a destination has. Experts are critical in coordination and objective analysis of the advantages and disadvantages. But a brand cannot be imposed. It should be lived. Therefore it always rests on the best and most special that a city has. And it only needs to be brought to awareness, and presented to the world in a quality manner.
Media Marketing: On which branding projects are you currently working on?
Božo Skoko: We are currently quite busy, myself and our agency Millenium promotions, on branding the tourist offer of the island of Mali Lošinj, which along with Dubrovnik and Rovinj is positioning itself as a new elite destination. In fact, thanks to large investments, last year two extremely luxurious hotels were opened there that go beyond the usual offer of the Mediterranean – Bellevue and Alhambra – and works are ongoing to improve the overall offer of the island to five stars, an airport is being built, as well as a marina and a golf course. A museum also opened recently dedicated to Apoxyomenos, the Greek athlete of over two thousand years ago, who was discovered about ten years ago in the waters of Lošinj. In addition, we are permanently associated with Adris and their successful offer in Rovinj. Apart from the tobacco industry, Adris is also doing wonders in the field of tourism, healthy food and the financial sector (Croatia Insurance is owned by them). And with the Istrian Development Agency, which has made great things in Istria in developing rural tourism, we’re working on branding the indigenous local products of Istria, within the Istrian quality tag. I also take part in several working groups for foreign destinations through our partner agencies.