The foundation of any marketing communication is certainly brand strategy which defines the character and communication features of a brand, ranging from the tone of voice and target audiences to values represented by the brand, reaching even further to everything that will enable the audience to connect with the brand on an emotional, experiential and functional level. This platform leads to a clear and organic creation of all types of brand communication — visual, marketing, organisational, PR etc.
Still, the first materialisation of the brand, that tangible something which is real, apart from the product itself, is its visual identity. Visual identity is made of a logo and/or sign, system definition in characteristic colours and typography, their interrelations and other system elements such as ornaments, illustrations, symbols etc.
Visual identity of high quality conveys a sincere impact of personality, values and characteristics of a brand. It is systematically designed, broad, vivid and flexible but always consistent and recognisable. Visual identity functions in many layers and cannot ‘not communicate’— it can only do it in a useful or harmful way. In that context, the system of visual communication is more important than the logo itself which is a signature of sorts, a distilled and concentrated message.
Visual identity is just the beginning of strategic communication which, in the example of the Zagreb Airport, should have more levels, internal and external. It should include the analysis of revenue potential from advertising on the premises (through pop-up and virtual retail outlets, augmented reality mirrors, offers related to passengers’ final destination etc.). In addition, the omnipresent need for personalisation should also be addressed (through loyalty programs, mobile coupons related to travellers’ personal preferences, offers related to the location and context etc.). It is clear that the experience of airport space should be made authentic to reflect the strength and personality of Zagreb and Croatia. Certainly, there are more ideas, this is just scratching the surface.
It is highly likely that well-designed branding and marketing positioning of the Zagreb Airport would bring long-term benefits to the entire country by attracting new guests, business opportunities, projects, talent, small and big investors. Zagreb is not Doha, Singapore, London or Paris, nor should it become something that it is not. Zagreb and Croatia have their own story, authenticity and unique features but in order to become globally recognisable as an airport and destination, it is necessary to make long-term plans and invest serious efforts into communication and brand creation.
— Mila Marina Burger, 28 March 2017