By Jean Christou
A Cypriot living in the US is leading the charge in urging the Cyprus Tourism Organisation to rebrand the island, which he says, is suffering from ‘Chartered Packaged Flight Syndrome’.
Christos Joannides, founder and creative director of Flat 6 Concepts in Los Angeles, has come up with a new image and logo under the slogan ‘Beauty Worth Revisiting’, which he argues lends a classier feel to what Cyprus represents.
“Don’t forget, you attract what you put out,” he said. “As far back as I can remember, the branding and marketing of Cyprus has always revolved around tourism and used the sun, the sea and Aphrodite in its branding – literally,” he added.
“I know the power of branding – especially for a country. I have seen the current work and it’s not cutting it. And Cyprus is my birthplace after all, and I do want it to thrive.”
He said the island needs to a new, more refined, more sophisticated approach to branding and marketing, to attract not only the budget tourist, but also the sophisticated traveller who is curious, affluent and is able to spend more.
The time for childlike, colourful depictions of hearts and waves is over. The time to push the reset button is now,” he said.
Joannides said the CTO was also failing to try and attract the American traveller to whom Cyprus is “almost invisible as a tourist destination”.
He said any sophisticated traveller has a myriad of places to visit, which also have long histories and lots of sun.
“From the logo, to the tagline, to the photography, the language used, the dedication to the arts, antiquity, history – all these factors carve an indelible image in one’s mind when you are about to book a vacation,” he said.
“Cyprus has so much to offer, but it all gets diluted in the message. A new brand will bring new beginnings, will raise expectations and set high standards for all the stakeholders to adhere to.”
The logotype, he said, becomes a metaphor for the history, the water and relaxation. He uses a customised serif font inspired by the history of font usage during the Roman Empire. The navy blue colour is designed to reflect the deep hue of the Mediterranean.
The circular motif, prevalent in ancient Cypriot pottery he simplified “to its purest form” to make it a versatile, interchangeable symbol that can be used in a variety of applications and in different colours to complement advertising campaigns and other visual communication.
“An island country that relies on tourism can no longer afford the tarnished image of the recent events. Cyprus is in financial difficulty and will be for a while. Now that its banking sector has been brought to its knees, the country needs to refocus on its core industry – tourism.”
He said the rebranding of Peru had been one of the most successful country branding campaigns in recent years and had a huge impact on the country’s economy.
“In my opinion, Cyprus is heavily geared toward the lower end and that is where the point of diminishing returns sets in,” said Joannides.