BALCANICA SUPERIOR - Regional brand of eastern Serbia


Marketing experts share the view that branding is one of the ways by which a dominant position on the market can be achieved. Regional branding has been in the European countries for a long time, while in Serbia there were several attempts, which were not fully implemented and did not achieve significant results. The importance of branding to differentiate local resources is still not sufficiently recognized.

One of the reasons why regional branding is not recognized and why there is no successfully implemented regional brands in Serbia is that it is necessary to include a large number of actors in a branding process. It is also necessary to have a dedicated organization that runs the entire process and the process itself is rather complex and time-consuming. The complexity of the branding process lies precisely in the fact that it is saturated with intangible elements and that it requires the interaction of all factors from a region (people, natural resources, regulations, cultural, social and economic factors, etc.).

The branding process requires a common, coherent approach to the market, through a series of marketing activities, which results with the growth of regional product sales and gives the wind in the back to local manufacturers and service providers.

It is necessary to approach regional branding strategically in order to guide the region's promotion and development in line with the possibilities and available resources, all taking into account available knowledge, experience and achieved level of development. Positioning a brand should not be based on a false promise, but it must use the best of what is available. It is a process that requires the implementation of a whole range of coordinated activities and does not end only with the logo design and its promotion. Establishing a regional brand implies that there is a good coordination between everyone in the region of eastern Serbia that is included in branding process.

Theoreticians of marketing consider that in the world, at the beginning of the 21st century, a global change took place. It means that the focus in economic development moves from the state level to the level of the region. This, somewhat, looks like a process that took place in the 15th and 16th century, when the entire economic activity was concentrated around the city regions. Unfortunately, in this process, as in many others, Serbia is late.

Over the past twenty years, the regions in the developed world have become self-sufficient and strive to highlight, through a series of activities, their comparative advantages over competitive regions. Regions have taken advantage of the best experiences of branding industrial products and marketing, but with a fundamental difference, which implies that the regions already have their own identity that only needs to be emphasized, with the much more complex architecture and hierarchy present.

In the development of the regional brand, the region of eastern Serbia must respond to significant economic, social and technological changes that occur in the environment. The wider surrounding of eastern Serbia, both internally and internationally, passes through a very sensitive zone of transition and varies considerably from the period of some ten years ago:

  • Neighboring Bulgaria and Romania are now members of the EU
  • Globalization is further intensified, other regions develops faster, competition of goods and services is growing
  • Public sector funds are getting smaller, private investments is becoming more and more risky
  • Technology is rapidly evolving, especially in the IT sector and social networks
  • Other countries and regions are much more developed, and in the environment, there are many tourist destinations that are much better recognized
  • The so-called "Generation Y" or "Millennium Demographic Group" (born after 1980) begin to significantly shape styles and locations
  • There is an intensive movement of the population towards urban areas (cities) and this is a global trend

Regarding the region of eastern Serbia, it is in many ways in a subordinate position comparing to the other parts of Serbia (lower level of development, weaker traffic connections, depopulation...). The process of joining the European Union is on a long stick, with an uncertain outcome, and the conditions for attracting investment and capital, as well as for a return of the population are very uncertain.

Under such conditions, it is necessary to undertake those activities that will enable the region of eastern Serbia to take steps and responsibility for its own future. The establishment of the regional brand of eastern Serbia is just one step forward in this regard, but it is necessary for several reasons:

  • To make the region of eastern Serbia more recognizable and to position it at national market, and at later stages on the international market
  • To highlight the competitive advantages of the region of eastern Serbia
  • To make consumers more interested for regional products and services; to force the "desire" of customers to buy "their" products.
  • To define a range of products and services that will have a guarantee of a certain quality



Based on the experiences of the regions with a significant time-span in regional branding, and foreseen goals, it is expected that the region of eastern Serbia in the future will achieve a large scale of positive effects from branding. It is not just that certain manufacturers or service providers will get a label on their product/service, which will be an indicator and guarantor of a certain level of quality, but there are also a whole series of positive effects for the entire economy of eastern Serbia.

The region itself will benefit in the following ways:

  • Differentiation of the region of eastern Serbia from competitive regions;
  • Differentiation of producers and service providers from eastern Serbia from producers and providers of services of competitive regions;


The most obvious benefits will be on the side of businessmen. In particular, entrepreneurs, ie companies, producers of regional products and providers of services from the territory of eastern Serbia, will have the following benefits:

  • Significantly higher visibility of branded products and services (branded products will have additional publicity and will be additionally advertised, and thus more visible);
  • Better promotion of producers or service providers with minimal additional costs (costs of branding fee will be significantly lower than the costs that individual companies would have if they would solely invest in marketing, and the effect of joint promotion will be significantly higher);
  • Benefit from publicity that will regional brand gain (advertising of the brand implies the advertising of individual products and services, and having a brand on a product or service will position the product or service better, comparing to the competition);
  • Continuous external monitoring of product / service quality (control of the fulfillment of the conditions for the use of the brand implies control of the product / service itself, which will be an additional stimulus for continuous improvement of quality);
  • Networking capability (links and synergy effect with other brand users);
  • Approaching the market (marketing activities to promote the brand will also bring individual products and services closer to customers);
  • The ability of manufacturers, ie service providers, through self-evaluation, to better understand their own failures and significantly improve their product / service, as well as processes;
  • Growth in demand for products and services from the region as a reaction to the globalization of production and supply (a strong campaign and brand promotion will be based on the principle of "buying a product or service whose origin we know, instead of imported products of dubious origin and quality");
  • At a later stage, better co-operation with large retail chains and the possibility of selling through specialized stores, ie clearly marked sections in larger stores (the intention is to create opportunities in the next stages to open specialized stores in larger cities that would only sell those products that carry regional brand name, or opening of special sections within larger retail chains);
  • Opening new jobs (the growth in demand for products with the regional branding will necessarily impose the need for capacity expansion and additional investments, which together will have a positive impact on the overall regional economy);
  • Increased consumer satisfaction (continuous monitoring and quality control will create greater confidence in products (services) that carry the regional brand label on them, and through greater customer satisfaction and loyalty to products (services) will be higher).

Benefit from the introduction of a regional brand is not only on the side of manufacturers, but also on the customer's side. The significance of the brand for customers is reflected in the following:

  • Identification - customers identifies with a particular product or service and consider it "their own", and will create strong connections with it and, in psychological terms, gain more satisfaction than just satisfying the needs;
  • Practicality – in the process of the selection of the product/service, the customer will be more likely to choose a product or service that is clearly marked with a certain stamp, because it has confidence in it;
  • Warranty - the brand guarantees a certain level of quality that is constantly monitored and controlled;
  • Continuity - the brand guarantees that a particular product or service will be available for a long time and continuously;
  • Hedonism - branding makes shopping a pleasure, not just fulfillment of the needs;
  • Ethics - the brand guarantees a certain level of ethics, which, as well as quality, is constantly checked and monitored;
  • Clear recognition of the product /service, easier search within the offer;
  • Warranty of quality will be uniform over time and independent of the place of purchase;
  • The security of purchasing the appropriate product (best from the standpoint of the expected value for customers - ie, according to the customer's best price/quality ratio);
  • Confirmation and design of a personal, desired customer image;
  • Satisfaction achieved through familiarity and intimacy with the brand over time;
  • Satisfaction related to the brand's attractiveness, features of its identity and overall communication;
  • Satisfaction based on socially responsible behavior of the brand, related to the wider




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