The government felt it wanted a comprehensive and rich story to tell about the region outside, and most importantly, to inspire new generations of Tatarstan people to appreciate and embrace their roots. It contracted Apostol media group to run Tatarstan Heritage programme. INSTID was invited to help with ideology and brand identity.
Tatarstan is a wealthy region of Russia with strong economy and effective government. Yet, due to delicacies of ethnic and religious affairs in Russia, Tatarstan has not received its due attention or understanding. Tatarstan is home to two religions, traditional Islam and orthodox Christianity, whilst Tatars and Slavs are its two primary ethnic pillars.
This, we realised, was the true Tatarstan heritage: the body of skills, attitudes and wisdoms that passed through generations, each generation honing it and keeping it with the times. Heritage is the living tradition that makes Tatarstan successful, not museum artefacts. The task was to define it and express it. Brand ideology named three core tenets of Tatarstan philosophy and lifestyle: striving for excellence, strong generational bond, and synthesis of cultures. It also defined 5 character traits common to Tatarstan people that help them succeed.
The government offered the content of nearly 200 museums as the primary foundation of Tatarstan Heritage brand. We knew, however, that material artefacts were a product, rather than a cause, of heritage. Any packaging, however attractive, would only have limited going. We also saw what the local people did not: whether of Tatar or Slav or any other ethnicity, whether rural or urban, whether old or young, and of whatever profession, they shared the same traits. They were positive, hard-working, goal-oriented, competitive, well-off, and down to earth. They loved their families and were proud of their ancestors and land.
Following INSTID suggestion, Tatarstan Heritage took shape of a campaign to strengthen civic identity in the region, in particular among the young. A distinct visual style was developed and introduced widely across the region. President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov launched the programme officially on 15 December 2014. Under its flag, specific projects spin to make Tatarstan tradition relevant and appealing to XXI century generations.