Nikel'
Way to Russia. Way to Scandinavia.
Nikel' is a monotown in the North of Russia with all typical characteristics of an industry-dependent locality. It is perceived by many as an edge of the country, but not by locals, who say that their town is actually an entrance to Russia. Nickel' as a part of the Pechengsky district borders Finland and Norway and has friendly relationships with the countries.
The challenge
After melting shop closure in December 2020, citizens in collaboration with the Centre for social projects "Second school" elaborated a new strategy for socio-economic development of Nikel'. Tourism and the service economy are the main drivers of the new strategy.

Thanks to the cross-governmental agreement about visa-free entrance for citizens of the frontier zone, collaboration with Norway is more developed today. Territories have collaborative long-term projects in culture, economy, education, and environmental conservation.

Tourist flow was already developed before the pandemic. Though, for Norwegian visitors, it was most of the time a one-day trip for affordable shopping and services. The new strategy intends to stimulate the growth of local businesses and social projects that would enhance citizens' life and tourists' experience.

The need for a brand that would tell the new story of the place was obvious. The challenge is to attract investors, entrepreneurs, and visitors both from Russia and Norway.

The strategy
"He is now quite communicative and has many social contacts. He needs new connections and self-realization in new projects. Refocus. Redesignate." — a local describing Nikel as a character during an in-depth interview.
The Implementation
Friendly and hospitable, such brand personality reflects the cross-border cooperation of people. The word way is the core of the brand and appears throughout brand communications. For instance, an art residence starting in August 2021 gathers artists from Norway and Russia to explore the place and to reflect on the meaning of the Way to Russia / Way to Scandinavia.
Project team
Brand strategist — Natalia Rybalchenko
Art director and designer — Igor Makovsky