Our small case study is based on the logo of a prestigious Turkish construction company, Avrupa Konutları (European Housing), based in Turkey. This company has actualized many construction projects ranging from residence to social responsibility projects and has been awarded the ‘2010- European Quality Award’ granted to brands, which set a good example by implementing EU norms in quality. As to the logo of the company, it is impossible to realize the ‘flying’ stars which refers to the EU flag and allows one to relate to the EU per se. With a further inquiry into the information on the company’s site, we have encountered interesting statements. On its ‘our mission- our vision (misyonumuz-vizyonumuz) link, the company refers to itself as a company, for and foremost, serving for Turkey, and the world in relation to Turkey. As understood, the company has set itself a ‘universal’ role just as it indicates in this section.
Furthermore, the brand sets its goals and principles as follows: to serve, for and foremost Turkey, and to the good of ‘humanity’ independent of the circumstances, to be faithful to its promises thus cherishing ‘honesty’, to ensure ‘excellence’ and the highest ‘customer satisfaction’. Its vision is to: ‘grow and improve’. It pays utmost tribute to the Turkish success in this field and the country’s economic growth to this end. Depending on the above mentioned information, it is not wrong to state that the company’s vision and goals relate to the EU. This can be seen in terms of several aspects such as its universalist approach, references to ‘humanity, quality, trustworthiness, honesty, excellence, its commitment to environmentally friendly construction strategies (minimizing natural resource consumption, decreasing waste disposal i.e.)’. By referring to these qualities, the company sees itself as a brand following the track of the EU.
Another point which attracted our attention was a quasi-motto: ‘Every part of Istanbul will become Europe (Avrupa)’. This simply signifies the ‘importance, quality and developed face of the EU’. In this way, the company aims to attract attention on both national and ‘global’ scales but is still more focused on Europe.
At this point, we are of the opinion that it is appropriate to move onto the survey results obtained. The results are based on the replies of four individuals of different nationalities dwelling in different countries such as Turkey, Sweden and the Netherlands. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the surveys were carried out online. The following questions were directed at the ‘interviewees’:
- Have you ever thought about the name/symbolic of the brand?
- What does it mean to you?
- Why do you think this name/symbolic was chosen?
Here follow the replies of our interviewees:
1)Age: 25, Nationality: Turkish
Q.1: ‘Actually I have never paid attention to neither the logo itself nor the meaning of it so far, therefore no I have never thought about it’.
Q.2: ‘I guess it is the logo type designed for a project by the European Union which aims to build dwellings in line with the concerned EU standards and renting them out or selling them to eligible persons residing in Turkey (either Turkish nationals or other country nationals)’.
Q.3: ‘I think they have chosen this symbolic and name in order to emphasize that this is a project carried out and financed by the EU thus giving the impression that the related dwellings were constructed in accordance with the European standards and perhaps implying that they would not collapse down due to a massive earthquake unlike the most other houses in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul’.
2) Age: 25, Nationality: Swedish
Q.2: ‘I have not thought of the name before you mentioned it now. When I think of it now, I would say that the “symbolic” stars chosen for this logo could mean that, it does not matter which European country you are (or in the world) the stars are the same. Which means that if I focus on a star here in Malmö, Sweden and you look on one in Turkey, it is the same even if we are in different countries.’
Q.3: ‘I think that they have chosen this symbolic for some connection reason (between countries). That Europe is the place to be! I think that the logo depicts the sky…blue with some stars’.
3) Age: 45, Nationality: Dutch
Q.2: ‘If you mean the Avrupa Konutlari, I saw immidiately that it was something for Europe and thought that it was some consultant. I looked it up and it is Europe housing or something like that so it could be architects or promoters, I don’t know’.
Q.3: ‘Could it be that you want to show that you work in other countries in Europe?’.
4) Age: 25, Nationality: Turkish
Q.2: ‘Nothing but I saw this symbol, it reminded me of the European Union because of the stars. It seems like the European Union symbol’.
Q.3: ‘Because of the brand name. It means European public housing’.
Based on these answers one can see that the symbolic meaning of this logo is focused on the European Union especially from the Turkish respondents. As mentioned before, this company wants to bring forward an idea of exclusiveness and quality which they do by using symbols that are connected to the European Union and this is also what the respondents first thought of, with the exception of the Swedish respondent who connected it with Europe but not specifically the EU. On the question why this logo was chosen, the answers were also very similar and focused on the positive effect of a symbol connected to Europe and the EU. First respondent draw parallels between European standard and the standard of housing in Turkey and particular Istanbul which could imply that the company’s emphasis on the symbolic of the EU works. Nevertheless, the company is Turkish and the Turkish respondents might have been in contact with this company before and they might know about the particular quality of the housing. This is not the case with the respondents from Sweden or the Netherlands, as can be seen in the second question. Moreover, none of the respondents have ever thought about the name or logo itself before they were asked about it. This could imply that the symbolism of the European Union is embedded in the everyday life to an extent that people do not think about it or regard it as strange for a national (in this case Turkish) company to be using symbols that are closely connected to the EU. It would have been interesting to ask more Turkish people in order to see if EU symbols are more/ or less positive due to Turkey as an accession candidate for membership of the EU. Furthermore, this small case study was only based on three questions and four interviewees, in order to analyse this further it would have been interesting to ask more people from a variety of European countries.
Ann, Ozan, Sami