СХID: Reload


"Depressed and neglected": The East is captured by stereotypes

According to a study conducted by USAID, most Ukrainians associate the East of Ukraine with war and heavy industry. Stereotypes about the region also include aspects of economic decline, depression, poor infrastructure, and terrible roads.

In fact, the East has huge economic potential: the IT sector, innovative production, and digital technologies in agriculture are developing here. In 2018, the USAID project "Economic Support for Eastern Ukraine" began work in the region. Its purpose is to help Ukrainians transform their communities, launch new businesses in promising sectors of the economy, and enter new markets in Ukraine and abroad.

To promote success stories about people and startups in the East, the Internews Ukraine team developed a brand identity for the new communication campaign.


Unlock the potential and change the perception of East of Ukraine

To help the East and the whole of Ukraine change their attitudes, we have made the term "reload" a central element of our campaign. The East is renewing its economic portfolio through the development of high-tech industries. At the same time, the perception of the region by its residents, all Ukrainians, and foreigners is changing.

The East of Ukraine is not only the home of metallurgy and the coal industry. It is also host to farming, IT, innovation, alternative energy, and tourism. From its past as a post-industrial region, it has every chance of turning into a new Silicon Valley. After all, there are talented young people who are eager to reset their present and build a renewed Ukrainian East. This was the idea of the СХID ПЕРЕЗАВАНТАЖЕННЯ (East Reload) communication campaign . Its contemporary visual style reflects the region's innovativeness.

In the word СХID (EAST), the first letter is styled as a loading process, and the letter "D" – as a window to new opportunities. The letter "C" demonstrates how the East is gradually but irreversibly changing, evolving and taking on new forms. It is now in the process of transformation, but with a clear understanding of the direction of its movement. The campaign logo is as dynamic as the modern world, and therefore changes color depending on the branch of the economy.


Presentation of the campaign featuring world stars

To test our achievements, we conducted 14 focus groups with residents of eastern regions (of different ages and backgrounds), as well as local and national officials and entrepreneurs. These are these populations that will be the drivers of the East’s reload and its successful future. Our results showed that the average level of understanding of the concept was 4.31/5, and the level of resonance with the opinions and views of the respondents was 4.02/5. The brand identity of the campaign was finalized based on the responses of the focus groups participants.

On October 29, 2021, the East: Reload communication campaign was presented at a high-profile event in Kyiv. The keynote speaker was Guy Kawasaki, bestselling author and legendary evangelist of the brands Apple, Canva, and Mercedes-Benz. The presentation was also attended by well-known politicians, athletes, cultural figures, as well as partners and beneficiaries of the USAID project. These included:

  • James Hope, Director of the USAID Mission in Ukraine,
  • Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Minister of Digital Transformation,
  • Oksana Linov, conductor of an international orchestra,
  • Jean Beleniuk, Olympic gold medalist,
  • Peter Dickinson, Founder and Editor of Business Ukraine and Editor of Atlantic Council Ukraine,
  • Maxim Kripak, Paralympic champion.

After the official presentation, the brand identity began being used for various events and communication products of the campaign. The full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation on February 24, 2022 suspended the activities of the project. All Ukrainians now have the primary task of resisting and winning. We are confident that our planned reload will take place after victory, and a successful East will be the driver of the development of the whole Ukraine.