Dr Thinh, who works at the Brand Management Faculty of the University of Commerce, made the comment in a recent speech he gave at a business forum in Hanoi discussing the importance of the nation’s brand.
Most significantly, said Dr Thinh, a positive and strong national brand image is very important in achieving good economic growth for domestic businesses in terms of the gross national product.
Every nation is a brand
Vietnam like every nation is a brand. That is, it already has an image in the minds of people living in other parts of the globe.
The impact of brand perception can be seen everywhere, whether we’re talking about French wine, Italian cuisine or a German car, the intangible benefits of having a good brand reputation can be observed every day.
Unfortunately, Vietnam suffers from a lack of a good brand image and that is having a negative impact on domestic businesses finding new business opportunities and on the national goal of becoming a tourism haven.
Products produced by far too many of the nation’s businesses do not have a solid reputation for quality and business men and women in general are not viewed as dependable business partners who can deliver on the commitments they make.
Absent the development of a trusted socially responsible and positive brand image, the nation cannot hope to establish a stronghold in the global marketplace and capitalize from international trade agreements or develop tourism, he said.
Do Kim Lang, deputy director general of Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, in turn agreed.
The real difficulty the nation at large has— is seeing itself clearly.
The nation’s businesses must make a commitment to change perceptions of their image by consistently producing high-quality products in line with demand of international markets, said Mr Lang.
Branding is not advertising
Branding is much more than coming up with a cute logo or brand image and allocating budgets for advertising, web sites and public relations, said Mr Lang. We should start by asking ourselves what makes Vietnam different.
“Why should consumers buy Made-in-Vietnam products,” is the real question we need to ask ourselves,” said Mr Lang. “Or why should companies invest here or tourists come here, rather than go to other countries for investment and tourism?” he added.
Mr Lang said as a nation, our economic wellbeing depends heavily on our ability to export. As such, we have to be sure that we stand out among our competitors in international markets.
We need to showcase our strengths and build awareness and confidence in Vietnam as a trusted responsible trading partner and a good place to do business as well as an attractive tourist destination.
Most importantly, we as a nation need to start telling a broader, more accurate and consistent story about our country and the value that our businesses can add on the global stage, he concluded.