Defending the Singapore brandBY JORG DIETZEL
This will so get me into trouble. But the Singapore brand needs everybody’s help.
When I first arrived on this island, over ten years ago, Singapore was living upto its reputation of being safe, clean, green and somewhat reglemented (“a fine city”). Which, after living in China, seemed good to me.
But of course that’s not enough – in order to compete in the region and globally, this city state has to nurture the best talent, local and foreign, encourage creativity which won’t thrive without freedom.
So the Brand Audit would have read: Brand has some assets, good potential but needs to change in areas to change perception. It had to move beyond being known for caning and no chewing gum.
After the audit, the brand positioning: The intergovernmental working group actually did a good job, analyzing the situation and developing a positioning that would be differentiated and relevant to people.
Because people are what it’s all about: People create a culture, people start businesses, people can change a place and make it better.
And rather than just going for cosmetic change, communication-driven, the ministry spearheading the efforts, MICA, went out to other ministries and agencies to work out, together, how the new, aspired positioning could be translated into action.
The values that were defined, “transforming”, “collaborating”, “nurturing” and “daring to dream” seemed ambitious at first. And – realizing that change won’t come overnight – the government made clear that these are long-term goals, with an emphasis on creativity and opening-up necessary to thrive and survive in the future.
But next to the process of translating the new vision into all Touchpoints, every branding projects needs the collaboration of its stakeholders: without Internal Branding, the buy-in of the people, without creating ambassadors, all efforts to change will be contradicted and are ultimately subject to failure.
And while design exhibitions, art schools, concerts and performances are popping up all over the island, ordinary Singaporeans need to get involved, be invited to participate and develop a sense of ownership that would allow all to actively support the evolution of the Singapore brand, to not see it as something that the government owns, but realize that the brand consists of all people in the city state.
Naturally, Singapore still has a long way to go on the way to become a place where people are “daring to dream” and collaborate to make this dream a reality.
And constructive criticism will actually help speed up the process of transformation, if all parties are open. But a little bit of pride in change achieved so far, active participation in realizing the new brand positioning and a sense of ownership that appreciates improvements achieved would go a long way to create a future for Brand Singapore.
Jorg Dietzel, Founder/CEO, Jorg Dietzel Brand Consultants Pte Ltd