National branding - a story from Vietnamese agency

AN AWARDED PR CASE STUDY FROM VIETNAM

One of the top three cases of PR Awards 2015

The campaign was run by Masso Group to Singapore Tourism Board (STB)

Singapore has always been a must-go destination for Vietnamese people. Still, the media and target audience in Vietnam (local) consider Singapore as a boring and expensive country and was not their 1st priority when it comes to tourism. Also, the main information sources about Singapore mostly come from articles which focus mainly on the following information: Singapore is centered around Orchard dream and meeting rooms; It is a green, clean, civilized and safe country with lively entertainment parks, bustle shopping centers, magnificent architectures and modern infrastructure; some well-known attractions are Merlion Park, Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Sentosa Island. 

 

Challenge

When travelling, Vietnamese often seek to experiences they cannot find in Vietnam. For ages, their demand and objectives have been diversified and more sophisticated. They concern not only entertainment, shopping but also culture, sport, arts, heritage, nature, culinary, world-class shows etc. Moreover, the forms and natures of their trips are more diversified: travel alone, with friends, with family of three generations, for honeymoon etc. Unfortunately, a focus-group discussion’s findings show that people don’t actually know Singapore can meet their various demand. To Vietnamese, there’s nothing fun in Singapore. It is very far from the entertainment concept that Vietnamese travelers seek for, not to mention very few respondents can recall the nightlife in Singapore or its multi-culture characteristics and special cultural activities. Additionally, the tour package to Singapore is combined with Malaysia’s to offer most famous attractions in a superficial manner. In short, both perception and available tourism offerings weaken the efforts of Singapore in recent years, which is refreshing itself to become a top-of-mind destination of arts, culture, sports, fashion, shopping and lifestyle. Our mission is to convert the existing perception and incept the refreshed image of Singapore.

 

All we have to do is to tell the stories of Singapore in another way.

 

Strategy: Perhaps nothing could change perception better than appealing stories from the source of trust and the local media who are powerful influencers on tourism knowledge and offerings. For this reason, Masso Group decided to get local media tell those stories by getting them engaged and experienced the “refreshed” Singapore. If they were excited, they will automatically become Singapore’s advocates and evangelists. In the next step, a broad range of media types were approached including print, online, TV, especially social journalists, the hot Facebookers in order to communicate about Singapore to their fans on social media.Topics of publications are crucially important to the project. Hence, a broad angles of content were developed in detail and also relevant to target audience, from mass to specific gender, social class etc., to be able to cover all aspects of Singapore. To make the campaign more impactful, the 50th anniversary of Singapore Tourism Board (STB) was leveraged on to work out 50 amazing stories and engage 50 publications. It was called Extraordinary 50 (E50). The aim, for the local media, is to attract attention and provoke interest, desire of the audiences from real experiences and to make them think: “Ey, Singapore is actually that fun. I want to be there!” The content strategy is the cornerstone of this project. It also set us apart from other PR agencies. Carefully studying the local media landscape, we propose 50 story angles of Singapore, best suit with the publication’s audience. From the 50-story bank, we create themes and 16 familiarization trip (fam trip) with convenient arrangement and a myriad of tourism offerings including attractions, entertainment, interview and hotels, meals. Those are exclusively designed for local media to feel refresh, happy and money-worthy. To enhance media’s experience, we make sure the monthly events/ activities in Singapore is included in the trip period.

Execution: Media are invited for a gathering to discuss their story angles. Based on their feedback, itineraries and required documents are prepared and revised to be more relevant. A fam team was responsible for escorting them, getting them involved during the trip, and feeding them with content direction as well as post-trip materials. 16 customized fam trips were conducted in 8 months. Media get excited about the project and assign top editors to join. 

To inspire media and help generate good outcomes of E50, MASSO team provided media with deep knowledge for urban planning, demonstrated how Singapore reserves old constructions and give them a new use to live in modernity. Many new typical landmarks of Singapore were unveiled as an invitation to enjoy “n in one” trip, from the jungle to the ocean. MASSO team pitched new ways to shop in Singapore via a strong rise of local designers. We also suggested “Singapore up all night” with bars and sky bars, introduced other entertainment activities including international music shows, arts festivals, exhibitions and museums. A Singapore for hipsters with funky options, Singapore for men, and Singapore through the eyes of child are also unique angles of the campaign. Furthermore, MASSO invited KOLs such as VJ Dustin from MTV to introduce experience for youths. A multi-cultural Singapore is also featured around China Town, Kampong Glam and Little India. Perenakan culture is highlighted through dining, bead making, costume, and architecture. A rich culinary heritage from street food (hawker centers) to fine dining of Singapore is also introduced to media through fam trips. The campaign also comes up with some travel tips, introduce Vietnam brand in Singapore just to emphasize that Singapore is a good place to live, work and enjoy.

 

Results: The E50 project was a fruitful success that goes beyond expectation of the team. It generates positiveperception about Singapore tourism in a natural way. The success can be measured in both quantity (the number of actual media coverage and reports on tourism receipt of STB) and quality (content quality, deep coverage which well fit the pitched stories, strengthened media relations as they automatically leverage print outcomes on their online platform).

The impact of this campaign is so strong that we received a lot of media requests for further information. Hundreds of unsolicited outcomes telling beautiful stories about Singapore appeared on top media channels since E50 has been kicked-off, which was numerically immeasurable but has great contribution on creating measurable value mentioned above.

The media outcomes are counted as the result of E50, which triples the expected objectives with estimated media value is approximately S$1,284,169.71. The impressive number of outcomes could be explained by interest of media after fam trips. Most of journalists joining the trips delivered more than committed number of outcomes as they find it interesting to experience and re-explore a not-just-for-shopping Singapore.

Through soulful and in-depth outcomes of E50, Vietnamese audiences are inspired and getting used to a fresh image of Singapore. A report of STB depicts that 52% Vietnamese visitors returned to Singapore in 2013. 303,000 Vietnamese tourists visited Singapore in the first eight months of 2014 (14% year-on-year spike) and contributed $616 million to Singapore tourism industry. This can be considered as a clear proof for the campaign’s success in communicating there is something for everyone in Singapore. 

The case of E50 campaign was nominated to the PR Award 2015 and selected as top 3 among 230 Asia/Global PR agencies.

For further information about the case and Masso Group, 

Pls contact: Ms. Thuong at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.