Be proactive to build national brand, says expert

March 27, 2024 - 08:15
Trần Tuệ Tri is an experienced global business leader and author of the book Brand Việt Nam – The Moment. She spoke with Báo Đầu Tư (Investment Newspaper) about building the national brand through cultural events after she saw the Tailor Swift concert in Singapore recently.
Brand expert Trần Tuệ Tri. Photo

Trần Tuệ Tri an experienced global business leader and author of the book Brand Việt Nam – The Moment.

She spoke with Báo Đầu Tư (Investment Newspaper) about building the national brand through cultural events after she saw the Tailor Swift concert in Singapore recently.

Have you ever seen a Taylor Swift show before?

I'm not a fan of Taylor Swift but I have gone to a few of her shows. I listen to her music because my daughter used to love it. I had seen her perform in two previous shows when I was living in Singapore and this was the third time.

After seeing the concert, I truly admire her. I want to share my perspective on how to create culture and bring national brands forward the way the world is doing.

What do you want to say after the concert in Singapore?

If talking about personal brand, Taylor Swift has created an extremely special brand story. Through that, we can learn a lot for ourselves and the artistic community in Việt Nam.

I say that because Taylor Swift has built a very authentic brand. Anyone who has listened to her music will see that there is nothing sublime, as she tells everyday stories, from success to failure, having a lover and then breaking up. It is very real and truthful.

During the concert, which lasted four hours and 15 minutes, in addition to one guest artist, Taylor Swift performed three hours and 15 minutes with 44 consecutive songs.

She sings well and dances skilfully. She both plays piano and guitar showing off her talent, that is the top quality that makes the Taylor Swift brand. She has affirmed her position, explaining why she holds 13 Grammy awards and becomes a billionaire.

After seeing an artist who successfully built her personal brand on a global scale, what lessons could you apply to building Việt Nam's national brand?

It is a great lesson. Taylor Swift has created leverage for the American entertainment industry or cultural industry. It is estimated that the value she brought to the US economy after the Eras tour is US$5.7 billion.

I think, it is necessary to see the economic value and resonance for a country's brand. What I want to emphasise is that, for a country, is not where Taylor Swift was born but if it knows how to take advantage of her personal brand, then it can completely build and strengthen the brand for the country, that is a lesson from Singapore.

A personal brand that is positioned in the same direction as a country brand can resonate with the power of that brand. Looking at this point, it is clear that Singapore has been very proactive and successful in bringing Taylor Swift to Singapore to perform. The six-night show has helped the island nation's name become more famous in the world media with an estimated economic value of nearly half a billion US dollars.

Singapore realised that Taylor Swift is an icon of world culture, so they proactively invited her. As Singapore aims to be a cultural destination in Asia and the world, they must have such events to elevate their nation through high-class cultural and entertainment events. It is not necessary to always find talent within their own country.

Therefore, talking about building a national brand for Việt Nam, we should not only use internal resources, but also fully utilise external resources to raise our visibility. This is an extremely important idea that I want to share.

A country can completely connect with external dynamics. It is important to grasp world trends to choose partners with the same message and coordinate together.

In your opinion, can Việt Nam copy the model that Singapore is applying?

Absolutely, we can and we should. For example, we identify a few events or fields that we consider key and want to compete with the world, so we proactively research and negotiate to bring them to Việt Nam.

I think Việt Nam can do that like Singapore. Of course, a skilled management team is needed to implement it. We can find partners to make connections so they can help us bring personal brand back to Việt Nam and they will accompany us to organise events on a large and professional scale.

That means we will choose a few key points to focus on. If we talk about cultural technology, it is not only about restoring internal culture, but also requiring the import of culture from outside. When we import culture, we will have chance to learn a lot of things, especially in the current flat world context.

I reaffirm that Việt Nam is qualified to host international events. I find the Xuân Quê Hương 2024 show in HCM City good. It is of excellent quality up to international level. I think that it can be considered a show to bring Vietnamese culture to the world.

What should we do to gain success like Singapore?

We need to proactively learn, grasp and know what we want, and determine world trends to find representative faces, products and services to co-operate with.

I want to emphasise that creative technology and cultural technology play a huge role in building a national brand. We must be very proactive and focused.

We must invest in real talents which will be Vietnamese icons, and not rely on social networks to get ahead.

When we invite world figures to Việt Nam, it will create competition within the country. In addition, Vietnamese singers and artists also have to go abroad creating competition to raise their standards.

To be like Singapore, we need to have a team of consultants who are good at world cultural trends, promptly grasp events and seize opportunities, otherwise our competitors will take over.

What do you think about the BlackPink concert in Hà Nội last year? Was it successful?

That was the initial success when we sent the message to the world that Việt Nam can host international shows right after the pandemic. The big signal has been given.

I know that the BlackPink concert brought about VNĐ630 billion (US$25 million) to Hà Nội. Plus, it makes Việt Nam popular in the world. However, to develop the cultural industry, in addition to long-term planning, infrastructure investment is also needed.

It would be impossible to organise major events without a theatre with the most updated sound and lighting, a qualified stadium and others. Currently in Việt Nam, these cultural institutions are very lacking.

We will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the South and national reunification next year. What cultural activities do you wish to have to popularise this event?

I hope that on this occasion we will have a big show which will be not just for a commemoration but also is a cultural stimulation.

HCM City should make something not just for one day, but all the days in a year bringing economic benefits. It should be a year-round programme at the international level to popularise the event to foreign tourists. Hopefully, HCM City has a long-term plan and is preparing from now. - VNS