In this interview with Buck Song Koh, the author and editor of more than 25 books, including Brand Singapore: How Nation Branding Built Asia’s Leading Global City, we discuss the case of Singapore’s undeniable success in establishing itself as a global business hub in its 50 years of existence. Buck Song touches upon country brands, placemaking and nation brand-building in Singapore and Asia. Learn also about the soft power aspects of brand equity and how Singapore ranks in the Soft Power 30 Report.
- How Singapore managed to create an identity of a global commerce hub in its 50 years of existence;
- What opportunity exists for Singapore in the context of increasing anti-globalisation and protectionist sentiments;
- How the Soft Power 30 Report can help measure further aspects of nation brand equity on top of those considered in the Anholt GfK Index;
- How placemaking initiatives from government agencies can go beyond the building of infrastructure and into stimulating a more abstract sense of belonging for citizens.
Buck Song, your native Singapore is a remarkable success story of how, within a generation, a city and nation previously little known can emerge as a well-known, successful and broadly admired global hub for commerce. To your mind, which have been the main factors for this to happen? Which are the success pillars for Singapore’s nation brand?
For the successes in building Singapore’s nation brand, I would cite three main factors:
- Consistent brand delivery, by developing and sustaining Singapore’s total infrastructure and quality of life, ranging from “hard” aspects of a business-friendly environment such as efficient logistics to “soft” facets of a conducive place to live, with attractive aspects such as clean air and public safety;
- Targeted brand communication, through the work of government agencies such as the Singapore Tourism Board to woo specific visitor segments, and the Singapore Economic Development Board promoting directly to business leaders and entrepreneurs around the world clear messages about Singapore’s value propositions as a business and investment location;
- An outwardly-oriented society as a brand value and brand attribute that has helped Singapore differentiate itself from other societies. The key feature here is Singapore’s unique multiculturalism, made possible by its social and political history and circumstances, and maintained assiduously by social policies such as an ethnic quota in public housing and laws on religious harmony.