Brand Singapore: what makes it stand out from its peers, and what will nation branding look like after the coronavirus pandemic? Buck Song Koh's most recent book, "Brand Singapore - Nation Branding in a World Disrupted by Covid-19" answers those questions. TPBO caught up with Buck Song to find out more about the book and Singapore's approach to nation branding.
Buck Song, what inspired you to write Brand Singapore - Nation Branding in a World Disrupted by Covid-19?
This third edition of Brand Singapore is a little ahead of schedule, as my ongoing long-term plan is to take stock – every five years or so – of where brand Singapore stands in the world, and to offer an update with a new edition of this book. One prompt for a refresh was that the second edition (published early 2017) was almost selling out… but I’m just kidding.
Seriously, jokes aside, the impact of the many major developments in Singapore and abroad since 2016 needed to be assessed and taken into account. These developments include the launch of a new country brand concept "Passion Made Possible" and the election of a game-changing new President in 2017, Singapore being showcased globally in the hit Hollywood movie Crazy Rich Asians in 2018, the intriguing Singapore Bicentennial in 2019, marking 200 years since British colonialism first arrived in 1819, and the politically significant General Election of 2020. At the same time, the global backdrop had also seen much fundamental change, with worldwide forces including the rise of nativism and deglobalisation.
The new book also analyses the initial effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the key takeaways from how Singapore responded, and the challenges and opportunities ahead. The insights surfaced may be useful for other countries as well. Altogether, this third edition adds 30 per cent more content than the previous one.
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