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Are we telling the Singapore story right? Tourism marketing chief says STB wants to bring voice of Singaporeans into national brand

All that matters panel

Lynette Pang talking at All that matters

Singapore Tourism Board is working on a plan to involve Singaporeans in the telling of the national brand story.

Talking on a panel of CMOs at the All That Matters conference this evening, Lynette Pang, STB’s assistant CEO of the marketing group, said that the organisation was taking “a hard look” at its marketing and the talent needed to drive the strategy.

“There’s tremendous change going on within my organisation. And one of the hard questions we’ve had to ask ourselves is, are we telling the Singapore story right?” she said.

“We are currently in the midst of reviewing how we tell the [Singapore] story. That in itself has been a great learning experience,” she said, referring to a marketing plan that emerged in April this year, followed by a proposal to spend S$700m on developing the tourism sector over the next five years.

“One of the key things we’ve realised is that it’s people who drive the strategy. We’ve taken a good hard look at ourselves. We think we can do much better. But the question is how we develop talent, and how do we develop capability for the long haul,” she said.

The brand rethink aims to address challenges such as rising competition for tourism travel in Asia, an increasingly distracted consumer and the perception that Singapore is “boring and expensive,” a document revealed earlier this year.

On the role of marketers as brand guardians, Pang said: “How do you bring the whole organisation into this conversation that everyone cares very deeply about – which is the product. And also, how do we bring in the voice of Singaporeans, who know the product best, into the brand?”

“They care for and love the brand. They live it, and they make this country Singapore,” she said.

STB is planning to launch an extensive training programme to ensure that marketing and brand messaging run throughout the organisation, both at home and through STB’s overseas operations, Pang revealed.

“I know this is a truism, but we’ve got to adapt to change. The issue now is the rate of change,” she said.

“So what CMOs really have to do is embrace change and work with the entire organisation, not just the marketing team. It’s how you partner with HR or the CTO, or the markets, to really go to them with a plan, and execute it,” she said.

STB hired TBWA as its new global creative agency partner in December last year, and plans to shift from a local to a global approach. Previous global brand platforms Singapore has used have included ‘Uniquely Singapore’ which was later replaced by ‘Your Singapore’.

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