While Vietnam is beefing up global integration, brand building is a key step to help Vietnamese products compete with their foreign peers. However, there is still a lack of efforts from both enterprises and local authorities in the process of developing and managing brands for local products.
Local enterprises introduce products to customers at an international trade fair in Hanoi. Photo: Cong Hung
In 2019, the Vietnam brand was valued at US$247 billion, up 5.4% year-on-year, ranking 42nd among the 100 most valuable nation brands, according to Brand Finance.
Despite such improvements, many Vietnamese brands have not been heard of by local and international customers. A survey of over 500 enterprises conducted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade revealed brand recognition among customers is still low, as only 20% of the number of enterprises are focusing on brand building and registering their brands in Vietnam.
As such, the majority have not considered registering brands in the international market or pay attention to the process of brand management and utilization.
Le Tat Chien, deputy director of the Intellectual Property Training and Consultation Center under the Ministry of Science and Technology, said enterprises’ lack of attention to promoting brands abroad is a major issue that restricts their efforts to penetrate foreign markets.
Sharing the same view, Deputy Head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Huu Nghia expressed concern that several enterprises are ignoring the necessity of building and managing brands, or they are not taking into account the importance of brands as an instrument in gaining market shares.
Vietnamese enterprises do not often advertise their brands on the media or just do it occasionally, so it is not sufficient to leave a deep impression on customers, he noted.
In reality, owners of many enterprises do not truly understand the significance of brands or see them as a long-term investment.
Specific support required
Vice President cum General Secretary of the Hanoi Association of Small and Medium Enterprise (Hanoisme) Mac Quoc Anh said as 90% of Vietnamese enterprises are of micro, small and medium scale with limited financial capabilities, which means they are unable to invest properly for brand building.
Under this circumstance, Mr. Anh suggested that the government should support local enterprises during the brand building process, especially in issuing more protection measures for local products.
A more refined legal framework regarding the operation of businesses would help ensure a fair business environment between local and foreign enterprises, he added.
Head of the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) Vu Ba Phu said in recent years, the government has rolled out a national brand program to support localities and enterprises to build their respective brands.
As of present, the MoIT is drafting a proposal on developing national brands until 2025, with vision to 2030, including a set of criteria to promote Vietnamese brands and products via international media.
Vice Director of Hanoi’s Department of Industry and Trade Tran Thi Phuong Lan informed that Hanoi's authorities are actively supporting enterprises in brand building in forms of training courses on brand development and design.
Experts also suggested the MoIT to continue promoting Vietnamese brands via the network of chambers of commerce and Vietnamese communities abroad.