An online survey last month of 200 small and medium-sized firms in Hanoi and HCM City in many sectors like IT, finance and banking, retail, insurance, healthcare, and dining services found most of them building their brands by themselves but without having the tools for it.
Among the biggest problems Vietnamese firms face when building brands are the lack of an instruction toolkit and standard methods to assess outcomes, Phung Thai Duong of Mibrand said.
Some companies do hire a professional agency or consultancy to help with the branding, but face challenges like high fees, the outside experts not having a thorough understanding of the company’s situation, and inability to evaluate the outcomes since they are not provided the tools for it, he said.
“Businesses should only hire an agency for branding once they have scaled up. For newly established businesses and start-ups, it is not a good choice.”
Nearly 90 percent of the firms in the survey said they were in need of a branding strategy but developing it was not an easy task.
The reasons include not all members of the management understanding the significance of branding and the marketing team’s lack of practical experience in developing a long-term plan for branding, making it hard to persuade the management to spend money on marketing activities.
An executive from Golden Path Academics Vietnam, which operates in the education sector, said when the company was established in 2011 its marketing and communication activities were done “quite simply” without any strategies making it hard to find customers. It had also lacked expert branding strategists, the executive said.
Lai Tien Manh, director of Mibrand, said to have an effective long-term branding plan businesses need to position and reposition their brands, acquire branding experts, and constantly improve branding behaviours based on assessing and measuring the effectiveness of communication and marketing activities.
He said the last task can now be done with the help of Branding 4.0 Toolkit and Brand Beat Score developed by his company.
“These tools offer a solution to companies for building and managing brands. They also help companies address challenges related to communications such as helping them develop ideas for long-term communications strategies.”
Companies should develop a branding strategy that meets the needs of their target consumers and business activities and also helps improve the marketing team’s capacity, he added.