VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam has been well-known as a big exporter and Vietnamese goods have been consumed all over the world. However, very few consumers can cite specific trademarks of Vietnam.
Dr Nguyen Quoc Thinh from the Brand Center of the University of Trade, said that when he attended an exhibition organized recently in the US, he and the colleagues asked 127 US consumers about the perception of the Vietnamese brands.
Only 12 of the polled people said they know Vietnamese goods in the US, and only three could name three Vietnamese brands: Pho 24 (noodle soup), Vinacafe (coffee) and Tosy (toy).
The above mentioned example shows that though Vietnam keeps exporting goods to the world and plays a certain role in the world market, Vietnamese enterprises still do not succeed in building up strong brands to make Vietnamese products better known to the world’s consumers.
Thinh has also talked about Vietnamese tra and basa fish, which have become more famous after the lawsuit raised by the US catfish farmers’ association against Vietnamese seafood processing companies.
Though Vietnam is leading the world in terms of the output and export turnover of catfish, Vietnamese tra and basa fish products, which have been present in 125 markets, still bear the brands of importers when they enter the US market. This explains why few US consumers know that these are the products of Vietnam.
Of course, the fact that Vietnamese products cannot bear Vietnamese brands has led to the loss of multi-billion dollars to Vietnamese enterprises. Though Vietnam has been well aware of the importance of the branding strategy, it still does not succeed in building up strong brands.
Vietnam, like Columbia, is a big coffee exporter, but Columbia’s coffee has been well known in the world. Dr Tran Le Hong from the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP), said that a federation of Columbian coffee growers was established in 1927, which then rapidly opened marketing offices in New York and London. In 1960, the organization hired a New York-based company to build a strategy on doing the marketing in the US market, and then organized marketing activities continuously from 1960s to 1980s in the market.
As a result, Columbian coffee has been well known among US consumers and become one of the five leading brands recognized by consumers.
The good branding strategy has helped Columbia export 10-12 million bags of coffee a year, though Columbia only has 527,000 growers, while Uganda, which has 1.25 million growers, can only export three million bags a year. Especially, Columbian coffee is even more expensive than Brazilian products.
Experts and government agencies have urged enterprises to draw up detailed strategies to develop their brands in long term. Nguyen Thanh Bien, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, said that as Vietnam has become the biggest or the second biggest exporter of many kinds of products, especially pepper, rice, coffee and cashew nuts, and it needs to pay more attention to build up brands which allow obtaining high added values and sustainable export growth.
Thinh has urged government agencies and enterprises to take full advantage of the lawsuit raised by the US against Vietnamese tra fish, which has made Vietnamese tra fish more famous, to build a tra fish collective brand.
However, the experts and government agencies have admitted that this would be really a difficult task; therefore, Vietnamese enterprises need the support from the State. The Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has revealed that the national branding development program is cooperating with business associations, to consider applying the model on collective brand development. Besides, the agency will also help enterprises in protecting the intellectual property of Vietnamese products in order to increase the recognition of foreign consumers about Vietnamese products.