Enhance the core values of the national brand


A rice packaging line for export to the European Union market of a Vietnamese enterprise.
A rice packaging line for export to the European Union market of a Vietnamese enterprise.

Gap in brand impression

Rice is an example. Even though it is among the top countries in terms of rice export output, the Vietnamese rice brand is still very weak in many markets around the world. The Philippines is Vietnam’s largest rice export market. Sadly, Vietnam’s rice industry lacks Vietnamese rice brands.

According to Phung Van Thanh, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in the Philippines, Vietnam exports a lot of rice to the Philippines, Filipinos use a lot of Vietnamese rice. However, it seems that Philippine importers do not trust Vietnamese rice enough, so Vietnamese rice bags are not covered with big labels like Japanese or Thai ones.

Previously, Filipino consumers widely use Thai and Japanese rice. Although consuming Vietnamese rice, they did not appreciate it.

This poses a branding problem in order to Vietnamese rice seeds enter Philippine supermarket channels, or at rice slag and retail stores, they can proudly display the sign “Vietnamese Rice”. This will be better for Vietnam’s rice production and trading industry.

Vietnam is always considered as one of the most dynamic and open economies in the world, the 4th largest economy in ASEAN and the 40th largest in the world.

According to Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy, Vietnam’s national brand has a growth rate of 102 percent in the period 2019-2023. The value of national brands in 2023 will reach US$498.13 billion, an increase of 15.6 percent compared to 2022 and continuously growing in double digits over the past five years, ranking 33rd in the Top 121 national brands in the world. Elevating core values is not only about promoting economic development but also about building corporate culture, a fair society and sustainable development.

In recent years, Vietnamese businesses have made many advances in building and developing brands, thereby improving the competitiveness of products, attracting investment and developing foreign trade. However, Vietnam’s economy still faces many problems such as an unsustainable export strategy; international trade disputes over trademarks are beyond the ability of a single business, industry or locality to resolve; the shift in export structure towards increasing the content of processing industry and reducing the proportion of raw materials is still not clear, the added value of the product is not high, and weak branding is one reason.

Build a brand with a story

From a business perspective, according to Mr. Le Duc Nghia, hairman of the Board/General Director of An Cuong Wood, in 2024, the market has recovered, the export of wood products also has many signs of improvement. Currently, An Cuong’s factory has export orders until the end of November and domestic orders until the end of the third quarter of the year.

With two main markets, the US accounting for 85 percent and Japan accounting for 15 percent of export orders, An Cuong Company is aiming to expand to Canada. To gain a foothold and succeed in the market, An Cuong’s orientation from the beginning was not to do outsourcing. Therefore, businesses very actively participate in fairs abroad, and also organize business delegations from the US to visit An Cuong’s factory to directly connect orders and develop the brand.

According to the leader of this company, if exporting under the company’s own brand, the profit will be from 8-10 percent, but when outsourcing, the profit will not be sustainable, just about 2-3 percent. To be successful, businesses must focus more on marketing and promote brand development.

Dr. Abel D. Alonso, senior lecturer in International Business at RMIT Vietnam University, said that, businesses can build brands based on added value, enhancing perceived value through positive core values, suitable for target audiences. The above solution can be implemented through many different methods such as: product quality, service, corporate social responsibility, customer experience…

Large Vietnamese enterprises are integrating and enhancing core values in branding activities in a more strategic way, he said. However, the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector still has room for improvement. According to an OECD report in 2021, SMEs account for 96 percent of the total number of businesses, employ 47 percent of the workforce and contribute 36 percent of national added value in Vietnam.

According to Mr. Abel D. Alonso, branding can be done through storytelling and continuous communication on social networks, emphasizing the features and emotional value of the product. Maintaining a strong brand presence at events and networking activities is also an effective approach. Another way to build a brand is to take your product to the next level. For example, a coffee producer could grow coffee sustainably, provide on-farm accommodation, organize coffee-related tourism activities, or share stories about farmers.

Mr. Abel D. Alonso said that the general rule is that businesses must convey memorable experiences, images and stories. At the same time, providing products and services of consistent quality shows that words match actions.

According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Sinh Nhat Tan, in an era of rapid change and increasingly fierce competition with the support of technology and artificial intelligence, core values become even more important than ever. They are unchangeable principles, a guideline for our actions and the foundation for us to build and develop the brand of each business, each locality in particular and the whole country in general. To build and develop a brand effectively, it is necessary to find core and outstanding values. Brands must be associated with differences.


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