Destination Singapore faces a very challenging marketing environment today. The consumer is becoming more technologically-savvy, distracted and consequently more demanding. Disruption is fast becoming the millennial norm and yet there is a rapidly growing grey segment, resulting in a dichotomy of worlds and explosion in developments.
Meanwhile, destinations in the region, and around the world, are stepping up their game with new tourism attractions and increased marketing investments. Against this highly competitive scene, Singapore faces a multitude of resource constraints while continuing to battle entrenched misperception issues. There is a greater need for Destination Singapore to sharpen our marketing efforts in order to realise Singapore’s ambitions in continuing to grow tourism receipts (TR) and visitor arrivals (VA) in the next few years.
It is clear, however, that traditional marketing is no longer enough to cut through the clutter. Marketing efforts by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore travel industry have evolved over the years in scope, approach and budget. But with challenges and competition arising, we need to evolve our marketing further to better capitalise on fast-changing trends and realise opportunities.
The vision we have for Destination Singapore is to build on our foundational strengths to achieve agile, bold and creative destination marketing that inspires and delivers results.
This vision will greatly enhance our resolve in the years ahead to parlay our current strengths into even better destination marketing works, while plugging gaps in systems and capabilities.
In approaching our marketing strategy (Refer here for the full strategy paper), we first looked at how destination marketing has evolved over the years and where our various initiatives and activities are within the consumer journey. Applying additional considerations such as story, substance, simplicity, speed and science (Gordon & Perrey, 2015), we derive 3 strategic thrusts for the marketing of Singapore:
Singapore – Passion Made Possible
As part of the first strategic thrust of telling a great Singapore story, we need a great brand. In today’s world where consumers have greater control over what information they receive, brands and destinations must be able to tell better stories to reach consumers and get their attention. Hence, we must first have a great story, one that is of Singapore and its unique identity and history, told in endless ways by different people. It is about being confident in who and what we are, and not be everything to everybody. To do so, we collaborated with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).
On 24 August 2017, STB and EDB unveiled a unified brand, Singapore – Passion Made Possible, to market Singapore internationally for tourism and business purposes. Launched by Minister of Trade and Industry (Industry), Mr S. Iswaran, the unified brand will be adopted by other statutory boards and agencies under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), and supported by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).
Singapore – Passion Made Possible, is more than a description of Singapore, it puts forth Singapore’s unique attitude and mindset: a passion-driven, never-settling spirit of determination and enterprise that constantly pursues possibilities and reinvention.
In getting to the Passion Made Possible brand, we dug deep and looked at stories of Singaporeans and residents. In the Passion Made Possible: Unified Brand film below, we picked a few such stories to share with you. This film is created to illustrate the brand and the attitude behind it to stakeholders, and is not meant for advertising purposes.
Passion Made Possible is at its heart an articulation of the spirit of Singapore and its people. It celebrates the stories of the big local heroes, but also the everyday Singaporeans.
Fundamental shifts to the Brand
There are three fundamental shifts to this brand:
- A unified brand beyond tourism
- An inside-out approach
- Standing for an attitude & belief
1. A unified brand beyond tourism
Over the last five decades, Singapore has built a strong reputation as a global business and tourism hub, recognised for its quality infrastructure, safety, stability, connectedness and accessibility. However, global competition to attract tourists and investments has intensified, and the media landscape has become more crowded and complex. Visitors have become more discerning in their travel choices, seeking to immerse themselves in cultures and build deeper connections with destinations, while international businesses want to create new solutions that make a difference. The unified brand thus aims to communicate the country’s value proposition in addressing the needs of travellers and companies, and help Singapore stand out on the international stage.
2. An inside-out approach
It is usual practice that the consumer is at the focus of the brand process, with the identifying of consumer needs and insights as the start of the process. However, Singapore is not a product, it is a country with many facets.
Hence to go beyond tourism and build a brand that is authentic and true to Singapore, it is critical to look inwards first.
In the development of this unified brand, STB and EDB had embarked on qualitative and quantitative research with close to 4,500 respondents on what Singapore stands for, reaching out to residents, industry stakeholders, and international audiences in Singapore and across 10 countries . Respondents shared that the themes of ‘passion’ and ‘possibilities’ best reflected the Singapore spirit: While ‘possibilities’ was strongly associated with Singapore as a destination, the ‘passion’ to strive was what drove these possibilities.
3. Standing for an attitude & belief
Passion Made Possible was thus derived to capture the spirit of the nation in a way that builds affinity, affiliation and top-of-mind recall. With the themes of ‘passion’ and ‘possibilities’ entrenched in Singapore’s history and imbued in the nation’s psyche, and told through stories of the people, Passion Made Possible is the embodiment of the country’s track record and tenacity to fulfil passions and continually create new possibilities. By capturing the spirit of the nation, the brand will speak to Singaporeans and residents alike to build affinity and affiliation. For potential visitors and businesses, it will also help entrench stronger top-of-mind recall for choosing Singapore as a destination to visit and invest in.
Global Tourism Campaign
This brand articulates what we stand for as a country and supports the telling of many stories about this destination and its people. It will allow us to build a deeper and more personal connection between Singapore and our fans and friends, even when they are not actively thinking about travel. This brand is in line with Quality Tourism as it will appeal to the more sophisticated tourists who are seeking more aspirational value propositions in their travel.
With consumers increasingly wanting to live like locals and be transformed by their trip, we will target the passions of our consumers and appeal to their aspirations.
Passions transcend boundaries. It brings together like minded people who have similar passions. We communicate with our target audience not by their demographics, but by their passions – as foodies, explorers, collectors, action seekers, and more. STB will go beyond the transactional nature of showcasing not only just things that you can do, and focus on the aspirations of how Singapore’s many possibilities can feed your passion.
By going beyond the place and focusing on the person and his or her passion, we appeal not to what a visitor can do but what the visitor can be in Singapore. It also tells the visitor that they can meet like-minded people in Singapore and deepen, reignite or ignite their passions here.
The campaign will highlight the stories of how Singaporeans and residents have made their passions possible in Singapore. From big heroes to everyday locals, these stories highlight their passion, determination in the midst of struggles and how they are taking steps to turn it into reality to make these passions possible. Our people and their stories best convey the spirit & attitude of this place. These individuals put a name and face to Singapore in the minds of our consumers, and bring our destination to life.
Visit www.visitsingapore.com for more information on how the campaign is brought to life.
Join us in telling the story
This is about telling the Singapore story and what it means to consumers.
The story of Singapore cannot be told by STB alone. It would take the combined effort of the entire industry to maximize the campaign’s effectiveness, reach, and potential to drive conversions. Consider telling the stories of your products with authenticity and through the lens of a passionate individual. Shape your product to bring Singapore’s story to life by working in the stories of our people, the richness of our culture and the experiences that are distinctly Singaporean.
Apart from industry stakeholders, our domestic market is also an important audience segment for us to share the Singapore story with. Passion Made Possible is an expression of Singapore and the Singapore spirit. As such, we hope that Singaporeans and residents can contribute to share their stories and experiences of Singapore, and in turn continue to bring alive the Passion Made Possible brand.