SPEECH BY MR LIONEL YEO, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, SINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE PASSION MADE POSSIBLE BRAND FOR SINGAPORE, 24 AUGUST 2017, 5.30PM, INFINITE STUDIOS
Ladies and gentlemen,
Chairman STB Mr Chaly Mah,
Chairman EDB, Dr Beh Swan Gin,
1. A very good evening and thank you for joining us at this launch event.
2. In April this year, at the Tourism Industry Conference, I said that we would launch a new brand this year, one that was developed jointly with the EDB. Today is the day we're doing the launch.
3. Before we actually unveil it, I'd like to take you through two questions that STB had to address during this brand review journey.
A BROADER REPRESENTATION OF SINGAPORE
4. The first question was: As we go about our work, representing Singapore to the rest of the world, should STB focus on Singapore's tourism proposition, or should we try to project a broader representation of what Singapore is about?
5. The conventional way of doing things is to pair a catchy adjective or phrase with the destination. You can describe a place as 'exciting', 'amazing' or 'incredible'.
6. STB has done this. If you look at the history of our destination branding efforts, we have used taglines like 'Surprising Singapore', 'New Asia Singapore' and 'Uniquely Singapore'. And we've been using the current brand of 'YourSingapore', which was designed to reflect a certain trend where we saw a growth in demand for customised experiences. So historically, the branding we have used to shape consumers' perception of Singapore has reflected a very tourism-centric proposition.
7. These brands have served us well. But we now need more.
8. Brands must develop an emotional affinity with their customers. Brands must stand for something and come to mean something to their fans and customers.
9. We wanted to develop a brand that captures the spirit and attitude of Singapore, and reflects what we stand for as a people. Such a brand will build a connection with our audiences, so that we are in their hearts and minds, even when they are not thinking about travel.
10. EDB was at a similar stage of their brand review and they reached a similar conclusion. They wanted a brand that could go beyond the business narrative and convey what Singapore fundamentally stands for.
11. We decided to combine our efforts, undertake this brand review journey together and develop this broader brand positioning that's built on the collective spirit of Singapore, one that can gather even more meaning with the passage of time.
WHAT DOES SINGAPORE STAND FOR?
12. Which brings me to the second question: What does Singapore stand for? SG50 in 2015 got a lot of us thinking. The Singapore story is about our pioneers coming together to overcome constraints and challenges, to find new solutions to transform a newly independent small state, with an uncertain future, into a thriving metropolis and cohesive nation.
13. We learnt that the formula for success for us is that we have to be practical yet imaginative. We need to stand for trust and integrity and yet, adapt to changing conditions.
14. We have a determined and passionate spirit that never settles. Prime Minister Lee referred to this in last year's National Day Rally speech as our 'divine discontent'. It drives us to turn possibilities into reality for a better Singapore and a better world.
15. As we were on this journey, the twin ideas of Passion and Possibilities kept recurring. Passion captures the idea of the determination to pursue something that's truly worthwhile and Possibilities made real is the promise of Singapore. For example:
a. Joseph Schooling, who helped Singapore to win our first gold medal in the Olympics
b. Yusrina Ya'akob, who climbed Mt Everest not once, but twice
c. Entrepreneurs like Quek Siu Rui, who gave up his honours year at NUS to start Carousell
d. Veera Sekaran, who founded a company to pursue his passion for urban greening
e. Artists like Kirsten Tan, filmmaker who won a prestigious award at the Sundance Film Festival
f. Hawkers such as the beloved Uncle Chan who, after many years of hard work, earned himself a well-deserved Michelin star
16. You find in all these stories the themes of Passion and Possibilities. We had to find a way to say that not only is the collective Singapore story about a determination to defy the odds, but that Singapore is also a place where passion is made possible for individuals, for people like you and me.
17. Is this a claim that we can truly own? We tested this, we spoke to over 4,000 individuals from Singapore, from our key source markets, and we found a lot of support for it.
18. We dug deep and we looked at many, many stories. We picked a few to share with you in a film, which I'd like to play for you now.
SINGAPORE IS PASSION MADE POSSIBLE
19. Passion Made Possible is the story of many Singaporeans, including that of my own family.
20. My parents grew up in the 1930s and 1940s, they did not complete their secondary education – circumstances were not conducive. But they worked hard, they sacrificed much, and my sisters and I had a full education and are closer to fulfilling our potential.
21. This is a common Singaporean story. The specific details and nuances may differ, but the basic point I'm trying to make is that Singapore has transformed lives at scale.
22. Singapore will continue to make a positive impact on her citizens and on the millions more who visit us, invest in us, trade with us, and partner with us.
23. By implementing practical solutions for ourselves and overcoming odds, we have been an inspiration to others.
24. By creating memorable and impactful experiences, we touch the lives of many.
25. The logo that accompanies this tagline, Passion Made Possible, draws on the widely recognised SG logo. We call it the SG Mark, and this can be applied to visuals or to text, and it immediately connotes the Singapore stamp of trust and quality, which underpins our spirit of passion made possible.
26. Beyond STB and EDB, the brand will be adopted by agencies under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), such as IE Singapore (IES), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Energy Market Authority (EMA). They will be adopting the brand as well. This will multiply and maximize our brand's reach and impact.
27. The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) is also on board, and they want to encourage the adoption of the brand by other government agencies, where the Passion Made Possible brand can be used for relevant initiatives. Let me say two things about what this brand can do for Singapore tourism.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR TOURISM
28. First, this brand will allow us to establish a deeper, more personal connection with our friends and fans. Today, Singapore's iconic attractions - Marina Bay, Orchard Road and Sentosa - are well-known in our major source markets. We are also well-known for our attributes of efficiency and security. We will build on this by telling stories of 'passion made possible' to develop an even more positive affinity between our target audience and Singapore.
29. Secondly, this brand is very much in line with Quality Tourism. It is differentiated, it is aspirational, and it speaks to the more sophisticated type of quality tourists that we are seeking to attract here. Our approach is to go beyond advertising what you can do here to what you can be here. Visitors can pursue their passions as a foodie, an explorer, or an action seeker. And they will find many like-minded people here to share and celebrate their passions with.
30. So, what does Singapore stand for? The Singapore Story is about Passion Made Possible. And we have as a people acquired a set of instincts and attributes that helps to makes this place one where passion is made possible.
31. There is no place like this.
32. STB has created a film to capture the spirit and quality of this new unified brand. It is directed by Singaporean Roslee Yusof, and it shows how our colourful people, places and passions come together. This is the film that STB will use to launch the brand globally.
33. I hope you enjoy the film and the rest of the evening.
34. Thank you.