By Arun Sudhaman
SINGAPORE: Singapore is searching for an agency to help it win international hearts and minds and transcend the stereotypes that still surround the island state’s global reputation.
The Lion City’s Ministry of Information, Communication and Arts (MICA) released the tender last week, calling for agencies to propose strategic ideas to “bridge perception gaps” and “create affinity for Singapore as a vibrant global city.”
The tender, titled ‘Strategic Plan for Marketing Singapore’, points out that Singapore has undergone numerous changes in recent years and has “transformed into a vibrant global city”. However, while numerous branding initiatives have been deployed at a local and international level, “the perception of what we have to offer still does not match reality.”
Long saddled with a reputation of being bland and conformist, Singapore has loosened up a number of its more restrictive laws and made major investments in its tourism and business infrastructure over the past 15 years. However, Government ministers have admitted that the country needs to move beyond its current brand values, which revolve around such values as reliability, efficiency and safety.
“This is what is attracting corporates and people here,” said one Singapore PR agency head. “Vibrancy is the enhancement to make this not just a good place to live and work but a great place.”
Accordingly, the Singapore Government is on the hunt for a strategic plan that will win “hearts and minds” worldwide, and will “get ahead of stereotypes in shaping positive perceptions.”
It calls on agencies to create a more “emotional” bond, and suggest “innovative” ideas that target a broad international audience, including business leaders, investors, media, thinktanks, NGOs and the general public.
Singapore’s tourism branding platform – ‘Uniquely Singapore’ – has been running since 2004, and attempts to showcase the city’s cultural heritage. In addition, several campaigns have launched in recent years to further develop Singapore’s tourism and business credentials.
A number of PR agencies are set to attend the RFP briefing on 11 October, before submitting proposals by the end of this month. Credentials should include experience in international markets, including the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, China and India.