The challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a defining period for a number of Vietnam’s domestic brands, according to Campaign Asia.

In this market in particular, national brands have grown, not only due to a sense of patriotism among consumers, but also because brands have developed a strong sense of purpose alongside innovation.

Reporting on the findings of its 17th annual Asia’s Top 1000 Brands survey, carried out in partnership with Nielsen, Campaign Asia says that as international brands put on hold new products and advertising spending, a number of Vietnamese brands grabbed the opportunity to rapidly strengthen “brand affinity” with consumers, and help them rise in the survey’s rankings in the process.

“With on-ground understanding of local culture, consumer tastes and demand, local brands can often innovate faster than global brands and tweak their products appropriately for the Vietnam market,” explained Chandler Nguyen, vice president and global Google performance lead at digital agency Essence.

Campaign Asia highlights four brands in particular that have been propelled up Vietnam’s local rankings, all of which exemplify innovation: Vinamilk (dairy) , Vingroup (retail), Vietnam Airlines (travel), and Kinh Do (snacks). Vinamilk and Vingroup overtook Samsung in Vietnam’s top local brands ranking in 2020. Meanwhile, Vietnam Airlines and Kinh Do entered the top 10 for the first time.

Each of the four brands heads their own category and has achieved the position through a combination of business innovation and, crucially, purpose, says Campaign Asia.

For example, Vinamilk launched as many as 19 new products in 2019, and another 10 in 2020, including products in new categories such as milk tea and ice cream. It also invests in a school milk programme and donated around $1.7 million during the pandemic to purchase medical supplies and equipment.

In a similar vein, Vietnamese Airlines arranged flights to repatriate nationals, including the vulnerable and elderly, during the pandemic.

“Big Vietnamese brands played a critical role in supporting our government’s efforts to effectively manage the pandemic,” said Tan Nguyen, the CEO of TBWA Vietnam. “This act provided a sense of achievement that Vietnam is progressive, innovative, modern and competitive.”

And it was not only major brands that moved to help during the crisis.

“Across the country, this strong sense of national pride then extended to the decisions we were making around products and services, as we supported our own brands and our communities,” Nguyen added.

Linh Nguyen, a brand and connectivity consultant at Happiness Saigon, believes these actions are evidence that a combination of social responsibility and continued spending on advertising leads to brand success.

“COVID-19 has brought difficulties and challenges to businesses, but also opportunities for brands to reinforce the local voices and make a mark on consumers’ minds through practical actions. It’s time to act, not advertise,” she told Campaign Asia.

Sourced from Campaign Asia