Building global Vietnamese brands start from within

Aug 22, 2012 | Shape The World Summit, STWC Media Release

16 August 2012, Hanoi – Are Vietnamese business models resilient enough to survive and sustain profits during the economic downturn? This year at the Shape the World Conference Vietnam, held in Melia Hotel on 16 August 2012, over 200 Vietnamese business leaders are challenged to think of new ways to build business models that will enable their companies to thrive in trying times. The conference also welcomed the presence of Mr Cao Sy Kiem, Chairman of the Vietnam Small and Medium Enterprises Association and Mr Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy General Secretary of VASEP.

Mdm Phạm Thị Thu Hằng, Secretary General of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry during opening address.

Mdm Phạm Thị Thu Hằng, Secretary General of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry during opening address.

Lawrence Chong kicked off the conference with a thought-provoking opening question, “Are Vietnamese brands ready to shape the world?”

Lawrence Chong kicked off the conference with a thought-provoking opening question, “Are Vietnamese brands ready to shape the world?”

Through speaker presentations, a panel discussion and demonstration workshop, the conference explored the following aspects of the theme, A New World Order is Here. Are Vietnamese Brands Ready?:

  • Trends and challenges affecting the rise of Asian brands and Vietnamese brands
  • The development of a new generation of Asian leaders
  • Organisational strategies to enable collaboration and innovation
  • The role of the public sector in nurturing the growth of Asian brands
  • Fresh strategic perspectives derived from an integrated business and design approach

With Europe in crisis and recessions occurring with increasing frequency, Asian economies now play a bigger role in driving sustainable global growth. However, while Asia is expected to serve as a growing market for consumer products, few Asian brands are near the top league of brands.

“The main thing business leaders need to understand is that building successful brands start from inside out. They need to look at how they can move up the value chain and secure higher profit margins, from the business model to the design experience,” keynote speaker, Lawrence Chong, CEO at Consulus, emphasised.

Participant sharing concern with Mr Lawrence Chong.

To scale the business and build brands, companies often look for investors. However, Vietnamese companies face a challenge here.

“One of the former US ambassadors to Vietnam once shared with me that foreign investors are hesitant to invest in Vietnamese companies as they lack management capacity,” Helena Pham, Senior Manager at Consulus, said. “If companies want to attract investors to scale the business, they will need to build human capital and increase trust in the staff capabilities.”

Helena presented methodologies that business leaders can apply for their companies to build human capital. First, employees in the organisation needs to be aligned to the purpose, with both brand alignment workshops on an organisation level and on an individual level, through personal journeys mapping their growth within the organisation. Through this, internal stakeholders have a sense of ownership in the company. Leadership succession is planned based on core values, which will drive desired behaviours within the organisation.

Building organisations is a long, on-going process. Vu Hanh Nga, General Director at New Peaks Real Estate Service Jsc, presented on the importance of building enterprises systematically.“You cannot skip stages when building a brand,” Nga said. “However, you do not have to lead a company alone. Different shareholders bring different expertise which you can leverage on.”

Mai Trang Thanh, President at Honeywell Vietnam, stressed how companies should be building and structuring companies toward sustainable development.

“Vietnamese enterprises need to build internal systems for a strong culture and grow leaders within. Only then can they achieve sustainable development during global economic hardships,” Thanh said.

Panel Discussion: What must Vietnamese brands do to shape the world? (Left to right): Ms Helena Pham, Mr Lawrence Chong, Ms Vũ Hạnh Nga, Ms Mai Trang Thanh.

At the panel discussion, speakers from different vocations openly shared their personal experiences in facing daily challenges as they passionately navigate fast-evolving industries to push their organisations forward. These experiences can be considered as the creative approaches needed to build Vietnamese brands that can sustain and shape the future.

“Before attending Shape The World Conference Vietnam, 2012, I have pondered the question of when the right time for Vietnamese companies to shape the world is. Now I realise it is never too early or too late for Vietnamese SMEs to contribute towards shaping the industry. First, we need to change our mindsets,” Nguyen Thi Nga, WH Lifestyle company shared at the panel discussion.

“Never think it is too early or too late to start up your own business. Do not think of what you want, but how you can contribute into making it. Once you start, never look back,” Lawrence, CEO, Consulus responded.

“A majority of Vietnamese SMEs share the common issue of unsystematic starting, limited capital capacity and inexperienced human resource management. We thirst for professional consulting to help us shape the world,” Tran Van Le, Director at Phuong Linh limited company, a company producing industrial fans in Vietnam, said.

“Vietnamese people are very ambitious. However, Vietnamese cannot differentiate between business and research. In contrast, Americans possess clearly differentiate between these two. Every year Honeywell, GE spend billions of dollars on R&D. Honeywell also recruited a team of professors specialising in R&D. However, when the new product are ready, the professors do not introduce the product to the market. It’s the sales and marketing team that conduct business cases, market research and launch the product. However, I have not seen this in Vietnam,” Mai Trang Thanh, President at Honeywell Vietnam, shared.