DISTINGUISHES YOU FROM YOUR
COMPETITION AND CREATES
Branding helps you to express your company’s
distinctive essence. Ultimately, it is a long-term
strategy that enables you to maintain your lead,
regardless of the economic climate.
MEANS MORE THAN A FANCY
LOGO. IT MEANS ACCURATELY
COMMUNICATING YOUR VALUES
AND DELIVERING YOUR BRAND
A brand is the embodiment of everything
associated with your product, service or
company. Yet branding is more than just
creating a catchy logo, name or slogan.
While they are vital components
of branding, they are but one part of it.
SHAPES YOUR COMPANY. IT INSTILS
CORPORATE CULTURE AND VALUES,
WHILE FORMING THE FOUNDATION
THAT DRIVES PASSION AND
When properly defined, developed and used,
your brand can change the public perception
of your company, its value and status. It also
changes the way you communicate with your
employees and customers.
Each brand is unique and
there is no single magic formula to
create a successful brand,
STEP STEP STEP
1 2 3
TAKE STOCK FIND YOUR FIT BLUEPRINT YOUR IDEA
Branding is all about It’s what the experts call Now that you know where
perception. Perception is ‘positioning’, and the your brand is and what
reality to your customers. reason why Volvo is known you want it to become,
Find out what people really for safety and Lexus for you need a strategy to get
think of your brand through luxury. Where is the best there. Blueprint the entire
a brand review. Don’t be opportunity for your brand? idea to make sure your
surprised if there’s a gap How does your brand fit in brand stays on track.
between what you think the market?
of your brand and how
it is perceived by your
suppliers and even your
but there are 6 steps you can take
to equip yourself in building your
brand with greater confidence.
STEP STEP STEP
4 5 6
ALIGN EVERYONE GET YOUR FANS MEASURE SUCCESS
Each and every employee Communicate to your You can only effectively
is an ambassador of the customers and ensure manage what you
brand. Get everyone, top-of-mind recall for measure. So measure
from the CEO to the most your unique brandname, the right things to see
junior clerk to believe in trademark, slogan, whether you really have
it, live it, breathe it, and service, design or succeeded in making that
deliver the brand promise technological ability. Some connection with your key
consistently. brands have become customers.
legendary. Can people
remember your brand?
Many SMEs have made that decision
to invest time and effort in their
brands, and as a result experienced a
boost in customer loyalty, employee
commitment and business performance.
THE TRU-MARINE STORY
Assessing your A BETTER PERSPECTIVE
and weaknesses. INSIDE AND OUT
#1 Having been in business since 1977, Tru-Marine
enjoyed a healthy trade first as a general ship
repairer and later, a specialist for the repair of
TAKE STOCK turbochargers, the main propulsion system that
enables ships to travel at optimum speed.
Branding is all about
The company stood out in its industry as a quality
perception. Perception is repair service centre with high standards and
reality to your customers. sound technical expertise, garnering a place thrice
in the Enterprise 50 Awards.
Find out what people really
think of your brand through To further cement Tru-Marine’s reputation, group
managing director David Loke, who was named
a brand review. Don’t be Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2007,
surprised if there’s a gap decided to embark on branding in order for positive brand
experiences to become a major driver of the Tru-Marine brand.
between what you think
of your brand and how it is The first step they took towards building a strong brand was to
do a review to determine just how the company was perceived
perceived by your customers, by its customers, suppliers and staff.
distributors, suppliers and
It turned out that Tru-Marine was already doing an effective
even your employees. job in the eyes of its customers. “Our customers view us with
confidence,” said Mr Loke. “To them, time is of the essence. The
ships need to unload, reload and get to the next port as quickly as
possible. Our customers choose us because they know they can
rely on us to do a good repair job on time.”
The review revealed that Tru-Marine is highly regarded as a
reliable brand with a loyal following. Mr Loke explained, “We use
state-of-the-art technology to stay at the top of the game. We
enhance our customers’ competitiveness by providing them with
innovative repair alternatives that help them save on operational
and down-time costs.”
Taking a look inwards, the review threw up some startling
results. “What we ourselves think and feel about the brand is
fundamental. It can build or destroy the brand. While Tru-Marine
has a rich brand personality from its years in the business, the
brand values may not have been consistently projected by every
employee,” said Mr Loke.
The company set about overcoming this hurdle through training
sessions, interaction, communication and giving incentives.
“It takes a long time for culture to become ingrained and it’s
something that needs continuous effort,” said Mr Loke. “And it’s
something we are committed to work on.”
The company is all set to grow, and has made moves to extend its
reach in the Middle East and Northern Europe.
“I would definitely encourage
companies to build their
brands for growth and
survival,” said Mr Loke. “If
customers have a need, you
have to be the first name
they think about. You have to
be at the top of their minds.
That is why branding is so
THE ACEZ STORY
Sometimes, the review process can prove so enlightening that it As it turns out, the review stage of the branding process showed
even changes a company’s business model. Such was the case that Acez’s original mission statement, crafted at least 15 years
with Acez, a major supplier for industrial and environmental ago, was no longer in line with what the company was doing.
measure and control instruments in Southeast Asia.
“We were a one-stop shop selling all kinds of instruments,” said
Managing director Ricky Yeo first saw the need for Acez to focus Mr Yeo. “We had so many brands and our product range was so
on building its brand, back when most businesses thought that ambiguous that there was no focus. Even our sales staff were not
branding was for consumer brands only. sure what we did. But the most important thing we realised was
that people didn’t think of us when looking for specific products.
“With the competitive landscape for businesses changing, B2B We were just a place they called on if they were hoping to find
businesses, which serve business clients, are competing head to something obscure.”
head with others that seem to offer similar features, benefits
and services. By building our brand reputation in our customers’ With that realisation, the company set about streamlining itself.
mind, we can ‘close the deal’ before the selling even starts,” Rather than selling a multitude of products that no one could
said Mr Yeo.
remember they were selling, Acez began to focus on building
brand equity for their key products.
“Now, we are the first name that comes to mind when people are
looking for top brand industrial and environmental instruments,”
said Mr Yeo.
With the information gleaned from the review process, Acez has For one who once thought that branding was for consumer brands
also redesigned their delivery process to better fulfil their brand only, Mr Yeo now firmly believes that the rigour of undergoing a
promise to provide quality, reliability and good service. The brand branding exercise would help to revitalise any business. He said,
review also uncovered new markets which Acez had previously “The branding programme has helped us to strengthen and define
overlooked, both locally and overseas, including offshore the direction for our business, and we have expanded our horizons
industries, pharmaceutical, water treatment and aerospace in looking for new customers.”
Find your unique
positioning in the
market THE WOOD DOCTOR STORY
FIND YOUR FIT The business of wood flooring isn’t usually viewed as a
glamorous one. Yet Singapore-grown Wood Doctor has the likes
Now that you know how your of top designer brands like Armani and Versace beating a path to
brand is perceived, you’ll need its doors to build the floors of their glamorous boutiques. Not bad
for a company started by a pair of army mates who discovered
to find a unique position to their dream atop a freezing mountain in Australia during a
occupy in the market. In an training stint.
endless sea of products and When Mr Zain and Mr Kevin Toh started the company in 2003, it
services, standing out from had two staff and made just $1.5 million in its first year. Today,
Wood Doctor is a $15 million-a-year business with some 120
the crowd is the only way employees.
to ensure that your target
The secret of their success? Daring to stake a claim as the luxury
customers pick you. Where brand in a market flooded with commodity wood flooring.
is the best opportunity for “We both had a dream for a wood flooring company that
was better than the rest,” said Mr Zain. “We wanted to offer
your company and what uniqueness and quality. We didn’t want to join the price war.”
The duo set to work building a prestige brand targeted at
helps you connect most upmarket clients and top local architects. This clear focus on their
with your customers? market positioning won Wood Doctor the Singapore Promising
Brand award in 2006 and 2007. By then, business was already on Indeed, knowledge and expertise is what has kept them on top.
the up and up, as word of their services spread through the upper Wood Doctor stocks more than 50 premium wood species, the
echelons of society. largest collection in Asia, ranging from the rich cream Patagonian
Amarelo to the dark lustrous Chinese Emperor wood. It also carries
Keen to take their brand further to reach both business and a Haute Couture Collection of luxurious flooring where every piece
consumer clients here and overseas, Wood Doctor decided to of wood is handcrafted so no two floors are alike. This uniqueness
embark on a branding programme. makes the collection the choice of floorings for multimillion-dollar
homes, designer boutiques and upmarket hotels.
“The brand exercise helped us identify multiple factors affecting
our brand,” explained Mr Zain. “It’s not just about changing “Before Wood Doctor, wood flooring was considered a sunset
logos, advertising or printing nice marketing collateral. Branding industry,” mused Mr Zain. “It is a dirty business that few scions of
encompasses much more. It is a constant communication with wood business families want to take over.”
our staff and customers about the passion we have in the quality
of our timber, our craftsmanship, and our service.” “But we saw a gap in the market, brought in new products and
new technologies, and created a desire in the market for luxury
To further entrench their top position in the market, the company flooring.”
set up the Wood Doctor Academy in 2007, a school offering
courses to timber flooring craftsmen interested in building their Wood Doctor is today represented in nine countries across Asia,
knowledge and expertise on wood. from neighbouring Kuala Lumpur to faraway Dubai.
From the top of one mountain as young army buddies, to the top of
their game as Wood Doctors, Mr Zain and Mr Toh have certainly
come a long way.
THE ESCO MICRO STORY
FROM ASIA TO THE WORLD
Esco Micro was founded back in the late 1970s “We were still seen as an Asian product. The
when Singapore’s high-tech industrial and perception in those days was that no high-quality
life sciences sector were just emerging. As a #4 products could come from Asia, especially in our
pioneer of clean air technology in Southeast industry,” recalled Mr Lim Lay Yew, Esco’s chief
Asia, Esco designed and constructed some of our executive officer. “And so no one looked at us.”
first cleanrooms – manufacturing environments
in which airborne pollutants are minimised to In order to fix that misperception, Esco embarked
prevent product contamination. on a brand re-positioning. This time, its focus
was on communicating Esco’s unique experience
These clean manufacturing environments and knowledge as a ‘World Class, World Wide’
are critical to developing the quality and solutions provider.
processes necessary for Singapore’s electronics,
semiconductor, pharmaceutical, food, “This new global mindset flowed into every
biotechnology, nanotechnology and other high aspect of our business. It was consistently
technology industries. communicated by our staff to our clients. It helped
us focus our management decisions, communications, sales and
Today, Esco is one of the world’s largest players in clean air marketing channels, everything,” said Mr Lim. “We’ve seen a
and containment equipment technology. The company’s leading greater sense of pride in our staff as well as an increase in sales
product range for the laboratory and life sciences markets and productivity.”
continues to be unmatched in scope and breadth. More than
30,000 of its laminar flow, biological safety and clean air cabinets Esco is now synonymous with innovation, forward thinking
are in use in more than 100 countries. design and quality – testament to their 30 years of experience,
and an immensely successful branding campaign.
Yet its global success didn’t come easily. With a name and
clientele firmly established in Southeast Asia, Esco had yet to
prove its world-class technical abilities on a global scale.
True Story #5
Delivering on the
— the substance THE AALST CHOCOLATE STORY
behind the name
A STRATEGY FOR
BLUEPRINT YOUR IDEA Young start-up Aalst Chocolate had successfully cornered a
large slice of the quality chocolates market within a short
Now that you’ve identified your three years, able to name top food factories among its clients.
desired position in the market, Their main strategy was to compete on price and quality in those
it’s time to draw up your
gameplan. This is the vital step Planning the next big step for Aalst, founder and chief executive
officer Mr Richard Lee envisioned bringing his delicious chocolate
that guides how, what, where, products into the lucrative food service and retail markets, and
when and to whom you plan expanding the brand’s global presence.
to communicate and deliver “To make this big leap, we needed to enhance our image and
your brand messages. It will work on getting people to recognise our brand,” said Mr Lee.
“We needed to aim for top-of-mind-recall.”
define your brand, support your
Their strategy was simple: Create unique products and introduce
positioning, and drive the clear product lines with swish packaging that would appeal to
way your brand is managed their target markets.
and perceived. Two new product lines emerged, each with strong and distinct
identities. Aalst Patissier, offering a wide range of gourmet
chocolate products, suited the exacting needs of professional
chocolatiers and pastry chefs. Aalst Chocolate Line, which
included party paraphernalia like chocolate fountains, was
for people like you and me to make tasty treats for family
Not surprisingly, the Aalst Chocolate Line range found huge
success in the retail market through the chocolate fountains
and the dark, milk and white chocolate couvertures which went
into them. Aalst quickly became a much-mentioned brand name
on the lips of chocolate lovers here and retail sales reached $1
million in 2007.
“It was a unique product combination that Singaporeans fell in
love with after enjoying them at hotel buffets,” said Mr Lee.
Much of Aalst’s focus, however, still remains on the export
market, which accounts for about 90% of its sales revenue. Its
brand strategy was crafted at creating the greatest impact in this
area. With clear identities for separate brand lines, Aalst was
able to distribute their products much more effectively overseas.
“We can now appoint multiple agents within
the same market, while still being able to give
exclusive rights to the different sub-brands,”
Mr Lee explained.
As a result, revenue has expanded six-fold
since the company’s first year, and Aalst is
exploring plans to establish a direct presence
outside Singapore at the right opportunity, in
order to get closer to its customers.
Indeed, success is sweet, and the possibilities remain endless.
Said Mr Lee, “We know that branding is an ongoing process. But
now that we have our strategy right, we are confident that we
are heading in the right direction.”
True Story #6
THE GREEN ART STORY
DIVIDE & CONQUER
If you appreciated the well-designed signage pointing the the opportunity to create three unique brand
way to a restaurant or pub at one of Singapore’s hotspots, names – D’Adze, which provides media
admired the unusual serving counter when you bought snacks at consultancy in advertising design; D’Spaze, which specialises
the food court, or took pleasure in the soothing atmosphere of a in the environmental branding of events, exhibitions and retail
shopping centre while out doing some retail therapy, you might space; and D’Printz, which produces the large glossy banners
just have come across some of the work that Green Art is proud and displays seen in shop windows and transforms vehicles into
to put its name to. mobile advertisements.
The company has built a shining track record and reputation as With the creation of these new subsidiaries, the company can
a specialist in designing and developing the advertising, visual now channel their innovative juices into projects that truly play
communication and environmental branding needs of its clients. up their competencies and allow them to shine. Mr Lee says that
though they are so new in their brand journey, they have already
With its own business founded on media strategy and branding, seen an improvement in sales and public awareness.
Green Art keenly understood the importance of having a strong
brand strategy. Hence, it was only a matter of time before “On top of being more focused about the work we take on,
business development manager Mr Lee Chong Han took the we have discovered more marketing channels to enhance the
crucial step of embarking on a branding exercise to revitalise the recognition of our brands. Also, there has been better customer
business founded by his father, Mr Lee Yock Peng, close to 30 retention. We now enjoy better growth by working directly with
years ago. our clients, instead of being a sub-contractor,” he added.
Key to Green Art’s branding strategy was separating the company Having won reputable multi-nationals like global human resource
into three specialised divisions, so that each could focus on agency Manpower, Giordano and SingTel as their clients, Green
building a strong brand name in its target market. Green Art took Art’s new brand strategy has certainly helped them capture new
markets and build the foundation for their next phase of growth.
When every part
of an organisation
holds and lives
up to the brand’s
ALIGN EVERYONE True Story #7
A successful brand is everything
you do as an organisation and
every action taken internally
and externally that shapes
the perception of the brand.
In fact, each and every person
working in the company is
an ambassador of the brand.
When every ambassador holds THE bYSI STORY
to the brand’s core values and
consistently delivers on its THE PEOPLE BEHIND
brand promise to customers, THE FASHION
they create a competitive Offering affordable luxury to trendy women is brisk business.
With new merchandise expected twice weekly at bYSI’s 12
differentiation that is truly stores all over Singapore, operations are streamlined and staff
impossible to copy and a long- are self-driven to work together seamlessly and intelligently.
Retail assistants mix and match eye-catching pieces on
lasting brand that is worth the displays daily to give customers fresh ideas on creating
every valuable investment of different looks.
time and money. This did not come about overnight.
bYSI director Mr Tan Yew Kiat founded the brand a decade
ago after he was inspired by the fashion industry in Italy and
how it offered myriad fashion options so that its women could
always dress in style. He envisioned bYSI as a fashion label that
would provide every woman with access to the latest luxury
fashionwear and accessories for every day and every occasion.
The business grew quickly, and as Mr Tan sought to expand his
empire, he came across the concept of branding. That was the
“In the past, we were just selling fashion. We didn’t realise how
crucial branding was until a brand consultant told us that bYSI
had good growth potential. Then we took a second look and
started believing that we could really grow into a global brand.”
As part of the brand journey, intensive sessions were held to
align all staff with the brand’s core values and attributes.
In the process, the bYSI staff forged a strong bond through the
shared experience of creating a brand together. “Everyone was
encouraged to contribute their ideas and views about the brand’s
attributes. Because when the ideas come from our people rather
than the consultants, those are their ideas that are being adopted
and they are that much more passionate about it,” said Mr Tan.
Today, bYSI’s vision is for every woman around the globe to have
access to a chic, functional and fashionable wardrobe. And of
course, its staff fully understand bYSI’s brand promise, and are
able to deliver it impeccably to customers amidst a fast-paced
environment, because they played a part in creating it.
“One lesson we learned from our branding experience is that our
people are very important,” said Mr Tan. “We had a good brand,
and our people brought it to life. If your staff don’t embody your
brand promise, it will never become memorable to people outside
Inside and out, like a reversible jacket, bYSI’s branding has
indeed been a success.
A strong identity
unique enough THE MR BEAN STORY
for people to
remember and EMBODYING LIFE’S
For the longest time, think ‘soya bean milk’ and you’ll think of
buying it at a hawker stall. But ask any Singaporean to name
GET YOUR FANS their favourite soya milk drink today, and they’ll quite likely say
‘Mr Bean’s Super Soya Milk’ or one of its many
Your brand is your most True Story #8
This now-iconic Singaporean brand had its humble
It is the sum total of your beginnings in 1995 as a hawker stall too. But its
products, services, brandname, founders Mr Kang Puay Seng and Mr Loh Jwee
Poh had bigger dreams for their business. To bring
trademark, slogan, heritage, their delicious food and drinks to more people, they
design and technological adopted a fast food concept for Mr Bean, opening
stores throughout the island to serve not just fresh
abilities. Whether you are a soya milk, but also tasty soya bean-based snacks like
consumer or industrial brand, pancakes, biscuits and even ice cream – perfect for
people looking for fast and healthy treats to enjoy on
you need a strong identity that the go.
is distinct and unique enough The concept proved so successful that other
for people to remember, and to businesses began following suit, flooding the market
with similar products. So to maintain their lead and
choose, time and again. distinguish themselves further, the founders decided
it was time to embark on a branding exercise.
A review of their brand showed that Mr Bean needed to build
a stronger brand personality so that customers could identify it
immediately among a host of similar products. One of the first
things to go was the brand’s original logo, which was perceived
as too old-fashioned.
“We wanted a more vibrant and refreshing image. Our smiling
bean logo fits that image perfectly,” said Mr Kang.
Mr Bean also improved its packaging and store displays. With the
smiling bean in all its designs – from the cutesy illustrations of
the bean playing on a swing, to a drawing of colourful flowers in
the grass – everything to do with Mr Bean thoughtfully evokes a
sense of happiness. These designs tug at the heartstrings of Mr
Bean’s customers so well that there is even an unofficial fan club,
who make collectors’ items out of everything, from the quirky
cookie boxes to the limited edition discount coupons.
Each Mr Bean stall also boasts its own unique touches as
Mr Bean staff are encouraged to decorate their stalls. So the
Eunos outlet boasts a seven-metre long mural of Mr Bean
enjoying a ride on the MRT train!
Certainly, appearances alone are not enough to sustain a
brand’s success. Mr Bean’s promise of ‘bringing you life’s simple
pleasures’ is embodied in its friendly service and rich variety of
products that are freshly made at each outlet daily to ensure
“Every transaction has to be of the best quality and service,”
explained Mr Kang. “The customers get a great experience and
our staff feel good that they’ve made and served something of
quality. That’s enjoying life’s simple pleasures.”
Mr Bean has certainly connected with its customers. As a
measure of success, Mr Bean scored 100% brand recognition
among Singaporeans in a survey conducted by Nanyang
Polytechnic earlier this year. Put simply, everyone immediately
recognised the Mr Bean brand.
Their proudest moment came when Mr Bean was asked to be
the drinks sponsor for the 2008 National Day Parade - which they
were glad to do as a truly home-grown Singapore brand.
6 “Because of our branding
programme, our staff handle
customers better. As a result,
the number of complaints has
decreased. Our principals are also
more impressed with us. They’ve
seen our growth and they’re
pushing our targets too!”
Mr Ricky Yeo, managing director
“There are no specifics to measure Acez Instruments Pte Ltd
brand success, it encompasses
all areas. We have definitely seen
an increase in sales and profits. I
would encourage brand building
– it promotes growth, business and
Monitor progress survival.”
regularly to move
group managing director
Tru-Marine Pte Ltd
Looking forward requires
looking back. Monitor how your
brand is doing and how well “We’ve seen remarkable
changes after our branding
you are connecting with your efforts. Our staff are better
customer. Make it a regular part informed and more aligned
with our goals. Wood Doctor
of your business process. Only has also become a global
then can you know what you’ve
achieved, which will spur Mr Zain, managing director
Wood Doctor (Far East) Pte Ltd
you on to attain the next
level of success.
“Branding has helped us create
an international product. Sales
and productivity have increased
and there is a new sense of pride
among our staff.”
Mr Lim Lay Yew, chief executive officer “We are so new in our brand
Esco Micro Pte Ltd journey, yet we’ve already seen
improvement in sales and public
awareness, and we’ve captured
some new markets as well.”
“We’ve seen an increase in sales
Mr Lee Chong Han after our branding exercise, and
business development manager market recognition has also
Green Art Design & Products (S) Pte Ltd improved. Because of good
branding, our staff are more
committed – they have a better
sense of belonging and pride.”
Mr Kang Puay Seng, managing director
Super Bean International Pte Ltd
“In all, you could say
that in one year, we sold
100g of Aalst Chocolate
Mr Richard Lee
founder and chief executive officer,
Aalst Chocolate Pte Ltd
“Besides better customer satisfaction,
which shows in our increased sales
figures, the proof of our brand success
can seen in our gaining greater
popularity with the banks and even
other retailers, who have asked for
exclusive tie-ups with us. We enjoyed
$15 million in group sales in 2007, up
from $9.7 million in 2006.”
Mr Tan Yew Kiat, director and founder
bYSI International Pte Ltd
AALST CHOCOLATE PTE LTD
ACEZ INSTRUMENTS PTE LTD
bYSI INTERNATIONAL PTE LTD
ESCO MICRO PTE LTD
GREEN ART DESIGN & PRODUCTS (S) PTE LTD
SUPER BEAN INTERNATIONAL PTE LTD
TRU-MARINE PTE LTD
WOOD DOCTOR (FAR EAST) PTE LTD
BRANDPACT was launched by SPRING Singapore
and IE Singapore in April 2005 to promote branding as a
capability for companies. It creates platforms for companies
to equip themselves with branding knowledge. These include
brand exploratory workshops, expert help from brand
specialists and online resources.
For more information, visit our website www.spring.gov.sg/brand