August 28, 2018

Partners Le Bros and The Union Team Up to Advance Destination Strategy in Vietnam

Written By: Angie Pascale

On August 4, WPI agency partner Le Bros in Vietnam helped organize an international conference for The Khanh Hoa Department of Tourism and enlisted Michael Hart, Creative Director with WPI agency partner The Union in Scotland to be the keynote speaker. As Khanh Hoa Tourism seeks to build a high-quality, whole-tourism-ecosystem destination with a sharpened brand image, The Union was an ideal source of inspiration and education. They were responsible for the famous and successful VisitScotland campaign for Scotland’s national tourism organization.

Michael Hart, Creative Director with The Union, delivers the keynote presentation at Khanh Hoa tourism in the National Destination Development Strategy event.

“Hart’s experience is one-of-a-kind. He is the one standing behind VisitScotland from the first days till now, thus able to give Khanh Hoa authorities the practical perspective in both planning and execution because destination branding is not anything physical as products or services, but a complex mixture of both tangible and intangible values,” said Vinh Quoc Le, Chairman and CEO of Le Bros. “That is to say, destination branding means selling the spirit, the positive impression of a place, which is pretty much challenging but VisitScotland did it. The global network of WPI gives us the chance to work with Hart and this cross-continental support is truly a real deal.”

“Collaboration has been a core pillar of our global network for 80 years,” says John Harris, President and CEO of Worldwide Partners. “Sharing insights and best practices from our agencies’ experience working with some of the most renown destination marketing organizations in the world is further evidence of our network’s ability to deliver a global platform of potential for brands and agencies competing within the tourism vertical.”

Vinh Quoc Le, Chairman and CEO of Le Bros, presenting at The Khanh Hoa Tourism in the National Destination Development Strategy event.

The conference was held to find solutions to several challenges faced by Khanh Hoa. The province of Khanh Hoa, lying on the South Central Coast of Vietnam, has long been known for alluring beaches, diving sites, offshore islands and a variety of cultural heritages. But in contrast to the natural advantages there are, the area is faced with unsustainable development, and the severe imbalance in tourism segmentation as the long-term strategic vision has not been properly considered. Additionally, destination branding and marketing strategy are still the responsibility of the province, making Khanh Hoa an unclear brand name in the minds of both domestic and international tourists.

Michael Hart represented the marketing communication industry, along with several other leading experts in the fields of economy, tourism and hospitality. In Hart’s keynote speech and panel discussion, he emphasized the power of market research in campaign planning to gain worthwhile customer insights, inspired the conference participants by showcasing the huge user-generated content data of the VisitScotland campaign, and affirmed the importance of leveraging the WPI worldwide network to understand the global perception of Scotland, which was then used to determine how to tackle the challenges on the national level.

Panel discussion on building destination branding, communications and marketing strategy.

“Even though Scotland and Vietnam are some 8,000 miles apart the challenge of attracting and retaining tourists is extremely similar to both countries. Focusing on the parallels between the two informed my presentation and I sincerely hope my Vietnamese audience viewed the VisitScotland case study as a highly relevant blueprint,” said Hart.

“I emphasised three things: strategy, research and audience. A clear and coherent strategy sets everything in motion. But it needs to be credible and have the power to resonate at home and abroad. Research – detailed and forensic – is critical to understanding myriad audiences and guiding strategy. It roots the idea in reality and avoids ambiguity and the dangers of assumption. Finally, audience. Never forget that you are talking to your domestic market as well as those overseas. Gaining traction at home turns your people into evangelists and ambassadors and a campaign into a movement. Do that and your reach, influence and impact are so much greater. And take your time. It’s all too easy to make quick and rash decisions for the sake of mass tourism, but you may rue them later.”

Michael Hart experiencing some of the tourist attractions in Khanh Hoa.

The international conference “Khanh Hoa tourism in the National Destination Development Strategy” was held at Ana Marina, the world-class property of Crystal Bay, the tourism development group based in Khanh Hoa and also a client of Le Bros.

Written By: Angie Pascale