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India is an important market for us: Lynette Pang, Singapore Tourism Board

21-December-2017
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India is an important market for us: Lynette Pang, Singapore Tourism Board

Following the unveiling of the country’s unified brand “Passion Made Possible” by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB,) a series of promotional activities kicked off in India which showcased its talents, music, food, films and more. Lynette Pang, Assistant Chief Executive, Marketing, Singapore Tourism Board, revealed STB’s marketing plans and ad spends for the upcoming financial year, their recent campaign and top four growth market sectors for them. Excerpts:

What were your key strategies for executing your recent campaign ‘Passion Made Possible?’

A year and a half ago, we launched our marketing strategy. Back then, there were three key problems in our marketing strategy. One was to tell the right story, the second was catering to our fans and the third one was rethinking the channels and execution. In my conversations with my CEO, we spoke about how brands are synonymous with humans and also need health checks. We discussed how you can’t take your brand’s health for granted. So, to keep a check on our brand, we carried an extensive global study to know what people really think of us.

A couple of things emerged from the findings of the study. We learned that travellers want to know what’s real and authentic about Singapore. Locals wanted to know real stories about Singapore. Another big learning that emerged was that people saw Singapore as a place where things happened. That’s how our campaign ‘Passion Made Possible’ was born. One key strategy we had in terms of execution was telling people’s stories and featuring them as core connects with the brand to showcase our destination.

What were the different layers of storytelling that you utilised for the campaign?

In terms of our content strategy and how we tell the stories, there are three layers. The first layer is the brand film called ‘This Is Where’ which gives you a deep perspective on the attitude of the place. The second layer is what we call ‘Passion Tribes’ and is passion-based content because ultimately when people search on the Internet, they search based on their likes. That’s why we have content for the explorer tribe. The third layer is where we have the deepest storytelling. Here we first target consumers based on their passion and film the ads on their personalities, beliefs and passions.

How has 2017 been for the STB? Also, what will be your marketing and brand-building plans for 2018?

India is one of our top four markets and in 2015, our visitorship from India crossed the 1 million mark. From 2015-2016, there was a growth of about 8 per cent. For the first eight months of 2017, there has been a double-digit growth. So far, 2017 has been very positive for India. As we know Bollywood is big in India, we did two movie projects which were Dear Zindagi and Badrinath Ki Dulhania. The reason why we went ahead with these was due to their relevant story-lines and how these movies reacted to the issues of the day.

In the coming months, you will see different elements of Singapore brought here based on the trends and passions of Indian people. We also have a chef from Singapore who will be recreating Singaporean cuisine at Impressario. For 2018, we are looking to go beyond the usual and also build on our campaign “Passion Made Possible.” There is a new strategy going forward and with Passion Made Possible, I’m encouraging teams to look at unlikely partnerships with lifestyle brands as partnerships are very important for us.

What are the top four growth markets for you?

They are Indonesia, China, Malaysia and India. India is a very important market for us and we see a lot of growth from the family segment. It’s an important market for us, especially in the cruise sector, and we would love to see how we can work more with Indian partners and media.

How are you planning to expand your digital footprint?

From a marketing perspective, we are expanding more on the digital front. We make sure that our social and web platforms are up-to-date in terms of content and technology. We are also continually adopting the latest in terms of segmentation and targeting.

As a tourism board, we are investing significantly on two fronts. One is data and the next is content. We are also improving the infrastructure for both. We’ve launched a big data hub. It helps us with looking at consumers, trends, etc. The other piece is what we call the content hub where we have information, content and visuals about Singapore. Our global partners can get information about the country that is updated to the minute. We are trying to stay relevant in terms of digital marketing, infrastructure and technology. We’re investing significantly on these.

Tell us about the projects and promotions you are planning to woo more tourists from Tier I and Tier II cities of India.

We have marketing partnerships in these cities be it cinema-buyers, OOH or print campaigns. For Tier I, we will work with key strategic partners like Thomas Cook, MakeMyTrip, SOTC and Flight Shop. For Tier II, we will work with regional partners alongside our stakeholders to do more shows and push our messaging.

How have you planned your ad spends for 2018?

We will be spending significantly on films and its digital distribution. That doesn’t mean that traditional forms of media will be ignored. TV, print and outdoors are also an important part of the consumer mix. Going ahead, you will also see a focus on PR as that’s where the bigger stories come from.

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