Competition aided with national brand initiative

10:00 | 24/11/2020
The biennial Vietnam Value Programme has kicked off the promotion of high-quality goods and services produced by domestic companies since the beginning of the month. VIR’s Hai Van spoke with Vu Ba Phu, director general of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, about the ins and outs of the programme.
1519 p18 competition aided with national brand initiative
Vu Ba Phu, director general of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade

Compared to other promotional programmes, what are the unique features of the Vietnam Value Programme?

Though there are many similar programmes held to recognise businesses’ contribution to the community and the development of the country, the Vietnam Value Programme is unique as it is the only long-term business promotion scheme by the government, held every two years. The programme was approved by the prime minister and assigned to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) which is responsible for coordination with ministries and branches.

The level of prestige is very high as all products must satisfy a strict and transparent selection process according to the prime minister’s Decision No.30/2019/QD-TTg from last October on building, managing and implementing the Vietnam Value Programme and the MoIT’s Circular No.33/2019/TT-BCT from last November on prescribing the criteria of the Vietnam Value Programme.

This year marks the seventh time we have organised the programme, and participating businesses are filled with pride as they get to represent the image of Vietnam – a country with quality goods and services and a reputation that goes beyond the borders of our realm. Moreover, the activities aim to encourage businesses to follow the three core standards of quality, innovation, and creativity in their management and business activities. Based on promoting these values, enterprises have the potential to become leaders in their respective industries.

However, the programme is not an award but a selection of products and brands that are deemed worthy of being introduced to a wider audience. The state does not only act for the businesses but also sponsors quality and reputable brands to help them create a strong foothold in domestic and international markets.

The number of participating enterprises has been continuously increasing. What are the reasons for this expansion, and what are the new features and specialities of selected brands this year?

The Vietnam Value Programme has no limits for the number of participating businesses and registered products, and the MoIT always encourages enterprises to meet the criteria and apply for selection. This year’s selection took place in a special situation, as many companies have been dealing with the pandemic. Nevertheless, the number of enterprises from different fields across the country has not been decreasing and is the largest so far.

One of the first reasons for the increase in the number of businesses this year is active communication to raise awareness about the programme. As such, the programme and its events were communicated diversely and flexibly.

From the beginning of the year, the organising board has been marketing the programme via advertisements on digital media, such as electronic newspapers and social networks, through reports and articles, television, and via SMS. Meanwhile, the board has been coordinating with ministries and agencies to implement further marketing efforts on domestic and international media.

Along with that, the board sent documents directly to local people’s committees, departments of industry and trade in all provinces and cities, as well as to relevant associations. Moreover, information was published on electronic portals of the government, the MoIT, and its departments.

When talking about this year’s brands, it is impossible not to mention the first participation of some famous brands in the market, such as VnPay, MobiFone, Cholimex, Nam Ha Pharmaceutical, and Richy among many others.

Additionally, this year’s programme has also attracted several well-known corporations and their subsidiaries, such as Hoa Phat Group JSC, GELEX, and BRG Group.

Among some of the new products and services are electronic payments, hotel management solutions, travel experiences – all of which have created a huge diversity for the programme, further demonstrating the awareness of businesses for brand promotion.

This year, 124 businesses were selected and carefully appraised from more than 1,000 interested businesses who registered.

As mentioned earlier, the number of enterprises participating in the Vietnam Value Programme has continuously increased over time, from 30 in 2008 to 97 in 2018, and now 124 this year. This fourfold increase over the last 17 years is a testament to the awareness of the programme’s prestige as well as the values that businesses see in it.

1519 p18 competition aided with national brand initiative
Businesses participating in the programme are allowed to use the national brand logo and the identification system

How has the selection process been carried out to ensure objectivity and independence, and what selection criteria do enterprises must meet?

Objectivity, fairness, and transparency are the top concerns of the selection process for the programme. The evaluation and administrative procedures are laid out in Decision 30 and Circular 33.

The received registration dossiers are assessed and evaluated according to three criteria namely quality, innovation and leadership, which are graded on a scale of 1,000 points. Any product that reaches 650 points or more with each criterion standing at least 60 per cent of the respective maximum points will be able to participate.

After the screening process following the regulations, applications will be sent to the members of the board’s expert panel, which are all representatives of relevant ministries, agencies, and organisations in their respective fields. The used set of criteria is built by experts based on a method by InterBrand – a US-based brand consultancy – and similar to the criteria of the US Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards.

In order to ensure the rigorous and systematic process of the selection, after appraising the dossiers, the MoIT also coordinates with relevant ministries, such as the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam Social Insurance, and the State Bank of Vietnam. Together, these agencies and organisations check the compliance with the law, the implementation of enterprises’ social responsibility, and the authenticity of information on products, thereby clarifying any unresolved issues.

After that, the organising board synthesises the evaluation results and comments from the authorities along with the explanation of businesses.

This year, the selection of national brand products has been conducted very transparently as the registration dossiers were not only assessed on the enterprises’ commitments to consumers on product and service quality but also their social responsibility performance.

There are many Vietnamese businesses which are renowned for innovative products but not participating in this year’s programme. Can you explain why?

Even though some brands are generally considered strong and well-known in the market, they may not have reached enough points in one or all categories, or do not meet the regulations and criteria stated, and thus were not approved for participation.

In addition, this year there were also some enterprises which participated in previous years, but for objective or subjective reasons, withdrew or decided to not submit their registration documents again.

Nonetheless, we hope that these and other businesses will continue to follow and support the programme as well as strive to meet the criteria if they decide to apply in the coming years so that we will have more reputable products representing the Vietnamese brand in the domestic and international arena.

How will selected enterprises be supported to increase their competitiveness, worthy of acting as national representatives for Vietnam’s image?

Firstly, when participating in the programme, companies are allowed to use the national brand logo and the identification system in business administration and trade communication, according to the regulations.

In addition, the MoIT has been working closely with other ministries and localities to implement additional marketing campaigns and raise awareness within the society and business community, thus also supporting participating enterprises.

Furthermore, the ministry provides technical assistance on branding and development, thereby helping businesses to develop and protect their brand names, contributing to improving their competitiveness in the market.

To this end, seminars, conferences, and forums with many topics related to building, developing, and protecting product and national brands are organised for local enterprises.

The ministry and related bodies also offer consulting activities and support enterprises in improving their market research capacity, packaging design, and brand identity – all of which enhances the competitive position of Vietnamese products in the international market.

Currently, the MoIT is actively coordinating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Information and Communications, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to implement more marketing efforts and promote the Vietnam Value Programme together with participating enterprises and their products on domestic and international media.

These campaigns are concentrated in key export markets to enhance the position and value of Vietnamese goods and their producers.

There are many benefits for enterprises that have been chosen as national brands, but I think the most practical and honourable one it that their products represent Vietnam – a country that with a reputation for high-quality goods and services – to the business community and our international friends.

By Hai Van

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