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IE Singapore's Financial Assistance for Branding Projects

The remarkable technological advances of recent decades have undeniably enhanced and fostered the dramatic effect of increased globalization on economic growth. With globalization, as businesses transcend operate beyond national borders, they face competition not only in the domestic market, but foreign markets as well.

Differentiating themselves from their rivals in this highly competitive business environment is a critical element for the success of businesses in generating a steady line of cash flow and in turn maintaining a healthy bottomline. Having a sound branding strategy would assist companies to position itself away from its competitors and surge ahead of the flock.

With a government that is highly supportive of advancing a pro-enterprise community in Singapore, BrandPact, a new multi -agency government initiative has been launched to better meet the diverse brand development needs of local businesses as they grow and expand within the domestic market and into international markets. The programme is supported by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) but jointly administered by IE Singapore & SPRING and marketed by various MTI agencies including JTC, EDB and A*STAR.

"It is important that the government initiate such an assistance scheme to spread the importance of branding among local enterprises in Singapore. It develops and enhances the capabilities of local businesses and enriching the Singapore business community in a holistic approach. By addressing specific business concerns such as branding, the government is showing its enthusiasm and ability to help local companies in a wide variety of ways- away from the conventional method of just funding and other financial assistance," said Mr Gary Law, Executive Director of Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME).

He added that "SMEs generally feel that branding is for the big corporations and that their concerns are centred primarily on product and price. But branding is not about how much you spend on advertising and media; it's about what you do in a different way to excel and reach out to your target market. We believe that SMEs can build good brands too. Through BrandPact, more companies would understand and use branding as a tool to grow and expand overseas."

BrandPact will support both firm level branding capability development as well as industry-wide branding efforts, in the hope of raising awareness and understanding of branding amongst businesses and their senior management in developing a pool of executives that are knowledgeable about branding. It aims to help local companies kick-start their understanding on branding, its values and also to encourage them to be proactive in developing brand strategies to enhance their capabilities via:

i) Industry Brand Projects: Working with trade and industry associations, industry branding projects will be launched to benefit more companies, to profile and market Singapore brands here and internationally, and perform meaningful brand research for companies, extending their reach into new market segments.

ii) Brand Assessment: Companies will have access to brand analytical platforms either with



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