Understanding Vietnam market and its people

When in Rome Vietnam, do as the Romans Vietnamese do!

Here are some head ups for multinational companies to keep in mind when venturing into Vietnam.

Mind the differences

First, brand message and business operation should adjust to the local norms and culture. With a history dates back more than 4,000 years, Vietnam is a very high-context country with its own social norms.  The local people prioritize their tradition, what they always do and feel and like. When working with local employees or pitching a product to local customers, foreign brands should be aware of these. Making a mistake or disrespect these norms might lead to discomfort, or even a large-scale boycott – which is now very easy thanks to the cancel culture and the adoption of social media.

Second, Vietnamese reporters prefer to work with local people, so it is recommended that foreign brands have a local representative to build a relationship with them. While social media is on the rise, traditional media is still trusted by the public, so knowing the media landscape and how the media work could be an advantage.

Steps to not make a fool out of your business before the Vietnamese public

The short answer is working with EloQ Communications! *no kidding*

Nevertheless, the longer answer, there are four things we recommend our clients do when they have their first idea of entering Vietnam.

  • Market research: This will help identify and analyze the market’s size, demands, competition and more.
  • Business match-making: Identifying relevant business opportunities and establishing connections with reliable potential companies in the local market.
  • Market visit: This is the most essential step for a foreign company to build trust with a local partner, strike the right deal with the right partners depending on their unique requirements, budgets and business objectives.
  • Marketing support: Most Vietnamese partners, especially importers and distributors, would need some help from the international partners to conduct some initial marketing activities, to get the brand name out there, to build awareness and to give a little boost when the business first launches.

We offer all these services for our clients. Most market entry companies here only offer the first three services, and leave the marketing part for the two companies to find an agency independently. We think it makes both the international company and the local partner vulnerable. Usually, they do not know enough about marketing or public relations to find a trusted agency on their own. This is why we decided to be an A-Z agency, offering from marketing entry to marketing support for our clients.

Beyond companies’ need for market entry support, EloQ’s team of seasoned experts and creative professionals in PR, social media marketing, digital marketing and strategic planning could be of further service to the client’s progress of developing, cultivating and maintaining a strong brand image and an enhanced presence in the local market. The agency’s past successes with companies in the Fortune 500 list and multinational corporations from more than 30 cities and regions, including Viber, Intel, Grab, Lazada, Fiserv, Cargill, Booking.com, Alipay, and Duolingo, is proof of their service quality.

The article was written by:

Dr. Clāra Ly-Le, Managing Director of EloQ Communications. She is a professional PR consultant with many years of experience in executing many successful PR and IMC campaigns in Vietnam and international levels. Her research interests include crisis management in the social media landscape and new media communication.

Hanh Le, Assistant to Managing Director at EloQ Communications. Hanh is supporting EloQ in connecting and maintaining relationships with more than 10 partner agencies in Asia and other global PR networks to execute global projects, as well as to leverage service quality in the communications industry.

Cross-posted from EloQ’s blog.

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