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How to do business in Vietnam? – by ‘Enterprise Ireland’

How to do business in Vietnam? – by ‘Enterprise Ireland’

Blog article entry on: May 29, 2013

How to do business in Vietnam

Enterprise Ireland have just shared this very insightful report called ‘Access: Vietnam’.

The objective of ‘Access: Vietnam’ is to give practical and up–to-date information on the Vietnamese market for brands considering entering & doing business better in the Vietnamese market place.

This guide covers:

– How to get started

– The Vietnamese business culture

– Routes to market, including selling directly, partnering with local providers, and setting up

– Key legal issues, tax and visa considerations

– How to sell to the Government

Download the full ‘Access: Vietnam’ report here

red brand builder’s Managing Director, Chris Elkin, was also asked to shares his perspective on building brands and entering the local Vietnamese market…  Read here what Chris has to share…

“We began our partnership with Vietnam in 2003 with the aim of creating or bringing brands into the Vietnam market with impact.  We focus on helping companies already in Vietnam, or those looking to enter the Vietnam market, to create new brands or reposition/adapt their international brand so that it is attractive to a local audience.

A lot of the most successful brands in Asia, excluding Korean or Japanese brands, are still Western.  Asian consumers as a whole have a real desire to use brands that express themselves. We look at the needs, wants and desires of the Vietnamese audience, their values, their problems, etc. and try to find a role for a brand in their lives. We usually have to change what aspect of the brand we focus on; for example, when we worked with Budweiser in Vietnam. In the U.K., it’s more of an everyday, guy-next-door kind of a beer, but in Vietnam, we focus on making it very premium – the king of beers.

The biggest challenge of doing business in Vietnam initially is building the team. The legal aspects are challenging, but the biggest difficulty is finding people who buy into the mission of your business – and then retaining them in the long term. This comes down to creating an environment which is fun, collaborative, engaging and creative, where people feel like they are progressing. We’ve created a team with people from all over the world, including the best people we could find in Vietnam. Step by step, this business grows stronger because of them.

We spend a lot of time building our own credibility and authority by doing events and talks with the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam. We have quite a broad range of clients, but we tend to work with a lot of consumer goods, such as beer, body and hair-care products, as well as retail, financial services and real estate property development from all over Asia, including Korea, Japan and Singapore. One of our key clients over the past eight years is Unilever.

Business in Vietnam is all about building relationships and connections. You cannot meet someone once or twice and then expect them to sign a contract. It requires long-term partnerships and getting people to commit to and to trust you with their brand; often these partnerships can take two to three years to develop. Customers will ask a lot of personal questions and fully check you out. Only then they will begin to talk about the scope of work and how you might enter into a contractual relationship.

In Vietnam, decisions are made in a very top-down, hierarchical manner, so you have to build relationships at the very senior level. You need to build this relationship at as senior a level as possible to really have a good understanding of what the company’s brand is all about and how you can help them shape it. Unless you know the chairman or chairwoman, you are going to have a bit of a challenge building a very strong, strategic partnership and relationship.”

red brand builders, Chris Elkin, Managing Director red brand builders is a branding consultancy and marketing agency that partners with clients in the Asia Pacific region to build brands in Vietnam. It has studios in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, as well as Melbourne, Australia.

Anything you’d like to share?

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