Founded in 1819 as an outpost of the East India Trading Company, the city-state of Singapore has a varied and interesting democratic history. Owned by the British until the Second World War, when it was occupied by the Japanese, Singapore became part of Malaysia in 1963. The island on which modern-day Singapore is situated finally gained independence in 1965. Despite its small size, however, the city-state has garnered a global reputation for its economic prowess, advanced development policy, and focus on sustainability and prioritising green spaces.
Long considered a hub centred on business transactions and meetings, Singapore’s recent focus has been on developing a more active tourist economy amid growing international competition. Yet keen also to retain its reputation as a destination for business travellers, Singapore’s latest place brand initiative combines both tourism and business. The result of a collaboration initiative between the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Singaporean agencies have created a unified brand for the first time. The result, its ‘Passion made possible’ place brand, replaces the ‘Your Singapore’ and ‘Future ready Singapore’ initiatives developed by the STB and EDB respectively.
While Singapore’s visual identity has undergone a total overhaul, the wordmark is perhaps the brand’s focal point. ‘Passion made possible,’ says Lionel Yeo, chief executive of Singapore Tourism Board, is about presenting a vision of Singapore which transcends external notions of the country lacking a coherent national identity. Yeo says, “This brand articulates what we stand for as a country and supports the telling of many stories about this destination and its people. It will allow us to build a deeper and more personal connection between Singapore and our fans and friends, even when they are not actively thinking about travel.”
Yeo says the new ‘Passion Made Possible’ brand also aims to attract wealthier travellers that view Singapore as a must-visit luxury destination. “This brand is in line with quality tourism as it will appeal to the more sophisticated tourists who are seeking more aspirational value propositions in their travel,” he explains.
‘Passion made possible’ goes further than emphasising only Singapore’s amenities, however. Research carried out by the agencies acknowledged Singaporean identity as an underused asset instrumental in widespread acceptance and support of a new place brand. The notion of ‘possibility’ reflects the entrepreneurial spirit which has propelled Singapore, a relatively new nation, into the forefront of global economic development and technological prowess in a short space of time.
‘Passion’ represents the enduring Singaporean spirit which made such development possible – and which should serve to strengthen its tourism offering.
Innovation is also an integral aspect of Singapore’s new place brand identity. Already unique in its cultural offering, Singapore’s rich history and variety of external influences means its talent base is far-reaching. Its access to the Asian market presents numerous possibilities for investment; yet the place brand also aims to encourage start-ups and SMEs to locate in Singapore.
Dr Beh Swan Gin, chairman of EDB, says, “Singapore is making the shift from being primarily an investment-driven economy to one that will be led by innovation. In particular, local and international companies are seeking to create new products, services and solutions that will have a stronger impact in Asia. It is timely to send a strong and clear signal that companies can do this successfully from Singapore and turn possibilities into reality.”
Gin adds, “Singapore and Singaporeans are where we are today because we pushed the limits of what is possible and did not allow constraints to hold us back.”
Singapore’s diverse citizens, only 38% of which are native Singaporeans, have long constituted its unique and ever-evolving cultural identity. With the city-state’s new place brand in line to be rolled out across Asia-Pacific, then the US and Europe from September, Singapore will evolve from business hub to nation at the forefront of technological and cultural innovation.