By Dominic Mason, Managing Director SEA, Sedgwick Richardson –
Where are you from? It is one of the simplest questions people ask and the answer may not always be a simple one. Yet the same applies to brands as consumers seek to understand their country or place of origin and to know what qualities or attributes to associate with them.
Provenance branding does just that. It articulates and elevates the origin of a brand or a product category to a source of meaning, authenticity and perceived value. Swiss timepieces, Kiwi Fruit, Parma Ham all come to mind as products with provenance. Possibly the most well-known example is French Champagne. Champagne is a region in France and a legally protected appellation.
Why is Vietnam ready for sustainable provenance branding right now?
An authentic brand story
Vietnam is an established exporter of products and commodities such as coffee, mangoes, seafood, cashew nuts and silk, among others. Thinking of provenance not just in terms of Vietnam as the country of origin, but in terms of a particular place or region that can help tell an authentic brand story and showcases the real and perceived value of these products.
The country’s main mango growing provinces are found in the South Vietnam Mekong Delta area, namely Dong Thap, Tien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Dong Nai, Vinh Long and An Giang.
Vietnamese fresh mangoes are exported to 22 countries and mango products are exported to 53 countries. In 2021, nearly 600,000 tons of mangoes will be exported, up 42% over the previous year.
The country’s 2021 coffee export revenue is estimated at over 3 billion USD despite the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for 8.3% of the global coffee export market, making Vietnam one of the world’s largest producers. Robusta coffee production in Vietnam accounts for more than 90% of Vietnam’s total output equivalent to over 10% of Vietnam’s agricultural exports.
Coffee production in Vietnam is concentrated in the Central Highlands (80%), and the small portion of Arabica grown in the country hails almost entirely from the Lam Dong province, located in the north of the Province.
Vietnam is working hard towards greater coffee sustainability, adapting production models and further developing best production practices in the coffee value chain nationally and regionally to increase resilience against climate change and provide economic certainty to smallholder producers.
The opportunity for Vietnamese ‘hero’ products is to combine provenance with sustainability branding.
The traditional benefits of this branding approach are:
- To support a premium positioning and pricing strategy for what can otherwise be perceived as commodity.
- To help the communities from which the products originate in terms of skills and capability development, enhanced commercial performance, economic growth and progress.
- To build the reputation of the place or region as a destination in itself, one that attracts investment as well as discerning inbound visitors and can support the development of themed attractions and experiences.
What makes them good
With an increasing demand from consumers for global supply chain transparency, ethical sourcing practices and manufacturing, and human rights, Vietnam has an opportunity to apply sustainability principles and practices in its provenance brand stories.
To tell the world, not just where its products are from, but what makes them so good, and will do for years to come.
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