I read an interesting article on the Malaysia Nation Brand which can be found here.
But I was particularly taken by one of the reader’s comments.
As someone who has worked on a number of elements of the Malaysia brand and who has written numerous articles on it, I believe I can add value to this discussion.
Firstly, it is incredibly hard to write about the Malaysia Nation Brand or any other Nation Brand in an article of a thousand words or so! It’s a thankless task which is why many experts have trouble writing a relevant or coherent book on the subject!
And, because the world is so dynamic, what is a ‘cutting edge’ tool today maybe obsolete tomorrow and a tactical solution recommended yesterday may not be relevant tomorrow.
Anyway, back to the contributor. He appeared to state that maintenance in Malaysia is not a problem and insinuated that it was irrelevant anyway because it had no bearing on the Malaysia Nation Brand.
The author of the article responded saying that maintenance is very important and forms part of the confusing image of Malaysia. The author goes on to say that poor maintenance of buildings contributes to the experience and therefore the success of the brand.
Let me state here that maintenance is a major cause for concern in Malaysia, especially at Government venues but also at privately owned venues.
Last Saturday and Sunday, I was at the Bukit Jalil indoor stadium for a world class sporting event (ATP Tennis) and the place is a sad, shabby, tired mess. Walls are filthy, the place smells, doors are broken, clocks don’t work, ventilation is poor and navigation complicated. I won’t event mention the toilets. Furthermore, the TV sets are old and either not working or showing a picture that looks as if there is a snow storm going – the list of poor experiences is endless.
As I left I looked up at the beautiful main stadium and could see numerous holes in the roof, abandoned scaffolding and other signs of neglect. And we all know this scene is replicated around the country.
If we want to build a nation brand, it will require more than a tagline, a brand essence or a glossy advertising campaign. To build a Malaysia Nation Brand will require a massive change in mindset. Part of this will require an understanding that positive experiences create positive memories which lead to positive word of mouth and an improved Nation Brand.
Because it is the experiences people have when they interact with numerous touchpoints that they will remember and communicate to others.
World class sporting events are a major way of improving a brands image and the organisers should be commended for bringing in this prestigious event. But the authorities should also do their part and make sure the experience is unforgettable, for the right reasons.
If you are interested I wrote an article on the Malaysia Nation Brand and you can find it here.