More than 4 years ago the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak set up a department tasked with building the Malaysia nation brand. We had a number of meetings with the head of the new department but her understanding of what constitutes a nation brand was very different to ours and so we didn’t get involved.
But we gave her plenty of ideas, one of which was that the Malaysian entertainer Yuna should be the face of any Malaysia nation branding initiative. I even wrote about it on my blog here.
Yuna never became the face of the Malaysian nation brand but she did feature in some Malaysia Airlines marketing campaigns but they didn’t really understand how to get the best out of such a potential game changer.
During those 4 years, Yuna’s career has continued to blossom and recently she became the first Malaysian to feature in Billboard’s Top 10 R&B Albums and Billboard’s Top 20 R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. The best selling single on that album was Crush, a collaboration with Usher.
With such success comes confidence and in an interview with Elle magazine Malaysia, Yuna ripped into the haters in Malaysia who weren’t happy with her for hugging Usher.
I heard recently that the special department was being disbanded which is a waste because the Malaysia nation brand needs some help. Used properly, I still think this impressive young artist can rescue a once iconic nation brand.