Surprising, unique, yours, and now a place where passion meets possibilities. Singapore's national brand received its latest makeover yesterday with the unveiling of the tagline: Passion Made Possible.
The latest incarnation of the tagline broke new ground on two fronts: It is the first time the tagline contains no explicit mention of Singapore, and also the first time the brand will be used to target tourists as well as woo businesses.
The unified brand was a joint effort by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Economic Development Board (EDB), and will also be used by other agencies under the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Speaking at the launch, STB chief executive Lionel Yeo said it "captures the idea of the determination to pursue something truly worthwhile, and possibilities made real is the promise of Singapore".
The tagline is accompanied by a logo of the letters SG inside a circle, drawing on the SG50 logo's popularity. "We are calling it the SG Mark, and this can be applied to visuals or text to immediately connote the Singapore stamp of quality and trust, which underpins our spirit of passion made possible," said Mr Yeo.
A key feature of the new campaign is an emphasis on storytelling. Instead of talking about the different things a tourist can do in Singapore, STB will use local personalities and share stories about their passions - be it food, shopping, culture or business. For example, it released a 41/2-minute-long video of wildlife consultant Subaraj Rajathurai talking about his love for nature as he walks through Pulau Ubin and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
Noting that Singapore's iconic attractions and efficiency are already well known, Mr Yeo said: "We will build on this by telling stories of Passion Made Possible to develop an even more positive affinity towards Singapore."
Passion Made Possible was launched yesterday at Infinite Studios, near Ayer Rajah, by Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran. On the global front, it will launch today in Japan and later in 14 other cities.
Mr Iswaran said this campaign was relevant to start-ups, big businesses or tourists: "Passion Made Possible, really, is about people who believe that they have something valuable and different to offer."
The revamp comes on the back of stiffer competition for tourism dollars from other countries, but also at a time when the tourism sector here is growing. The number of visitors rose by 7.7 per cent to 16.4 million last year, while tourism receipts grew by 13 per cent to $24.6 billion.
This is Singapore's fifth such campaign since the then Singapore Tourist Promotion Board kicked off with Surprising Singapore in 1977. That was followed by New Asia Singapore in 1995, Uniquely Singapore in 2004, and 2010's YourSingapore.
To come up with the new brand, STB and EDB surveyed close to 4,500 respondents in Singapore and 10 other countries on what the Republic stands for.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic tourism senior lecturer Michael Chiam thought the slogan was good in that it is flexible enough for business and tourism purposes: "For the tourism sector, the new tagline invites tourists who are passionate about something to explore different possibilities relating to their passion when they are in Singapore. For the business person, he can explore what drives Singaporeans, which can open up business possibilities."
But as with previous recent rebranding efforts, there were some mixed reactions.
Mr Kevin Cheong, immediate past chairman of the Association of Singapore Attractions, said it was good that the Government is working across agencies to develop this, but thought the word "passion" could be misconstrued.
He said: "Passion is so subjective. It can be provocative and sensual. Is it about romance, about coming here with a fling? We need to speak the language of the market and not try to be too smart."