28 July 2005

Why Can't They Just Admit to Wasting Money?

July 28, 2005
Marina Bay brand more than just a name

I REFER to the letter by Mr Michael Chua Kheng Hwee, 'Name search a waste of money' (ST, July 26).

Marina Bay is a new area; it is the future downtown of Singapore. It will provide Singapore with the opportunity for further urban transformation and attract new investments, visitors and talent, besides becoming a new destination for the local community.

[Mr Wang: Wah! So exciting. So what's the next step?]

In the face of increasing competition among cities, place branding can help to differentiate Singapore from competitors. A strong, distinctive positioning of Marina Bay can lead to a powerful and distinctive competitive advantage for Singapore. Branding goes beyond a name, logo and tagline. It is about identifying a vision and a set of value propositions we want people to associate a place with.

[Mr Wang: Wah! So exciting. So how will you actually improve the branding?]

A key part of the Marina Bay branding exercise involved extensive research and consultation with various key stakeholders - developers, retailers, restaurant owners, entertainment companies and tourism interests, both locally and internationally.

[Mr Wang: Yes. But how does this actually improve the branding?]

Our stakeholders validated the Marina Bay brand. The brand will drive the planning and design, and activities and events to be held at the bay. It is also a common platform for the various stakeholders to join hands in promoting and marketing the area.

[Mr Wang: You mean you spent $400,000 and didn't actually do anything to improve the branding?]

Marina Bay is attracting interest internationally. Investors have signalled their confidence in Marina Bay, as can be seen in the significant tender interest in the Business and Financial Centre, a multi-billion-dollar project.

[Mr Wang: Ooooor, I see! You spent $400,000 to not change the name of Marina Bay, that's why investors want to invest there, issit?]

Our future downtown at Marina Bay is an exciting and important project. The amount we invested in branding Marina Bay will reap long-term economic benefits for Singapore.

[Mr Wang: Thank you, thank you, URA!]

Michael Koh
Director Urban Planning & Design
Urban Redevelopment Authority

A "Before & After" Special Presentation
by URA

Marina Bay BEFORE the $400K branding exercise!

AND NOW .....


Marina Bay AFTER the $400K branding exercise!

***Well done, URA!***


tscd said...

How do you 'brand' a development? I don't understand.

Beach-yi said...

Is this why a chio bu like Blinkymummy left URA? hmm...

Merv said...

URA probably can't trust themselves to name it without paying some important PR agency to study and justify their choice..

Every decision in Singapore must study carefully one...

Anonymous said...


Even if we accept your basic premise, that URA needed consultants to help them out, why couldn't URA have asked someone like STPB, which has the necessary experience and which, as a fellow stat board, wouldn't have charged (i.e. wouldn't have been able to charge) the taxpayer such an exhorbitant sum?

On a more macro level, which idiot Gahmen eunuch bureaucrat was responsible for putting the wrong stat board in charge of this project?

Face it - this is yet another example of those eunuchs' mindless fetish for foreign (read: white) "talent" run amok.