….but to cherish the Bhutanese story
Commerce: Bhutan will now have its own trademark on all its exports with the formal launch of Brand Bhutan yesterday.
Brand Bhutan is a package of all constructive attributes of the country under one umbrella brand. For instance, Gross National Happiness, political stability and pristine environment could prove to add value to Bhutanese produce.
But not anybody can use the logos. An official from trade department said producers wishing to inscribe the Brand Bhutan logo on their product have to meet certain benchmark. This, he said was to refrain using the brand on inferior quality products dampening the image of the country.
The brand architecture is such that all sector brands such as “Made in Bhutan,” “Grown in Bhutan” and tourism brand are unified under one brand and are all related. Officials said this captures how different sector brand work in unison towards a shared goal of promoting Bhutan.
For “Made in Bhutan” some of the endorsed products include, handicraft, textile, fine arts and film and media. Products for “Grown in Bhutan” include organic produce, traditional medicine, biotechnology and other food products.
Economic affairs ministry’s Joint Secretary, Sonam P Wangdi said Brand Bhutan will raise awareness of Bhutan to targeted audiences to consider invest, purchase and trust Bhutan.
“Unified country brand can be leveraged across all sectors and industry for moving up the value chain,” he said. “It is powerful intangible asset.”
He described Brand Bhutan as: “a magnet for inward investment and talent, a driver of worthwhile cultural exchange, a potent competitive advantage to exporters, an inspiration to people of the country and safeguard to the national identity.”
The Joint Secretary also shared experts’ opinion that Bhutan is sitting on treasure house of brand equity.
Addressing the launch, the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, who was the chief guest at the launch said the problem of sitting on a treasure house was not knowing which treasure to pick and when to pick. This, he said will confuse consumers.
Brand Bhutan, Lyonchoen said is not just important for commerce and economy but it tells Bhutan’s story of past and future. “We understand who we are and tell ourselves that this is the path we choose,” he said adding that Brand Bhutan is not just about selling and gathering consumers.
The idea behind Brand Bhutan, he said is small volume high value, targeting niche market and customers not just rich but knowledgeable. While selling “Made in Bhutan” or “Grown in Bhutan” he said it is not just about economic growth but economic growth, balanced with all elements that make up GNH.
“It is not just about selling, it’s about ourselves. It brings focus to who we are. We have to accept that and live our lives accordingly. We must be true to the ideals and values that are inherent in Brand Bhutan. We must pass this to our children, for therein lies true values of Brand Bhutan,” Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said.
If that is done then selling is easy part, he said.
To diversify the export base, the idea of Brand Bhutan was conceptualized in 2005 and the feasibility study was conducted the following year with support from World Intellectual Property Organization.
It was initially intended to implement in 2011, but because of lack of resources it could not take off. Last year the strategy was updated by future brand, an international branding company with support from the UNDP.