Thoughts on 'Singapore Polo Team's Trunks "Inappropriate"" report

There are several lessons we can take away from this episode.

1. Do not assume. When in doubt, always seek official approval. Creativity needs Approval too. There are clear guidelines on the use of state flag, crest and even Merlion symbol owned by Singapore Tourism Board.

2. The brand identity can be expressed in many ways. On national day, people paint their faces with our state flag and it is totally acceptable as part of the celebration. Showing patriotism is great as long as it is at the right places (no pun intended)

3. Let’s be practical, these wonderful swimming trunk of the Water polo team will be a collector’s item now. They should auction it for public funding in 2011. How often do you get to keep a set of items with National identity and yet deemed inappropriate?

4. Body anatomy. Are our private parts more inferior to our faces? After all both are just parts of the body. why is it that we can paint it and not wear it? A thailand’s journalist wrote “The red and white trunks feature elements of Singapore’s national flag, five stars and a crescent moon jutting up from the groin, leaving a somewhat unfortunate impression.” What if I paint our state flag on my face and frown the whole time, will this also constitute a “unfortunate impression”?

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Singapore Polo Team’s Trunks “Inappropriate”

Reported : Friday, 26-November-2010

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/26/ap/strange/main7091371.shtml

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/singapore/8161839/Singapore-water-polo-team-in-hot-water-over-trunks-design.html

Singapore rebuked its national water polo team for wearing swim trunks that feature an “inappropriate” likeness of the city-state’s flag.

The trunks, which were designed by members of the men’s team currently competing in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, show the flag’s white crescent moon jutting up from the groin area with five stars to the side on a red background.

“Unfortunately the team did not seek our advice on the use of the crescent moon and stars when they designed their swim trunks,” the Information Ministry said in a statement Thursday. “We would have told them that their design is inappropriate as we want elements of the flag to be treated with dignity.”

The ministry, which normally evaluates the use of the flag on uniforms on a case-by-case basis, declined to specify which part of the design was objectionable.

The trunks sparked a controversy in the local media and on Internet message boards, with some offended by the use of the national flag while others were amused at the furor.

Asian Games rules stipulate that a team’s uniform cannot be changed in the middle of the tournament, so the government will allow the water polo players to wear the trunks when they play Kuwait on Thursday for fifth place. The team apologized and said it would retire the trunks after the Asian Games.

“We didn’t have the slightest intention to do anything funny on our trunks to insult Singapore,” team manager Samuel Wong, who helped design the trunks, told the Straits Times.

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Branding Challenges

Are you a business owner and suffer from one of the following?
  • People don’t know about your company.
  • People don’t care about your company.
  • People confuse you with another company.
  • People have mis-perceptions about what you do.
  • You are not engaging your customers.
  • You are not enjoying media attention.
  • You are not getting the deal or funding you need.
If you answer YES to at least 3 of the above, you have a branding challenge.
Branding is business strategy; above marketing, sales, Customer Relations Management and even Public Relations.
To find out your “branding quotient”, try this test – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XZPHSVT
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2 VWOs believe in Branding will take them to the next level

Ms Joyce Chan from Teen Challenge and Mr Daniel Ang from Luthern Community Care Services completed the 1st ever Social Branding for NPO workshop from 21-23 July.

They believe Brand Execution through strategic communication via the Mass Media and Social Media will help them to:

1. Raise Awareness

2. Increase donation over time

3. Enlarge volunteer base

4. Establish rapport with potential commercial partners.

They are both aware of the commitment level to such a Branding approach has to come from the Top Management. For a start, they will be sending a combined of 20 staff, volunteers and members of their respective board for training on social media and mass media.

“I am determined to implement a comprehensive social media strategy within my organization” said Mr Ang, who himself has linkedin and Facebook accounts, though wasn’t active when he first started.

As a trainer and consultant for NPO in Branding, I hope many more charities will follow these 2 charities and take a leap of faith to embrace branding as a platform for vision and positioning to serve the their cause more effectively.

During this course, 3 officers from Charity Unit came to observe the course and gave their feedback. It is heartening to have government as stake holders in branding charity.

The next available course for NPO – “Implementing a Winning Social Media Strategy” will be on 13-14 Sep 2010 and “Social Branding for NPO” will be on 27-28 Sep 2010

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Can Branding Strategy works for Charity or Voluntary Welfare Organisations in Singapore?

Can Branding Strategy works for Charity or Voluntary Welfare Organisations in Singapore? Teen Challenge Singapore and Lutheran Community Care Services seems to think so. Both their Executive Directors came for the 1st ever ‘Social Branding for NPOs” course developed by me for National Council of Social Service. Over the next 3 days, we will explore Brand Audit, Brand Strategy and Brand Execution.

Teen Challenge (Singapore) is dedicated to helping both teenage and adult drug and alcohol abusers, juvenile delinquents, teenage gang members and youth-at-risk. We provide prevention services and information for individuals with life-controlling problems through Community-based Intervention Programmes, regardless of their race, religion and age. We endeavour to assist in reconciliation and restoration of family relationships by providing opportunities for family sessions, counseling, seminars and other services or referrals.

http://teenchallenge.org.sg/

Lutheran Community Care Services (LCCS) has been reaching out to children and youth in schools and the community since 2002. By showing concern and providing care for the young and their families through remedial, preventive and developmental work, LCCS is one of the forefront leaders in programmes such as The Miracle Mind, Inclusive Solutions and Student Work Services programmes.

LCCS also works with couples through programmes like Marriage Preparation and Marriage Enrichment Workshops. Not only that, LCCS reaches out to Individuals, Corporations and Homes too. LCCS also partners with MCYS to roll out the Mentoring programme for the youths from the Girls’ Home.

http://www.lccs.org.sg/

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