SINGAPORE: Singapore has selected Baldwin Boyle Shand to oversee a global campaign focused on winning hearts and minds and transcending the stereotpyes that still surround the island’s state’s global reputation.

The country’s Ministry of Information, Communication and Arts (MICA) picked the independent firm after a pitch that began in October last year, as revealed by the Holmes Report, and featured several international PR networks. According to the official tender documents, the assignment is worth as much as S$1.5 million (US$1.1 million).

A MICA spokesperson confirmed the appointment to the Holmes Report. According to the tender, BBS will oversee a strategy to “bridge perception gaps” and “create affinity for Singapore as a vibrant global city.”

BBS is perhaps best known for its long tenure as 25-year tenure as Singapore Airlines’ PR agency. In addition to Singapore, the New Zealand-headquartered firm also has offices in Australia and Thailand.

A number of PR agencies attended a briefing in mid-October, before entering the fray. Firms were asked to demonstrate experience in international markets, including the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, China and India.

The tender, titled ‘Strategic Plan for Marketing Singapore’, points out that Singapore has undergone numerous changes in recent years and has “transformed into a vibrant global city”. However, while numerous branding initiatives have been deployed at a local and international level, “the perception of what we have to offer still does not match reality.”

Long saddled with a reputation of being bland and conformist, Singapore has loosened up a number of its more restrictive laws and made major investments in its tourism and business infrastructure over the past 15 years. However, Government ministers have admitted that the country needs to move beyond its current brand values, which revolve around such values as reliability, efficiency and safety.

Singapore’s tourism branding platform – ‘Uniquely Singapore’ – has been running since 2004, and attempts to showcase the city’s cultural heritage. In addition, several campaigns have launched in recent years to further develop Singapore’s tourism and business credentials.

Image courtesy of the Singapore Tourism Board