“Uniquely Singapore” was the destination brand of Singapore from 2004 to 2010. Launched by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the tagline was used to market Singapore as a unique tourist destination where aspects of a modern living environment co-exist with the traditions and cultures of a multicultural society. The brain behind “Uniquely Singapore” was STB’s then director of brand management Ken Low, who worked with international brand consultant FutureBrand for eight months to develop the destination brand and its promotional campaign. This involved interviewing some 400 people comprising leisure and business visitors, local and overseas travel industry partners, as well as local government agencies, for feedback, ideas and suggestions.
Prior to “Uniquely Singapore”, the Singapore brand had undergone a number of revamps. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Singapore brand used the tagline “Instant Asia”. Introduced in 1966, it portrayed Singapore as a gateway to the major cultures of Asia, including their cuisine and festivals. In 1977, “Surprising Singapore” was adopted to depict the country as a tropical paradise where East and West, as well as the old and new meet. This tagline was used throughout the 1980s and early 1990s until it was replaced in 1996 by “New Asia Singapore”. The latter once again drew attention to Singapore’s multiculturalism, but with a modern twist: It illustrated the country as a modern, dynamic Asian city that could provide tourists with both modern infrastructure and cultural diversity. “New Asia” was Singapore’s destination brand until “Uniquely Singapore” was unveiled in 2004.
The brand “Uniquely Singapore” and its message were pushed out through marketing avenues such as brochures, guides, advertisements, commercials and a website. It was also publicised globally in the media and showcased on international platforms such as the World Expo in Japan and the China-ASEAN Expo. Celebrity ambassadors were appointed to endorse the destination brand overseas, and a “Uniquely Singapore” yacht even participated in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Some attractions that were highlighted in the “Uniquely Singapore” promotional campaigns included Orchard Road, the Singapore Zoo and the historic colonial districts. Events such as the Singapore Food Festival, Great Singapore Sale and the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix were also highlighted.
The “Uniquely Singapore” branding had a positive effect on Singapore’s tourism industry. Between 2004 and 2010, Singapore’s total visitor arrivals increased from 8.3 million to 11.6 million. Tourism receipts jumped from S$10.1 billion to S$18.1 billion during the same period. In March 2010, “Uniquely Singapore” was replaced by a new destination branding called “YourSingapore”.
1. Toh, C. L. (2004, March 10). The uniquely Singaporean spin. Today, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, D. W. (2010, March 24). Mixed reviews over YourSingapore tag. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
2. Tan, S. (2004, March 24). Why ‘Uniquely Singapore’. The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Chong, V. (2004, June 10). Uniquely Singapore brand finding its feet. The Business Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. The Business Times, 10 Jun 2004, p. 8.
5. Can, S. O. (2004). Brand Singapore: The hub of ‘New Asia’. In N. Morgan et al. Destination branding: Creating the unique destination proposition (p. 245). Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann. Call no.: RBUS 338.4791 DES; Tour men to see S’pore tourist trade. (1973, May 24). New Nation, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Singapore Tourism Board. (2014). Annual report 2013/14. Retrieved from Singapore Tourism Board website: http://www.stbannualreport.com.sg; Morgan, 2004, p. 245.
7. Morgan, 2004, pp. 244–245.
8. The Business Times, 10 Jun 2004, p. 8.
9. Low, K. (2006, September 16). STB explains ‘Uniquely Singapore’ brand. The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. The Straits Times, 16 Sep 2006, p. 13.
11. Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. (2007). Singapore yearbook 2007 (p. 297). Singapore: Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN; Neo, H. M. (2005, March 18). One hull of a name. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Singapore Tourism Board. (n.d.). I came across a street that led directly to the runways of Tokyo, Milan and New York: Uniquely Singapore [Poster]. Singapore: Singapore Tourism Board. Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 I; Singapore Tourism Board. (n.d.). You’ve seen beautiful gardens in cities. But have you seen a beautiful city in a garden?: Uniquely Singapore [Poster]. Singapore: Singapore Tourism Board. Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 I; Singapore Tourism Board. (n.d.). By the river where once British silver was exchanged for Chinese tea, we exchanged sweet nothings: Uniquely Singapore [Poster]. Singapore: Singapore Tourism Board. Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 BY.
13. Singapore Tourism Board. (n.d.). It’s easy to see why diet books seldom make it to the Singapore bestseller list: Uniquely Singapore [Poster]. Singapore: Singapore Tourism Board. Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 ITS; Singapore Tourism Board. (n.d.). In the heart of a royal enclave, I was crowned ‘Queen of Shopping’: Uniquely Singapore [Poster]. Singapore: Singapore Tourism Board. Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 IN; Singapore Tourism Board. (2010). Annual report 2008/09 (p. 29). Retrieved from Singapore Tourism Board website: http://www.stbtrc.com.sg/Passport/X1STBCorporateAnnualReport-08_09.pdf
14. Singapore Tourism Board. (2006). Annual report of tourism statistics 2005 (p. 11). Retrieved from Singapore Tourism website: https://www.stb.gov.sg/statistics-and-market-insights/marketstatistics/x1annual_rep_05.pdf; Singapore Tourism Board. (2012). Annual report of tourism statistics 2010/11 (p. 15). Retrieved from Singapore Tourism website: https://www.stb.gov.sg/statistics-and-market-insights/marketstatistics/x1annual_report_on_tourism_statistics_2010_2011.pdf
15. Singapore Tourism Board, 2006, p. 47; Singapore Tourism Board, 2012, p. 61
16. The Straits Times, 24 Mar 2010, p. 19.
The information in this article is valid as at Aug 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.