Brand building must go hand-in-hand with social responsibility: VCCI hinh anh 1Workers at Saigon Co.op put together meals to be delivered to households during HCM City's social restriction period during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNS/VNA) Brand building for businesses must go hand-in-hand with social responsibility to form the foundation for sustainable development, according to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

The chamber stressed the importance of a strong brand that inspires confidence and stability with business partners while strongly associated with social responsibility and the community. 

According to the VCCI, nine out of ten businesses in the country were forced to cut back on hours or lay off a part of their workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a vast majority of them took measures to maintain production and minimise workers' income loss including stronger implementation of digitalisation and telecommunication technologies, as well as the creation of new products and services, which has helped speed up recovery post-pandemic. 

Trinh Van Khanh, CEO of Van Khanh Investment and Construction Group, said his company was able to maintain 100% of its workforce during the pandemic to help with the construction of some 14 field hospitals for COVID-19 patients in HCM City. 

Khanh said his company's strategies to support workers including profit-sharing schemes, high-quality company meals, housing and living expense subsidies have played a key part in keeping workers from leaving, before, during and after the pandemic.

He believes it has been a win-win solution for both employers and workers as it helps boost productivity and loyalty, and promotes the company's brand and trust among business partners and customers.

Similarly, Luong Van Vinh, CEO of My Hao Cosmetics JSC., one of the most well-known brands of home products in Vietnam, said his company went to great lengths to support workers while the city was under social restriction periods. 

"For us, profit was not as important as our workers during the pandemic," Vinh said.

"Our most important objective was to protect their livelihood, to protect our brand and to maintain production capacity." 

During the pandemic, they were quick to make the adjustment from traditional products such as office attire to more in-demand products including protective equipment, winter attire and in-house items for the domestic and international markets. 

Saigon Co.op, a major retailer in the Mekong Delta, managed to maintain growth and sales during the pandemic by implementing digitalisation and AI (artificial intelligence) technologies, streamlining logistics and promoting digital commerce.

The retailer eyed a 4.5 per cent sale growth and had plans to open three to five supermarkets and malls and 80-100 retail stores in the year 2022, according to CEO Nguyen Anh Duc.

It takes years for businesses to build strong brands, which requires not only capable business management but also trust among the public, according to the HCM City Union of Business Associations.

The union considered building strong domestic brands as a key objective in the city's sustainable economic development and urged the city's authority to lend more support to help businesses in brand-building activities. 

Pham Chi Tam, Vice Chairman of the HCM City Federation of Labour, encouraged businesses to continue to improve management capacity, competitive advantage, product quality, business culture and most importantly worker living conditions. 

He added businesses must consider the workforce as among the most valuable resources at their disposal and workers' legitimate demands for housing, child care and transportation must be addressed. 

He said many businesses in recent years have spent a significant amount of money to build their own housing complexes, improve health care and social security to retain their workforce and help boost brand popularity. 

There has been a strong correlation between a socially popular brand and a business' profit and growth as a socially popular brand help amplify a company's reputation and product image among the public, according to market experts. 

"A strong brand sends a message that business management is capable, aware of social responsibility, environmentally conscious, and that the company has sustainable growth and fair treatment of workers," said Vo Van Hoan, Vice Chairman of the HCM City People's Committee./.