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① Cultural social media insights in Vietnam [Research]

27.August.2020

Welcome to article 1/3 focused on cultural social media insights in Vietnam. This article will cover key cultural facts and how they might impact your social media strategy! It’s important to remind yourselves to take a step back and remember what is core to the success of your campaign – your audience and what makes them tick. A brand will only succeed with a strong understanding of the market and its audiences.

To elevate our knowledge and conduct better campaigns for our clients, Digital Business Lab decided to partner with Dr. Crystal Abidin and conduct deep research in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Dr. Abidin, Ph.D. in Anthropology/Sociology/Media studies, is a researcher and educator who focuses on Asia Pacific Internet cultures. Specializing in influencer cultures, online visibility, and social media pop culture, her academic research can be found at https://wishcrys.com/academic-publications/.

For this series about Vietnam, we will dig deeper into a country that is known for its beaches, bustling cities, and Buddhist pagodas. A place that offers some of the best street food in the world, from bun ca to pho. Of course, the greatest asset of Vietnam is its people. Regaining independence and sovereignty in 1975 after the Resistance War, Vietnam is no longer associated with loss and pain. After more than 40 years of independence, Vietnam has taken on a different face, a face of courage, openness, and creativity.

Cultural social media insights in Vietnam: Key facts

  • Northerners are more “conservative, traditionally-minded and complicit with the communist regime”, while Southerners are “heavily influenced by Western ideals of individualism and liberalism and support democracy” (Cultural Atlas 2020)

💡  Takeaway: Businesses and brands should observe the restrictions and cultural differences between the north and south and make sure to distinguish independent content strategies. A campaign that is heavily influenced by western ideologies, should be handled carefully, particularly as Vietnam is governed as a communist state through a one-party system.

Durex Vietnam, Safe Sex Campaign

  • Vietnamese value the concepts of “khiêm” (modesty) or “khiêm tốn” (modesty and self-restraint), to maintain harmony (Cultural Atlas 2020). It is also a virtue to speak “indirectly and politely”, and communicative courtesy is especially important (Cultural Atlas 2020)

💡  Takeaway: Brands should replicate these values and show respect through courteous communication that is sincere, polite, reflective, and enthusiastic.

  • Family units usually comprise nuclear and extended relatives, and it is not uncommon for three generations to live together; in fact, living alone is experienced as “intimidating” (Cultural Atlas 2020)

💡  Takeaway: Family and family units are an important support system in Vietnam. Brands must not forget the significance of family, particularly advantageous would be to position their products/services on the value it can bring to a whole family, rather than an individual.

  • Auspicious numbers and colours are 1, 8, 9, red, yellow, and inauspicious colours are white (death), black (evil), purple (sadness, fragility), green (jealousy) (Cultural Atlas 2020)

💡  Takeaway: When working on your visual identity for campaigns, you should take into account the meanings of different uses of colour and numbers. If you’re running a campaign to celebrate Tet Nguyen Da (Vietnamese Lunar New Year), the use of purple, showcasing sadness and fragility would not identify well with the Vietnamese audience.

Important dates & celebrations in Vietnam

  • National & Political
    • 30 April: Day of liberating the South for national reunification, National Liberation Day, Reunification Day, Liberation of Saigon (sensitive), Fall of Saigon (Sensitive)
    • 01 May: Labour Day
    • 19 May: President Ho Chi Minh’s Birthday
    • 27 July: Remembrance Day, Vietnam Veterans’ Day
    • 2/3 September: National Day
  • Cultural
    • January-February (exact date varies): Tet Nguyen Dan, Vietnamese Lunar New Year
    • 10th day of 3rd lunar month: Hung Kings Commemoration
    • August (exact date varies): Trung Thu, Moon Festival
    • 25 December: Christmas
  • Religious
    • May (exact date varies): Buddha’s Birthday
    • 15 July: Vulan Buddhists pray for deceased

Explore article 2 & 3 of this series:

Explore our other Market Research in Asia:

Interested to learn more about Vietnam?
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