In a recent blog post, I wrote about the reassuring findings of Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer. It found that, globally, trust in business is growing because people view companies as a reliable and credible source of information in the fake news era.
I also wrote about how THP views trust as the core part of its brand value: we seek to foster trust among our employees, our supply chain and ultimately our end customers.
Our second core value – International Quality Standards – re-affirms that we are not a company that will take shortcuts. Our seventh core value is Integrity: here the name speaks for itself.
However, in Vietnam we have to work extra hard to generate trust. And in this second blog post on the subject, I’d like to delve a little deeper into the Vietnamese people’s relationship with trust in the business world.
For the reality is that in common with other emerging market countries, it is still a work-in-progress. Counterfeiting is unfortunately pretty common.
This means that companies in Vietnam have to work far harder than in developed markets to convince customers that products haven’t been tampered with and their data is safe.
At THP, we famously experienced avery difficult period in 2014 when a customer claimed that he’d found a fly in a bottle of our Number 1 Energy Drink. He was effectively accusing us of cutting corners to make money: marketing our hygienic and safe manufacturing processes, while doing the opposite in practise.
It cut to the heart of everything that we stand for and we vigorously defended ourselves. We were very relieved when the court system backed us up and our ethics were vindicated.
Another good example is our Billionaires promotion (Giải tỷ phú), which we run each spring and summer through our Tear Right Away and Win Right Away (Xé ngay trúng liền) campaign.
In 2022, we made one person a billionaire, nine people a millionaire and awarded a total of 277,4000 prizes, ranging from VND10,000 to VND50,000. Yet how did many of these winners react when they discovered that they had a winning ticket?
Far from jumping up and down on the spot, quite a few simply did not believe the result. This was not because they distrust THP, but because they are always conscious of scammers inserting themselves into the mix.
So each year, we have to convince the winners that they have actually won. This year’s billionaire was a 26-year old man from Đức Hòa, a rural district in Vietnam’s South Western Mekong Delta. However, he only believed that it was true when officials from his commune confirmed it for him.
This backdrop also has implications for foreign investors in Vietnam. Having been burned in other countries, they are often wary of unethical business practices when they come here.
One way to get round this is to find a trustworthy local business partner who can negotiate potential pitfalls. Another is to undertake very careful due diligence.
At THP, it helps that we have worked with foreign counterparties for many years and across all areas of our business. We prize access to the best expertise the world has to offer and have now built up an enviable track-record of working with foreign companies.
We believe this provides us with an even stronger platform to move to the next level ahead of other local competitors who have not yet bridged the trust gap.