USA-based multinational news channel Cable News Network – better known as CNN – will carry out a branding campaign for Bangladesh in the international arena, highlighting the country's achievements and compliance in its flourishing export-oriented sectors.
The campaign will begin in September or October this year and continue for almost a year, focusing on seven sectors – RMG, agriculture and jute, leather and leather goods, light engineering and two-wheelers, electronics and digital devices, ICT, e-commerce and digital service, and medical equipment and pharmaceuticals.
This initiative will boost Bangladesh's image in the international community, which in turn will increase the demand for Bangladeshi goods among foreign consumers and brands, officials at the commerce ministry said. The government is also optimistic that the campaign will help foreign investments go up.
The Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI) – under the commerce ministry – signed a memorandum of understanding with CNN International Commercial (CNNIC) in a virtual programme on Wednesday for showcasing the "Made in Bangladesh" brand globally.
The initiative will be run under public-private cooperation, and the private sector will bear the cost.
Branding company Spellbound signed the deal on behalf of CNNIC.
When asked about the costs associated with this campaign, neither BFTI's acting CEO Obaidul Azam nor Spellbound's Managing Director and CEO Mohammad Sadequl Arefeen could provide any definitive answer.
However, a few months ago at an event organised by the International Chamber of Commerce, the prime minister's Private Sector Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman mentioned that the campaign could cost Bangladesh around $450 million.
Bangladesh is now the global leader in establishing green industries in the RMG sector besides witnessing the rise of many international standard companies in pharmaceutical and other export-oriented sectors. But the international media do not showcase them much. Instead, they focus on the negative aspects of Bangladesh's private sector, insiders said.
So, the government has taken this initiative to counter such issues, they added. Bangladesh had previously organised roadshows in different countries across the globe, but this type of branding campaign is a first for this country.
A number of commerce ministry officials told The Business Standard that the government has formed an 11-member steering committee headed by Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi to implement the "Made in Bangladesh" branding campaign through CNN.
Besides, a finance sub-committee has been formed with the BFTI CEO as its head.
Under the campaign, CNN will develop and execute TVC, Blueprint Bespoke Editorial, Promo, Vignettes and a "Made in Bangladesh" theme week. CNN will also promote seven potential export sectors as well as 10 leading export-oriented organisations within the selected sectors.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association's (BGMEA) Director Mohiuddin Rubel said, "We believe in positive branding and we laud the branding initiative taken by the government.
"We have been making a serious effort to boost our brand value and many of our success stories get no attention from the international media. This campaign will help us showcase our achievements."
On the matter, Bangladesh Leather, Leather goods & Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association Bangladesh's (LFMEAB) President Md Saiful Islam said, "The tannery industry of Bangladesh shifted from Hazaribagh to Savar maintaining compliance and this achievement should be showcased positively by the international media.
"After we build a central effluent treatment plant and get the Leather Working Group certificate, there will be an opportunity to boost exports in this sector. A positive branding in the international arena will help Bangladesh achieve a greater price negotiation capacity."
Spellbound's Managing Director and CEO Mohammad Sadequl Arefeen said, "The CNN website will have a content hub from Bangladesh, which will promote the country's pioneering sectors. CNN will feature Bangladesh's success stories through the content hub and other media.
When asked about the campaign's costs, Arefeen said, "The costs will depend on how long the sectors will run this campaign and on the type of campaign itself."
BFTI acting CEO Obaidul Azam said, "The CNN creates quality content. By featuring this content across the world, Bangladesh will be able to pinpoint export strategies for various industries, expand trade opportunities and secure a supportive role for the country in the long run."
Azam continued, "The private sector will run this campaign as per their requirement and we will link them to the initiative. Private associations, organisations, chambers and companies will be able to connect to this campaign and get the opportunity to showcase their brands across the world. They will have to bear the cost of this campaign themselves.
CNNIC Director (Sales) Abhijeet Dhar and other representatives of the company attended the MoU signing ceremony through the Zoom platform. Representatives from Spellbound and officials from BFTI were also present.