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5 common mistakes brands do in Vietnam 

Vietnam is a promising market for international brands, with a growing middle class and a young population that is increasingly open to foreign products and services. However, to succeed in Vietnam, international brands must avoid common mistakes that can hinder their growth and damage their reputation. In this article, we will discuss five common mistakes that international brands often make in Vietnam and suggest solutions for overcoming these mistakes.

1. Lack of Localization

When entering a new market, one of the most important factors for brands to consider is the need for localization. This is especially true in Vietnam, a country with a rich cultural heritage and a unique set of values and beliefs that shape the behavior of consumers. Many brands make the mistake of assuming that their global marketing strategies will work in Vietnam, without taking into account the cultural nuances and local preferences that can significantly impact their success in the market.

One aspect of localization that brands often overlook is the need to tailor their branding and messaging to the local culture. This includes everything from the brand name, tagline, and logo to the colors, imagery, and tone of voice used in marketing communications. For instance, a brand that uses bold and brash messaging in the US might need to adopt a more subtle and understated approach in Vietnam, where humility and modesty are highly valued.

Another critical aspect of localization is understanding the unique preferences and habits of Vietnamese consumers. This can range from the types of products and services they prefer to the channels they use to access information and make purchasing decisions. For example, Vietnamese consumers are known for their love of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients in food products, and brands that fail to incorporate these preferences into their products and marketing efforts risk alienating their target audience.

Moreover, brands need to invest in understanding the Vietnamese language and idiomatic expressions, as well as the local dialects that are spoken in different regions of the country. This can be especially challenging for brands that are used to communicating in English, as there are many nuances and cultural references that may not translate directly into Vietnamese. Brands that take the time to understand the local language and incorporate it into their branding and marketing strategies can create a more authentic and meaningful connection with Vietnamese consumers.

Bonus tips to avoid this mistake:

  • Conduct thorough market research to understand local preferences and cultural nuances.
  • Hire local staff or partner with a local agency to gain insight into the local market.
  • Adapt products and marketing strategies to meet the needs and preferences of Vietnamese consumers.

2. Failure to Embrace Social Media

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are hugely popular in Vietnam, with millions of users active on these platforms every day. However, many brands underestimate the importance of social media in Vietnam, leading to missed opportunities and a lack of engagement with the local audience.

One of the main reasons why social media is so important in Vietnam is that it provides a highly accessible platform for brands to reach consumers. In a country where traditional media channels such as TV and newspapers are declining in popularity, social media offers a way for brands to connect with consumers in real time and on a personal level. Brands that fail to have a presence on social media risk being seen as outdated and out of touch with the local audience.

Another mistake that brands make is not creating engaging content that resonates with Vietnamese consumers. Social media users in Vietnam are highly engaged and discerning, and they expect brands to provide content that is relevant, interesting, and entertaining. Brands that simply post generic content that is not tailored to the local audience will struggle to build a following on social media and may miss out on the opportunity to establish a strong brand presence in the market.

Lastly, many brands fail to take advantage of the unique features and capabilities of social media platforms in Vietnam. For example, Facebook and Instagram offer a range of advertising options that can be highly targeted to specific audiences, helping brands to reach the right people with the right message at the right time. Brands that fail to take advantage of these features risk being overshadowed by competitors who are savvier in their use of social media

Bonus tips to avoid this mistake:

  • Develop a comprehensive social media strategy that targets the most popular platforms in Vietnam.
  • Monitor social media channels for customer feedback and respond promptly and appropriately.
  • Use social media to build relationships with customers and promote brand loyalty.

3. Failure to Adapt to Local Market Conditions

A critical mistake that many brands make when entering the Vietnamese market is the failure to adapt to local market conditions. The Vietnamese market is unique in many ways, and brands that fail to recognize and respond to these differences risk losing out to competitors who are more attuned to the local environment.

One of the most important factors to consider when adapting to the local market conditions is the regulatory environment. Vietnam has a complex legal and regulatory framework, and brands that fail to comply with local laws and regulations risk facing penalties and fines, as well as damage to their reputation. For instance, brands that fail to obtain the necessary licenses or permits for their products may find themselves unable to operate in the market or facing legal action.

Another factor to consider is the competitive landscape. Vietnam is a highly competitive market, with a large number of local and international brands vying for consumers’ attention and loyalty. Brands that fail to understand the competitive landscape and develop strategies to differentiate themselves risk being overshadowed by competitors who are more agile and innovative in their approach.

Additionally, brands need to consider the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the local market. For example, Vietnam is a rapidly developing market, and brands that fail to adapt to the changing needs and preferences of consumers risk being left behind. Similarly, brands that fail to recognize the opportunities presented by the country’s large and growing middle class may miss out on the chance to tap into this lucrative segment of the market.

Bonus tips to avoid this mistake:

  • Develop a deep understanding of local market conditions, including infrastructure, supply chain, and legal regulations.
  • Adapt business operations and processes to fit the local market.
  • Establish partnerships with local suppliers and distributors to ensure smooth operations and supply chain management.

4. Packaging Design

Packaging design is another critical factor that brands need to consider when entering the Vietnamese market. Many brands simply import their packaging from other markets without taking into account local preferences and cultural nuances. This can lead to packaging that is not well-suited to the local market and fails to connect with consumers on an emotional level.

Another mistake that brands make is failing to communicate the right messages through their packaging design. Vietnamese consumers are highly attuned to packaging design, and they expect packaging to communicate not only product information but also brand values and personality. Brands that fail to use their packaging design to communicate these messages risk being seen as unappealing or irrelevant to the local market.

In addition to design and messaging, brands also need to consider the practical aspects of packaging in the Vietnamese market. For example, Vietnam has a hot and humid climate, which can impact the durability and functionality of packaging materials. Brands that do not recognize these practical factors may find that their packaging does not hold up well in the local environment, leading to damage or spoilage of their products.

Bonus tips to avoid this mistake:

  • Invest in high-quality packaging design that resonates with Vietnamese consumers.
  • Use packaging design to communicate brand values and personality.
  • Consider practical factors such as durability and functionality in the local environment.

5. Poor Customer Service

Vietnamese consumers expect to be treated with respect and courtesy. Therefore, brands that fail to provide a high level of customer service may find that consumers are unwilling to do business with them again.

Another mistake that brands make is failing to respond to customer complaints and feedback in a timely and effective manner. In Vietnam, social media is an important channel for consumers to voice their concerns and provide feedback on brands and their products. Brands that fail to monitor social media channels and respond to customer feedback risk damaging their reputation and losing the trust of consumers.

Additionally, brands need to consider the importance of building long-term relationships with customers in the Vietnamese market. Vietnamese consumers are loyal to brands that provide a positive customer experience and are more likely to recommend brands that they trust to their friends and family. Brands that fail to invest in building these long-term relationships risk missing out on the opportunity to develop a strong brand presence in the market.

Bonus tips to avoid this mistake:

  • Train staff in customer service skills and cultural norms.
  • Monitor customer feedback and respond promptly and appropriately.
  • Focus on building long-term relationships with customers through personalized service and attention.


In conclusion, international brands that want to succeed in Vietnam must take steps to avoid common mistakes that can impede their growth and damage their reputation. Brands that invest in market research, adapt their strategies to fit the local market, and prioritize customer service and relationships are more likely to achieve long-term success in Vietnam. By overcoming those 5 common mistakes, international brands can build a strong brand presence in Vietnam and capture the opportunities presented by this promising market. However, to navigate better in this market, a collaboration with a local agency will definitely be a huge advantage. 

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