Can Yuna Save Malaysia’s Nation Branding?

Yuna Malaysian Singer - Branding in Asia Magazine

Back in 2012, the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak set up a department tasked with building the Malaysia nation brand. We had a number of meetings with the head of the new department, but her understanding of what constitutes a nation brand was, to be quite frank, very different to ours and so we didn’t get involved.

However, we did offer up plenty of ideas, one of which was that the Malaysian singer-entertainer, Yuna, should be the face of any Malaysia nation branding initiative. I even wrote about at the time.

[su_quote]Yuna has undoubted talent and can become an ambassador for the Malaysia Nation Brand. She won’t build it on her own but she can make a considerable contribution to its success.[/su_quote]


Alas, Yuna never became the face of the Malaysian nation brand. However, she did feature in some Malaysia Airlines marketing campaigns, but they didn’t really understand how to extract the most out of Yuna as the potential game changer that she could be.

Yuna expands

During those past four years, Yuna’s career has continued to blossom and recently she became the first Malaysian to feature in Billboard’s Top 10 R&B Albums and Billboard’s Top 20 R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.

The best-selling single on that album was Crush, a collaboration with Usher.


With such success comes confidence and in an interview with Elle magazine Malaysia, Yuna ripped into the haters in Malaysia who weren’t happy with her for hugging Usher.

I heard recently that the special nation branding department was being disbanded –which would be an incredible waste because the Malaysia nation brand needs some help.

Used properly, I still think this impressive young artist could rescue Malaysia’s once iconic nation brand and give it a bright new face for the world.

Yuna Malaysia - Branding in Asia

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Marcus Osborne

Marcus Osborne is the Founder and CEO of Kuala Lumpur-based Fusionbrand and author of 'Stop Advertising, Start Branding'


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