新創之島的國家品牌策略

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2020 / 5月

文‧謝宜婷 圖‧林格立


新創圈內,知名的國家級品牌在世界部署網絡建立形象。法國有紅公雞La French Tech、日本有J-Startup,而台灣去(2019)年也推出了以「新創之島」為概念的品牌識別系統Startup Island TAIWAN,這個品牌不僅是一個標誌,背後所代表的其實是如何提升台灣新創生態系能見度的策略性思考。


為了貼近新創社群的需要,負責推動Startup Island TAIWAN的國家發展委員會(簡稱國發會),邀請新創圈各領域專家組成顧問團,依他們的經驗與觀察,提出對國家新創品牌發展的建議,期待能如同2017年世界大學運動會時,在政府與民間顧問團的合作之下,共同打造台灣新創品牌意象,吸引世界的目光。

整合資源,建立意象

根據行銷漏斗(conversion channel)的理論,要打造一個品牌,通常會經歷過四個階段,分別為:吸引注意(awareness)、產生興趣(interest)、想要擁有(desire)與完成行動(action)。Startup Island TAIWAN現階段的目標,要先引起國際的注意。不過,早在此品牌推出之前,有些政府與民間的新創計畫,已經在國際累積知名度,如台灣新創競技場(TSS)、台灣科技新創基地(TTA)、亞洲‧矽谷創新創業鏈結計畫(TITAN)。

TSS由國發會推動,民間企業執行,使命是帶領新創公司走進全球市場。透過業界導師教導行銷與全球募資的知識與技術,提供新創公司所需的投資人脈與企業連結,並帶領團隊參與海外展覽,與國際的新創生態系接觸。而TTA與TITAN分別是科技部輔導新創公司的育成基地與計畫。這些單位近來都在國際大展上展露頭角,如TTA今年1月參加美國的消費電子展(CES),有13家團隊獲得新創獎,也有新創公司當場收到來自SONY的訂單。

不過,當這些單位帶領新創團隊出國參展時,會使用各自的標誌,很難讓海外媒體與投資者對台灣留下整體的印象。

國發會產業發展處處長詹方冠表示,目前政府以「台灣隊」的方式帶領新創公司到海外參展,避免各家新創團隊單打獨鬥、缺乏交流。不過,只在展覽中設立一個攤位是不夠的,還需要一個屬於台灣的意象,讓國際媒體對台灣新創感興趣,願意到攤位上來採訪,「讓大家看到這個標誌時,可以馬上聯想到台灣是新創之島。」

獨一無二,新創之島

「國家新創品牌」的需求出現之後,「日目視覺藝術」接下了品牌標誌的設計工作,與新創社群展開無數次的討論。而協助品牌工作坊成型的創業小聚社群總監陳凱爾回憶,參與品牌討論的新創社群,成員非常多元,有從事技術類、商業創新的公司,也有扶植新創的加速器,而大家的共同點就是「很有想法」!

社群討論的過程,就像新創競賽般的熱絡,團隊分為兩個小組,各自提出一個代表台灣新創的品牌名字,向對方說明背後的理念與動機。參與其中的日目視覺藝術,因此跳脫原本的設計視角,深入了解新創社群的需求。

經過不斷討論與統整,最後兩隊都同意使用Startup Island TAIWAN作為國家新創品牌。陳凱爾轉述品牌名稱發想者、同時也是「之初創投」聯合創辦人詹益鑑的想法:「『島』的意象是台灣的特色,而且過去還沒有國家使用『島』作為新創品牌。」因此,設計團隊以「山脈在海洋上的倒影」呈現台灣意象,並組合成無限符號,象徵台灣新創能量的無限可能。

Startup Island TAIWAN出現後,TTS、TTA、TITAN等品牌會消失嗎?陳凱爾認為「不是消失,應該是共創。」原本的品牌已經累積一定知名度與專業,可以為台灣新創提供不同層面的貢獻,加上民間的專業人士及新創生態系夥伴,整合後會讓品牌宣傳更完整。

安內攘外,策略規畫

除了國發會與科技部的品牌,民間新創公司也有自己的標誌,Startup Island TAIWAN如何與新創公司「聯名」,增加彼此品牌價值,是下一個需要思考的問題。貝殼放大執行長林大涵認為國家新創品牌應「先安內再攘外」,與國內頂尖的新創公司建立好關係,讓他們成為Startup Island TAIWAN的代言者,提升國家品牌實力,隨之而來的國際注意力就會反饋到新創公司本身。

要「讓最棒的品牌,感到以台灣為榮,」他們才會願意為Startup Island TAIWAN付出。擅長行銷的林大涵進一步解釋,從送禮開始,就可以加入巧思,像是將頂尖新創公司與台灣歷代具代表性的創業家並列,帶出世代傳承的意味,同時表達對當代新創的重視。

透過這種行銷方法,政府同時也能向新創公司證明自己的品牌宣傳能力,以引起對方合作的意願。當有夠多的新創公司願意加入Startup Island TAIWAN這個品牌,台灣才有辦法到海外「打群架」。

安內之後,接著是「有策略」地攘外。詹方冠表示,政府將改變過去「零散投入、只用錢補助」的模式,轉而採取「推廣國家品牌並協助新創」的整體行銷策略。

陳凱爾進一步建議,未來Startup Island TAIWAN做國際行銷時,應要思考如何呈現特色,讓國際新創圈的意見領袖對台灣產生印象,例如開一個同名專欄,讓台灣新創圈的重要人物固定生產內容;當新創公司來台灣參展時,提供他們完整的國內新創資源:新創媒體、新創計畫,也可以透過小旅行展現台灣優質的生活環境,吸引海外人才前來投資與工作。

除了展現台灣優良的新創生態系,在海外展現台灣新創實力時,也需要特色包裝。林大涵指出,新創團隊在海外參展時,展館多是交換名片的場所而已,真正的洽談都是在飯店裡,如果台灣能夠在國際重要新創城市,擁有自己的咖啡館,就可以吸引各國參展人到店內洽談,同時向他們展示店內有潛力進入海外市場的新創產品,讓國際新創的投資方對台灣產生興趣。

調整心態,改變環境

Startup Island TAIWAN代表的,不只是一個品牌,而是台灣的新創生態系,包含了國內新創公司、加速器、育成機構、政府計畫與媒體,呈現台灣豐富的新創資源。同時,它也象徵國內新創環境改變的起點。

「台灣新創要好,這個品牌才會好。」陳凱爾認為Startup Island TAIWAN的最終目標應該是讓台灣的新創公司成為品牌本身,當海外投資方一聽到這家公司來自台灣,就知道那是家好公司。因此,政府設計標誌「吸引注意」的下一步,應該要思考如何讓國際「產生興趣」。

陳凱爾認為品牌發展下一階段的目標,新創公司本身要做好打進海外市場的準備,如:英文官網建構、國際公關規畫,以及國際觀的培養,如此一來,才能準確了解市場的需求;而政府的任務,則要幫助新創團隊介接目標市場的資源,如同法國新創品牌La French Tech在世界重要新創城市建立科技聚落,與當地新創生態系連結,建立長期的合作關係,而非沒有目標的參訪。

除了國際連結,新創與國內產業的連結也是發展關鍵。近年來,國外傳統企業如可口可樂與3M都成立了創投部門,投資新創公司。而台灣的醫療產業受國際矚目,如果能與相關新創公司合作測試,不僅有益於醫療科技的進步,也能讓新創公司更了解市場需求。

綜觀台灣新創環境,自從2016年政府推出「數位國家、創新經濟」、「五加二產業創新」與「優化新創事業投資環境行動方案」等計畫後,相關法規已經鬆綁,創造了更有利新創的投資環境。隨著Startup Island TAIWAN的出現,台灣新創圈要更進一步,加強新創公司本身的實力,結合產官學三方的共同策略,深入海外市場的需求,找到台灣新創在世界的位置。

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EN

Innovative Branding Strategies

Startup Island TAIWAN

Tina Xie /photos courtesy of Jimmy Lin /tr. by Robert Fox

In the business startup arena, nations are setting up global brand networks to build their images. France has La French Tech, Japan has J-Startup, and at the end of 2019, Taiwan introduced its own “Startup Island TAIWAN” brand identity. More than just a logo, the brand will spearhead strategic thinking on how to increase the visibility of Taiwan’s startup ecosystem.


To stay apace with the needs of the startup community, the National Development Council (NDC), Startup Island TAIWAN’s promoter, invited experts from throughout the startup community to form an advisory group, which suggested the development of a new national brand.

Integrating resources, building brand awareness

The conversion channel theory tells us that brand building goes through four stages: awareness, interest, desire, and action. Startup Island TAIWAN is currently at the first stage, creating international awareness. Well before its launch, however, several government and private entrepreneurship initiatives had already made names for themselves internationally—projects like Taiwan Startup Stadium (TSS), Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA), and Taiwan Innovation and Technology Arena (TITAN).

TSS is promoted by the NDC and implemented by private enterprise. Its mission is to introduce new companies to the global market. Industry mentors teach marketing and fundraising knowledge and techniques, providing startups with investor and corporate connections. Moreover, TSS leads teams to overseas exhibi­tions, connecting them with the international startup eco­system. The Ministry of Science and Technology assists new startups both through its incubator, TTA, and its TITAN program. Recently, these organizations have made their mark at international exhibitions: In January 2020, for example, TTA took part in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the US, where 13 Taiwanese startups won innova­tion awards, with one even receiving an order from SONY at the exhibition.

But the resources behind these initiatives were not integrated; hence they lacked a consolidated “Taiwan image.” When exhibiting at overseas trade shows, each startup has used its own logo, making it hard to leave an overall impression of Taiwanese entrepreneurship on international media and investors.

Jan Fang-guan, director-general of the NDC’s Department of Industrial Development, says that the government has hitherto led groups of startups to international exhibi­tions as “Team Taiwan,” so that individual startups don’t have to go it alone or miss out on opportunities for exchange. But setting up booths at exhibitions isn’t enough—rather, a consolidated Taiwan image is needed to arouse the international media’s interest in Taiwanese startups and draw them to those booths. That way, “When people see the logo, they’ll immediately think of Taiwan as a place with a strong startup culture.”

One-of-a-kind startup island

After the need for a new national brand for startups emerged, 247 Visual Art took on the job of designing the brand logo. Countless discussions with the startup community ensued. As Kyle Chen, director of Meet Startup at Business Next Media Corp. recalls, many members of the diverse startup community took part: tech com­panies, firms developing innovative business models, and acceler­ators, which foster new startups. What they all had in common was that “everyone had plenty of ideas.”

After endless rounds of discussion, all agreed to adopt “Startup Island TAIWAN” as the national startup brand. Kyle Chen recounts how Jan I-chien, the creator of the brand name and cofounder of venture capital company AppWorks, came up with the idea: the image of an island expresses a major characteristic of Taiwan, and no other country has used the word “island” in a national brand name for startup ventures. Hence, the design team envisioned Taiwan as “a mountain range reflected in the ocean,” using a modified version of the infinity symbol (∞) to represent the boundless energy and potential of Taiwan’s startups.

Will TTS, TTA, TITAN and other brands become obsolete now that Startup Island TAIWAN has arrived on the scene? “They won’t disappear; they’ll work creatively together,” says Chen. Those brands have built up a reputation and a degree of professional competence, which can contribute to Taiwan’s startups on various levels. Working with professionals in the private sector and partners in the startup ecosystem, they can enhance brand promotion.

Strategic planning

Jan Fang-guan says the government will change its former model of scattered support through monetary subsidies alone, and instead adopt an integrated marketing strategy of promoting the national brand and assisting startups.

Kyle Chen further recommends that in its future inter­national marketing, Startup Island TAIWAN should consider how to best present its assets in order to make an impression on opinion leaders in global startup circles. For example, it could launch an eponymous online blog or magazine in which prominent figures in Taiwan’s startup community contribute content regularly; provide international startups exhibiting at trade shows in Taiwan with a full range of domestic startup resources, such as media resources and business plans; and introduce the island’s superb living environment via short excursions, attracting international talent to invest and work here.

Introducing Taiwan’s vibrant startup ecosystem at home is one thing, but projecting its strengths abroad is another, calling for special packaging. According to Lin Tahan, CEO of the crowdfunding and marketing consultancy Backer-Founder, when startup teams exhibit abroad, the exhibition hall is mostly a place for exchanging business cards, while real talks take place in hotels. If Taiwan had coffee shops in major startup cities around the world, suggests Lin, new startup products with potential in the global market could be displayed in the shops, sparking international investors’ interest in Taiwan.

New outlook, new environment

Startup Island TAIWAN does not represent just a brand but also stands for Taiwan’s startup ecosystem, which ­includes domestic startups, accelerators, incubators, govern­ment programs, and media, in short, all of Taiwan’s abundant startup resources. It also symbolizes a starting point for changes in the domestic startup environment.

“Good startups make a good brand.” Kyle Chen believes that the ultimate goal of Startup Island TAIWAN should be to make Taiwanese startups the brand itself, so that when international investors hear that a company is from Taiwan, they’ll know it’s good. Therefore, after designing the brand logo and “attracting attention,” the government’s next step should be to think about how to “generate interest” internationally.

In addition to international connections, the links between new startups and domestic industries are another key to development. In recent years, established international companies such as Coca-Cola and 3M have set up venture capital departments to invest in startups. Taiwan’s medical industry has attracted inter­national atten­tion. If it could conduct testing with relevant startup companies, it would not only advance medical tech­nology but also give startups a better under­standing of market demand.

Since 2016, the government has launched a series of programs—including the “Digital Nation & Innovative Economic Development Program” (DIGI+), the “5+2 Industrial Innovation Plan,” and the “Action Plan for Enhancing Taiwan’s Startup Ecosystem”—loosening regulations and creating a more favorable investment climate for startups. Now, with the launch of Startup Island TAIWAN, Taiwanese startups have to go a step further, bolstering the capabilities of the companies themselves and strategically combining the strengths of industry, government, and academia to seize the opportunities of the international market and win success for Taiwan.

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