AusCham in the Media

Interview by Pocketguide
By Steve Noble
GM, The Pocket Guide
February 2014
1)    Can you explain why ABAC is changing to AusCham? And for those who don’t know the Chamber, what exactly do you offer?

In the past, independent organisations were not allowed to use the name ‘Chamber of Commerce’ due to a Ministry of Commerce ruling, but that changed recently so we decided to take the opportunity to do some re-branding, design a new logo and align ourselves with the other Australian chambers in the region.

We have been going for over ten years, and have a number of functions.  We provide a platform for business people of all nationalities to network in social situations, we offer seminars and events for professional development, we are an initial point of contact for Australian businesses setting up in Cambodia, or foreigners interested in the Australian business environment, and we liaise closely with the Australian Embassy and are a forum to promote Australian business overseas.

2)    How did you go about changing the logo?

Once having found the right company that produced interesting and inspiring designs, that was in our budget range, and that was locally based and so easily accessible, we gave them the brief.  The logo we wanted had to be modern, have an obvious Australian theme to it, and also have a Cambodian link.

3)    Can you explain the idea behind the new logo and what it represents?

Our last logo had an Angkor Wat image paired with the Southern Cross stars, and was predominantly blue and white.  However, our design company suggested we avoided the blue, white and red theme as so many other chambers in Cambodia have those colours in their logos.  Hence we went with green and gold which are also intrinsically Australian.

The new design incorporates a representation of the map of Australia with the artistic flourishes which come from Cambodian Kbach design.  This is the art style which uses flowery motifs such as the lotus petal and can be seen abundantly on Khmer architecture and temple reliefs.  The lettering is in lower case however, to give the overall design a fresh, modern feel.

4)    What do you think the benefits of the rebranding will be for AusCham and your members?

This is a great opportunity to lift the profile of the organisation and raise awareness about what we do here.  We aim to increase our membership base, and hence be able to offer our members a better level of service.  And as mentioned, we are now in line regionally with the names of the other Australian business chambers in Southeast Asia and so we hope to boost Cambodia as a business centre and improve our members’ reciprocal services in the region.

Also, recently there has been a movement to have the Phnom Penh-based chambers work more closely together, and hence for the first time there was an inter-chamber Christmas function held in 2013.  So it is an interesting time here for the growth of business chambers, as this bringing together of the chambers has resulted in a sharing of ideas and an increase in exposure for the members to the other organisations.

5)    What are you doing to promote the change?

We have just had our biggest Australia Day function ever which was held at the Cambodian Country Club.  This was the first event at which we unveiled the new logo, and we are just now assessing the response to the changeover.  As we have always had a positive image, there is no need for any radical shedding of our public profile, and so the process is going to be subtle and organic, and achieved through exposure at key quality events.

6)    Any other comments or information you would like to provide

We are currently in the process of designing our new website which we will shortly be unveiling but you can find us on facebook (facebook.com/auscham.phnompenh).  We also hold a bi-monthly Sundowners which is a relaxed environment at which to come and mix with our member base, or please contact us by email (abacambodia@gmail.com) or telephone (+855 92 285 748) for more information about our membership or services.

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