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Huong River Services

Small is beautiful. Slowing down is wonderful. Take it slow in Hue.

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Hương River – a well-known but never discovered beauty (in its fullness)

Hương River (Perfume River) flows through the middle of the historic Huế city. It is the river and its heavenly aroma of falling flowers from orchards upriver give the city its life and charm, days and nights. All travelers in Hue flock to the river banks especially in the evening when the purple sunsets and the Truong Tien bridge is illuminated. Some take a boat trip offering dinner and/or traditional music. However, these boats are bland-designed and often hectic, offering low or mediocre services and never go far from the city center. They, as tourist experts say, do not do Huong river justice. And visitors deserve more than just a short busy river tour.

Against this backdrop, HRS was founded in 2018 as a pilot project to set an example, how to build tourist boats, water stations and how to design brand-oriented & high-quality services. Furthermore, it is its responsibility, also an opportunity to raise awareness about Hue’s culture, people, cuisine and less well-known attractions.

Not only a cruise tour

HRS has been an ambitious and extensive project, with the involvement of the city authority as well as many actors and stakeholders. As aforementioned, cruise tours offered by HRS are just only the surface. Below it is a whole complex set of component projects: boat- & water station building, awareness raising, branding and even re-organizing local economy.

Right from the start, B&A has been actively participating and contributing to this challenging project as a branding agency and as a consultant for its all aspects. In this post, we would like only to present the branding aspect, which had posed many challenges:

  • How to set HRS apart from other boat tour operators but at the same time encourage them to offer high-quality and competitive services on their own?
  • How to incorporate the traditional culture of Hue to the core brand without being too nostalgic and out of time?
  • How to encourage the average tourists to explore more & deeper other dimensions of Hue by waterway when they have only a short stay there with usually a hectic schedule?

Lift the mist purple veil

Hue is like a beautiful but very shy virgin, who doesn’t reveal herself. To know more about Hue, one must take a less direct road and take it slow. Take it slow. That’s the philosophy for HRS branding. It is un-coincidentally the pace of life in the city and of the river current. The services HRS offers are a meaningful counter-program against hectic tours. This catches the trend of slow living, self-discovery and mindfulness. In this way, HRS does not compete directly with other operators but complements them and somehow set a high standard for them to follow.

Based on this slow philosophy, B&A designed the experience of the tour as a mindful discovery not only of Hue but also of oneself. The brand identity reflects this approach: the logo is a something waiting to be opened, to be interpreted, traditional but has a touch of modern simplicity; used images should be quiet and soothing; wording should be elegant and inviting but by no means pushy. In parallel, B&A with partners creates an independent communication project to raise awareness about Hue and the River Huong, by telling relevant visual stories.

When you get there, at the end of the river Huong at a misty purple sunset, lift that veil, you will discover not only another Hue but also another you.