The main keywords in the New Year messages of the chairmen and CEOs of major Korean business groups were “customers,” “growth” and “global.” Last year, “survival,” “competition” and “change” were the keywords, reflecting increased uncertainties in the business environment. Analysts say that this year, business leaders chose the words out of their concerns over how to realize long-term growth and sustainable management by securing global competitiveness.
CEO Score, a website which assesses companies' business performances, said on Jan. 3 that “customer” was the most frequently cited word (58 times) in the New Year messages of Korea’s 10 largest groups, followed by “growth” and “global” mentioned 41 times and 35 times, respectively.
The other top 10 keywords included “value” (30 times), “market” (29), “competition” (28), “novelty” (27), “innovation” (25) and “change” (24). The word "customer" has never been in the top 10 over the past 10 years but has become the most frequently mentioned word this year as LG Group chairman Koo Kwang-mo used the word a whopping 30 times in his New Year message while presiding over his first ceremony to start the New Year.
Excluding the “flash-in-the-pan” keyword “customer,” the word “growth” came in first. Growth was mentioned 39 times last year, too. Therefore, growth has been included in the top three New Year message keywords for the ninth consecutive year since 2011. “Global” took 11th place with 24 times last year but this year it jumped to third place.
On the other hand, last year’s second ranker “competition” slid to 6th place. “Innovation” and “market,” which placed 4th and 5th, respectively last year, also fell to 5th and 8th this year.
By company, Kim Ki-nam, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, mentioned “top-notch,” “global,” “growth” and “technology,” respectively, which led to the interpretation that Samsung Electronics’s New Year message focused on Samsung's unique "top-notch corporate culture" this year, too. As for the Hyundai Motor Group, vice chairman Chung Eui-sun presided over the event to mark the first business day of the New Year for the first time and mentioned the word "global" most, 14 times. This hinted that vice chairman Chung used the word to show his will to sharpen the automotive group’s global competitiveness based on responsible management systems by regions.
Chey Tae-won, chairman of the SK Group, used the word "happiness" (six times) which was not common in the group’s previous New Year messages. LG Group chairman Koo emphasized the word "value" (nine times) after “customer.” In addition, Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin favored “growth” (nine times) and “customers” (seven times) as keywords in his New Year message.