SOME Korean companies are turning their brands into global brands in overseas markets. However, Korea’s national brand is not, despite the nation being the world’s 13th largest economy in terms of GDP in 2007.
Furthermore, Korea ranks 11th in the world trade sector, and first in the Digital Opportunity Index, an index focusing on the world’s shipbuilding, memory and display industries. Korea is also the world’s 9th biggest energy consumer. The following tables highlight Korea’s position as one of the world’s major economies.(figure 1)
The ultimate goal of this project is to seek out national brand management measures in cooperation with companies and devised policies to enhance the value of both the national and corporate brands of Korea. The government can enhance Korea’s competitiveness by devising measures to encourage companies to contribute to strengthening national brands. Based on this, the government will promote win-win relationships between corporate brands and the national brand. Finally, the government will establish and practice policies that gives the world a positive image of Korea, which in turn can give positive images of Korean companies. The details of the project include the establishment of the identity of Korean products and a selection of brands. In order to establish the identities of Korean products, Korea needs to analyze the core capabilities of Korean products, their competition with major global brands and future directions for development, as well as establishing those identities that can mix well with the establishment of the national brand. (figure2)
In addition, the Korean government should devise a strategy to select Korea’s representative brands to spread the identities of Korean products from a mid- to long-term perspective. To this end, the government should check if a brand can have a positive impact on the national brand. The selection strategy should include the selection of industry and product groups, the collection and development of brands and an evaluation of the selection.(figure3)
A corporate brand image and a national brand image are interdependent. A national brand image interacts with a corporate brand image. This project requires a differentiated method for strong and weak individual brands. The KIDP (Korea Institute of Design Promotion) will select brands in consideration of the effects of Korea as the origin of products, Korea Discount effects and companies’ will to use a national brand. Korea Discount effects means “foreign customers usually want lower prices of products when they were made in Korea.” For weak brands, the KIDP will need a selection strategy in consideration of growth potential, feasibility, and synergies with a national brand. This project needs a selection committee to select brands, an advising committee to suggest specialized knowledge and opinions, and an organization to manage the project.
The selection committee will consists of the academic world, the industrial world, the Presidential Council on Nation Branding, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy and those in related organizations. The main role of the committee is to choose industrial and product groups (in the first phase) and final brands (in the second phase). The selection committee will manage brand evaluation and use the results as company evaluation materials.
The advising committee will consist of professors of marketing, international management and design and research fellows at private economic research institutes as well as consultants at brand and design consulting organizations and will suggest systematic and detailed opinions.
The Presidential Council on Nation Branding takes care of the AT&D Project while the Ministry of Knowledge Economy copes with practical matters. The advising committee will be established as an advising organization for the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. The KIDP will handle overseas marketing activities. The KIDP will be in charge of selecting brands and supporting companies, as well as holding the inauguration ceremony and certification.
Moreover, the KIDP will produce the logo, slogan and certification for the project and support overseas marketing with the KOTRA. The following are the government’s measures to support selected brands.
The government will divide the selected brands by eight regions and customized support programs for them. In addition, the government will support them with advertisements via TV, newspapers, the Internet and magazines. By holding exhibition events and operating exhibition rooms abroad, the government will make them friendlier with foreign customers. In particular, the government expects exhibition rooms in airport lounges to maximize publicizing effects. The selected brands will be supported in terms of design and marketing consulting and developed into world-class brands.
So far, this article has explained the national brand strategy promoted by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy and the KIDP. This strategy does not replace “Dynamic Korea,” the highest national brand of Korea. It will be another slogan to promote the national brand of Korea in terms of industry. This strategy is expected to contribute to informing the world of Korea’s advanced technologies and design and to enhancing the value of Dynamic Korea.