Preparing a breakfast seminar with Martin Roll, author of Asian Brand Strategy, I started thinking about how a typical Korean company thinks about brands. I would guess that for most Korean companies the “brand” entails the logo, an advertising slogan and maybe a celebrity face (though it’s often hard to remember who Rain is representing this week!) – and very little else. There appears to be a very generic and, dare I say, superficial appreciation in Korea of how deep a brand has to go before it really affects the way that customers respond to it.
Martin Roll focuses on Asian brands and argues that branding should be an issue for the boardroom, not just the marketing department. I agree with that 100%, but I’m not sure that a lot of Korean company boardrooms would have branding on the agenda in a meaninigful way. Ultimately, to drive the brand from the top needs a lot of buy-in and public evangelism from senior executives. However, Korean senior executives are generally very publicity shy, largely for fear of repurcussions from their comments.
Which implies that the development of global Korean brands will require more than just a shift in strategic focus: it will need a wide-ranging change in many corporate cultures.