Social Networking

January 7, 2008

I’ve been part of an experiment in online PR networking since May last year and it’s beginning to gather pace with a few vocal people coming to the fore.  There’s still work defining what we’re trying to discuss or figure out the most optimum set-up but it seems to be taking shape as a place for PR pros to hang out.  There’s around 70 of us signed up to date.

The reason for posting about this now is that I came across what I think is a really useful tipfor Korean companies promoting themselves overseas, particularly considering the relative lack of awareness of Google’s attributes versus local search engines like Naver or Daum.   How many companies think about their text from a SEO point of view?


Should Korean CEOs Blog?

August 8, 2007

I came across an interview with my U.S. colleague Steve Rubel on Canadian TV discussing the question, “Should CEOs Blog?”  It’s towards the end of the show here; if you have a spare hour by all means go ahead and watch the whole thing but Steve’s interview is from 46.40 if you fast forward and goes for 8 minutes.

The interview raises some important concerns about companies and CEOs beginning to dip their toes into the blogopshere but raises some good points about having dialogue with your customers.    The point that sticks out to me is Steve’s advice that companies should think about “what [they] want back” from a blog.  Simply: a blog is a conversation.

Message control has been paramount for Korean businesses; it’s intertwinned with business culture here.  However, this is certainly something that Korean companies have faced up (or are still facing into) when dealing with international media: it’s very hard to control your message 100%; you have to be realistic and understand the channel you’re communicating in.  This is no different when thinking about communications through the internet; you can shape and direct the conversation but you can’t control it.

I think there’s a lot of room for identifying the “passionates” within Korean organization and having them be the blogging advocates for the company; getting a CEO to blog openly and honestly is going to be challenging considering the structure and controls in place in Korean organizations.  This seems like a good initial step for a Korean companies and it’s something our online team here would agree with and recommend.

Parsimony, Social Media and Drifting Porsches

August 7, 2007

Disclaimer: Hankook Tire is a client of Edelman in Seoul. However, that does not detract from the fact that this is a very cool piece of film!

What is interesting about this is that this is one of the comparatively few cases of a Korean company using international social media channels to promote the things it’s doing. There’s a lot of stuff happening in the online space in Korea – particularly on the Cyworld and Naver communities but, short of posting ads, I don’t see very much content on YouTube.

This particular piece of film was shot in July during a test for a drifting Porsche and later posted up onto YouTube, primarily to interest the drifting community. As can be seen from the comments, it has certainly reached its target audience and consequently raised the profile of brand. It’s a great example of how an item of content not necessarily created for promotional use can nevertheless be used to provide more context on what a company is doing behind the scenes.

Good communications is parsimonious in that it generates the maximum amount of use from resources at the lowest possible cost. Taking materials developed for internal use and review and using them for external communications via platforms such as YouTube is a great example of parsimony. Assuming, of course, that you don’t divulge trade secrets, the list of possible applications is almost endless – concept products, pop group rehearsals, product stress tests, trade show events – almost anything that is used for internal reporting purposes can be adapted for dissemination to an interested target audience. Think of the “bonus features” on the average movie DVD and the extent to which people – myself included- will watch footage of the production process shot on a hand-held video camera as a part of the whole movie experience.

Consumers and other stakeholders increasingly want to see the story behind the brand. The glitz and polish of classical advertising is giving way to grainy, home-made content that can be viewed online and shared between fellow enthusiasts. Korean companies typically spend enormous amounts of money on advertising to build brand awareness. Taking a parsimonious approach to communications has the potential to build awareness among important stakeholder groups without the heavy upfront expenditure required of a traditional advertising campaign.

And, if you’re interested, here are a couple more drifting Porsche videos. After all, there’s nothing wrong with shameless client promotion!

(Love the soundtrack on this one!)