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    Branding Korea


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2005

    Photo: Korean Overseas Information Service

    A long-term export policy of the Republic of Korea combines national and corporate branding.

    In 2000, the Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy announced that to be globally competitive and boost exports, Koreans needed to shift from supplying generic products to developing their own brands. The Ministry's strategic policy was to support branding at the national level. As a start, it reorganized and renamed the "Quality and Design Division" to the "Design and Brand Policy Division".

    After Korea successfully co-hosted the World Cup football tournament in 2002, the Government announced that the country should use this opportunity to connect its positive image to exports, and that building Korea's global brands could be a growth engine for the economy. The Government released its "Vision for Brand Power Korea 2010", which aims to have 70% of total exports in Korean brand-name products and list more than ten Korean brand names in the world's 100 most recognizable brands by 2010.

    The Government supported companies in building a "Made in Korea" trademark, with a Brand Management Centre that provides brand consulting and a brand database where companies can find best practices, market trends, overseas consumer analysis and Korean brands' export trends. It developed a National Brand Competitiveness Index and self-assessment tool for companies to measure their brand equity and plan future strategy. In 2002 and 2004, the Government held international brand conferences, where they invited professors, ambassadors, chief executives and brand experts to share experiences and to learn how foreigners viewed Korea.

    The Korean Overseas Information Service developed a national brand name, "Dynamic Korea". Jae-woong Yoo, Assistant Minister and Director of the service, told Trade Forum: "A nation brand not only creates the country's image but can also have a direct impact on its export competitiveness. Building a national brand, however, requires long-term planning and significant resources. Korea has defined a clear goal and has planned at least ten years to achieve it.

    "The Government must work with the public and the business sector, as a national brand is not something that can be achieved by a single economic actor. It is important to set detailed goals and the means to achieve them together, so all parties understand the benefits of a strong nation brand."

    Sung-Ah Lee is a marketing consultant in ITC's public information office.