|June 27, 2002||atimes.com|
Korea's marketing strategy still in the game
SEOUL - South Korea's immediate quest, to win the soccer World Cup, may be over with its semifinal defeat by Germany, but now the real work begins: cashing in on the high world profile brought to the nation by its co-hosting of the event, the unexpected success of its national team, and the visual impact of millions of red-garbed Koreans cheering on their soccer heroes fervently but peacefully.
Major Korean firms such as Hyundai Motor and Samsung are already reporting invaluable increases in brand recognition as a result of the soccer extravaganza. A survey by Hyundai said that as many as 67 percent of Japanese acknowledged Hyundai's brand recently due mainly to the World Cup events. The comparable number was 32 percent in February.
The use of information technology for the soccer tournament's opening ceremony at Seoul's Samgamdong World Cup Stadium also helped upgrade South Korea's image as one of the world's leading producers and developers of IT products, industry sources said.
In a report, Goldman Sachs said World Cup feats closely mirror the economic prowess of the participating countries, noting that World Cup participants control more than 80 percent of the world's economy and the winner invariably enjoys an economic boost after lifting the trophy.
Hyundai Research Institute (HRI) said South Korea's entry into the semifinals would give the country more than 100 trillion won (US$77.8 billion) in economic benefits in direct or indirect forms. The private think tank estimated that the World Cup raised the brand image of Korea by about 10 percent, increasing the value of Korean exports by 200 trillion won.
The research institute also said World Cup events allowed the country to upgrade its image five years faster than expected. "We think successful co-hosting of the World Cup has allowed the country's brand image to join the world's 12 best, although the country's brand image was about 30th despite its economic power within the 12 largest," researcher Park Tae-il of the HRI's Cosmo Research Center said.
Korean industry sources called for the government and businesses to join forces to make the most of World Cup events on a long-term basis. "The most important thing we can get from the World Cup is confidence and a positive global image," Oh Mun-sok of the LG Economic Research Institute said.
The government will encourage the unity shown by the millions of Red Devils soccer fans and the leadership style of Guus Hiddink, the national soccer team's Dutch coach, to provide momentum for South Korea's economy to leap into a new era. The government is soon to present a comprehensive measure to base business management skills on Hiddink's leadership, represented by a clear vision, steady implementation, focus on fundamentals and introduction of openness, global standards and fair competition without cronyism.
Meanwhile, companies that have earned significant marketing effects are now gearing up for post-World Cup policies to sustain gains. Samsung Electronics will focus on consolidating its brand image as one of the world's greatest companies. LG Electronics will step up investor relations activities involving local and foreign investors and plans to raise its share in its core foreign markets, based on various marketing and localization strategies. And SK Telecom will take advantage of the improved brand recognition in the Chinese market to set up Asian CDMA (code division multiple access) networks and advance into China's information-technology and chemical sectors.
The tourism industry, which has not directly benefited from the World Cup, having been hit this month by a lower-than-expected influx of tourists, has also not given up. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism points out that the 2002 World Cup finals have played a great role in publicizing South Korea around the world.
Experts note that in order to become a competitive tourism destination, Seoul has to work on post-Cup measures by extending public relations activities overseas, developing World Cup-related products, hosting large-scale international conferences and amending unreasonable tourism laws and regulations.
"A successful World Cup by Korea will draw more foreign tourists and investments in the long term. To that aim, the government should make the most of the 10 World Cup stadiums and other facilities," said a research fellow at the Korea Tourism Research Institute.
In that vein, the ministry is planning to publicize South Korea and its culture through such world media as the US-based CNN and Hong Kong's STAR TV while trying to attract more Europeans. Meanwhile, the ministry will network tourism information telephone services and tourism information booths across the nation and maintain such Korean culture programs as "home stays" and "temple stays" for foreigners.
The Korea National Tourism Organization (KNTO) also plans to promote the tourism industry. It will host soccer tournaments among China, Japan and South Korea and cheering festivals this October, shore up overseas cyber marketing through its website www.tour2korea.com and foster local tourism.
In line with such marketing plans, the government will play a leading role in turning the World Cup fever into economic gains, a move aimed at easing concern that it might fail to exploit fully the opportunities to upgrade the national image that come with hosting a world event, as in the 1988 Olympic Games.
President Kim Dae-jung met with heads of leading companies on June 19 to draw up ways to maximize the World Cup effects and also called on ministers to come up with follow-up measures as soon as possible. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency will also conduct a national image survey among foreign consumers and discuss various ways to expand economic cooperation and exports with foreign countries.
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