Changing attitude in the consumers' mind of a brand requires great plan and patience. If anyone must walk through this slow progress, it should be Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), the one with the infrastructure brings synergy effects to any program. Without trust between the business partners, trade never could be promoted. This is where the establishment of the new office (and team), Global Business Support Department (Brand Promotion Team) comes from.
Brand image is developed over time through communication, campaigns, and is authenticated through the consumers' direct experience. Here, the role of the Global Business Support Department's Brand Promotion Team is significant. Director General Kim Sang-mook is in charge of both nation brand and corporate brand promotion. Director Kim stated, "A strong national brand supports companies to get premium image in the global market. Not only do we promote Korea's brand image as the country of advanced technology and design, but we also advice the companies to promote global brand marketing."
With undying efforts from the past, the image of Korea is rapidly transiting from a poor country to a leading IT country. Now that the brand image of Korea is in the spotlight, Mr. Kim's team took a step further and opened a social media channel, Advanced Technology Korea (http://www.advancedtechnologykorea.com) to communicate with global users. The site is also syndicated to Twitter and Face book. The team is also organizing a high-tech road show twice a year under the theme 'Advanced Technology and Design Korea'
To promote corporate level brand marketing, KOTRA has initiated Brand Endorsement Programs to support the brand images of Korean products since December 2008. According to a survey, 90 percent of 407 foreign buyers showed strong preference and trustworthiness for companies recommended by KOTRA upon qualification. Based on the survey results, KOTRA's Seal of Excellence (http://kotraseal.kotra.or.kr) was given a birth, to certify companies that satisfy the following: Quality, High-technology, and Trustworthiness.
KOTRA originally planned to increase the number of Korean companies awarded with the KOTRA's Seal of Excellence to be about 400 by 2011, but the goal is expected to be outnumbered this year. The companies that received the seal are 416 so far, and their export growth rate was 41 percent in 2010. Overall, it helped Korea's export growth to increase by 28 percent.
The job of Brand Promotion Team is endless. KOTRA also runs a program to help companies wishing to export Original Brand Manufacturing (OBM). KOTRA performs global brand marketing consulting such as how to set Brand Identity System and how to apply brand communication in overseas market.
A country and corporate brand is neither built nor changed over a night. To build a target image obviously requires thorough planning and long-term execution. However, the duration is partly depends on efforts of brand managers. The long and winding road has hidden leaders like the ones at KOTRA. We follow and collaborate to complete it together.